|Friday, July 12th, 2013|
|Struggles death and loss
Havn't been posting here much. The year started with a bang and then rapidly got out of control cascading into chaos. Which cost me to lose sight of a paying contract...... and touch of a paying client. Which really sucks.
Some good things have happened this year though. Presentation at the Arts Magnet Academy High School for their English Department turned into paid work as a fight choreographer for their theatre department.
Devil's Of War the film I worked on last year got released in Europe on DVD. Wednesday night I attended the local premiere screening on the big screen - should be available on DVD in the USA pretty quickly.
Invite to run a martial arts symposium at Portland GearCon took off like a shot and was very successful. Still some funds to be reimbursed for that effort... need to get ahold of Steve. But it was very successful. One of the classes we held was a women's only self defense class. Our best attended class of the weekend from which I have heard nothing but good from people. Sounds like we will be back next year.
The big thing though is reeling from deaths this year. One of my Idols martial arts legend Joe Lewis died earlier this year. The end of last month the captain of the Tall Ship Royaliste the ship we have been helping restore, passed away in his chair while reading. Weekend before GearCon we drove across the state to his memorial service. He was an amazing guy who's influence on the community I am only starting to fathom. I knew of Jim Rich when I lived in Southern Oregon.... but I didn't actually know him then.
Monday after GearCon I got news of a more personal sort. One of my friends and teachers Robert Owens Greygrass died in a Car Accident after sliding off the road and crashing into a tree. It brings up a lot of emotions for me, my older brother died in a car accident very suddenly. I had thought I was largely come to terms with that. But Robert was very important in my life and losing him in a similar manner has brought up a lot of stuff.
I knew of Robert Owens before i met him. Best known for being part of the Southern Oregon native american community. I would see him walking around town with his distinctive limb and long hair. Or with a gathering of Native American outreach on the plaza... usually surrounded by the younger members of the community. But it was his role in Black Elk Speaks at the theatre and the press it got that really grabbed my attention.
I wasn't to meet and talk to him until he wandered into the dojo one day. Here was a man with a hip problem and a leg that appeared shorter than the other walking with a distinctive limp that looked like maybe he was in pain when he moved (never did ask if that was the case). He changed and then began stretching showing remarkable flexibility that I have never acheived in my life. And he gave off a calm and warm energy and an open awareness of his surroundings. I was intrigued by him.
Didn't really get to talk to him until after class the following week. Hanshei Piddington made it known that Sensei Owens was looking for a sparring partner. I was willing and the only one not leaving the building right away. We bowed and he started attacking. The blows came rapidly and I retreated in small offline circular steps blocking with double high-low forearm blocks. We went in a tight circle about one and a half times.... not a blow landed on me and I blocked them all. Robert stopped and took a step back and appraised me. I forget what was said exactly.... but the remark was that I hadn't thrown any shots of my own. I pointed out that he hadn't given me the opportunity I was too busy blocking everything he threw at me giving me no time to throw my own shots. We went back to it for awhile.
My relationship with Sensei Owens changed a lot after that. Some deep respect from me as he got more involved with the dojo. The dojo started getting invited to provide volunteer security at events the Native American Cultural Center was putting on. I participated in a couple of those. I started becoming aware of his public outreach from the native community to everyone else and the work he was doing with native youth and teaching old traditions. And I think he started to become aware of the charity work that i was doing. And we were both working with the local theatres.
I remember being in the dressing room with him changing.. he was always lean and ripped muscle.... and noticing the scars on his chest. I knew Sensei Robert was Lakotah so I asked him if they were from sundance. He seemed a little surprised I knew what that was.... but it started a conversation and deepened our friendship. He confirmed that the several scars were each from a sundance and that he hoped to do another. I started attending local events the cultural center would put out to the public. I would see Native youths and young adults passing flyers around in the community or announcements in the paper. This or that elder teacher or storyteller visiting town. I would show up with a little tobacco as a gift and fade into the background feeling a little out of place as the only white guy in the place. One event in particular stuck out... A visiting elder in town that I had picked up a flyer about and would be out at Ashland Springs. Robert wasn't there and I didn't know anyone..... at the time I was working on carving a soapstone ceremonial pipe. I faded into the background feeling a little out of place and stayed aware of goings on while keeping busy with the soapstone and my pocket knife. Finally someone came by and offered to give me some tips on my carving with a nod of approval at the progress I had made. He asked me which tribe I belonged too... I replied "I am not sure one of the twelve" I got a puzzled look from him. I think maybe he had seen me around enough he just assumed this young Jewish kid must be at least partially native.
