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Paul Herbert 5th Dan
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Good Things Come in Small Packages

Sensei Tom O’Brien has over 36 yrs. Experience in the Martial Arts.  Rated 4th Nationally in kumite by the AAU Karate Committee - 1981.  Maintaining a small, humble, dojo called the Ronin Martial Arts Club for over 35 yrs.  We teach Vee-Jitsu as was founded by Prof. Florendo Visitation (Prof. Vee) and as was taught by Prof. James Powers of the Samurai Vee-Jitsu Club in Richmond Hill, Queens, NY.  We teach Ju-Jitsu, Judo, Karate, self defense, Tae Kwon Do, Arnis, boxing & kick boxing.  We create AAU Karate champions.  Sensei Tom is an ‘R’ rated AAU official.  Sensei recently won gold medals in kata & kobudo at the AAU tournament at Hawthorne HS, Hawthorne, NJ, on 9/10/06.  Ben won a bronze medal for kumite in the Intermediate Division also.  It was a small but well run tournament.  The AAU has local, State, Regional & National tournaments & the competitors must qualify to move up.  The officials are tested & ranked to insure the best quality judging.  The tournaments are run with respect worthy of the ‘old tradition’ martial arts.

We entered the FIMA Fall Classic karate tournament 11/19/06.  Rich Faustini of the Faustini Institute of Martial Arts runs a good show.  There were 250 competitors & we were out before 2:30pm.  Daniel Weiss, 8 yrs. Old took 2nd pl. in kata & self defense.  I took 2nd pl. in kata.  There was no 45 & over div. so I competed against young & old.  There were 10 black belts in my div.  My brown belt competed in the advanced div. for the 1st time.  He came in 4th.  He beat a red belt & was disqualified for contact in a fight with a black belt.  It was a backfist that barely touched the headgear.  I would have given a warning & moved on.  They are very strict with the contact.  It’s partly my fault.  In my dojo there is no such thing as ‘no contact’.  Another green belt came in 4th in kumite.  Out of 7 competitors we took home 3 trophies.  The important thing is that the students learn & Vee-Jitsu & the Ronin Martial Arts Club is respected in the tournament circuit.

We went to the AAU Karate Tournament on 12/10/06. Six of us went & we took 7 silver medals. I’m so proud of everybody that my head can’t fit thru the door. I won 2 medals in the old man’s division in kata & kobudo. It’s the 1st time I did Bo. I worked my butt off on that Bo form & I felt good because I did not make any mistakes. The 48 yr. old guy from TKD, Tom (who trained with me for about 2 mos. now) won one in kumite. Tom lost to a 6th deg. Black belt in his 2nd tournament ever. The red belt, Josh from TKD who came with me from my friend’s Dojang won one in kumite in the 17/18 yr. old, advanced div. he lost to a black belt national champ. Steve my brown belt won 1 ea. in kumite & kata in the advanced division. My son Ben, a purple belt, won 1 in kumite. He knocked out a green belt with a mawashi geri to the solar plexus & beat a black belt. Tournaments can be very crazy. Ben folded up this green belt so that he took about 5 mins. To recover & didn’t even get a point for it. When I said “He should get a point for that.” his family & friends asked me why. I responded “Because he hit him with a clean shot that’s why!” That same green belt won the div. Isn’t that nuts? Anyway it doesn’t matter because I told Ben “Look, if it was a real fight there would not have been any referee to give him 5 mins. to recover.” The important thing is he discovered his gyaku zuki & he admitted that he should also be doing kata.
The martial arts are so wild sometimes. After the tournament I went home, took a shower & went straight to a wedding. Wow, talk about culture shock. One minute I’m in the middle of the chaos of a tournament & the next minute I’m in this really fancy wedding dressed in a monkey suit. I feel like a fish out of water. Then I find out this 23 yr. old girl, black belt wants to go back into training & she wants to train with me. Then my wife, who hasn’t worked out with me for 2 years, says to me that if Rachel comes then she is going to come back too. My wife was a yellow belt on the verge of becoming a green belt when she quit. So Rachel never showed up but my wife is back working out with me.  Every Friday we get up early and work out.  My Dojo is in my house so this is easy.  We work out for 45 minutes non stop.  We do hundreds of punches & kicks, push-ups, sit ups & leg raises.  Devorah is into losing weight and getting in shape so it’s like Tai Bo or Karobics.  She also wants to come to one formal class per week.  So I said OK we have to get you a gi.  I said after all you were almost a green belt.  She said she doesn’t want to wear a gi.  Now what do I do?  Do I come down as king Sensei & tell her she has to wear a gi?  Guess what she came tonight and I did not mandate the gi.  I’m hoping she will get the gi later.  We will see.  Now tell me the martial arts aren’t nuts. I’m lovin it though. Talk about interesting!

We may be small but we are good!