Kajukenbo 2009

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Shaolin Wu-Tang Master Jerry Cook

Whenever a Ninja of feudal Japan went on a Mission and returned safely, it was customary for him to make a report to the elders of the tribe so that they might evaluate what he had learned and gather intelligence about things outside the tribal domain. Many times this was done by reciting the events in one long verbal de-briefing session. Either to a designated Chunin, or middle level agent. Or, to the Grand Mute. This was usually a statue where a sentry would be positioned behind or nearby to overhear the report spoken to the stone face. Or, a masked figure who did not speak, so that no one knew for sure to whom the report was made. This was part of the security of the clans so that the real leaders of the Ninja were not known even to their most loyal followers. That way they could not be betrayed even under torture.

The following activity report was made verbally to the Grand Mute upon Kim-Sensei’s return from Florida and was de-classified on 9 February 2009 for publication and distribution among our martial arts fellowship.

1345hrs– 6 February 2009-Friday

It was a brisk morning for Florida. The mercury had dipped below freezing the past few days for the first time in years. He was chatting with an attractive stewardess and a Catholic priest, who were somewhat taken aback to see him greeted with a large banner announcing him as Master Jerry Cook and representatives of the Dojo perform the ceremonial bow required when meeting such an august personage. He bade them a merry farewell and joined the troupe for the van ride from Tampa to Auburndale.

Premier Wrestling Studios- Saturday, 7 February 2009

[Grandmaster Lawrence Day; 7th Dan Barron Shepherd; Master Jerry Cook; Ashida Kim]

The 2-day event was being hosted by 7th Degree Black Belt Barron Shepherd at the Premier Wrestling Studio. It was Saturday, Feb. 7th, 2009, the 1st Full Moon, Year of the Ox. The Shaolin Wu-Tang Master had come from this retreat in Arizona to teach us Kajukenbo. It is an American style of martial arts created by Professor Adriano D. Emperado. Kajukenbo stands for the styles from which it was created: Ka - Karate; Ju - Judo Jujitsu; Ken - Kenpo Karate; Bo - Chinese Boxing. In 1947, with the aid of several other martial artists, Professor Emperado formed the Black Belt Society. As the emphasis changed from teaching a small select group to training the general public the name was changed to the Kajukenbo Self-Defense Institute. During this time between 1947 and 1949, Professor Emperado is credited with founding the Kajukenbo Self Defense System.

Grand Master of the Emperado Method Ronald Pierce had dispatched this, his trusted aide, to share these techniques with us. Black Dragon Fighting Society Grandmaster Lawrence Day and nine of his most senior and advanced students, Black Belts all, were in attendance. They came from North Florida and Mississippi and had traveled nine hours to be there and camp on the Dojo floor in the tradition of true martial artists who would endure any hardship to find one more technique that might serve them or their students well. Sensei Joe Cayer 7th Dan Shotokan and some of his students, Master Shakur from Melbourne, and so on.

Tai Chi Master Sifu Michael Glynn had flown in from Houston for the event. Grandmaster David Harris of the Immortal Champions Studio and two of his sons were there. As well as Ninja Sensei Ashida Kim. This meeting had been arranged at the October seminar with Grandmaster Doug Dwyer in Ft. Walton Beach last year.

(left) Sifu Michael Glynn and
BDFS Grandmaster Lawrence Day

Master Cook began with the Nan Chuen 18 Dragon Form from the Southern Fukien Shaolin Hung family. The techniques come from the Ching Dynasty. The form is credited to Wong Fei-Hung, a character who appeared as the doctor’s son in the movie Iron Monkey; who was played by Jackie Chan in Drunken Master; and by Jet Li in the five part Once Upon A Time In China series. Wong Fei-Hung is one of the most famous and popular martial arts heroes of Chinese legend and motion pictures. He was renowned for his feats of courage and martial arts skill, acting ever for the benefit of all, rather than for selfish motives or money.

The 18 Dragon is a Water Element Form, because the dragon is water symbol and is associated in Chinese medicine with the kidney. The techniques, Dragon Holds Ball, Splashing Palms, Dragon Holds Pearl, Flying Dragon, Unicorn Step, Sun and Moon Shadow Fist, are divided into three sets of three movements, making it easy to teach and remember. It is the dynamic breathing method that gives it strength, speed and power. This was the morning of the first day.

After lunch, Sifu demonstrated his Meteor Hammer technique using a soft one-inch strap and a heavy circular lock. From a flurry of mid-range whipping and flailing strikes, he released the strap to its full ten foot length and performed an amazing display of throwing, hurling, swinging, darting and dropping attacks launched by wrapping the moving strap around his body, leg, head, or arms and sending it flying at the adversary from some unexpected angle with enough force and weight to inflict quite a stunning blow. You might have seen Jackie Chan do some of these moves in Shanghai Noon with a bit of rope and a horseshoe.

The next lesson was 18 Seizing Hands of Shaolin Chin-Na, a drill consisting of a series of wristlocks, with such exotic names as the Thumblock, the Two-Finger Break, Holding A Ball (locking Uke’s elbow in the crook of your elbow), Old Man Carrying A Fish (reverse top wristlock), Holding the Moon (elbow and wristlocking), and Snake Under Log (entangling straight arm-bar). Any of which can be applied by even the smallest defender, using leverage and knowledge of pressure points to utterly control his adversary.