And I remember the outdoor music festival at Emigrant Lake that Sensei Owens was instrumental in organizing. An interesting thing with both native performers and mainstream performers. I went with Mary Anne - bought her her ceramic drum at that festival.... which I don't think she plays anymore. Talked to Robert and walked around with him. He told me the purpose was to try and bring the native community together with the rest of the local community... Robert was always bridge building. And I remember he made a point of taking me across the site and introducing me to John Trudell and telling me about John's acitivism. Trudell's story is an interesting one - but not the purpose of this writing. But Robert was always pushing people towards awareness and getting involved. I loved him for that.
Robert delivered my first broken bone to me. Advanced class in the dojo and we were all sparring and rotating partners as we often did. We had been at it for awhile when I got partnered with Sensei Owens. Robert had a way of bringing out a deep focus in me. We squared off and after awhile I used a front foot sweep against his lead leg... his bad leg. He went spinning across the room offbalance. (It only occured to me later that there didn't seem to be anyone in the way.) He came back and I somehow knew he would try and sweep my lead leg in return. I weighted back on my back leg as we looked each other over for openings. Sure enough the leg came through... just barely I escaped the timing lifting my front leg up and bringing it back down lightly on the outside of his knee with just a tap so he knew it was there. The focus got deeper. We sized each other up and entered cautiously... the angle seemed right and I threw a reverse punch, Sensei Owens counter punched whith his own reverse punch. Slightly better timing and angle than mine and I felt a sharp stab in my right upper chest. I tried to straighten up to continue and felt a spasm as I took an indrawn breath.... we called it quits and looked around the room. Everyone else had stopped everything and had been just watching us spar. I have no idea how long that had been going on..... but it occurs to me later that no one had been in the way on the floor when I foot swept him and he careened halfway across the floor.
On the occasion of testing for my brown belt I remember something distinctly. Sifu Tom Spellman and I had been preparing for him to start his JuiJitsu classes. We would spend hours watching imported film footage or he would recomend imported Judo films for me to watch. At the end of the day we were given solo time with each of the black belts. Joe Harrington and I were testing and were alone with him in the dojo. It was heartfelt talking from the heart and spontaneous sparring to see how we held up under pressure. I remember we finished a few rounds with him.... and were talking..... suddenly Sensie Owens rushed me from close range both hands out towards my shoulders like he was going to run me over. I braced against him and gave ground one, two steps..... then brought my right foot up to his center and lifted him over my head in a sacrifice throw...... i don't know where it came from, it was spontaneous, but I had been watching footage of such throws a couple days before and had never actually done one. Sensei went flying across the room to land on his back. We both lay on our backs for a moment in shock, I got up first and he was still laying there and I asked him if he was OK. He was fine and got up and we decided we should move farther away from the glass doors at teh front of the dojo.
I had never seen him on a stage before. I went with Hanshei Piddington to seem him perform the lead role of the "Elephant Man". It may be one of the most profound moments I have ever had as an audience member in a theatre. Here was Robert a man with a hip and leg problem that I knew well.... onstage with no makeup just his one powerful spirit and focus embodying the horribly disfigured and emotionally torn Elephant Man.... and then the dream sequences would come and Robert would portray this same man in his head as a man free from his burden.... physically transforming himself and bounding around the theatre with no limp and no burdens effortlessly. It was amazing to me. He won awards for that show and it earned him work with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.
I would see Robert at local PowWows over the years. The cultural center eventually closed, the dojo's split. I lost touch with him largely. Recently he was touring in Washington and stopped in Portland.... staying and visiting with family I believe. We arranged to meet for morning tea over on Alberta Street. I got there early to read the paper and have something to eat. I sensed Roberts energy..... warm, comforting, confident, connected before I saw him. I looked up and gave him a warm smile and got up to greet him and he gave me a big hug. We talked quite a bit, about his shows, about activism.. his and mine, about the native american community and the reservations. Caught up on life. We were plotting to bring him to Portland to do "Walking on Turtle Island" as a charity show. I am sad this will never happen.......
