ARTICLE BY ROSEBERRY SHIHAN
THE MEANING OF LOYALTY
By: John Roseberry Shihan, 11/2014
In today’s hectic world, people come and go, move from job to job, go from relationship to relationship, travel from city to city — and we must learn to adapt and adjust to these changes. But as a result of this fast moving world, we may lose sight of what is truly important to maintain our inner self. We may lose our focus and forget what we were taught by our parents, our teachers, and our friends and family. Toguchi Kancho was my teacher and I have remained loyal and committed to his teachings for the past 55+ years. I have not changed any of his teachings. With this article, I share my views on how important loyalty is to maintain our system of Karatedo. You and I, as students of Toguchi Kancho’s legacy, have an obligation and a responsibility to remain dedicated to the continuation of his teachings – to keep his dream alive.
There are many teachers and self-proclaimed masters of Karatedo and many different systems of martial arts. Students who try to read two books at the same time and by that I mean trying different styles of martial arts at the same time, may lead to confusion for the student. Being loyal to Toguchi Kancho’s teachings as well as your dojo teacher – whoever is teaching you at the time at your dojo — is very important!!
Loyalty to your teacher and commitment to their instructions are necessary to continue the legacy. Respect and honor go hand-in-hand with loyalty. There are a few other teachers who are trying to do the same – to keep the dream alive – but many are only doing the movements and saying they are true to Toguchi Kancho’s teachings when they are not. Too much talking and not enough training. In all my years of teaching, I have always emphasized the basic teachings – there are no advanced techniques….just basics. In order to maintain the legacy, we must all take responsibility for being loyal and dedicated to the true teachings and philosophies of the traditional arts as practiced and taught by Toguchi Kancho and the other Masters who came before him.
During my lifetime, I have had Karatedo schools in the United States at five locations including Great Lakes, Illinois at the Naval Training Center; El Toro, California Marine Air Station; MCRD San Diego, California; Lincoln, Nebraska; and Chester, Virginia.
While I have not changed any of Toguchi Kancho’s teachings, I have used supplemental techniques to support the teachings of my teacher. My teacher instructed his students that a teacher must leave something for his students. Some students take whatever they can and do not give back. We must be givers as well as takers. Toguchi Kancho left Huku Suru No Mai Kata. On March 8, 1978, I gave my students the “student’s kata”, later named Gakusei No Kata. The purpose of this kata is to provide elements that are not typically seen in the Goju-Ryu forms and is my contribution to the continuation of Toguchi Kancho’s legacy. When I was stationed in China at a heavy arterial battery facility shooting dummy arterial rockets capable of carrying nuclear warheads, I trained in dojos in China. As a result of that training, I introduced the Golden Crane and White Crane kata into the Shorei-kan curriculum and I created the Sandhills Crane Kata to support the softness in Goju Ryu instead of “GoGo Ryu”.
Recently, I created a website at www.shorei-kansrkkarate.com to honor my teacher and I am a part of the Shorei-Kai Japan–Shorei-Kan Okinawan organization which is Toguchi Kancho’s system. I have not abandoned the Sho-rei-shobu-kan organization. I have devoted my whole life to Karatedo and continue to give seminars and training workshops to give back to my students.
Teachers must also be listeners to their students and seek answers from students who may already know the answers or research the question and share together. When I won the All Okinawan Judo Tournament and as the only non-Asian to ever win that tournament, Toguchi Kancho watched the tournament and then gave me a copy of the newspaper article describing my winning at my next workout with Toguchi Kancho. Other students training at his small dojo were Judo and Karatedo students – all training together. I share this as an example of the dedication of my Teacher to his students as well.
Being a teacher is not easy. I recall a couple of Aikido students tried to intimidate me at my dojo office, but they did not know how close they came to having their throats cut. This is an example of how a teacher must always keep their cool. I imagine Toguchi Kancho had very sad times in his days of teaching but he persevered. Even when the political issues arose in the United States Shorei-Kan system which were not right and I chose not to be a part of it, Toguchi Kancho never turned his back on me. Those political issues were not between myself and Toguchi Kancho. In fact, a Sempai brother and I took private lessons in Japan and when a question came up in the training drills, Toguchi Kancho told us “Roseberry was doing it right way”, which made me feel very good. After the private classes, Toguchi’s wife would cook and give us tea. Toguchi Kancho would play “GO” with me, which is Chinese checkers. I never won, but Toguchi Kancho gave me the game “GO” – of which I still have today. I share these events to let my students know that my loyalty to my teacher continued no matter how difficult the situation might have seemed.
In closing and as a reminder, it is the obligation of the students not to let this system die out – to be loyal to your Karatedo training as taught by me, my teacher Toguchi Kancho and those masters before him. I hope and pray that this system never dies out.
John Roseberry Shihan
GREAT TURNOUT AT THE FIRST EAST COAST TRAINING WORKOUT NOVEMBER 14-15 !!!–There were 27 participants.
SHIHAN ROSEBERRY THANKS ALL THE PARTICIPANTS WHO CAME TO TRAIN AND TEST.
A special thank you to Sensei Swain and Sensei Beck for arranging everything……. Especially for the “food” Sensei Swain’s daughter prepared which was much appreciated — those were “big chicken drumsticks”….
SHIHAN ROSEBERY discussed his training in Okinawa and told us to REMEMBER TO CONTINUE TO TRAIN the “JU” side in your Goju-Ryu practice.
“I look forward to our spring training!” — Shihan Roseberry
MARK YOUR CALENDAR FOR OUR 2015 INTERNATIONAL CONVENTION — the first weekend after Father’s Day in June at Berwyn Heights, Maryland!!!!!!!!!!!
PODCAST: 11/1/2014 – John Roseberry, Shihan
John Roseberry-Shihan interviewed with Pedro Bennet of MartialArtsNow.com featuring Shihan’s perspectives about Martial Arts today!
Judo for Jiu-Jitsu Clinic
John Roseberry-Shihan taught a four hour clinic featuring Judo techniques with Jiu-Jitsu practitioners in mind.