AN INTERVIEW WITH
SENSEI DENNIS VERZI
AUG / 2014
Articles posted since the onset of the Martialforce.com Online Magazine publications, have crossed all boundaries in the Martial Arts, profiling many from the great diversity pool in Martial Arts Systems or Styles. We endeavored to and have portrayed the training, contributions to the Martial Arts communities, the professionalism and heightened levels of physical, personal and professional achievements by the many Martial Artists interviewed since early date.
We do not solely, select, ask or identify our Martial Artists by their "Karate" prowess, Ranking and standing in any Organization, their achievements in Tournament Competition, or any media coverage past or present. We endeavor to present to our Martial Arts and Non-Martial Arts readers and followers, Individuals who have transcended the proverbial thought of Karate Do as Just Kicking and Punching.
Hi, my name is Franklin Puello, a contributor to the mission and vision of this Online Magazine, and with this in mind and in continuance of this magazine’s mission, with a look away from Kicking and Punching, I introduce to you, Dennis Verzi, Sensei, who is also the prominent Chief Operating Officer of Catholic Health Services of Long Island (CHSLI), administering the Catholic Hospitals of Long Island.
Dennis Verzi, can be described as an eminent member of our Society, of great heart and desire to help others, a Member of our Martial Arts family who falls in the spectrum of those who have and continue participation in The Martial Art attributing, in great part, personal and professional growth and success to his Martial Arts involvement. Master Verzi has, for all his Life, exemplified Excellence through the Martial Arts and has unwittingly become a Role Model forged within the study and practice of Principles and Skills contained in Karate-Do, that now Master Verzi shares with us.
Martialforce.com: Greetings Mr. Verzi, and thank you for your indulgence and unreserved participation and contribution to Martialforce.com Online Martial Arts Magazine by taking some of your time to speak with me.
The Online Magazine Martialforce.com interviews, always demonstrated through the interviewees’ stories and documentation that The Martial Arts unlike any other activity (Sport) enhances the overall Person, and that The Martial Arts have made a great contribution into their lives; personal and professional successes, including the lives and successes of others they have taught.
We have always heard the cliché in Sports, that Sports develops Character and by now the over-used phrase holds no meaning at all, and no thought is given to what is being said, it’s meaning, or resonance and neither do the children, youngsters, and adults engaging in any Sports activities.
Martialforce.com: I have always been of the belief, and glad you are in agreement, that The Martial Arts, Unlike Any other "Sport" (for lack of better term and since I do not consider Karate a Sport) in fact develops Character, by the most profound definition of The Do= The Way- A Way of Life, Journey to accomplish the Total building of the Person; and as per Encarta Dictionary: the set of qualities that make somebody or something distinctive, especially somebody's qualities of mind and feeling.
DENNIS VERZI: Thank you for your consideration.
I have found that limited research has been done on the great effect The Martial Arts have in the practitioner’s personal and professional success and development, and the great number of success stories within the Martial Arts Community, but I am a firm believer that The Martial Arts like no other life activity leads its practitioners into a path of Greater personal, spiritual, and professional development than just about any other activity or Sport.
Martialforce.com: Where were you born?
DENNIS VERZI: I was born in Manhattan, NY, but grew up in The Bronx.
Martialforce.com: How would you describe the area of New York, The Bronx, where you did grow up in?
DENNIS VERZI: I grew up in what was considered a very "rough" area of the Bronx, which naturally elicited and prompted, at an early age, a sense of Survival and an interest in Asian Arts.
Martialforce.com: What is your current occupation?
DENNIS VERZI: A long time employee of Catholic Health Services, I was appointed Chief Operating Officer (COO), effective July 1, 2013.
Martialforce.com: Note as per Long Island Business News.com, Master Verzi has gained notoriety for his great service in Healthcare, reporting in 2012 "Dennis Verzi, who will serve as the Rockville Centre (Long Island) - based health system’s first COO, was promoted from his current post as Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer at St. Catherine of Siena Medical Center, a CHS facility in Smithtown, and interim Executive Vice President, President and CEO for three CHS facilities – St. Catherine, Good Samaritan and St. Charles hospitals".
Martialforce.com: When was your first introduction to The Martial Arts?
DENNIS VERZI: My first encounter occurred during my Teenage years, in the West Bronx, in search to learn skills that would be useful in everyday survival, and to satisfy curiosity with the Asian Arts, visited an Okinawan Style Dojo (School). The Style taught was Shorin Ryu
Martialforce.com: NOTE - Shōrin-ryū
Shōrin-ryūis one of the major modern Okinawan martial arts and is one of the oldest styles of karate. It was named by Choshin Chibana in 1933, but the system itself is much older. "Shōrin" is the Okinawan language pronunciation of Shaolin as in the Shaolin Temple of China. "Ryu" means "style". Shōrin-ryū combines elements of the traditional Okinawan fighting styles of Shuri-te.
DENNIS VERZI: My teacher was Charles Bonet. Do you know Sensei Bonet?
