And here we are…

Sensei Posted in Site_News,
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So yet another month has passed us by! This has been an incredibly busy month personally with work, projects and finals! Despite that a lot of work has been going on behind the scenes here. The Forum has really taken off with several new moderators signing up and over 300 posts just last month. Traffic is still relatively slow but very promising! Please stop in and post something to let us know you are interested in our work here! 🙂 We’ve also introduced a Chat feature to the forum so people that want a more real time experience can have one. A dedicated Chat room is being added to the site menu and is in final testing so look for that soon. A few more pictures have been added to the Gallery this month, take a look!
The biggest news this month is the behind the scene work. The site is going through a complete redesign to make it truely cross-browser compatible. A visitor emailed us to tell us their browser (Opera) did not display the site correctly. When we checked it out it was embarassing! So we’ve returned to the drawing/design board and will be releasing new site code in June that should improve everyone’s browsing experience. As the summer progresses and we pull the rest of the site together we will at long last begin the contests we have been promising. With everything going on that has become a back burner issue…sorry. Also this Fall we should begin the design of our clothing line! We already have two models lined up so we’ve really put the cart before the horse on this one. 😉
As always thank you for your patronage and keep sending us your ideas and comments (sensei AT karatetraining.org). Train hard and keep your gaurd up…OSU!!

Unfit Self-Defense!

Sensei Posted in Entertainment,
0

Unfit Self-Defense

I love this strip by Mike Belkin. This one seem appropriate since I’ve been diving back into the world of self-defense training. I hear form quiet a few people about the classes they take and honestly many of the sound like the above! Yes, there are plenty of good programs out there too, but what’s funny about that!!I also thought I’d mention that Mike Belkin has discontinued the strip “Unfit” from Comics.com as of May 26th. Not to worry the strip will be coming back! 🙂 I “spoke” with Mike and he told me to look for it in about 3 months. If you are interested you can signup for his mailing list at MikeBelkin.com and he will announce the strips new home.

Memorial Day

Sensei Posted in Events & Holidays,
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Memorial Day
This year Memorial Day has a double meaning since we just put my good friend to rest who was also a veteren of the Vietnam War. In observance I thought I would post the history of Memorial Day…

In 1865, Henry C. Welles, a druggist in the village of Waterloo, NY, mentioned at a social gathering that honor should be shown to the patriotic dead of the Civil War by decorating their graves.

In the Spring of 1866, he again mentioned this subject to General John B. Murray, Seneca County Clerk. General Murray embraced the idea and a committee was formulated to plan a day devoted to honoring the dead. Townspeople adopted the idea wholeheartedly. Wreaths, crosses and bouquets were made for each veteran’s grave. The village was decorated with flags at half mast and draped with evergreen boughs and mourning black streamers.

It should be noted that as the Civil War was coming to a close in the spring of 1865, Women’s Auxiliaries of the North and South moved from providing relief to the families and soldiers on their own sides to joining in efforts to preserve and decorate the graves of both sides. A woman of French extraction and leader of the Virginia women’s movement, Cassandra Oliver Moncure, took responsibility of coordinating the activities of several groups into a combined ceremony on May 30. It is said that she picked that day because it corresponded to the Day of Ashes in France, a solemn day that commemorates the return of the remains of Napoleon Bonaparte to France from St. Helena.

On May 5, 1866, civic societies joined the procession to the three existing cemeteries and were led by veterans marching to martial music. At each cemetery there were impressive and lengthy services including speeches by General Murray and a local clergyman. The ceremonies were repeated on May 5, 1867. The first official recognition of Memorial Day as such was issued by General John A. Logan, first commander of the Grand Army of the Republic. This was General Order No. 11 establishing “Decoration Day” as it was then known. The date of the order was May 5, 1868, exactly two years after Waterloo’s first observance. That year Waterloo joined other communities in the nation by having their ceremony on May 30.

