AN ARTICLE ON
2011 The Gathering II. Meeting of The Masters
Written by Franklin Puello
Greetings Martial Artists, especially on the East Coast. My name is Franklin Puello and since I have been contributing to the spread of Budo through Martialforce.com, The Best Online Martial Arts Magazine ever. I have been honored to have had the opportunity to publish on events, great people and Dojo's (Training Hall) depicting accounts that demonstrate the high level of professionalism. The great Karate-Do teaching, and the eternal brotherhood forged in the spirit of Budo that exists in the Martial Arts World.
I take this opportunity to share with you with some details of this now Traditional Gathering of The Masters. The Gathering came about one and a half years ago, when in conversation with my great friend, and Great Martial Arts Master Billy Beason he mentioned he was traveling to the East Coast for a visit. In three way conversations, and coordination with Master Derrick Williams we decided that it had been too many years in between our friendship and brotherhood forged in battles through the early 70’s and 80’s in the tournament circuit, and it was about time we continued and re-establish our brotherhood bond. For this end we planned a meeting to share a meal, animated conversation and good times. In the spirit of Budo the three decided that we could not be selfish and keep this to ourselves. We made a decision to open it up and share with many others and started to place phone calls and send E-mails inviting them to attend.
The 2010 Gathering took place in Manhattan, New York and was attended by my wife Sensei Luz, Grand Master Sam McGee, Master Jerry Fontanez, Billy Beason and his son Jarred, my wife Luz’ best friend Ms. Fox, Master Derrick Williams and I, encompassing a group of Martial Artists with a Legacy that transcended Three Generations. This Gathering was dubbed the Gathering of Masters, and after the 2010 The Gathering in review was published, many more Martial Artists of the era expressed desire to be in attendance the following year.
In this October 1, 2011, the 2011 Gathering II event was set in a restaurant located in The Bronx, NY and although in conflict with another event scheduled, The Latino Unidos Martial Arts Society (LUMAS) Awards Dinner, which caused many more to be absent, The Gathering II was very well attended. Some in the Elite group of Martial Artists sharing this great occasion were: Master Bill Beason, his cousin Karen Bishop and her son Chris Bishop, Sensei Luz, Master Lauren Bayne, Master Derrick Williams, Master Phil McRae, Master Mychal “Look Up” Sledge, Master Andre “Juggernaut” Richardson, Master Malcolm Livingston, Master Masters Kevin and Kerry Garris (The “Fred Hamilton’s Twins”), Master Abdul Aziz, Master Ray Valencia, Master Bill Foster…In describing this Gathering of Masters II and to describe the emotions and love shared by the common bond of The Martial Arts, I will say this: The Gathering exhibited a more than just a friendly spirit, brotherly love was apparent and shared by one and all. From the first arrival big hugs and loud greetings were exchanged, fast and furious conversations were immediately established making it difficult for the next arriving Masters to interject and exchange greetings. While one was engaged with the initial friend met, another Master literally pulled you away to hug and greet with the same or greater enthusiasm denoting great love and affection. After spending more than an hour exchanging greetings and short conversations, while circulating through the Group we all, some what, settled to share a meal continuing to share memories of great times in training and competition; We also shared memories learning kicking and punching, and most important of all Principles that applied to the development of the person from each other and from, directly and indirectly, Legendary Teachers/ Pioneers as Leon “Major” Wallace, Fred Hamilton, Abdul Musawiir, Thomas LaPuppet, Errol Bennet, Fred Miller, Reno Morales, Lamar Thorton, Peter Urban, Etc.Master Billy Beason then shared that Master Kevin Thompson (Lil. KA) would not be in attendance, but added that: On Friday there was a 4 hr. meeting One on One between: Apollo and Rocky”- (Kevin Thompson and Billy Beason). “Kevin is like Apollo, Flashy and Strong… Beason like Rocky… just a Brute with a little style… Billy Beason said " I would never admit it before but always thought of Kevin Thomson as Half man, Half amazing."
This meeting between Giants in the Martial Arts did happen, and was an event where not a single blow was exchanged, but it was reported that “Numerous hugs exchanged, did not come even close to grappling…” Billy ended by, emotionally, stating “What a great weekend for me…”Master Billy Beason, it may have been a Great weekend for you, but at the same time you offered us a lifetime of sharing in continuance of a brotherhood forged on the Blood, Sweat and Tears in following the Discipline and Principles of true KARATE- DO.
One and all promised to continue supporting this simple tradition making efforts to make it grow into a more frequent occurrence, and departed. Until we meet again, very soon, my Brothers- my Friends… OSSU!