April 2

April 2012 Newsletter – Seminar, Tournaments, PE Waiver Update, and More

I hope you’re enjoying your spring break. It’s always nice to have some time off because it makes me look forward to training even more.

While you’re off, though, please take a few minutes to read through the April newsletter.

Seminar: Steve & Kim Aldus Come April 28

The month is finally here! Mr. and Mrs. Aldus will perform an exclusive workshop for us on Saturday, April 28, from 1:30-3 at MTHS. The event is only open to high school students, adults, and selected grade school students.

In case you’ve missed the announcement, I have been practicing tai chi chuan and hsing-i chuan with the Alduses since 2010. I’m very excited for all of you to meet them, but more importantly, that we all get to learn from them. I think the connection is special – they practice arts that predated and ultimately led to the formation of Shuri-ryu karate.

One, Two, Three New Yellow Belts!

Congratulations to Samantha Barth, Andrew Nauman and William Bracero who earned their yellow belts on March 22! The rest of the students who were part of the stripe test earned an additional stripe. It was great to see so much energy, but there’s still lots of work to do to refine those techniques before earning the next full belt.

Competition Update: Adair Rodriguez Takes 3rd, Adam Bockler Takes 1st

Tournament season is underway! Joshu Adair placed 3rd at the Supreme Way Challenge in Pekin on March 10. This was Joshu Adair’s first competition as a black belt, an impressive feat in a group of five black belts who are some of the toughest forms competitors I’ve seen in this area.

I grabbed 1st place at Auvenshine’s Taekwondo 13th Annual Open Tournament in Springfield on March 17 in a division of 2nd-degree black belts ages 16 and up. This was a big goal for me to accomplish, as I’ve come up short the last three times I competed there. I did not, however, take the grand championship.

Coming Up: Moline on April 14 and Bloomington on May 19

We have two more opportunities for you to compete. Mr. Morrow hosts his Karate & Kung Fu Championships on April 14 in Moline, and Mr. Walker hosts Tournament of Champions IX in Bloomington on May 19. If you’re interested, please let Adam know as soon as possible to help guide you through registering and to help get you ready.

PE Waiver Update

Please make sure your high school student is attending class. If not, the student can only miss class for other school-related activities. If a student receiving a PE waiver is not attending class, I will make requests to Guidance for that student to be removed from the waiver. This does not mean I don’t want the student in our martial arts program. I want to make sure, however, that we are doing right by the school standards.

Additionally, I have requested that Metamora Martial Arts students not be given a PE waiver next year. I know how popular this aspect of the program has been for students over the years (myself included), but I’ve explained in detail why the PE waiver will no longer be offered on our blog: http://metamoramartialarts.com/blog/news/pe-waiver-update-and-a-stripe-test-change.

June Schedule Coming Soon

Many students and parents have asked about our summer schedule. Because many of our instructors are in college and have jobs, we are only planning one month at a time at this point. Currently, we are planning on having classes Thursday nights. From 6-7 we’ll have grade school students, and from 7-8 or 8:30 we’ll have high school students and adults.

On two Wednesday nights, brown belts and above will be invited to Mr. Hawkey’s house for a special two-hour Wednesday class.

Please stay tuned to our website at http://metamoramartialarts.com to get the most up-to-date information about our summer schedule.

Quote of the Month

Bruce Lee headshot“You must be shapeless, formless, like water. When you pour water in a cup, it becomes the cup. When you pour water in a bottle, it becomes the bottle. When you pour water in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Water can flow or it can crash. Become like water my friend.”

I’d never studied much about Bruce Lee. But earlier in March, SpikeTV aired a really cool special called “I Am Bruce Lee” and I became hooked. There’s a lot to be said about his philosophy on the martial arts, bringing people together and finding the commonalities that all arts share, not to mention technique effectiveness.

February 27

Metamora Martial Arts Seminar with Steve and Kim Aldus

I am thrilled to say that Steve and Kim Aldus will be leading a seminar for Metamora Martial Arts students on Saturday, April 28.

Steve and Kim Aldus present a special seminar for Metamora Martial Arts students

To download, right-click and "Save Link As…"

We made this announcement Saturday night at our 10th anniversary celebration. The seminar will take place in Black Partridge Park at 1:30 that afternoon and will cost $15. Participants should pay the day of the event.

