AN INTERVIEW WITH
JAN / 2012
My name is Franklin Puello, and welcome to Martialforce.com. I too have followed the Martial Arts Path since 1974 in New York. During that era, the Martial Arts were still Martial and not so much geared towards Sport. Perhaps because of this reason the Breed of practitioners was a hardened one. This Breed of Martial Artists, took immense pride in Training and Teaching the Principles, not just the techniques. The Training was Hard, No, please allow me to rephrase this, The training was Brutal. It was Brutal, in the way that it pushed the Mind, Body and Spirit to soar to unimaginable heights. Through continuous training, practitioners ascended to heights and aarned their Rank, Reputation, and Most of all, earned RESPECT. The Martial Arts was being learned in the Far East and brought into the United States by member of our Military Service. These groups were diverse, bringing the various Martial Arts to members of communities at all level and with all different interests. In continuing with the Profiling and Presentation of Great Martial Artists, who did and are presently making great impact in Communities all around We, the Martial Artist in the Generations that followed in the 60's and 70's offer Great Admiration, with immense Gratitude to the Grand Masters who brought Karate-Do into the United States and our lives. These Grand Masters gave birth to a new breed of Martial Artists and teachers. Today I introduce and give you one of these Great people that set the pace in which to follow. Domo Arigato,
Interview by Franklin Puello
Martialforce.com: What is your Full Name?
ERNEST HYMAN II: Ernest E. Hyman
Martialforce.com: Where did you attend School to learn Martial Arts?
ERNEST HYMAN II: New York Karate Academy, under Grand Master AARON BANKS
Martialforce.com: Please provide our readers with some of your achievements?
ERNEST HYMAN II: I am the founder of the Harlem Karate Institute, a 501 (c ) 3 status organization. Harlem Karate Institute was founded in 1968. I am also known throughout the martial arts community for expertise in ice breaking (1,200 lbs of ice), nunchaku, weapons, kata and kumite. I also have had some interaction with the entertainment industry: The Dojo and workout scenes of Berry Gordy's cult classic movie, "The Last Dragon," were filmed at the Harlem Karate Institute. I have also founded my own system of martial science entitled, Mokobushi translated it means Circular Fist.
Martialforce.com: Have you learned important lessons that helped in your life?
ERNEST HYMAN II: My most important lessons learned was not through conventional school, but through martial sciences.
Martialforce.com: What is your current occupation?
ERNEST HYMAN II: Martial arts instructor, and Protective Security Specialist.
Martialforce.com: How did your enter the study of the Martial Arts?
ERNEST HYMAN II: I was being bullied in school and many times beaten in the school bathroom. I got tired of it, so I joined the first martial arts school I could get into.
Martialforce.com: Martialforce.com: When was your first introduction to the Martial Arts, What Style of Karate/ Kung Fu?
ERNEST HYMAN II: The Year I started was 1962, I became interested in the Martial Arts, and at that time I didn't know anything about styles. I worked very hard shining shoes to pay for classes, I just learned basic Karate. Today, my ultimate, primary style is Japanese Goju/Ryu.
Martialforce.com: Martialforce.com: Who was/ were your instructor/s?
ERNEST HYMAN II: My first martial arts instructor, Ken Lee was a great source of motivation. He was my first teacher. Rick Joselyn (Canadian) is where I learned my combat karate. My wing chung instructor ~ Alan Lamb. He was a great influence. And of course, my mentor, my teacher and my friend, Mr. Aaron Banks, or as I call him, Mr. Banks.
Martialforce.com: Where did he train?
ERNEST HYMAN II: Grandmaster Aaron Banks trained under direct students of Gogen Yamaguchi: Wally Slocum, Gyo Yamamoto, Peter Urban, Johnny Khul, hence Grandmaster Aaron Banks is on Gogen Yamaguchi's lineage chart.
Martialforce.com: Which instructor has influenced you the most, and how?
ERNEST HYMAN II: Mr. Aaron Banks has influenced me the most by the way he ran his school, the way he promoted tournaments, shows and the way he taught. I am somewhat imitating his style.
Martialforce.com: Would you describe their teaching philosophies and Methods of Teaching?
ERNEST HYMAN II: His classes were: Hard, Vigorous and Long. We had class six times a week, each class was three hours long. I still carry on that tradition to this day.
Philosophy wise ~ "A man can talk all he wants as long as he doesn't put his hands on you." That is how Aaron Banks raised me.
Martialforce.com: Can you tell our readers what a typical day of training was like back when you were training towards your Black Belt?
Started off with 50 pushupsBlocks, Kicks, Punches ~ 45 minutes Ido Kihon or Walking techniques ~ 20 - 40 minutes Self-Defense techniques ~ 20 minutes Kata ~ For 1/2 hour Kumite (Fighting). After kumite Grandmaster Banks gave us an in depth lecture and a Q & A session after the lecture. That happened six days a week and I never missed a class. Even with that intense training, It took me seven years to get my Black Belt.
