Letter from the AAKF

 

 

 

From:                   Robert Graves, President

 

Subject:              Lets Carry The Flame ---- Forever!

 

 

This year has been a peach. After our great leader and Sensei, Nishiyama-San, passed away the AAKF Board of Directors, Officers and AAKF Regional Directors have stepped up to the plate to fill the void left by our founding father.

 

Further complicating matters was the terrible loss of the very heart of our organization, “Miss Aiko”. Aiko Tori gave her whole life to the development of the AAKF without reward or recognition. As many of you know Miss Aiko had Alzheimer’s, and consequently our administrative fitness was compromised.  Our job is to finish any work not done and turn the leadership over to a newly elected board of governors, directors and officers in early 2010.

 

My job in this effort is to ensure that Everyone Has A Seat At the Table!

 

In the past Sensei did it all and we let him. Now it’s our turn to carry the burden and do it correctly. This direction is the result of many meetings and discussions with AAKF Regional Directors and the current AAKF Board of Directors. It is our intention to carry on in a manner that reflects Sensei Nishiyama’s goal for karate students no matter what style, organization, or lineage and provide a common forum to share the spirit of traditional karate.

 

In the past many of us did not know exactly what type of organization the AAKF was, a corporation, yes, but what type? The AAKF is a “Public Corporation”, specifically a “501-C-3” Corporation with a “170-C-2” designation. As such it is public charity corporation and open for anyone to join.

 

The AAKF is a forum for all who were smitten by this great art and where our strength is in our tradition and our diversity.

 

Please help me do this work. Please come together to keep the flame.

 

Once a Karate-ka, Forever a Karate-ka.

 

 

Our new mailing address is:

American Amateur Karate Federation

P.O. Box 4245

Sunland CA, 91041- 4245

 

Your Servant,

Robert Graves

Bobgraves@ milepost 51.com

1830 Grove St.  Eugene, OR  97404

 

 

 

 

 

Letter to the

AAKF

the

ITKF

& it's members

 

Western Region

Seminar

December 2009

Recap http://www.mbkarateandyoga.com/page77

To whom it may concern

This letter is directed to whom it may concern, to my club members, the Western Region, to all AAKF and all ITKF members and to anyone else interested. 

 

What I see what I’d like to see.

.

We are now at the cross roads.

Everything that was done in the past brings us to where we are now.

It’s time to take inventory of we have and move from here.

.

.

The organization - AAKF & ITKF.

 

I see that we are in the process of re organizing.

I have no idea what that process is.

How we were organized in the past now seems to have to be re assessed and re negotiated.

I see some going their own way, I see some staying and I see some just dissolving .

.

.

Taking inventory .

As I look around I see that the number of local clubs have declined over the years.

The best gauge has been the Central Dojo Dan Exam. The last Dan Exam at Central, sadly to say, there were just a few present. Seeing the number of Brown Belts decline over the years has been a clear indicator of membership and club decline. I remember seeing large numbers of Brown Belts showing up for the Dan Prep class, the week/weeks prior to the bi annual exam. As time went on the numbers declined. Declined to the point where the Dan Prep class was eventually eliminated.

.

.

I remember visiting and training at the local clubs, having this great exchange of friendship.

Visiting Steve Ubal in San Diego, Tom Davis in Ventura, Yabe sensei in Gardena, John Habura in PV, Vern Vaden in Tujunga and others in between. Clubs are now far and few in between. We need to close these vast gaps.

.

.

Priority number one.

What I would like to see in this re organization as priority number one, is a plan of major growth and expansion. What’s the use of having a governing body if there are no members. I would also like to see this plan put in place in every country around the world.

.

.

How do we expand?

I recommend that all senior students and even top junior students go out today and start a club.

Over night the number of clubs can grow 10 fold. To the senior members. . . what the use of accumulating knowledge if your not going to share it and pass it on. The time to act is today, right now!

.

.

Yes we must stay together but we need to go out and bring in new members. If not we will slowly dissolve through attrition.

.

.

Steps.

Starting a club is easy! You can start in your garage or living room. You can check with your local schools, churches, women’s clubs or even where you work. If you are more aggressive, the bad economy has opened up opportunities to pick up locations at favorable rates. In many areas you can even negotiate free rent, (I’m trying to keep this short, I can expand on all these points.) but now is a fantastic time to plant seeds for the future and aggressively move forward for what will be a very bright future.

.

.

A model is already in place.

There is major growth, expansion, excitement and accelerated momentum in Poland. We must act as if these things are happening in our area as well. We must use their momentum as our motivation. If it can happen in Poland it can happen here, in South Africa, in Spain in Argentina, everywhere. But it won’t happen by it’s self.

.

.

Technical support and guidance.

