Written by Franklin Puello

Online Magazine

The 2011 MARTIAL ARTS CHALLENGE", hosted by Grand Master ERNEST HYMAN II, and MASTER ERNEST HYMAN III, on 10/9/2011, at JHS 117, 240 E. 109 Street NYC, turned out to be a great organized and run Tournament for the enjoyment of the participant, the audience, and the Senior Grand Masters present in support.

Although this was an openly advertised event, many of the area's Martial Artists, for various reasons, were not in attendance in support or as competitors. In fact, there was a time when there were more senior Masters in support than actual competitors. Although with great understanding for circumstances and the present fiscal situation many of us face, this fact has made me very Curious, and prompts me to ask questions and make statements based on my observations and personal opinions.

Why is it that at some tournaments there is a very large crowd gathering in attendance and competition and not in others? Why is it that Martial Arts Organizations are keeping their membership from competing in Open Tournaments, when the learning and sharing would be magnified? Have we forgotten that by not supporting other's events we garnish their support for our own events?. That we represent ourselves and market our trade mark for recognition and future support?. That we demonstrate our strong commitment to the sharing in Budo, not just in our Dojo but in the wide world? It is time to overlook our perceived differences and start noting our similarities. This is what will keep The Martial Arts Community strong. Together in an unbreakable bond that will last a lifetime.

Well then, with time this Tournament got on the way with many competitors' delayed arrival. The Divisions were small in the number of competitors, but GM Hyman continued the production of a great Tournament, with a very closed and comfortable feeling, providing the competitors present with a magnificent arena for displaying their hard earned skills for competition in Empty Hand Kata, Weapons Kata, Self Defense, Kumite, and Continuous Kumite.

Another "Treat of a Lifetime" for the competitors, Parents and friends in attendance was the fact that the competitors were to display their skills in front of Judging Panel formed by supporting Senior Masters as: Errol Bennett, Peter Flores Sr., Chester Miller, Wes Geter, Phillip Mcrae, Derrick Williams, Lauren Bayne, T Dalton, Maxwell, Gerald Gaylor, Alfred Hinds, Hector Delgado, Dave Thomas, Halbert Lee, and many others. Just mentioning some of the names in attendance sends chills through my skin. I was really tempted to go to my car, don my GI, and enter competition just to have the experience (once again) to be Watched, Judged, Analyzed and Taught afterward as the humble student I am by these Great and Influential Martial Arts Masters which would lead to making further improvements and reviewing lessons in Principles and Performance.

In the continuous Kumite Division we were treated to the most enduring and controlled fighting seen in a very long time. In this division the fighters were to engaged in Continuous Kumite for 3 long minutes per round in a 2 Round fight. this length of time really tested the training, endurance, and determination of each fighter. All of the contestants faced the challenge with honor and courage, engaging in their fight with determination and respect for the opponent. During and after the eliminations ended, truly there was no One Winner, all the participant were winners by virtue of their display of techniques, endurance, control and respect. I personally commend all the participants.

During and after each competition, and as I made observations throughout the Gymnasium, Senior Masters were spotted engaged in conversation with youngsters in attendance being imparted knowledge of principles and techniques in Karate-Do. This Tournament turned out to be a Tournament for competition and a Seminar where we all received direct and indirect instructions from the Senior Masters regarding Kata- principles, techniques, philosophy; Kumite-training, Winning techniques; Budo-Philosophy, Reishiki, Evolution. Youngsters were specifically instructed further into the mental and physical aspect of competition. How training should propel one not only physically, but mentally to deal with stressful situations and remain calm, how discipline in Karate training should also be used for school, work and at home with family and friends; approaching the beginning of competition when one's name is called, etc. and the youngsters were very receptive and appeared to love the glamor of associating one-on-one with the Senior Masters. I had a great time sharing with this very close knit brotherhood of Martial Artists.

Domo Arigato!!