Martialforce.com: Did you enter the Martial Arts competition Arena?
ERNEST HYMAN II: Yes I did enter the competition arena. I have won over 1000 first-place trophies and have won in all divisions over a 25-year span. I competed in Breaking, Weapons Kata, Empty hands Kata (forms), and Fighting. Also, as a performer (demonstrator), in all divisions at martial arts shows I obtained some accolades.
Martialforce.com: What are some of your Performance Credits?
ERNEST HYMAN II: Madison Square Garden Arena (over 12 years); Nassau Coliseum; Meadowlands Arena; Studio 54; The Ritz; Beacon Theatre; Hunter, Queens, and FIT Colleges, Europe, South America (on tour with the world’s #1 martial arts show, “Oriental World of Self Defense”), for the Queen of England (while on tour), and all 50 states of the USA.Broadcast Credits:ABC Wide World of Sports
NBC Sports World
CBS Sports Spectacular
Various cable channels, several motion pictures, and magazine articles
Martialforce.com: What was your motivation to enter competition?
ERNEST HYMAN II: I figured the only way to truly test my skills was to enter the competitive Arena, I found motivation in competing against the many greats of the time.
Martialforce.com: What was tournament competition like when you were first introduced?
ERNEST HYMAN II: Tournaments were fierce, I was afraid. Back then we really got hit.
Martialforce.com: Were you afraid at the beginning of competition?
ERNEST HYMAN II: Of course I was scared! Anybody who can say they weren't scared is a fool!
Martialforce.com: Who were some of the noted Martial Artists you had to compete against?
ERNEST HYMAN II: The K. A. Thompson Brothers, Ron Van Clief, Owen Watson, Fred Miller, Joe Hess, and many, many more.
Martialforce.com: Could you tell us about the Toughest competition facing you during that time and what made them tough?
ERNEST HYMAN II: My toughest fight was Fred Miller. “That damn neko ashi dachi stance (cat stance)!! along with that vicious front kick” his trademark technique. One of the many techniques he perfected, which the opponent knew was coming, but could do nothing to stop it.
Martialforce.com: Would you elaborate in the lessons learned from these competitions and opponents?
ERNEST HYMAN II: I learned that every time I fought I had to go back to the drawing board because there was always something I didn't expect coming from my opponent. There were very good fighters back in the day. Nowadays, I could sleep all week long & then go beat somebody up in a tournament. You don't even have to train to fight these days.
Martialforce.com: Who helped you develop your Teaching Philosophy, Your teaching Style?
ERNEST HYMAN II: My inspiration came from several people ~Two in particular: Fred Hamilton and my instructor, Aaron Banks. Both were no nonsense teachers.
Martialforce.com: What Principles of the Martial Arts do you emphasize?
1. Always be aware of your surroundings
2. Maintain your body for it is your temple
3. Always work on Kata because kata is the Book of Karate ~ The more you read the book, the more you learn.
4. No is not an option and Can't is not an excuse!
Martialforce.com: Which of these Principles do you Teach as Life Skills?
ERNEST HYMAN II: All of the above especially #4 ~ No is not an option and Can't is not an excuse! Being from the "Old" School we train we train to become a complete Karate-Ka.
Martialforce.com: With that in mind, please share with our readers your thoughts about being a Complete Karateka?
ERNEST HYMAN II: In order to become a complete Karateka, you must make many journeys around the circle. For each journey around the circle is an enlightenment of one self. 100 times around the circle is the beginning of one's enlightenment. The circle is one of life's most important journeys. When we take the straight line or what in life is known as the shortcut, we lose over half of what we were supposed to get.
We get our enlightenment through teaching others and by teaching others, you must go around the circle. That is why I chose the circle as my emblem for my school. The White of the Circle represents the lack of knowledge and the Red represents the knowledge. Each time you go around the circle, you must pass through the white in order to gain the red. It is in this journey that one finds ones self and becomes at peace.
Martialforce.com: Do you believe the practice of Kata is useful and important?
ERNEST HYMAN II: My interpretation of kata is ~ Kata is the Book that we must read over and over in order to find the hidden secrets within. It takes 1,000 times of training with one kata in order for you to be able to read the kata that you have been doing over 1,000 times. Anything short of the thousand time journey and you will not be able to read the kata. Kata is the Book of Martial Science.
Martialforce.com: Why should a Martial Artist pay attention to Kata?
ERNEST HYMAN II: If you don't pay attention to Kata, you lose sight of all the possibilities you could have & you will never become a Complete Karate-ka. You will just become someone who tried and failed.
Martialforce.com: What specific training for Kata excellence would you recommend?