Mr. and Mrs. Aldus will be giving us instruction that will benefit our karate training in several ways.

For one, it’s always great to be exposed to different arts. I think karate is great, but my passion really began when I was first exposed to tae kwon do, and now tai chi chuan. For me, these other arts have made my primary art stronger because I’ve been able to take what I’ve learned from them and bring them back into karate. Plus, there are always multiple ways to accomplish a goal.

Secondly, the information Mr. and Mrs. Aldus will show us will have relevance to us. They’ll take moves out of our katas and adapt them for the Chinese martial arts. As you’ll see, the Chinese martial arts and the Okinawan martial arts have many common bonds.

Ahead of announcing this special seminar, I had many conversations with Mr. Hawkey and Mr. Aldus. One thing we wanted to make sure was that students didn’t attend this seminar and forget everything they had learned within a few months since we don’t regularly practice tai chi chuan. By showing extensions of our karate forms, Mr. and Mrs. Aldus will help us strengthen the moves we already know and practice on a regular basis.

Due to some of the techniques we’ll be performing in this seminar, we’ve agreed to limit participants to ages 14 and up. That means high school students and adults are welcome. Grade school students may attend by invitation only.

I have been training with Mr. and Mrs. Aldus since August 2010 and it’s been a great experience. Not only are they incredibly knowledgeable and capable, but they’re both fun to work with. They create a great environment to learn in.

Steve AldusMr. Steve Aldus has more than 40 years of martial arts experience. He is recognized as the only known student in the United States continuing the teachings of Master Li Chi Lan in the arts of old yang style tai chi ch’uan and hsing-i ch’uan. Mr. Aldus possesses an 8th dan in tae kwon do, a 2nd dan in karate (Matsumura Seito Shorin-Ryu Koeppel-Ha), a 2nd dan in ju-jitsu, and has trained in numerous other arts. He’s a multiple-time USA Martial Arts Hall of Fame inductee, he’s won championships for the past four decades, and he’s performed seminars and demonstrations all over the United States. To learn more about Mr. Aldus, read:

Mrs. Kim Aldus is a 6th dan in tae kwon do, a 2nd dan in karate (Matsumura Seito Shorin-Ryu Koeppel-Ha), a 3rd dan in ju jitsu, and has a master-level teaching certificate in both tai chi ch’uan and hsing-i ch’uan.

February 16

Why I Teach by Master Steven Aldus

If you are new to martial arts in Peoria and central Illinois, you’ve probably heard of several names in the area. One of those names is probably Steve Aldus.

Having been in the martial arts for 42 years and a teacher for 37, Mr. Aldus wrote to Metamora Martial Arts that he is a multi-disciplined martial artist. He holds many dan (black belt) rankings with experience in karate and tae kwon do, among other arts.

Though, Mr. Aldus said, “I am a Chinese martial artist first and foremost.” He teaches hsing-i ch’uan (Hopei) and old Yang style tai chi ch’uan. In addition, he teaches Chinese weapons, chin na and shuai jiao (Chinese wrestling). Mr. Aldus ran his own school for eight years, but now instructs in Peoria at Cat Ching Do on Tuesdays and with Preston Jackson the Contemporary Art Center on Saturdays.

I owe Mr. Aldus more than he knows; he has inspired me more than he knows.  When I was a little boy, I lived a few houses away from him and was best friends with his son.  I have fond memories of watching Mr. Aldus train in his basement dojo.  The grace, power and mystery of his moves hypnotized me, and I knew that someday I wanted to learn martial arts.  If I had not had the opportunity to watch Mr. Aldus, befriend his son, and have my child mind intrigued and captivated by his martial arts talent, I may never have started training.

To Mr. Aldus: I thank you for being a real inspiration.  As an adult martial artist, I have frequently received your kindness, advice and further inspiration.  Thank you.

One of the features of this blog is asking other martial artists their opinions to create an open forum in order to share knowledge and ideas.

In this first guest post, we asked Mr. Aldus – among other things – why he teaches. Here, nearly unedited, is his response.

Why do I teach?  If you ask different instructors, you will get many different answers.

