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? 

April 15

Competitors Do Well at Morrow’s Tournament in Moline

We had a great time yesterday at John Morrow’s tournament in Moline. Not only did our competitors do well, but we got to see a few old friends, too.

I should mention that “well” isn’t necessarily measured in trophy count. Neither Joshu Adair Rodriguez nor Jake Potter were able to bring home hardware. However, I feel based on their kata performances and their sparring matches, both represented Metamora Martial Arts with pride and dignity. Joshu Adair especially showed he could get vicious during the game of tag that is a sparring match by forcing his opponent to lose his balance and fall over several times. I’m not trying to take anything away from his opponent (whose name I didn’t catch and who was very, very good), but I think there is something to be said for that.

Jake Potter, Deshi Adam Bockler and Joshu Adair Rodriguez at Morrow's Academy of Martial Arts

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I was stunned to hear that I’d won first place in black belt forms – and by one-tenth of a point, at that. There were so many other great forms competitors in both the men’s and women’s divisions. I saw Tomari Bassai, which I learned from the black belt who performed it that the kata is just one of the many variations of Bassai Dai. I saw an Empi Sho performed with kamas, which was very cool. And I was very excited to see a couple who practiced tai chi chuan perform and place highly. It’s an honor to be able to show my art – our art – with people who are so similar but so different at the same time.

One of my favorite parts about Morrow’s tournament is that one Metamora Martial Arts alumnus, Joe Maubach, lives in the Quad Cities area. Every time we travel to this event, I’m grateful that Joe always shows up to support our team. After the tournament, we had a good mid-afternoon dinner at River House.

All in all, I’m very happy with our experience at Mr. Morrow’s. We’d love to go back next year.

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.