Sensei Robert Owens Greygrass...... you are loved and will be missed. Your absence will leave a void in the world.... your influence has been felt across continents. Safe journeys my friend.... it has been an honor to know you. Tonight I get out the hoop drum, the feathers, the sage and the tobacco in your honor.
|Friday, December 28th, 2012|
I think the hardest thing about being alone for the holidays is knowing someone else is living my family life with my boy and his mother.
|Saturday, November 3rd, 2012|
|Martial Arts week....
So a lot of things happened in the last week....
Went down to Medford for Academia Duellatoria to teach a weekend workshop on the rapier with Matthew. People that RSVP'd to it didn't show up except for our students from John's branch of the school down there. Which was a little dissapointing, though it did let us cover better ground with our existing students.
Brian is back. He's one of my original students down there and now teaching Saviolo's system to the guys down there in addition to their study of Thibault. Grooming Brian to continue and become one of our certified instructors. I have high hopes.
Monday night went to Academia Duellatoria class in Phoenix. My old Room mate Ken showed up and I gave him a ride back to Ashland after class. Then stopped at Black Sheep for dinner and beer. Got into a long conversation with a general contractor from Northern California while there. Then headed out to the car and heard mic'd voices coming from the open doors to Alex's balcony so headed up the stairs to see who it was. Fellow black belt Lynn Harris was there listening to my old friend Tom Stamper playing drums with his band. Caught the last two numbers from the band and helped pack out the drum kit. Then gave Lynn a ride across town where we had a long conversation about karate and the martial arts business over a beer at the Wild Goose.
After the weekend I spent time with Hanshei Jerry Piddington and my karate family in Ashland. Jerry moved back to the area a while back and opened a new dojo the beginning of 2012. It's good to see such a collection of great people under one roof.
I suited up and worked out with them, and helped teach the beginners classes on Tuesday. It really felt great to be doing karate with them. Went out for a beer with Joe, Lynn and Hanshei Piddington after the evening classes on Tuesday.
Lot's of talks with Jerry Piddington. He is sure he granted me my Nidan.... I assured him while I had the time in... I never took the test. Lot's of assurance in confidence in me and in the end am told to refresh my memory on the material and he will sign off on my Nidan. And, in the meantime to just start teaching and granting rank and he won't worry about my lack of Nidan - it will come soon enough.
So.... lots of planning and thinking to do on how to incorporate a karate program into our space at Academia Duellatoria in in Portland.
|Wednesday, September 19th, 2012|
WOW - I have come to expect it by now. But the fact that someone wants to spend $350,000 plus on construction costs of a 3 story house (not including cost of the property) on a steep slope but is unwilling to pay 6.5 to 8 thousand on getting the design/construction documents done that things will be built from done properly still boggles my mind. Good drawings - in the long run - save you quite a bit of money on construction.
Bear in mind I have to pay for engineering services out of those fees.
|Tuesday, September 11th, 2012|
Suffering from burnout from working working working... and feeling like I am getting nowhere......
Makes it hard to sit down and focus on working.
|Tuesday, June 26th, 2012|
|Saturday, June 2nd, 2012|
|Martial arts and the passing of a generation
Shihan Thomas White, the Grandmaster and founder of San Do Kai Karate Do passed away a couple of days ago. One of my teachers teacher. This is sad news and the passing of a generation. I used to spend hours after hours with Sifu Tom Spellman talking and learning in the dojo. Further hours driving him back and forth from Ashland to Dunsmire when we were working on the Martial Arts Radio show and listening to his stories about Shihan White. Sifu arranged for me to receive a signed copy of "3 Golden Pearls On A String" Shihan White's book. I found it inspiring and still have it.
I am painfully aware of the passing of our elders in the arts in the USA. Many of these men founded their systems in the USA. I watch my own teachers aging and still giving back to the arts. I am watching many of my childhood hero's aging and battling illness. I have been very honored over the years to have instructors who are, or who have ties to, these great people.