Martialforce.com: With a laugh I responded that I know Charles Bonet, Grand Master, for as far back as when I started learning and training in Karate Do, meeting him at Bronx Community College in 1974 when I first walked into a Karate class, when he was a member of a Great Martial Arts Club and Karate Team including my teacher Fred Miller, and Errol Bennett, Israel "Izzi" Massallo among many greats.; Bringing us closer in Unity within the Family in a very small world.
DENNIS VERZI: While attending College, I had the opportunity to learn and train in Tae Kwon Do with Master Lee, in the Bronx, NY.
Martialforce.com: Did you ever enter Tournament competition?
DENNIS VERZI: Not really. At the time of my Martial Arts training the importance was placed in Survival Skills. There were some inter-Dojo competition, but I was never into tournament competition
Presently I am studying Tai Ji Kwan with Jan Miller. Tai Ji Kwan is an International Chinese Art, Sun Style; and continue learning and practicing Broad Sword Forms.
Martialforce.com: What are your thoughts about the state of affairs within The Martial Arts in the present times?
DENNIS VERZI: The Arts have to adapt to the times, the persons surrounding us, self-adaptation is of paramount importance, and Principles are of even Greater importance in their application for the development of the individual, Discipline, Treatment of others, Endurance, Pacifist attitude. Most translates into: "Developing Strong Work Ethics, Preparing for the unexpected, and developing a comfort with a Flexible style of being". I consider myself a Martial Arts Purist, believing in the importance of teaching tradition, philosophy, origin of the Arts, etc. and that Commercialism of The Martial Arts has indeed damaged in some way the Arts. Kids are not getting the True value of Arts, not learning Principles that are applicable in all aspects of life and are not being taught a Value System with survival physical skills.
Martialforce.com: What is your opinion on the Martial Arts Ranking Belts System?
DENNIS VERZI: Does not mean much to me. There was a time where it symbolized Commitment, Loyalty and Respect. Presently, in my opinion, Commercialism for the sake of making money of the Arts has created acceptability to add Belts to charge money for many more promotional steps and I truly believe that Promotion or Advancement in Rank should never be Easy, nor at Quick intervals for it dilutes the essence of the Arts, diminishes Respect and understanding of Responsibilities of Rank.
Martialforce.com: Back to the subject of Martial Arts in respect to preparation for life; Do you believe The Martial Arts contribute to the Development of Self? How did The Study of The Martial Arts and examples set by teachers and others around influence you?
DENNIS VERZI:Studying and training in The Martial Arts with legitimate Teachers is most certainly beneficial in developing as a complete, responsible person. Studying and training in The Martial Arts with great Teachers, who supported parental upbringing and standards, and who pushed for higher achievements in school, work and life, and in following great parenting teaching, I developed great confidence that I could accomplish anything I desired in life, School, Career, and Personal Life. With great work ethics learned, I attended Cardinal Hayes H.S in the Bronx, Manhattan College and later attended New York University (NYU), and returned to NYU for a Graduate Degree in Physical Therapy and entering Long Island University in my successful quest for a Master Degree in Healthcare Administration.
Martialforce.com: Would you elaborate in the importance you place in The Martial Arts as it relates to your development and achievements?
DENNIS VERZI: I credit my Parents as great contributors to my development from an early age; and The Martial Arts, my Martial Arts teachers for enhancing and developing the Core Values system, made stronger with application of Martial Arts Principles, allowing me to grow and bring them into application in all facets of life.
I merge all my learnings into the Corporate World, practicing and as a Manager teaching Non Aggressiveness, Respect, Conflict management to resolve issues while upholding dignity and respect, maintaining motivation and having the stamina needed to perform at high levels, social justice and fairness to all, and most of us The control to Avoid verbally or physically abusing or hurting anyone whether at work or home.
Martialforce.com: So Teaching and Sharing values and respect is something one can learn in the Martial Arts?
DENNIS VERZI: Teaching and Sharing of values and respect are among the many great things one can learn in The Martial Arts. One also learns to be responsible for own actions, and to be considerate of others around us at all time. In the Martial Arts I learned to absorb knowledge, refine it, and teach it to others in order to help them enhance their value, something that as a Manager in the Corporate World I utilize all the time.
Martialforce.com: Is there anything else that The Martial Arts has provided?
DENNIS VERZI: In the tradition and teachings of Martial Arts Principles of Old, I have learned consideration for others and sharing my growth with the Community. "I truly believe in staying connected and helping the community. In the past, I was an active member of the HIV/AIDS council for the City of Yonkers and served on the Board of Directors of my parish".
Martialforce.com: Master Verzi presently serves the community as part of the Police Auxiliary for the City of Long Beach, and holds the Rank of Commissioner, "Keeping connected and helping with the community is an important part of his vision".
Martialforce.com and I personally, thank Master Dennis Verzi for sharing his precious time with us in continuance of the magazine’s efforts to display and propagate the strength of The Martial Arts, always emphasizing that The Martial Arts are Much More than Just Kicking and Punching.
Thanks to all our readers and followers for your continue support, and keeping the Essence of Karate DO intact and in flow with daily lives.