The Study and Teaching of Hakko-ryu at Hakko Seishinkan Dojo - 3

12/31/91-I decided not to go to Natasha's party and tried to call her at work and home but couldn't get a hold of her. Ralph thanked me for telling him about the invite. He then expressed a little concern about Koji because he knew he was going to have dinner with Natasha and had not told him.

1/4/92-Frank and I decided to go to Westwood in celebration of it being Saturday. We had a pretty good time. We watched a movie and walked around for a while. We saw Kathy Lee Crosby at a video arcade. We went back to his house and played some more video games.

1/6/92-Ralph called me at work and told me he received his invitation to Japan for Shihan training. Part of the invitation, which he read to me over the phone, said he was invited to be "jiki deshi" to Soke. He was so excited! Later, when I showed up for training, he showed me the invites. They were already framed.

In class Ralph and Steve pointed out the fact that the set up in Shodan Osae Dori is like the Nidan cut. It was very painful. Cut! Cut!

1/8/92-I went over to Ralph's to pick up my new hakama. I was going to take it to a seamstress to have it taken up. While there I met Adik, a new business associate at Smart Resources. She was going to take over Ralph's idiot work to allow him more time to visit accounts. She took all the files, the xerox machine (which was used mostly, and more importantly, for Hakko-ryu literature), and exchanged the fax machine.

After Adik left, Ralph and I went out to get a belt for the vacuum cleaner. We talked about a lot of stuff including me writing this journal. Of course, the shihan trip came up. He is so excited. Then, the celebration party, scheduled for May 2, 1992, was mentioned. This is going to be the party of a lifetime, I think. I'm in for a keg. Julio came up, too. He actually has the gall to think and say that he is better at Hakko-ryu than Soke. Ralph also brought up his new girlfriend, Michelle.

Michelle is a figure skater that wants to win the gold medal at the Olympics. He says that she is very muscular and that he could become spoiled. He's nuts about her, but not sure where he stands. She's recovering from an injury now, but soon she'll be training again. He told me of a dinner he had with her at the Sushi King. Natasha showed up with some friends, and that made the whole experience uncomfortable.

1/9/92-Frank called off because he was sick. I had Ralph all to myself and it was a long class. We worked on Tekagami because my technique was falling apart at the seams. Ralph said that a master of a martial art would not become very famous by his deeds. In fact, he would avoid a fight wherever possible. And, if forced to defend himself, his techniques would appear to the outside observer to be so relaxed and effortless that it would not be considered a fight at all: no contest. He enjoyed the idea of disguising himself as the Good Samaritan while I unexplainably threw myself on the floor, squirmed, and yelled in pain. Of course, he was torturing me the whole time.

After Shodan we did Nidan. The pain was so intense and the class was so long that I actually became ill. I had to ask Ralph to stop the class. He obliged.

Steve and Sean showed up during class, and while Ralph and I were preparing to bow out we watched them train. Steve was trying to teach Sean Uchi-komi-dori (tachi), and Sean was having a tough time of it. Steve was trying to show him that it was advantageous to off balance the attacker with a push under the arm, using body weight. I saw that Sean had a big problem, in that he was allowing Steve to get on top of him. Ralph started talking about Munami Musashi and the "Art of Advantage" and how important it was to be in a position of advantage.

1/10/92-I had the day off so I volunteered to train with Ralph and Koji. Ralph said it would be fine, and that I could start the class if he was not there.

Koji and I did the kata and some suware henka before Ralph showed up. We then did Tekagami henka for the rest of the class (Koji is testing in a week). Ralph emphasized the cut of the elbow across, and into, the body.

After Koji left, Ralph and I talked. He was sort of dreamy about Michelle and was hoping to see her that night. I asked him about the tension I sensed when Sean was at the house the night before. Ralph explained that he does not think Sean has the right attitude, he doesn't want another Stephan.

He is too casual, cocky, and chummy. Evidently, Sean keeps asking Ralph when the two of them would go out on the mat. Ralph said there's no way he'd survive the class, and that with his attitude he doesn't deserve the chance. He tries to compare himself with Collin, thinking he's cool. It really upsets Ralph. One good note, though. The night before, when Ralph was showing Steve his good samaritan/my falling down, squirming, and yelling routine, Sean was frightened. Even Ralph admitted he was brutal.

Sorry, but that's where I stopped writing about my experiences.