October 24 – 25, 2014
By Diane Ortenzio-Cooling
The Symposium was the idea of Sensei Andy Rodriguez and Shoshihan Yoshi Sakimukai. They invited the Order of Isshin-Ryu and Zentokukai organizations to participate in planning a weekend training seminar where participants would get together and train without regard to style or rank. After a year of planning, the first symposium was held in Myrtle Beach, SC.
Joining Master Cooling from the OI were Masters Ewing and Sullivan, Senseis Popp and Ortenzio, and Mr. Ragan.
From the Zentokukai, we met Masters Walter Dailey, Tim Rodgers, Angel Lemus, and Jim Pizii. Master Dailey took the photo (shown at his and Master Cooling’s feet) of Soke Tatsuo Shimabuku and Soke Zenryu Shimabuku in the 1960s.
From the So Budo Kai, we were joined by Masters Yoshi Sakimukai and Charles Harb, and Senseis Andy Rodriguez and David Chandlee.
There were many other black belts from these organizations, but you wouldn’t know it from the photo. Everyone dressed and trained without rank belts, or gis for that matter. T-shirts and gi pants allowed us to work together and ask questions more easily, but not at the cost of good etiquette. Seminars on Saturday ranged from fighting sets by Shoshihan Sakimukai, to throwing basics with Shidoin Lisa Capriotti and Shidoin Robert Gouthro.
Denshi presented Denshi’s 20, and Sensei Popp and I presented some knife fundamentals with flow drills (getting to be a habit, eh?)
From the welcome party on Friday night, we knew this was going to be one of the best training events. I don’t think anyone laughed or told jokes as much as Denshi and Master Rodgers, and it was infectious to everyone else. The training was superb, and we made many new friends here.
Speaking of friends, Senseis Danny Cross and Dan Waltemeyer stopped by and spent some time with us too. It was good to see them! They are living in Myrtle Beach and doing fine. A shout out to Master Sullivan for being a gracious host and giving Denshi and me a place to stay. It’s funny how you can be around someone for years and yet not really know them. Getting to hang out with Bill and just talk was an added bonus for me. He shared some background and thoughts about self-defense that were great takeaways. And I found out he is a movie trivia whiz, right down to knowing the credits for obscure factoids just like me. Not only do I want him as my backup, I want him on my next Trivial Pursuit team.
The next Symposium is slated for 2016 in Myrtle Beach. See you all there!