In 1965, a committee of community leaders started plans for the Centennial Celebration of Memorial Day. The committee consisted of VFW Commander James McCann, chairman, American Legion Commander Oliver J. McFall and Mayor Marion DeCicca, co-chairman, along with Village Trustees, M. Lewis Somerville, Roscoe Bartran, Richard Schreck, Tony DiPronio, and VFW Vice-Commander, Kenneth Matoon. Their goals were: “to obtain national recognition of the fact that Waterloo is the birthplace of Memorial Day through Congressional action” and “to plan and execute a proper celebration for such centennial observance.”
In May of 1966, just in time for the Centennial, Waterloo was recognized as the “Birthplace of Memorial Day” by the United States Government. This recognition was long in coming and involved hours of painstaking research to prove the claim. While other communities may claim earlier observances of honoring the Civil War dead, none can claim to have been so well planned and complete, nor can they claim the continuity of observances that Waterloo can.

The Centennial Celebration that year brought dignitaries from government, military, veteran’s organizations and descendants of the original founders of Memorial Day. A once luxurious home on Waterloo’s Main Street, built in 1850, was purchased from the county and restored. Now the Memorial Day Museum, it houses artifacts of the first Memorial Day and the Civil War era.
Memorial Day is commemorated each year in Waterloo. The parade, speeches, and solemn observances keep the meaning of Memorial Day as it was originally intended to be. Other communities throughout the United States also lay claim Memorial Day. While Waterloo, NY has been sanctioned by the U.S. Government as being the birthplace, other communities have interesting and touching stories concerning their first observance. Among these communities is Boalsburg, PA.

Now I’ve seen it all!…Karate Dog…

Sensei Posted in Entertainment,Tags: , , ,
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Well I haven’t seen it yet, no one has…Karate Dog is a silly ABC Family Movie that will air May 29th…and yes I will probably watch it!!

Seeking favor through goodwill…

Sensei Posted in Events & Holidays,
0

Japan has invited eight members of the Iraqi Karate Federation and its Al-Muthanna branch on May 28 to June 7, intending to strengthen goodwill toward Japan in Iraq through sports. During their stay, the visitors, with the cooperation of the Japan Karatedo Federation, the Japan Defense Agency (JDA) and others will pay courtesy calls to government officials and tour Tokyo; participate in training at universities in Tokyo, and; the Physical Training School of the Self Defense Forces (SDF) and give karate demonstrations at the 45th All SDF Karate Championship. According to Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, “This project is being implemented at a time when there is increasing interest in karate in Iraq, mainly in Samawah, thanks to the interchange between the Ground Self Defense Force units dispatched to Iraq and karate players in Al-Muthanna, as well as through efforts by the Japanese side, including the provision of karate equipment by the Japan Karatedo Federation“. The Japanese government expects this visit to enhance friendly relations with Iraq and Iraqis’ understanding toward Japan will be deepened through the spirit of martial arts of karate, Japanese traditional sport. While I think this is a good program that will benefit the Iraqis I doubt it will create much good wll with anyone other then the eight participants and a few of their friends and family!

Your greatest threat…Fear!

Sensei Posted in Training notes,
1

The Japanese have a saying Anzuru yori umu ga yasashi. which literally translated means Giving birth to a baby is easier than worrying about it. Now I have always said that worry is simply a lack of faith, which it is. This “faith” can be personal or religious faith but by worrying you show yourself deficient. So what does worry have to do with fear? Well the literal translation of this saying looses some of the meaning. The saying really means Fear is greater than the danger. Our minds are great at creating numerous scenarios and outcomes for any given situation, thinking tends to breed fear and worry. (not that you shouldn’t think!) By thinking we mean over analysis or attempting to anticipate an outcome. Action is much easier in the long run. Often we find that through action things are easier then we ever imagined or expected! When we loose our fears and act things are usually easier, so stop thinking and talking about doing things and DO THEM! You might be surprised with your results.
This has been a public service announcement 😉

Meditation Point #25

Sensei Posted in A Zen Thing, Quotes,
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When the character of a man is not clear to you, look at his friends. — Japanese Proverb

This another way of saying Actions speak louder then words. Think about it, who do you hang with? And what does that say about you?