Master Cook was a font of knowledge. It was a joy to watch such an enthusiastic teacher who loved what he was doing and was so happy to find an eager and willing audience for his teachings. His stories, the tales of legendary heroes who developed these methods, at once humorous and profound, playing on symbolism and poetic, descriptive names, made it easy to remember the movements and their sequence. The pairs of students practiced to and fro, moving smoothly from one lock to another, shifting forward and back, turning and pivoting, made the practice enjoyable and developed rhythmic endurance. No one was tired after an hour or more, so we were allowed to try dynamic practice. Each player applied a lock. His partner simulated a strike, an escape, a reversal and application of a pressure point control method. Then the first player had his turn to do the same. In this way the locks and escapes followed no set pattern and provided the opportunity to experiment and compete in a friendly and sportsmanlike manner.

We finally broke for dinner around dusk. It had been a busy day, beginning at nine, ending at six. Even then, it was hard to stop. It was such fun to learn and practice something new. To meet fellow martial artists and exchange ideas and stories. The company adjourned to a nearby Chinese restaurant for a traditional meal. The proprietor of the local tea house was familiar with some of the members, but was at first overwhelmed by the sudden volume of customers. But only for a moment before everyone was seated and served. Some ate with chopsticks, a skill requiring some patience to develop. Some had the Mongolian grill. But, no one went away hungry.

The night was spent chatting and camping on the mats. Sensei Shepherd offered the hospitality of his nearby home to the assembled crew. But all agreed to spend the night in the Dojo as planned. In light of their decision, Sensei Shepherd proved himself to be a most gracious host by electing to remain with them through the night. It is a spiritual experience that cannot be explained, to sleep and dream in the temples of meditation and training; all part of true learning.

Premier Wrestling Studios- Sunday, 8 February 2009

The next day we practiced the 18 Hung Family Five Animal Five Element Form. Some of the earliest longevity exercises on record are the Five Animal Frolics of ancient China. The symbolism of these animals is taken from the Five Elements of Chinese medicine: earth, water, fire, air and wood. Two of these are linear, two are circular and one is spiral, and each is reflected in the movements of the five symbolic animals: tiger, crane, snake, dragon, and leopard. “From the crane, we learn balance and self control. The snake teaches us suppleness and rhythmic endurance. The leopard teaches us speed and patience. From the tiger we learn tenacity and power. And from the dragon, we learn to ride the wind. All creatures, the low and the high, may teach us their virtues. If we have the wisdom to learn.”

From Hsing-I Chuan Master Cook demonstrated and taught the fundamental Five Element Fists. The short, rapid, linear striking of Fire. The crashing and pounding of the wave –like Water fist. The whipping, encircling movement of the Wind fist. The driving, hammering Earth fist. And the twisting movements of Wood. Any one of which can be easily learned and used with great efficacy for self-defense and good health. And each of which follows the creative and destructive cycles of Chinese medicine. Water destroys Fire, for example, meaning that the Water Fist is the counter-punch to the Fire Fist, and so on through the series. While Fire creates Earth, by making ash. Meaning that the Fire Fist is comfortably followed by the Earth Fist in the sequence, and that this sequence has been proven effective in combat.

In the afternoon we were treated to a performance of the Chinese War Fan, a dynamic presentation illustrating a wide variety of fists and fluid body movements that could be used to strike or defend by opening as a shield or striking with the ribs of the fan to vital and fatal points of the body. Fan forms, like many formal Chinese exercises, are beautiful in their ballet like movements that develop not only fearsome and devastating fighting skills, but also balance the body’s energy flow to develop inner strength and longevity.

Martial arts, after all, are not about fighting. They are about self-improvement, about doing what is right, about helping others to find their own Way.

No one wanted it to be over, but the day ended with presentation of certificates and photo opportunity. Several new members were inducted into the Black Dragon Fighting Society by Grandmaster Day. Master Cook was generous in his sharing of printed notes and DVDs of all the material covered in the seminar, but commented that he had seldom seen a group able to absorb so much information so well in such a short period of time.

When the others had departed Sensei Shepherd and Master Cook trained privately well into the night in the Blind Swordsman Techniques and the Five Ninja Sword Form. Zatochi, the blind swordsman, is a legendary Japanese hero on par with Wong Fei-Hung while the Ninja techniques rely on concealing the sword until the last possible moment, making it invisible until it is too late for the victim to defend himself.

Many old friendships were renewed and many new ones formed as we worked together to share this ancient and profound knowledge. For this most wonderful experience we express our deepest gratitude to Jerry Cook and rejoice in his great joy and enthusiasm as a teacher and sterling example of martial arts skill and fellowship.

Jerry Cook, known as the Zen Sword Master, is teaching traditional sword techniques with artistic and stylistic application. The sword styles are used for meditation, health and spiritual enlightenment, helping physical mental and spiritual awareness, self-defense and control. He is a collector of many ancient styles of martial arts stemming from the Daoist, Buddhist and Shinto temples in Japan, China and Korea. See them at: Atlas Martial Arts/Jerry Cook

Ashida Kim
American Representative
DOJO-Academy of Martial Arts

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