By: Donald W. Hutchinson C. Chem
On July 30 1995 Gus and three of his students, Dan, Don, and Bob met at Pearson Terminal One at 4:30 AM. to begin our sacred pilgrimage to the Holy land of California. We were all wired for sound, looking forward to the time of our lives. We sat in the airport reading up on the slick moves from the Tenshin Dojo documented in the Martial Arts legends magazine. Foreign Japanese words like Hamni Hadachi, Tachi Dori Kotegeishi were abound. Our morning giddiness was adding to the spirit, and anticipation, as Gus paced the airport trying to get psyched for the embarkment !! If you ever have to fly with Gus, slip him some valium before you get to the airport. ( Word to the wise).
The plane arrived States Side at about nine AM and we made our way to pick up the car. It was at that time we realized that no one had booked a Hotel, and lucky for us everything for twenty miles was booked up. Lucky, you say, why would that be lucky ? Lucky because, it forced us to go for a drive . After some hunting we ended up on Santa Monica Blvd., which has more Martial Arts schools than London has Donut shops and Canada Trust banks combined. We booked ourselves in right between a Kempo and a Hapkido School. ( Nothing to do with Seagal !!) Once we got settled we made a Bee Line for Tenshin Dojo were we met Sensei Mutsoka and were informed that Shihan Seagal would not be around all week, but that we were welcome to train for a simple mat fee of $15 per day. We picked up the Schedule and made our way back to the Hotel.
We started checking out the other schools and discovered that the Hapkido school was run by Grand Master Bong Soo Han a 9th Degree Black belt , Chairman of the International Hapkido Federation. His fame includes choreography for the Movie Billy Jack and other stars such as Shaun Connery. Initially he treated us like long lost cousins and invited us back to train the next day. However we were not allowed to train probably because our CAM GIís insulted him. Anyway suffice it to say it would probably be a good idea to wear a white GI with a black only belt , or your kyu rank, should you try a similar pilgrimage . They donít like to see a lot of Stripes!!!
We had much better luck at the Kempo club. The Master Robert Rymer is a fifth in Ryu Kyu and a fourth in Aikido , so his training lent itself well to the overall mission. The new hit arm routines we are working on came from his style. I would like to make a note here that in his club they do not disseminate the Nerve theory at all and apparently the World Shihan of the style has dissencomidated Dillamn for passing on too many of the secrets. If you think about that for a minute you will realize that the Moneymaker seminar is a source of information that ever Masters in the style do not receive elsewhere. For a measly 100 bucks, you will be dipping into a knowledge base that is all but forbidden everywhere else in the world.
Enough of this gobbledy gook you say, what about Steven Seagal Studio !!! Well we hit the Dojo and discovered that not only were we going to learn some of the most street wise Aikido around, but that Seagal Sensei also teaches the finer points of the Japanese etiquette (Budoshoshinshu), Macrobiotics ( dietetics) and acupuncture. I always believed that if you are to be a true Martial Artist you have to not only learn your techniques but you have to learn ways to improve your state of health and fix yourself when you break. It seems that Seagal also believes this and passes it on to his students I just wanted to say that if any of you hear any rumors about Seagal being a fake tell them we have personally trained with most of his Black Belt Senpies and we found their knowledge base to be second to none. The part I was particularly impressed with was the humbleness of all . Sensei Matsuoka ( Head Sensei for Seagal Studioís) trained under Seagal while he was on his 15 year sabbatical in Japan and returned to USA to take the position of Sensie for Seagalís clubs stateside. This individual is as unassuming and humble as any person I have ever met, considering his closeness to a star such as Seagal Iím sure most of us would find his attitude tough to maintain. In my assessment I would say that Seagal is a Martial Artist first , movie star second.
After spending the week training with them we have been accepted to become associate members of their club and we will be invited to all special event seminars that Seagal or OíSensei host. We will be getting a fund together to support Gus and one Senior student to go on these field trips. The student will be picked based on his diligence, club participation, and in his developing ability to be able to bring a maximum amount of information back to the club. Every body has a chance at this, and the decision will be made democratically by the Black Belt Council.
Can you imagine, spending a weekend at Seagalís Ranch in Montana with about a thousand Black Belts !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Get out there and train and represent our club at the tournaments and you could be the chosen one.
Good luck all.