ERNEST HYMAN II: Take the Kata that you like the best, and that is the Kata that you work two, three four times a day. My recipe is do kata fast, do kata slow and do kata in your mind. These three stages will help you to learn and understand kata and it will also help the kata to talk to you because kata is a two way street. You talk to kata, kata talks to you and between the two of you, you get the job done.
Martialforce.com: What is your Most Favorite Kata? What makes it so Special?
ERNEST HYMAN II: Seyunchin ~ The definition of Seyunchin is to hold and suddenly break. Because I like the hard and I like soft, and because Seyunchin contains both hard and soft techniques, a Kata that emphasizes the shiko-dachi stance . I love the power of that kata.
Martialforce.com: What are some of the Weapons you have mastered?
3. Blow gun
Martialforce.com: What is your favorite Traditional Weapon? Nunchaku and do you teach weapons?
ERNEST HYMAN II: Yes, I teach my student the Art of Kobudo or weapons training and start their introduction at the level of Green Belt.
Martialforce.com: Are you presently training others in the Art of Self Defense?
ERNEST HYMAN II: Yes, as I said before I teach at the Harlem Karate Institute, New York . I never stopped teaching. I've been teaching 50 years.
Martialforce.com: What do you teach those who want to learn Survival Skills?
ERNEST HYMAN II: Martial Science is a survival skill. My dojo is just a smaller version of the street. Anything you learn in my dojo will prepare you to survive on the street.
Martialforce.com: What is your view of the present evolution of the Martial Arts and Tournament Competition of the present and compare to the past?
ERNEST HYMAN II: I am very glad that I came up when I did in the Martial Science because today's so-called karate is the biggest joke ever put upon man. I say this because everybody and their mother is a Black Belt, Everybody and their mother is a Shihan or Soke or some other name that they dont know the meaning of.
They are taking people's money replacing it with belts, false confidence and ignorance of The Way. If these people were to get caught in the street by a vicious mugger attacker, they would succumb to the same. I feel there should be a law passed that anyone opening a school should go through some sort of Board of Martial Science to be certified to open any school of martial science. That would eradicate a lot of the B.S. going on today. That is just part of my opinion. I could go on forever but I would like to see the BS stopped. Life is too precious. You must realize that when a student comes to you and pays a certain amount of money, he or she is entrusting you with his or her Life and that, my friend, is nothing to play with, Point blank.
Martialforce.com: You and I have many Great Martial Artists acquaintances, friends in common. Would you describe your relationship with my Goju Karate Teacher, the late Grand Master Fred Miller?
ERNEST HYMAN II: We were friends on the Dojo floor, combatants in the ring. An experience that I will always cherish.
Martialforce.com: Can you give us some account of fighting Fred Miller?
ERNEST HYMAN II: We fought on several occasions and each time we fought it was a learning experience. There was no stop in the action, and every technique had to be economical and highly effective to stop the other’s attack or to score a point. When we hit each other there was usually great pain incurred, as opposed to the present time competition, where there is only tapping and ineffective techniques.
Martialforce.com: What about fighting Errol Bennett?
ERNEST HYMAN II: I never fought Errol Bennett, who is known as a fierce and technical fighter, but he has always entered my tournaments that I sponsored.
Martialforce.com: What is your relationship with the Legendary Aaron Banks?
ERNEST HYMAN II: My teacher. He is the best teacher I ever had.
Martialforce.com: What principles have you learned from him?
ERNEST HYMAN II: Mr. Banks is my mentor, my teacher and my friend and he inspired me to open my own school and become the teacher that I am today. To teach Goju as an Art and as a Martial Art containing techniques that could save one’s life when needed.
Martialforce.com: Do you continue your friendship with Hanshi Peter Flores Sr- Soul-Ki?
ERNEST HYMAN II: Yes. I visit his dojo at least once or twice a month. We are in constant communication with each other. I have him on my speed dial. Relationships within and outside the Goju System is important to keep up with new teaching improvements, and sharing of knowledge and expertise, Something that is no longer practiced by the new generation of martial artists.
Martialforce.com: Do you continue friendship with the Legendary Wildcat Molina?
ERNEST HYMAN II: Yes, I see him two or three times a month. In the family of Martial Arts, staying in touch and sharing with each other is a very important aspect.
Martialforce.com: Do you feel that Martial Arts plated an important role with who you are today?
ERNEST HYMAN II: Yes, the Martial Arts training has not only trained my body but my way of thinking and my approach to success in handling ant situation in life.
Martialforce.com: What have you gained from the practice of Martial Arts?
ERNEST HYMAN II: Physical fitness and self confidence, that's a start.
Martialforce.com: How has your Martial Arts training help you achieve your goals?
ERNEST HYMAN II: Martial Arts is my life, I have become Martial Science. Martial Arts is a reflection of what you learned. Martial science is what you know.