A discussion of Truth

Sensei Posted in OffTopic,
0

I am a person of very strong opinions; very strong might be an understatement. In almost every aspect of my life I believe there is only one truth, one right answer. There may be many paths to this truth but there can only be one truth. It is a lot like math, 2 + 2 = 4, there are no grey areas here, 2 + 2 cannot equal 3.9! Now like any math problem the more variables you introduce, the more derivations you take the less clear the ultimate answer may be, but there is still only one correct answer. Like the many questions that come up in life there is only one answer that is the ultimate truth. Now I know many of my Zen and Buddhist friends are going to scream and argue with me on this but they’ll be wasting their breath. You see I am not stating this to convince or convert anyone, I’m going somewhere with this… Most people answer questions to fit their existence, they choose the comfortable answer, the one that supports the path they have chosen. It is usually the answer that offers the least internal conflict or barring that is the most socially acceptable. In other words, truth be damned, put the blinders on and full steam ahead! I’ve seen seemingly intelligent people make incredibly irrational statements or state irrational beliefs based on this behavior. The interesting thing about the world is it is made up of math, math is everywhere.
How many of you have taken a math class and answered an exam question with 100 percent certainty that you had answered the question correctly?…only to find out you were wrong! How can this be? There was a flaw in your reasoning that allowed you to ignore the truth in support of a very convincing falsehood. So it is with life. Most people can’t be bothered with critical thinking; most people just want to wander day by day through their lives without worries. Most people feel powerless or overwhelmed when they face the truth so they turn into the comfort of the darkness ignorance provides. In my opinion this was the cause of the Dark Ages…people just existed. From my observations we are entering a new Dark Age in humanity, one where critical thinking is replaced with irrational comfort.
I am purposely leaving any specifics out of this discussion, for to introduce any would cloud the truth in some political, religious, moral, or personal freedom or environmental argument of half truths and fanatical beliefs. That is not my aim. Like in Math there should very little passion in seeking the truth, for passion clouds our judgment with emotions and feelings. Emotions and feelings have to do with choice, not truth. How can you seek truth without passions! You can’t. Yes a seeming contradiction:) But it is not, you see passion for the truth should make us patient and critical thinkers, for we are not passionate for a given answer. Think of the sparring ring. When you are facing an opponent of similar ability and you become frustrated or enraged you will typically loose. But if you keep your clarity of mind and stay clam you will find an opening and win (possibly by enraging your opponent!). In life when we face difficult questions we must stay calm and centered, we must test our opponent (the question and supporting facts) without being drawn in or set off balance (enraged).
I have found that to find the ultimate truth you must go to extremes, this is a lesson from higher level math. Any mathematician worth his salt will tell you that all the interesting stuff happens at the boundaries! Face with a question, take it to the extreme and see if it makes sense. I could give an example but that would open a can of worms :). So the next time you are faced with a question or better yet reexamine your current beliefs and see if you are truthful with yourself go to the extremes. (It is killing me not to give an example because I love a good debate, but I really don’t have the energy this week)
So, Truth, Math, Boundaries, Extremes…what does this have to do with the Martial Arts? …Everything! As a Martial Artists we stand for justice (or you should). Justice cannot exist without truth. Truth cannot exist without purity of heart (no rationalizations). Purity of heart cannot exist without critical thinking and the understanding that there is only one truth regardless of how it makes us feel. Our choice or free will allows us to assign shades of the truth (grey areas) but we must be honest that they are shades of the truth, not The Truth. Shades of the truth allow us to coexist with many different people but we must be honest enough to admit (if only to ourselves) that these shades are wrong answers with flawed reasoning. Once you adopt these things as truth you have weakened the foundation on which you stand. If you are at least honest about your acceptance of this flawed reasoning you may prevent them from snowballing out of control. To thy own self be true, for without this all is lost.
Aside from seeking and supporting justice, the martial arts are also about personal growth. I don’t think I need to say more about truth and personal growth…do I?! Well I hope this rant was useful to someone, trust me it is a diamond in the rough and I will try to clarify it and edit it but hope you find it at least intriguing in its draft form.

