Feb 2

What are your favorite moments?

We’re turning nine years old this month, and I thought it would be great if everyone would share with us what their favorite moment was with us over the years.

I’ve had the privilege to be with this program since 2003. While I haven’t seen all the great Metamora Martial Arts moments over the years, there are a couple that stick out.

The Sunnyland dojo

This isn’t a moment, necessarily, but a few moments wrapped into one.

I remember the Undoo Renshu in 2004 where we learned Shudo-so the first time in the grassy area right outside the building. We also had an in-house tournament that day, and I specifically remember Joe Maubach ripping his gi pants during the middle of a performance. Thanks to him, I now wear athletic shorts under my gi just in case.

Also, who could forget Mike Chat’s visit just three months later in October 2004? We got out of school early and Kyle Dorethy literally put the pedal to the metal when he took Ben Alig and I over to the studio for a day of demonstrations and a big workout.

Even though it only lasted a year, the Sunnyland dojo is the reason why we’ve had an involvement at our district’s grade schools over the past several years.

Our first open tournament

My junior and senior year of high school (2006 and 2007), Mr. Hawkey invited higher ranks and Mr. Chianakas to visit his office before school and talk martial arts. Biscuits and gravy or sweet roll in hand, I remember the two instructors often discussed hosting an open tournament. Finally, in 2008, we did it. We had over 12 schools, 100+ competitors and lots of encouraging words pour in afterward.

I think we really fired on all cylinders that day with the help we had from our terrific parents and friends.

The ISAT pep assemblies

I don’t know how well the local grade schools actually did on their ISAT tests. But if they studied and took those tests as loudly as they cheered in Metamora Grade School, I’m sure they did well. We talked to over 1,000 students in three locations and performed some demonstrations and breaking, all to show how determination and working hard could pay off.

Arts Day

I’ve been to so many Arts Days at Central Grade School in Washington that I’ve lost track. One of the first times I went, I remember literally having a mob of grade school students holding out their markers for each of us to sign their t-shirt. It was like the Metamora Martial Arts band showed up and we were like the Beatles. Okay, maybe not as popular as the Beatles, but we were still a hot item at recess.

The big U.S. Open trip

For those of you who don’t know, the U.S. Open is one of the biggest martial arts tournaments in the world. You may have seen some of the events on ESPN. Around 20 of us traveled to Orlando, spending two days at the event and others at Cocoa Beach, Wet n Wild water park and Universal Studios.

What are some moments that stand out for you?

Those are some of the events that, as a program, stick out for me. Obviously I have my personal favorite moments. So please, tell us what stands out most to you after being a part of this program or after becoming out friend! We’d love to hear it!

Adam Bockler

Sensei Adam Bockler is a 2nd-degree black belt in karate and the owner of Metamora Martial Arts. He's been in the martial arts since 2003, and has received instruction in tai chi chuan, Hsing-i chuan, judo, tae kwon do and XMA. Sensei Bockler was inducted into the 2014 USA Martial Arts Hall of Fame as Karate Black Belt of the Year. He is the communications manager for Float Mobile Learning.

  1. Adair Rodriguez 16 Feb 2011 | reply

    One event that has really stood out to me was a fairly recent one: Andy Seidel’s black belt test. It was the first time I had seen somebody go through their black belt test (I’ve seen a few 2nd degree tests, but this was my first time watching a first degree test). Watching him really inspired me to step up my training, especially since I knew that I might be next to test for black belt. As I am currently training for my black belt test I keep in mind what I saw Andy do at his test and it never ceases to pump me up.

  2. Matt Katch 7 Mar 2011 | reply

    In particular, I agree that there were some great times had at the Sunnyland dojo. I remember assisting with Judo classes, and giving one Larry Stevens his first karate lesson in our club when he attended a beginners’ class — nothing like correcting someone’s stancing to match shuri-ryu only to find out the reason his stancing is another way is because of several degrees of black belt in Tae Kwon Do and an extended background in tiger claw kung fu; we got on pretty well after that. Practicing outside in the grass alongside the dojo was always great fun as well. Whirling kamas about with the dirt between your toes breathes new life into your martial arts training.

    And there are two public appearances that I’ll always remember because to me they indicated a level of public exposure that I was rather proud of for the martial arts club. One was our performance at the Peoria Pirates game, and another was our appearance on morning daytime television — back in the days of Eddy Ulrich (I don’t know if he’s still around, or even if that’s the correct rendering of his name). That itty bitty studio stage and Adam (Ulbricht) doing what I (old mind can’t remember) think may’ve been a gainer. Of course, Denny’s afterwards with Sensei was always a good time, too.

    • Adam 8 Mar 2011 | reply

      Yeah, I really liked the Pirates game too. I wish I had some better pictures from it, but it was kind of cool with less than a year of experience to go out and at least do something.

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