Greetings everyone. I finally returned from my trip to Crestview, Florida, and the KMAF hosted by CM Thomas Gordon was another great success. The 4000 km round trip was kind of long for me, but it was well worth the effort. I managed to interview several of the presenters there, and I have split them up into four segments in order to make it easier to upload to Youtube. Fact is that even split into four segments, it took about 16 hours to upload just ONE segment. Unbelievable long time to upload a 15 minute video of medium size. It is the very reason why this interview did not get published yesterday.
Let me start off with some personal observations I took home from the event, and at the end of that I’ll paste the link to the first interview. The trip was reminiscent of the first time I headed to Crestview and I drove smack dab in the middle of Hurricane Katrina. It was kind of a strange feeling to be the only car headed South, with everyone else fleeing North to get away from the hurricane. This time, the weather was not quite a hurricane, but I encountered some unbelievable Thunder storms in the Indiana and Alabama areas. Forced to a snail pace of about 5-10 miles per hour, and then hoping nothing would slam into the back of you is not much fun. In fact, it was worse than driving into Katrina at times.
Once I got to the event, one of the first things I noticed was that the Friday evening event was very well attended. Most times, the Friday event is a bit smaller, but not in this case. That was a very nice surprise. Alas, some of the presenters for the Friday sessions were delayed due to the weather, and I was glad to fill in for Keynote presenter Grandmaster McMurray who did not arrive in time. Even after driving some 2000 kms, it was nice to get on the mat 🙂 Even though I was not prepared, no one really cared that I was not dressed for the occasion. Just so I would not interfere with any of the other presentations, I covered some basic principles of HKD that could effectively improve techniques already known to participants. Nothing like angles and circles to make a technique work better 🙂
After the events were over, everyone headed to a local restaurant for some Mexican food. As usual, it was very nice for me to sit down and chat with good friends I don’t see too often. I was very pleased to see that Grandmaster McMurray’s House Of Discipline was very well represented, and I truly enjoyed seeing some of the good folks I had earlier met at Fort Hood and later at the 2014 KMAM hof. To make new friends, and to see them again and again at these type of events truly is a wonderful experience. To me, it just makes attending martial arts events so much more than learning a few new techniques.
Quality time is hard to come by, and it surprises me to see that some folks who traveled hundreds of miles to see the friends they made sit in a corner by themselves checking Facebook and emails 🙁 Folks… when you get a chance to see old friends, put away your iPhone or iPad please. Spend REAL quality time with REAL people, as you may never have that chance again. It took me a few days to take care of the e-mail backlog, but I would not have traded a single minute of the quality time I had with good friends, to avoid that backlog. We must take a hard look at what is important in our lives, as it surely seems that internet has become an addiction to some 🙁
Moving on… On Saturday, the events moved along nicely, and I was impressed by the quality of presentations. Some new faces on the mat, and some old faces with new material to present made for a very nice day of learning and sharing for all who took the time to get on the mats with the best of the best. Everyone worked together without giving a single thought to the different organizations they represented. To be honest, it is heartwarming to see so many talented instructors on the same mats without the egos that often get in the way. At the KMAF, there is a true feeling of brotherhood among the presenters, and it is nice to see our KMAB lead the way in that regard.
During the afternoon, CM Gordon, and GMs MacKenzie, Booth, and Janisse and myself slipped away to CM Gordon’s school in order to do the interviews in a quiet location. We had a nice chance to chat together and discuss the future of the KMAF, the second annual Korean Martial Arts Masters Hall Of Fame, as well as the upcoming ITS hosted by GM Booth in Mexico later this year. Even though this was my first time doing an interview, I think it is a nice step up from writing a simple article. I hope visitors to the kmacollege site will enjoy our chat, and I look forward to interviewing more KMAB Grandmasters at the upcoming KMAM hall of fame in Philly next August. GM MacKenzie just published the registration form on our Facebook page, and I hope to see many of you there.
The KMAF banquet on Saturday evening saw more of the same camaraderie, as presenters and participants sat together and swapped stories. Recognition was given to a number of Masters, and the highlight for me was to see the unveiling of the second edition front cover of the Hap Ki Do Journal by its Editor Paul Heinselman. Even though I was aware I would be featured on that cover, to actually see it was a real treat. It was even nicer to see that my highest ranking student, Grandmaster Kevin Janisse, was chosen to be the featured Master of the quarter. Truly a heartwarming experience for me.
To see the first segment of the KMAB interviews, please visit the following link to YouTube. http://youtu.be/iM6RHkLGrCg