As part of expanding the number of clubs, simultaneously we must develop a strong Teachers Training Program on how to develop the student. We must crank out qualified instructors. We must have a consistent “Standard”. If we don’t act now, some will go their own way, some will stay and I sense that the trend is one of decline.

.

.

Prior and or in conjunction to this we must have and develop a teachers training program on how to develop instructors to a higher level.

.

.

Sensei was the ideal leader. We followed his way, he had the best vision.

I see the need to have a governing organizing body that benefit’s the needs of all.

Our (US) form of government has three branches of government to keep checks and balances.

To ensure that an even playing field is in place, not just for the majority not just for the minority but for what is right and what should be. I would like to see something similar in our organization.

.

.

Communication.

I would like to see our governing body keep us up to date with local, regional, national and international happenings. With today’s technology there is no reason not to be 100% informed with all that is “going on “ and “in the works“. Our lines of communication and information must be state of the art, if not cutting edge.

.

.

We must develop localism globally.

.

We must be one unified body.

.

I welcome your thoughts.

 

LETTER TO AAKF & ITKF

~ OUR PLANS ~

writen August 1st, 2008

Published 11-26-09 

 

Western Region

Seminar

December 2009

Re cap

 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

We have not skipped a beat! We will soon introduce our newest, our third generation of advanced students. Our plan will continue as it always has. We will continue to offer the highest quality Traditional Karate as taught by Master Nishiyama. We will continue his work and take it to the next level. We are expanding on all aspects of his “system”. Our dojo is the “Lab” for this continued work. We’ll teach to those who want to compete or not. We will teach to all those who are eager to learn. We are aware of the different needs of all. We will prepare for Regional, National and International competition. We will train all aspects including Kata, Kumite including Ko go, Team events, En bu & Fuku go. Weather we have a venue to participate in or not, we will still continue in this fashion. Even if we hold our own little mock International Event, with the only reward is . . . know you demonstrated the highest level of kurai. But we will be fully prepared!

.

.

The Weather in Manhattan Beach on Thanksgiving Day 2009

We are aggressively looking to add locations, we are looking to make Manhattan Beach (the South Bay area) a destination for Traditional Karate as it is for Brazilian Jiu jitsu. We added a second location last December. It took it’s toll on our stability, but now (after 9 months) this new location now stands on it's own (keep in mind this is in the worst economy in almost 60 years).

.

.

We will aggressively encourage others to start a club. We have a couple who will probably have their own clubs at the New Year. As our teen students go off to college we are encouraging them to start a University club that they will hand down, it will be perpetual, awaiting new arrivals every Fall. As they graduate and relocate, to start a new club again.

.

.

We have just launched a 2 year teachers training program. Covering all aspects of instruction. My almost 40 years of experience. A couple of years ago I estimated over 15,000 class hours taught. This program is open to everyone. It may be taken in parts.

.

.

I don’t feel we are lacking technical direction as I have trained with sensei for almost 30 years. We were the testing ground for his final work. There were many secrets to be learned (if you were paying attention, I feel most don‘t even know they were secrets). I’m not saying I have nothing more to learn, this is not the case by any means. Even today I’m still learning from him. I’m getting lessons from him everyday. I got into his rhythm a long time ago and it was just so obvious what we were in store for next. In fact I would often predict to my students (if they were paying attention) was on tap. I would anticipate it and prepare for it.

.

.

We are friends to all and open to all. We welcome you anytime and hope you will invite us. We know the choices you make are as you see best. We wish everyone the best of success!

~~~~~~~~~~~~

We welcome your thoughts

~~~~~~~~~~~~

POST SCRIPT - Sensei’s logic was not like simple addition. Life and people are not that simple. If so.... we would not have problems. How many illogical things are we guilty of. We are not dealing with hundreds of thousands of people, world politics and diversely different cultures and religions. Rather his logic had to be like complex higher math, where most people just don’t see it (in fact most people just scratch their heads). Where most will never see it. All he did, all he said, all his steps….. it was all one well orchestrated masterpiece. The oddities of some of his actions were/are a joy to experience. I watched him close, I studied him close. I watched all his moves. In fact he yelled at me once in class for looking too much! What an honor to have been in the presence of this Master! I sit here and smile  { : ^ ) 

 

Kata grid lines

Morning Class   

Wow!

 
I didn't expect such a quick response!
See . . . . . ask and ye shall receive!
 

 

~  Western Region 2010    ~

 

 
After a 1 year period of mourning had passed, the Western Region has now gone into action. After concentrating all efforts in the past in obtaining as much knowledge from sensei as possible (Robert Stevens made a beautiful comment about this.). Specially the past 7 years sensei pulled out all the stops in cramming it all down those that were around to listen. 
 