I teach for various reasons. Fundamentally, I teach to pass on the knowledge unselfishly imparted to me by my instructor, Sifu Li. Teaching Hsing-I Ch’uan is my way to honor my Sifu and all who have gone before him. Teacher Li presented a gift of martial arts to me and I am obliged to pass it along to others. This ensures our martial art lives on through future generations and is not lost.

I have a deep love and appreciation for martial arts and my hope is others will develop the same appreciation through my instruction.

Through teaching others, one receives satisfaction watching the students as they grow and succeed. Their success and growth as martial artists benefits them in life, not just in the kwoon, dojo, or dojang.

Teaching martial arts defines my strengths and my weaknesses. As I work hard to shore up my weaknesses and improve my strengths, I convey this to my students. To see an instructor working as hard as the students on his or her martial art training can be an inspiring lesson.

One of my favorite teaching moments came when I was asked to sit on a testing board. A friend (who I will call Sensei or Master Miller) was testing a large number of his students for black belt. I had visited Master Miller’s school many times and interacted with all of the students testing that day.

Many weeks prior to the testing, a sheet listing the names of the students testing for black belt was posted. After class, on the same day of the posting, I overheard many of the students scheduled for black belt testing complaining about one student up for black belt. They couldn’t understand why this student (who I will name Henry) was testing.

As far as they were concerned, Henry wasn’t up to black belt testing standards. Sometimes Henry forgot or had trouble with parts of his forms, wasn’t able to kick as well as the rest, his self-defense was lacking and on and on.

I approached the students and said to them that they should be concerned about their skill sets and not about what Henry does or does not know. If they thought Henry wasn’t up to testing standards, they should help him out.

“Remember, we are family,” I said.

I looked at them and asked, “Do you have faith in Master Miller’s decisions and do you respect your instructor?”

They answered, “Yes.”

“Then why are you questioning his selections for the black belt testing?” I asked.

I quickly added, “Instructors many times will make decisions based on information known only to him.”

They lowered their heads.

I said, “Let’s make a deal. You help Henry to be the best he can be for this testing and I won’t tell Sensei about this episode, okay?”

Embarrassed, they weakly said, “Yes, Master Aldus.”

The day of the testing arrived. I was asked by Master Miller to speak to his students prior to the testing. I said it would be an honor. I went into the dressing room where they were nervously waiting. I asked them if they were nervous and they all said yes.

All save one.

Henry smiled widely and said with pride, “Master Aldus, I am not very nervous.”

I said to Henry, “Wow, I thought you would be. Why aren’t you nervous, Henry?”

“Because I am testing with all of my friends and they helped me get ready for my testing. I am ready, Sir.”

I said with pride, “Great! I am proud of you, Henry.”

I looked deeply into the eyes of the rest of the students and said, “I am so proud of each and every one of you. You showed today that all of you deserve to be testing for Dan rank. Give your all and leave nothing behind. Good fortune to you all.”

The testing started and continued for the next six hours. Henry struggled, but was buoyed by his fellow students. At the end of this grueling test, the students’ uniforms were soaked, their bodies ached, their minds exhausted. Yes, they were happy it was over and proud to have finished.

The Board retired to a back room to render their decision. The students later said that waiting for final decision seemed longer than the actual testing.

After much deliberation, the Board returned to give their decision. But, before giving the results of the test, Master Miller had something he wanted to say.

Master Miller said, “Henry has given me permission to pass on some very personal information.”

Master Miller took a deep breath.

“Henry has multiple sclerosis.”

The students looked absolutely shocked, they had no idea.

“Henry informed me two years ago and asked me not to tell anyone,” Sensei continued.  “He didn’t want anyone to know because he was afraid the students would treat him differently or take it easy on him. He is not afraid anymore.”

“I would like to thank all of the students who helped Henry. I am very proud of everyone testing today. You all proved today that you are deserving of the rank of first Dan. You all have passed and are officially first-degree black belts and members of our martial arts family from this day forward.”

The students approached in single file to accept congratulations from each Board Member, with Henry leading the way.

Henry shook my hand and said thank you. I told him great job and congratulations. I was very happy for him. As each of the other students stood in front of me, I said congratulations and I was very proud of them. Each student looked me in the eye and said, “Thank you, Master Aldus.”

Every student had tears in their eyes, and so did I.