This past weekend two of my training partners and I were inducted into the USA Martial Arts Hall of Fame. It was a weekend of seminars, system evaluations and the induction banquet. I typically avoid ceremonies like this but this one was different. I was nominated by the teacher who got me back into martial arts as an adult and awarded me my first black belt. I felt especially honored to be nominated by my teacher and to be inducted with two of my training partners, people who have accomplished much more than me in martial arts even though they are both 20 years my junior.
The seminars were taught by members of the Hall of Fame. They were from a variety of styles and exposed us to a lot of different techniques. The teachers were very knowledgeable and were excited about teaching us. They went over the techniques in detail and gave us the opportunity to ask questions. Many of the teachers gave us their contact information. They were all very approachable. After meeting the members of the hall of fame, I feel even more motivated to continue training. The exposure to other styles piqued my interest in the martial arts even more and I have been drilling the techniques I learned in the seminars.
I also had the opportunity to observe a board of senior black belts evaluate two instructors on the merits of their systems and their skill in executing the techniques of their systems. Members of the board asked the candidates questions, had them perform their techniques then challenged them on the techniques. Once the evaluation was over, the board closed the test and met to discuss the candidates’ performance. I had only experienced school belt tests in the past. It was fascinating to see the board evaluation.
The induction ceremony was inspiring. There were people recognized for 40+ years of training; for excellence in their disciplines and other accomplishments. I know the accomplishments of my training partners, who were nominated with me and after hearing the accomplishments of others being honored, I feel that I need to grow into the award. I am writing this article in gratitude to my instructor Sabunim Adam Rylski; with honor to have been nominated with my accomplished training partners, Alberto Torres and Jason Thigpen; and with humility to be included in an organization with many accomplished martial artists. I typically feel uncomfortable with public recognition and this article was hard for me to write. For me the honor comes more from the thought that my teacher wanted to nominate me than from the certificate on the wall.
Thank you Sabunim Adam Rylski, founder of the Assembly of the Martial Arts Academy for nominating me and thank you to the organizers of the USA Martial Arts Hall of Fame for organizing an event that brings together so many martial artists in the spirit of camaraderie and excellence.