In the past the Western Region was guided by sensei (who could possibly do a better job).
Now following his framework in place. The planning for 2010 has gone into action.
 
The first stage in planning for 2010 was put into action. On December 6th, 2009 a Friendship Karate Seminar was held. The seminar was held 3 minutes from the Los Angeles International Airport. In a brand new facility, beach side with a ocean view. Representatives from as far north as Fresno, as far west as Riverside and as far south as San Diego were in attendance. Remember this is a town where it can take 40 minutes to go 10 miles a worse than average economy and high gas prices.
 
The seminar was co instructed by none other than Avi Rokah & Toru Shimoji. Avi gave us a flier re capping all his instruction. This was a great way to forever keep his instruction. It was great to be on the floor with the team.
 
The seminar was followed by a delicious lunch put together by Susan Vance and Janice Tori.
Great sandwiches, home made sushi, delicious over stuffed chicken pot stickers (my favorite) and home made candy.
 
After lunch we had an informal meeting to set the stage for the planning of 2010. Our Regional director was on conference call due to being out of state on personal business.
Concerns were expressed and addressed. The free forum brought to light the focus for the new year.
 
The seminar was concluded with a group photo. We were all given a t-shirt. Seminar, lunch & a t shirt. All this for $20.00
WOW!
 
Well as suggested. . . for anyone to present a scenario for the new year, here is mine. 
 
For this new year I would like to see San Diego step up to the plate. I would like to see it out of LA. I would like to see Falah Kanani - 6th Dan (no one else is higher in our region) & Peer Halprin co direct our region. Regional Tournament site, seminars, pet projects, etc. I would like the logistical committee (Ron Vance & company) to stay in place as they did such a great job in co ordinating today's event. I would like to see a communication/ web committee showcase what we have to offer and keep us all informed, on all levels. I also feel we we should address isolated clubs or individuals that may feel neglected. There is no need to get too complicated.
 
Vintage Central Dojo - Winter Training
Notice Falah, Peer & John
 

Revised 12-11-09

Also my suggestion for 2011 Western Regional Director would be John Legget from Sacramento. He is an instructor, he has come down to Central on a regular basis to train with sensei, he participates at Summer Camp & has competeed at Regionals & Nationals. We are all limited in what can do but he has well rounded AAKF participation.

For 2012, let's see what happens in 2010 & 2011. Perhaps Riverside, High Dessert?

The reason I didn't mention Rokah sensei is because I beveive he is needed to work on a a grander scale, at the International level.

Lets' get some fresh air, new blood in the AAKF Board of Governers. The future is bright!

 

 
Oh! I feel we need to contact all clubs listed in our region map. If they have zero involvement (not limited involvement but zero involvement) with the region then they should be, must be removed from the list. But the door must be wide open for future involvement.
 
With the succes of this meeting it appears like we'll need a larger facility for the the follow up meeting.
 
There were many hands, moral support by those that could not attend and great effort put forth. A fantastic future lies ahead! If you missed today's meeting then you MUST be a part of the next one to accelerate the momentum put in place. With the possitive enrgy put forth we have one student stepping forward and starting his own club.
 

revised 12/14/09

Our Position

We are friends to all. We are friends to all that teach Martial Arts in a positive manner.

We wish you well & support your efforts.

We have like minds.

If you want to be in a different organization we wish you well. If you don’t want to be in any organization at all we wish you well. If you want to bounce around to see what fits best we wish you well. If you want to start your own organization, give it it’s own name, call it what you want, you can do what you want, you can do as you please. This is a free country as is a large portion of the world. You are respected because you are putting YOUR NAME on it. We wish you success.

Our position is that we can not support those in sensei’s organization that do not follow the framework that sensei had worked all his life to put into place. It’s like changing his final Karate system. We cannot support anyone who wants to continue his work by taking it apart.

Sensei covered this subject in class several times .

 

 
We welcome your thoughts!
 
 
Photo by Doug Winchell - High Desset Karate Club
  
Wow it's 3:19am I'm tired! Hey anybody want to do a class now?
We're 24/7 really!
 
 
Toru Shimoji sensei receiving first place trophy in Kata by Nishiyama sensei.
Nisei Tournament - Little Tokyo - Buddhist Temple - circa 1982
Notice how dark sensei's hair is.
Photo by Nick Salcedo  

 

 

Western Regional New Year Meeting 2010

 

 

As far as I see it as far as I know. Please correct me if I'm wrong!

 

Come December 31st, 2009, Everyone's AAKF club membership and individual membership expires. Some certification is one year or two years (coaches, examiner, instructors, judging etc...), at the end of their term... expire. Some of these have to be renewed after participating the full week and taking the exam at Summer Camp and paying up the fees. Our Western Regional director’s term and committees expire on December 31st, 2009 midnight.