I grew up bullied and picked on, I was a sick little kid. I have struggled all my life with my health and my physical abilities havn't come easy. Every inch came with very hard work. It's because of these teachers that I learned to cope with life. I grew up idolizing the men in the old swashbuckler movies and in the martial arts movies. Bruce Lee, Ed Parker, Joe Lewis, Keith Haflick, Joe Corley, Jimmy Horsley, Muhamad Ali, Douglas Fairbanks, Errol Flynn, Tyrone Power, Danny Kay, Basil Rathbone - these and others were my childhood heros.
When I was young I walked into my first school and was welcomed. A couple years later I was very fortunate to meet a young and very dedicated teacher by the name of Joe Gates who set me on a very solid foundation. A decade ago I lost my fencing teacher Michael D'Asaro Sr. - he and his wife Gay were my third, and fourth teachers. I was lucky to be in LA and get a last sabre lesson with Michael. A year later I was shocked to hear he had died from a brain annurism.
I was very fortunate to get out of trade school and meet Hanshei Jerry Piddington from whom I got my Black Belt. He introduced me - albeit from long distance or through stories to many of my hero's. And I owe him alot for bringing Sifu Tom Spellman, Sensei Robert Owens Greygrass,Sensei Gerri Rose and others into my life. Being one of Hanshei Piddingtons Black Belts is something I have considered a great honor, it puts me in a generation alongside my hero's and now my brothers in a system of second generation martial artists.... Keith Haflick died before I could meet him, Jimmy Horsley I was able to be of service to back in my dojo days.
One of my most memorable moments is being handed the great Joe Lewis home office phone number. I think I talked to him for probably half an hour. He was one of my childhood hero's. When AKANA was producing a radio talk show Hanshei Jerry Piddington and Sifu Tom Spellman and I arranged a show with him as the guest. Jerry arranged for him to call early, before us was a show with the great body builder icon Bill Pearl. Bill and Joe looked up to each other but had never met. It was very rewarding for me to know that I had helped in the connection for those two men to talk to each other. Today Joe Lewis is struggling with brain cancer. Man that he is after his first bout with the cancer he was back out teaching seminars, today he is back in the hospital. An inspiration to an entire generation or maybe more of martial artists.
Knowing Hanshei Piddington also put me in touch with one of the arts greatest promoters, the great Joe Corley. Mr. Corley has been a great resource and help over the years when I needed it, and all I ever had to do was call or e-mail, even after I was no longer working directly for Jerry Piddington.
When Matthew and John and I were first starting out in our serious studies of European Martial Arts with the rapier and ran into problems with SCA busybodies getting in our way and trying to run us out I sought out some advice. The result was a letter written to the man in charge at the Kingdom level. I provided a list of my credentials and teachers. I heard nothing for awhile. Then one night I received a phone call. The questions were immediate "How old are you?" I was in my mid 20's. "Did you really do all this stuff?" I replied that I had provided phone numbers and he was free to call those people and ask. Our problems began to go away.... And much of that drama helped to clear the path on our studies of Historic European Martial Arts and put us where we are today.
I consider myself very lucky. It is hard to watch a generation of my hero's and forefathers age and pass on. The tears come as I write this.
Many find it hard to understand, today I am nearly homeless and mostly broke. Yet I continue to try and run a business with my friends passing on our studies.... and it has cost me money rather than made me any. Not all things are about the money........ Current Mood: melancholy
|Sunday, April 8th, 2012|
Overall pretty tired. Been keeping very long hours.
Thought I was getting Friday off. Came into PDX on Thursday to pick up the kiddo from school and the phone rang. Work meeting in the morning with client. Took the kid to lunch and then went to teach class.
It's good to have beginning classes and advanced classes at Academia Duellatoria. Lerned on THursday how out of practice I am with my rapier. Between injuries and the influx of new students bringing us to lots of slow beginner classes I havn't done a lot of free fencing in the last 6 months. Work to do.
Friday morning early drove into Portland to meet with client. Took advantage of the trip to go meet with my Italian translator in the afternoon. We are making headway on that historical fencing text! Went over 15 pages - took 2 hours. Meeting again on Monday to go over another 20 pages. Puts us at 105 pages of 180 total.
Saturday took kiddo to easter egg hunt at the Milwaukie Elks Lodge and then to lunch. Then headed over to work on the school space. Also did a little sewing while there. It's coming along nicely - the space is looking good.
