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NAJJA Newsletter - Volume 1 Issue 2

NAJJA Newsletter
In This Issue
Sensei Frank Gorman talks about vaccinations against COVID-19
In a one-on-one interview held this past July, Sensei Gorman answers questions submitted by NAJJA members from all corners of North America.
Sensei Gorman did not know the names of the students that submitted the questions until reading them here. In this issue, we present four of the questions and their answers. No matter your rank we think you will find the interview enlightening.
Upcoming issues of the NAJJA Newsletter will have more questions and answers by Sensei Gorman. If you have any questions for Sensei Gorman, please email them to
Also in this issue…
Sensei Rubert Ward writes about competitions in which his Louisiana dojo recently competed. Congratulations to Sensei Ward and all of his students that participated!
As of today, Hurricane Ida has passed through Louisiana and we would like to let our members know that Sensei Ward, Rebecca Lyles, and their dojos remained safe from the storm.
We’ve added a new, reoccurring section to the newsletter. “From the Archives” will showcase photographs from various koshukai through the years. If you were there, chances are you will show up here. Pictures in this issue are from 2016.

NAJJA Dojo Directory Updates
The NAJJA website has long held a directory of all NAJJA-affiliated instructors/dojos. Currently, the association is updating the information on that page to ensure that it is current.
If you are listed in the directory, please let us know if the contact information is correct. Also, please inform us if there are instructors/dojos that are not listed and should be. Requests for any edits can be sent to
An Interview with Sensei Frank Gorman, Part 1
Sensei Frank Gorman
Sensei Frank Gorman
conducted by Robert Kaiser 
During a recent trip to New Haven, I had the pleasure of sitting down with Sensei Frank Gorman for an informal interview. The conversation lasted well over an hour, with Sensei Gorman answering with replies that were candid and inspiring. The transcript could easily fill multiple newsletters and will be included as installments in coming issues.
While the majority of the questions for Sensei Gorman had been provided to me by students from across North America, I started by asking him one of my own about something that is on everyone’s minds: COVID-19.
Robert Kaiser - 8th dan; Mount Vernon, NY:
Sensei, we all practice karate as a way to better our lives, become better human beings, and improve our health. We keep religion and politics out of the dojo - this is one of the most important tenents of our dojo lives. COVID-19 is a health issue and not a religious or political one, which is the only reason I bring it up. As teachers and dojo owners, do we have a responsibility to care for our students’ and members’ health and safety?
Absolutely, yes.
Are you vaccinated?
How do you feel about vaccinations for COVID-19?
I think everybody should get vaccinated.
Peter Basch - 4th dan; Washington, DC:
Master Gorman, at what point in your training did you know that Uechi Ryu would be a central focus of your life’s journey - was there one thing in particular that grabbed your attention and “hooked you” on this Okinawan style?
At first, it was George Mattson’s book “The Way of Karate”. It was different from other karate books. It wasn’t so much a book about punching and kicking.
After starting training I eventually went to Japan and Okinawa. It was on that first trip that Mr. Ryukyu Tomoyose met us at the airport and took my teacher, Charlie Earle, and me to his house. He wanted to see what we had learned. He then showed us his Sanchin and it blew me away. He was so fast and strong, and his kata was beautiful. He Then took us to see master Uechi Kanei to “fix” us. Mr. Uechi watched our Sanchin and invited us to return the next day for practice.
Bob Miessau - 6th dan; Bozeman, Montana:
Sensei, I’m turning 60 this year. Please share any insights you have on how our training should evolve as we age.
Probably it is the same answer of how you should train when you are 30 or even 20. Don’t abuse your body. Train sensibly. Train smart. And take care of your health.
Mike Harrigan - 8th dan; Egremont, Massachusetts:
Frank, do you see a correlation between the evolution of an individual’s Uechi training and his or her life’s journey? For example, as we develop patience, focus, spiritual concentration in our training, are we simultaneously developing them in our daily lives? Are we becoming one with our training?
The answer is absolutely “yes”.
Ryan Dean - 8th dan, NAJJA President; Largo, Florida:
If you could go back in time, what might you have changed about your training?
That’s a tough question. I think that I would have, I felt that I was too egotistical to see the forest for the trees, to really understand what I was really doing, what I was really learning through my martial arts experience. The thing I would change is I would put my ego in my back pocket and just study the art for art’s sake.
I moved up in the ranks very fast, and I don’t think that was good for my ego. I wish I had been more humble during my early years of practicing.
Louisiana Dojo Represents at Local Tournaments
by Rubert Ward
Earlier in the summer, students from the Mushindo Martial Arts dojo of Cottonport, Louisiana, under the direction of Sensei Rubert Ward, represented Jiteki-Jyuku/Uechi Ryu at two local tournaments: the Annual Mushindo Martial Arts In-House Tournament and the Louisiana Governor’s Games Martial Art Championship.
On Saturday, May 1, 2021, Mushindo Martial Arts held its 3rd Annual Mushindo Martial Arts In-House Tournament, an event exclusively for Uechi Ryu students. A total of 27 students competed in the following divisions: Dragons division (3-6 years), Tigers Division (7-12 years), and Cranes Division (12 – 14 years). Tournament events consisted of Empty hand kata, Sparring, Weapons kata, Chambra, Synchronized forms, Padded sword, and Parent & Student (Empty Hands Kata or Weapons Kata). The students were excited to demonstrate their skills in front of family and friends. The tournament admission fee was 2 cans of food or non-perishable items which were donated to a local food bank.
The Louisiana Governor’s Games Martial Arts Championships was held on Saturday, June 12, 2021, and fifteen students from Mushindo Martial Arts made the trip to Shreveport, Louisiana to participate. Tournament events included: Kata Forms, Weapons Forms, Musical Forms, Synchronized Forms, Sparring, Padded Swords, Grappling, Special Olympics Division, and Senior Division. Age groups ranged from Mighty Mites (5 & under) to Adults, and various styles of martial arts were represented by competitors from Texas, Mississippi, and Louisiana. The students from Mushindo Martial Arts were awarded numerous trophies/awards and were proud to represent their dojo and association at such a prestigious event.
From the Archives
This issue’s From the Archives photos are of the 2016 koshukai held at Ryan Dean’s Largo, Florida dojo, and come courtesy of Robert Kaiser. In the photographs the students are practicing ‘framing’ blocks as taught by NAJJA technical advisor, Geoff Crouse.
If you have photos from past koshukai or other NAJJA events that you’d like to share with the association, please contact
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North American Jiteki-Jyuku Association
North American Jiteki-Jyuku Association

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