Thursday, October 02, 2008

Autumn reflections

First, a shout-out to Bob Sapp. I met Bob a couple of weeks ago in SoCal where we were both attending a weeklong training seminar (not martial art related)with Igor Ledochowski. I didn't know who he was, but just looking at him, I figured him for a pro football player, and he introduced himself as a former Minnesota Viking. There were some other martial artists attending this event, and the next day I floored one of them when I mentioned Bob's name. I had no idea Bob was the top K-1/MMA fighter in Japan. Bob's an interesting guy, very smart, very intense, who's into some deep concentrative meditation. Anyway, a belated happy birthday, big guy, and good luck on your journeys!

Since getting back home, things have been keeping me busy, mostly personal and family business. There was a Derobio Escrima seminar in Vallejo, hosted by Tasi Alo for his old friend Chris Siangco and his son Chaz, who came up from San Diego for the first seminar they've ever presented of this art, as they prefer to focus on developing committed students. It was a physically active and challenging event, compressing into a few hours what they consider months, if not years, of developmental training.

Meanwhile, there have been changes happening in martial arts world. Sifu Mark Gerry held a memorial party for grandmaster Sid Campbell, which was quite the all-star gathering, going late into the night. It was inspiring hearing people give testimonials for Sid, who did so much to help so many for so long.

There's a bittersweet post-script, though. Master Luther Secrease was there and I didn't get a chance to say hello. Sometime this past Sunday night or Monday morning he apparently passed away in his sleep at only age 58. Luther was a prominent TKD teacher, a former state champion tournament fighter and an outstanding member of the Bay Area martial arts community who officiated at many a tournament. I mostly knew him through my Kenpo teacher; both earned black belts in the 70's under Byong Yu, whose students had well-deserved reputations as fierce fighters.

These past few weeks I've heard so many people, and not just those connected the through martial arts community, talk of being present in the moment because we don't know what tomorrow brings. Change is in the air, as reflected in our economic turmoil and the upcoming election. It happens all the time, but time is an illusion, a construct of perception (a favorite topic of Bob Sapp) and there are times it seems to move faster. At such moments we become more aware of the impact of compressed events, such as these two losses coming so close together, which have left a huge void in the East Bay martial arts world.

As we move into the fall season I'm using this time to take stock and make some changes, mostly stopping to appreciate the good things happening in my corner of this world, and sharing some joy just being with those who are important to me. I hope you'll all do the same.