Saturday night worked till 3 in the morning - got drawings off to client. Got to bed at 3:30am
Got up Sunday at 9am and checked e-mail. Revisions from client. Drove to PDX to open the studio for fencing Study group. Set up the office desk - mostly. Need a couple of screws. Went to set up the computer to do drafting work...... power cord leads pulled loose from adapter. Luckily the RadioShack is next door and had just what I needed to fix it. Repair is better than the original..... But then discovered I left my Portable Hard Drive with the drawings on it in Corvallis. So much for my plans of making Swing Dance in PDX in the evening and crashing in the office so I could be in town early Monday....
Back in Corvallis to work on drawings... Up early to drive to PDX to meet with translator and then go teach my afternoon class at Academia Duellatoria......
And exhausted from the long hours.......
|Thursday, April 5th, 2012|
Bleh..... this schedule is killing me. I really need to be local to where I m working every day. But, that requires money I don't have.
|Saturday, March 31st, 2012|
|Academia Duellatoria expands
Well it's scary and exciting all at once. Along with the expansion comes a lot of increased expenses. Plus a decreased ability for me be working elsewhere full time. (not that I have had much luck with that lately anyhow)
Starting the move on Sunday as we take over our building full time. Starting next week Academia Duellatoria is expanding - We are open 4 days a week and adding 5 more classes to the schedule. Plus our research library will be open for use by our members and for a small fee to non-members. We will also be including open floor time.
Now I just need students to fill those Monday and Wednesday afternoon classes. http://duellatoria.com/class-offerings/
|Wednesday, March 14th, 2012|
|Great Grandfather Goldberg
|Julius Goldberg - Lion Tamer
Article in the Eugene Register Gaurd
Great Grandfather Julsius Goldberg - lion tamer with Barnum & Bailey Circus. September 11, 1949 front page of the Eugene Oregon newspaper the year before he died.
I have a radio interview recording where he tells the story of being kicked out of the hotel that is in this article.
|Wednesday, March 7th, 2012|
|Jin Shin Do Acupressure
Been meaning to get "Revised complete guide to Acupressure" for some time. The only class I ever took was back in the 80's through the TAG program at the University of Oregon one summer. Immediately put the skills to use on Mom and then on my sister when she was pregnant with my nephew.
It's been an invaluable skill ever since. Especially for a martial artist. I looked for years for good books on the subject and finally found "Acupressure Way of Health: Jin Shin Do" After probably throwing out half a dozen books that had looked promising - but were not.
In the 90's my roommate who also trained at the karate school was in massage thereapist classes at the school outside of Ashland. He came home one day and "Acupressure Way of Health: Jin Shin Do" was a standard text book.
I worked on the shoulder of one of our students last week. He sent me an e-mail today. "That massage thing you did to my right shoulder really helped that night after we had the long session. I know, because my left shoulder is still sore and the right one isn't even though the right one was hurting much worse that night."
I figured I better get off my butt and order the book I have been eyeballing wich has been expanded to cover sport therapy. "Revised complete guide to Acupressure" sells on Amazon and other places for outrageous prices - given the cover price is $29.00. So... I went to the foundations website. Ordering books and got an unexpected phone conversation with Iona Marsaa Teeguarden Founder of the JinShinDo Foundation and author of the books on the subject from back in the 70's. Awesome! Long conversation with her asking questions about my background, didn't realize who I was talking to for a few minutes..... it turned into story swapping on the phone. I didn't even know she was still around. Worth every penny even without the book coming.......
|Sunday, February 26th, 2012|
|Will be in the News Monday morning
Academia Duellatoria in the news on Monday morning - 6 early morning segments for "Joe On The Go" on Fox 12's "Good Day Oregon" show. If you are up and in front of the TV between 5:45am and 9:00 am do us a favor and record it.
|Friday, February 24th, 2012|
|Academia Duellatoria on the early morning news
Academia Duellatoria Just agreed to do 6 early morning segments for "Joe On The Go" on Fox 12's "Good Day Oregon" show. Monday morning between 5:45am and 9:30am.
Damn I am gonna be tired that day.
|Monday, January 30th, 2012|
Good way to start the last night of a long weekend.