The Western Regional meeting is coming up. As was the AAKF Board of Governors meeting held in Minnesota at Nationals, this too is to be a closed door meeting. To be attended only by 1 representative from each registered club.

The meeting is to made up of one representative from a Registered club. A club with a certain number of registered members may have one vote, those clubs under that number (I think the number is 22 or so) of registered memebrs may be at the meeting, but have a zero vote. No others can be in the meeting or have a say.

Any appointments, decisions, plans, bla bla bla. . . . made under any other circumstances, are illegal, null and void!

 

So if you want to be in the meeting...then you have to register your club and your students, about $400.

If you want to be in the meeting and exercise your one vote, then you have to register your club and and minimum 22, plus students, about $800.

 

Sensei was such a genius in having established a wonderful framework TO BE FOLLOWED! Anything other than what is established, is circumventing his wishes, ideals & planning. I hope everyone will follow this/ his structure. If the structure needs to be changed then it should be done under his frame work to do so.

If this is not correct or if this will not be the case come January19th. . . . . then please let us know now.

I'm just wanting for there to an even playing field for all. Our Region is vast, I would like for all to have a chance to patricipate in all levels of our organization.

If I'm expected to play then I want to know what the rules are and that they will be followed.

revised 12/14/09

Our Position

We are friends to all. We are friends to all that teach Martial Arts in a positive manner.

We wish you well & support your efforts.

We have like minds.

If you want to be in a different organization we wish you well. If you don’t want to be in any organization at all we wish you well. If you want to bounce around to see what fits best we wish you well. If you want to start your own organization, give it it’s own name, call it what you want, you can do what you want, you can do as you please. This is a free country as is a large portion of the world. You are respected because you are putting YOUR NAME on it. We wish you success.

Our position is that we can not support those in sensei’s organization that do not follow the framework that sensei had worked all his life to put into place. It’s like changing his final Karate system. We cannot support anyone who wants to continue his work by taking it apart.

Sensei covered this subject in class, several times.

 

I thank you and welcome your thoughts.

added December 10

Suggestion for Winter Training 2010

Karate teaches us to adapt and to adjust.

Back in the 60's Orange County, the Inland Empire & Santa Clarita didn't exist.

LA was a small area. Now it is vast and we are paralyzed by traffic and making a living.

In a effort to reach out to more, to have and create greater participation for 2010 and into the future……

I suggest that instead of trying to attract all to one venue and actually only being able to attract a few, (remember having 15 during the week was a big turn out, even while having the class taught by our great sensei.)

I suggest that we pose a challenge to all clubs who want to be part of the Western Region or to join in 2010, to hold their own Winter Training Monday thru Friday. Then instead of them holding their own Saturday final class, we all converge to a central location on a Sunday.

While waiting to see if we were going to have a Winter Training in 09, after no word, we started our own. We had 3 students, I’m sure we’ll have more this year (we‘ll be thrilled if we have 6, then the year after that 12). This is how things start. So let’s have greater participation by having more venues. Then we all converge on one day with our bigger numbers.

If we hold the final day on a Sunday, we will have greater participation.

If we have it on a Sunday then instructors don’t have to cancel Saturday classes. Saturday is usually a big teaching day. If we have it on a Sunday our friend that can’t make it due to religious reason will attend. Again potential greater participation. Also less guilty feelings for not being able to come to LA.

As an example if we can have 10 local clubs attract 10 students then we will be stimulating and motivating 100. Then we should be able to attract even more for the Sunday finale. The time should be later in the day to allow the outlying areas to attend. Again greater participation. We could give give a car away to the instructor that brings the most students  :  )

In the about 17 Winter Trainings that I’ve attended probably the record for a Saturday was maybe 25. If we spread out to encourage greater participation and encourage even a bigger Sunday. It is very possible to have the biggest number ever at the up coming 2010 Winter Training. If we really PUSH..... we could have 150. Official Certificates could be handed out to those who trained the whole week.

I also suggest the class should be just old fashioned hard training (but correctly). We can leave the technical detail for another day. Big numbers and loud kiais.

We could also script the class so we can all be in sync during the week and for the final class.

Again! through planning and hard work we can be the cutting edge! Success through adapting to world changes.

 

Vintage Central Dojo - Winter Training 1994

Please submit any interesting photos you would like to share.

Wow talk about a flash of memories from the past!

Vintage Central Dojo

Samurai Magazine 1974

James Fields - Santa Monica, Enzo Ortega  - Chicago / Western Springs (My sensei before I went to sensei - if you are ever in Chicago you must look him up) & _______ Canada

This Magazine was produced by sensei. It lasted for for a few issues.

Vintage IAKF