September 16

Morrow’s 40th Semi-Annual Karate & Kung Fu Tournament Oct. 12

Mr. John Morrow is hosting his 40th semi-annual martial arts tournament on Saturday, Oct. 12, in Davenport, Iowa, at St. Ambrose University’s Lee Lohman Arena.

This is a tournament I highly recommend for martial artists in the Peoria/Quad Cities areas due to the level of competition, the fairness of the judges, and the great attitude displayed by everyone. Faith and I attended the spring version of this tournament earlier this year and we did well.

Events include Forms, Sparring, Weapons, and the unique horse-riding stance competition.

Competitors pay $35 for all events. Spectators are $5, and kids 5 and under are free.

Sparring competitors must wear dip-foam gloves and boots, a groin cup, head gear and a mouth guard.

Registration begins at 9, and the tournament begins at 10.

For more information, contact Mr. Morrow directly at 309-764-1929.

August 11

Students Place Well at Douglas Grose Memorial Tournament

Metamora Martial Arts students brought home trophies yesterday after competing in forms.

Mr. Adam Bockler, Faith and Dominic

Mr. Adam Bockler, Faith and Dominic

Faith won first place in her girls brown belt division thanks to her Empi Sho kata.

Dominic performed Tai Kyoku Ni and won third place in his division of yellow and orange belts.

I had registered to compete in the men’s black belt division. However, due to a previous commitment, I was unable to stay for the duration of the tournament to perform.

Regardless, I had fun watching our students compete. I’m very proud of both of them. (Update: read below)

Zoe had wanted to compete, but injured her knee this week. Faith was able to sub in for her at the last minute.

Dominic had never competed before, so this was a big day for him.

As far as the rest of the tournament goes, it was a great gathering of martial artists from all over the state, and even the country. I mentioned in my seminar blog that martial artists had come to Peoria from Texas, Nevada and Pennsylvania, to name a few, to be a part of the one of the longest-running tournaments in Illinois. The judges were fair and I heard very few complaints (you’re always bound to have some).

And for me, it’s fun to attend this tournament to see some superb martial artists and meet new ones along the way.

We’ll be back with a team next year!

Update 8/27/13

More than two weeks have passed since the event, and I have an update on why you should remain loyalty, trustworthy and respectful.

Earlier tonight at tai chi chuan practice, Mr. Aldus announced in front of the class that Ms. Vera Harrison, the tournament promoter, had awarded me with an honorary first place in my division, along with an honorary black belt grand championship in forms.

According to him, Ms. Harrison discussed with several other black belts, including members of the AJKAI, (who are not my instructors, by the way), about how I let her know I needed to be on my away and that I did not ask for a refund. She made the decision to recognize me as a competitor as a result of my previous performances at her events and others in the area, and the commitment I showed to her throughout the weekend otherwise.

I want to publicly thank Ms. Harrison and all of the black belt instructors she consulted for their support of me as a competitor, a martial artist and as a human being. I am better for knowing them.

August 6

August 2013 Newsletter

Program Update

Thanks to all of our martial arts students and families for making our grand re-opening a success. I’m very happy with how our students performed, and I hope they are, too. I have received interest from several potential new students about joining Metamora Martial Arts.

If you are a student or family member, please encourage your friends to give our program a try.

Pictures from the event are available on Facebook.

To help promote the event, I went on WMB31 News This Morning to show some martial arts application for one of my favorite forms, Kanku Sho.

Mr. Bockler Featured in Taekwondo Times Magazine

I was pretty excited about this opportunity. Mr. Steve Aldus, my tai chi chuan/Hsing-i chuan teacher, asked me to be his partner for a photo shoot demonstrating several tai chi chuan applications for Taekwondo Times.

What I didn’t write about in the blog post that I’d like to mention here is the importance of being a good uke.

You’re already familiar with this term – nagashi uke (palm block), chudan uke (middle block), etc. Except uke doesn’t actually mean block in Japanese. It means to receive. The “blocks,” essentially, are receiving the techniques of the other person.

Being a good uke requires trust and going with the flow, among other things. At a demonstration last week, I was an uke for Mr. Aldus, and he choked me, threw me to the ground, and put me in multiple locks and holds. I know when to tap if he applies too hard, and he – like Mr. Hawkey – gets to the brink of going too far without ever going over.

I trust both of my instructors with these moves, and they trust putting them on me.