1st Phase is Karate
2nd Phase is Martial Arts
3rd and final phase is Martial science and you must experience all phases in that order.
Do you believe that Martial Arts training would be beneficial for children as well as adults?
ERNEST HYMAN II: Martial Arts training is beneficial to anyone who comes to learn and it is based and reflective on the teacher. If the teacher does not possess certain qualities then he can not bestow them on his students. The training in Martial Arts will put them on the that otherwise not be placed before them. It will teach them how to take care of their body. It will teach them how to become one with thier surroundings. It will teach them confidence and last but not least, it will teach them how to defend themselves. Martial Science is 10% physical and 90% mental.
Martialforce.com: What are your thought on cross training in regards to other Martial Arts styles.
ERNEST HYMAN II: It takes a lifetime to learn one system. There should be no cross training. This is not a bodybuilding gym.
Martialforce.com: What other Martial Arts styles have you trained if any?
ERNEST HYMAN II: Before I found the way, I dabbled in Kung Fu, Shotokan Karate then I found Japanese Goju.
Martialforce.com: Have you trained family members?
ERNEST HYMAN II: Yes, my entire immediate family. My sons have been trained by me and are presently teaching at the institute.
Martialforce.com: Who do you feel was your biggest influence in Karate or life in general?
ERNEST HYMAN II: East Side Kids, The Bowery Boys, The Brooklyn Gang. The character's name was Mugs McGinnus whoshowed many great leadership traits. His influence and learning about leadership helped me to get into Karate in order to be the leader of my own gang, which in the course of learning the art to be the best. I never had the chance to form an outlaw gang but on the other hand I joined the gang of Martial Arts family and my personal gang is formed by my students of the Martial Arts.
Martialforce.com: Have you ever met and trained with Grand Master Urban?
ERNEST HYMAN II: I met him and had conversations with him. He was a very intelligent man. I also visited his dojo , he was one of my teachers teacher but I never trained with him.
Martialforce.com: Do you think tradition is important or having a lagacy?
ERNEST HYMAN II: Yes tradition gives you the foundation to work from. A legacy shows that you were a constructive part of society and made contributions. You need to achieve and and have something constructive to pass down to your children and mankind.
What do you think about rank in the Martial Arts and the current practice of fast and advanced promotions and do you believe youngsters (12-20)years old should hold the rank of Sandan (Third Degree Black Belt)?
I think rank is given out too easily and for the wrong reason. A person can buy their rank for $1800 now. You can get rank off the internet. Many people have ranks and wear belts and they don't even know the meaning of the belt. You have some wearing Judo belts thinking its a Karate belt, everybody and their Mothers are wearing Renshi belts. You have children running around with second degree and third degree. Thats like giving a child a loaded gun. A black belt is a representation of responsibility, power and achievement and these kids possess neither. That's not even addressing the Knowledge that it takes to become a true black belt.
Martialforce.com: What would you say is your greatest achievement?
ERNEST HYMAN II: Having a school operational for over 30 years; being funded by City and State Educations Department for thirteen years. Mine is the first Martial Arts school to ever do so.
Martialforce.com: What are your long term goals?
ERNEST HYMAN II: To build a Martial Arts Center where all great teachers can come together under one roof and display their styles, techniques and lineage. We can have a place to call our own where we dont have to rent like Madison Square Garden, Colisium or Hilton to hold a benefit, tournament or an extravaganza show.
Martialforce.com: Are you involved in any Martial Arts association?
ERNEST HYMAN II: I belong to the Okinawan Federation of Martial Science, Shihan Roseberry, a direct descendent of Seikichi Toguchi.
Martialforce.com: Do you still continue to train and teach and where is your dojo located?
ERNEST HYMAN II: Yes I continue to train and teach and my Dojo is located on 240 East 109th Street, 3rd floor, New York New York.
Martialforce.com: What would you share with other Martial Artist especially younger Martial Artist?
ERNEST HYMAN II: Whatever my experience has given me I would give back.
Martialforce.com: Please do not be shy about telling us anything else about Martial Arts path, friend, training, influences or projects you may be involved with etc...
ERNEST HYMAN II: I would just like to see more unity between the teachers. There is no discipline, there is no respect; there's no acknowledgement not for rank but for the time put in. There is not respect for age and wisdom. There should be more publications for those who are worthy of such recognition so that others can know who they are, what they have done and what they represent.
Additionally, the ethnic Martial Arts is getting no exposure whatsoever. As quiet as it's kept we the ethnic community are the holders and the founders of the wisdom of the Martial Science. before China was even China we occupied that province for over 4,000 years. (Check our the first Emperor on youtube).
Martialforce.com: On behalf of Martialforce.com Online Martial Arts Magazine, personally and on behalf of all our loyal readers I would like to thank Ernest Hyman II, Grand Master for his gracious participation and sharing of his life and Martial Arts experiences with us.