Friday night I went out in Corvallis.... because it was 5 minutes from here. Free Lindy Hop class and a public dance at the University with with a pretty diverse crowd. They got a lot more people than they were expecting. Stopped by the Corvallis Elks on the way home for a beer and got in late.
Got up real early and headed to Eugene to Alan Best's dojo for the Pacific Martial Arts Conference. Matthew and I were the second instructors of the day. Right after Sensei Best. We taught a front lead power punch from early European Pugilism traditions. The body mechanics of it are a bit alien to most eastern martial artists and people tended to struggle with it. We then showed a front lead counter punch to this punch which gets you offline and uses the punching arm to also block the incoming punch. We then taught a takedown from there. Pictures about to be posted to the Academia Duellatoria facebook page.
My leg still isn't healed up after a year. Supporting myself on my right leg while throwing round kicks is dicy. Pose on it doing slow drills while someone else is practicing catching those kicks to execute a throw..... forget it. That tendon in the back of the knee still has a ways to go.
Trying to keep up with the class by the TaeKwonDo instructor almost killed me. I am out of shape for all the high kicking stuff. Had a great 8 hours at the symposium/conference though. It still amazes me a bit that Matthew and I can step into this crowd with what we do and hold our own teaching this stuff. We got good feedback from people. Sore and tired by the end of the day.
Met a new friend for dinner afterwards. Was out late and ended up staying the night in Eugene. Got in Sunday and tackled some work and correspondence, took a short nap and then was up getting ready to go again.
First stopped at the Lovecraft Bar in Portland to meet up with Lupa who was vending. She greeted me with a big hug. Lupa has made me an owl healing totem for a friend in california dealing with her second round of cancer treatment after they discovered more and different areas of lymph node cancer after we though she had beat her first round of treatments last summer. I am going to do a little healing energy work with it myself and mail it off next weekend. Also had some great sushi and a good beer while I was there, and meet a couple of friends in a totally unplanned encounter. America is looking great and has lost so much weight I almost didn't recognize her.
Then it was off to my evening dance lessons. On the way there I got a call from Sienna who is moving to Canada in a few weeks. Left the dance around 10 and went over to her place. We spent the time mostly talking and browsing craigslist rental ads for the Vancouver Canada area. She needs to be up there mid February. Valkrie came home from work and we all talked a bit before I left about 12:30 and headed home.
Tired and sore today. My body hasn't felt like this in a long time.......
I have work waiting for me, but I havn't gotten much done today.
|Friday, January 20th, 2012|
|Happy Feet 2
The boy danced in the aisle during the credits. Then we danced on the sidewalks on the way to the car...... I love my kid.
|Tuesday, January 17th, 2012|
|Portland weather comments.
I'm sorry the snow isn't sticking for you guys, snow that doesn't stick is like a stripper who doesn't take her bottoms off.
Like · · 50 minutes ago ·
9 people like this.
Lindsay Hall Watkins! I actually was going to post this as a response to your status update but thought you might be offended by it. Lol
43 minutes ago · Like
Garrett Kemnow I got bottomless strippers here!
38 minutes ago · Like · 1
Lindsay Hall Meaning strippers who take their pants off or copious amounts of strippers ;p
36 minutes ago · Like · 2
Garrett Kemnow They are piling up!
32 minutes ago · Like
Patrick Hendricks you are not supposed to murder them, you know?
10 minutes ago · Like
Garrett Kemnow Snowed in,was getting hungry.
7 minutes ago · Like · 1
Patrick Hendricks fair enough. It was one of those situations like the movie "Alive".
|Sunday, January 15th, 2012|
|work...... and snow
Worked like crazy the last 3 days, last minute calls. Missed e-mail for a film shoot while distracted by the work. Couldn't get ahold of people at the last minute. Decided not to go anywhere without confimation in the snow for non paying work - hour drive. Today home doing pick up work on those jobs and doing some sewing.
Just stopped snowing in Corvallis about 1:00pm
|Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012|
|January trip cancelled
Trip down as transporter of merchandise to the bay area has been canceled. Laura says, "Well, I have been in contact with the lady running the event and for various reasons (mostly involving just weirdness and shit) I am pulling out of the event." Seems to be fairly common for steampunk events.