Meditation Point #24

Sensei Posted in A Zen Thing, Quotes,
1

There are two Japanese proverbs that I want to share that help me when I am training or facing some difficult or painful task. The first thing I always find myself repeating is “This too shall pass“. This of course is not a Japanese proverb but is an important introduction (in my way of thinking 😉 ). If you think about this phrase and the simple truth it holds it may help when you least expect it.

The two Japanese proverbs are Beginning is easy – Continuing is hard. and Fall seven times, stand up eight. When we train we must keep these in mind or we will never conquer ourselves and thus never attain anything of worth in this life. I was going to say more but I think that about sums it up. Think about it and keep on training!

Goodbye to my good friend…

Sensei Posted in Profiles,
5
Jack Gineo
Here is the only recording I have of Jack
Recently I read a blog entry in my friend Erica. She wrote about the sudden death of a friend and I was truely touched by her post. I felt for her. Well as fate would have it I got a call this morning informing that my good friend was dead. I was shocked. I had been writing him an email when I got the call so we could get together for lunch and catch up. Guess I waited to long. Life is short. He has reminded me of this as he use to when he was alive. I am sad for my loss of his friendship, real friends are so hard to find. I am sad for his wife. I am sad for the world because he had so much to give.

It is hard to read the signs life gives us but I am beginning to read them. My message has been real clear, enjoy life and live it to the fullest. Let those you love know you love them…now! Life is often very busy and we can’t always get together when we want to. I am glad of one thing, I called him a week ago to see how he was doing and to say hello. I can still hear his voice, he was a kind and supportive person, a person I admired…a role model. I’m writing this for me but hope the reading may help others as well. Pick up the phone and call if you can get together, do it now.

Who is my friend? His name is Jack Gineo, he was a great man. Here is what his obituary said…58, of Coventry, died suddenly, Friday morning, (May 19, 2006) at the St. Lucie Medical Center in Port St. Lucie, FL. Jack was born August 16, 1947 in Hartford, the son of John and Marie Cavallari Gineo and grandson of James and Ruby Cavallari and Giovanni and Sebastiana Gineo. He is predeceased by his beloved father and grandparents. He is survived by his wife of 14 years, Virginia Tewksbury; his mother and sister, Mary and Jane Gineo, both of New Britain; brother, Mark and his wife, Leigh Gineo of Sarasota, FL. He is also survived by his mother-in-law, Alice Tewksbury of Glastonbury; his wife’s children, Roy Merluzzo and his wife Lisa and their children, Nicholas, Brandon, and Isabelle; Jay Merluzzo and his wife Laura and their children, Amalia, Mia, and Celia; Elizabeth Merluzzo Fahey and her husband Kevin and their children, Quinn, Brody, and Joseph; and many loving aunts, uncles, and cousins from both sides of the family. Before retirement, John worked for the University of Connecticut and the Connecticut Community College System as a project manager in Information Technology for 19 years. He recently found his dream job of academic advising of students at the Continuing Studies Center at the University of Connecticut. He served in the U.S Army, 25th Division and 3rd Infantry Division, from 1968-1972 as a sergeant. He is a Veteran of the Vietnam War and received an Army Commendation Medal, two Bronze Stars and three Purple Hearts. He was a lifetime member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. He also was a founding member of the Vietnam Veterans of America CT Chapter and instrumental in the establishment of the Manchester Vietnam Veterans Memorial. He was involved in organizing and managing the Special Olympics at the University of Connecticut during the 1980’s. Jack loved life and enjoyed entertaining and cooking for his many friends and relatives. He was a life-long student with a constant thirst for knowledge. He also enjoyed working with his wife in their many gardens.

My GOD bless him and see him into heaven.