It’s great because it teaches me so much about practical application of martial arts techniques.

Seminar and Tournament This Weekend in Peoria

Ms. Vera Harrison hosts the annual Douglas Grose Memorial Martial Arts Tournament this Saturday, Aug. 10, at the First English Lutheran Church in Peoria. Fees start at $50 for competitors, and spectator fees are $6. The full tournament packet is available at the link provided.

As usual, Ms. Harrison is also promoting two seminars the day before, Friday, Aug. 9, at the same location. The Friday morning/afternoon seminar will feature Terry Wilson. Friday night, Col. James Gifford, Jr., will teach classic Okinawan bunkai (applications) and jiu-jitsu.

All of these events are open to the public.

As I explain in each of those blog posts, Ms. Harrison has been very supportive of the martial arts in Peoria. I have met her on numerous occasions at tournaments and seminars throughout central Illinois, and I always look forward to talking with her and learning what nuggets I can.

I hope everyone has had a fantastic summer, and that the students are looking forward to starting their next school year later this month.

May 13

Results from Morrow’s 39th Semi-Annual Tournament in Davenport

I always tell my martial arts students that a tournament only represents how you performed that day, at that time, in front of  a set of judges, in a division with a set of people. In other words, you can almost never predict how you’ll be scored by the judges.

After coming up short at the 20th annual North American Grand Nationals last week, two of us placed in four different divisions at Morrow’s 39th semi-annual tournament in Davenport at St. Ambrose University.

Faith Robertson and Mr. Bockler

I’m very proud of Faith Robertson’s 3rd-place victory in her division with green and blue belts. I judged her division last week, but got to watch her as a spectator. I could tell she’s been fine-turning her performance, and I’m looking forward to seeing how she does in the future. She received what I always consider to be the best compliment you can get at a martial arts tournament: a judge from her division came up to her at the end of the day, gave her some tips about how to improve, and told her she thought Faith should have won first place.

I placed first in three black belt divisions – forms, sparring and…horse-riding stance.

That’s right – horse-riding stance. Mr. Morrow is the only person I know to have a horse-riding stance competition at his tournament. The goal is simple. Sink into a horse stance so that your legs are parallel to the ground and can balance a bo. When your legs give out, the bo falls. The last person to remain in the stance wins. After what was probably about 2 minutes, I managed to outlast five others.

My forms division was tough.

One competitor was in his first black belt division after being promoted earlier this spring. I know it’s recent because I worked with him at a seminar in February and he was still a brown belt.

Another pair of competitors were a husband-and-wife combo, who I first noticed at this event last year for their internal martial arts. While I’ve been trained for most of my martial arts career in the hard style of karate, seeing a Chinese style such as tai chi chuan in this type of environment is great.

The other competitor was a karate stylist who, I discovered after talking to later, seemed to be a Japanese or Okinawan stylist. We talked for a bit, and I could tell he respected Shuri-ryu.


My sparring division was even tougher. I don’t often spar in tournaments since my emphasis is typically on kata. But, after five years of coming to this tournament, I thought it was finally time I strap on the gear.

One competitor drew blood in the first match, cutting his opponent right under the eye. These accidents happen. He lost the match, and I assume left the building. He didn’t even stick around to watch the rest of the matches. I can only suspect why he left, so I can’t say with certainty what happened. If he left because he was upset about not winning the match, I hope that in the future, he represents himself and his school in a better manner.

I defeated two competitors, including the fresh black belt I mentioned earlier, as well as the brown belt who received the cut. (Due to lack of competitors in his division, or his age – I’m not exactly sure – this individual was placed with the black belts.)

Fasting to End Hunger

Every year in time for his tournament, Mr. Morrow fasts. He does this for a number of reasons: to show discipline, to demonstrate the benefits of a healthy lifestyle, and to show that the martial arts can help you persevere. But mostly, Mr. Morrow was doing this as a means to eradicate world hunger. He says of the 7 billion people in this world, so many are obese and so many go hungry. “Let’s balance that out,” he told the crowd.

Mr. Morrow, 61, then proceeded to do 130 pushups on the backs of his hands in 60 seconds, unofficially breaking his Guinness World Record of 123. An article that appears to be from 2006 discusses this feat.

Overall, this is a great martial arts tournament to attend. Quick divisions. Fair judges. Great competitors.

What more do you need? 

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