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You Owe Me $35.00

This afternoon, someone reminded me of this martial arts organization that used to be based out of the East Bay, near San Francisco, a number of years ago. Well, I guess they’re still around, in some form, but they no longer hold and/or use the very established Korean organizational title that they once possessed. What happened, I have no idea??? But, them’s the facts…
 
Anyway… I was teaching a course at Cal., (University of California, Berkeley), in the later 1990s. I would fly up there each week to teach the class. On a number of occasions, I would drop by their studio, speak to the daughter of the president of the organization, who was very nice and forthcoming with the truth about a lot of the realities of what was going on in the Korean martial arts, both here and in Korea, at that time, and sometimes I would watch the classes that they taught. She was also the one who handled the organizational membership stuff.
 
I met the president of the organization and stuff like that. Seemed like a good guy. He thought it was interesting that my 7
th dan Korean Hapkido Federation ID Card had Australia on it, not the U.S. But, that’s where I was practicing when I receive that rank advancement. I had never really thought that much about it…
 
Anyway… On one of the later times I was there, the daughter suggested that I join their organization. Sure, I thought. Why not? Her father was one of the recognized first-generation Korean born masters, their association held one of the most established names there was in the Korean martial arts, and they operated the organization, actually based in Korea, from their studio in the East Bay. Meaning, they were so close. …Well, like five hundred miles from L.A. But, you know what I mean. Mostly, I would be able to easily communicate with them, which is something that was and still is not easy to do with the organizations based in South Korea.
 
When I got home, I filled out the form she gave me and sent in a check for the $35.00 membership fee. But then, nothing. I never heard from her again.
 
My teaching assignment was over, so I wasn’t flying into SF each week. Well, I was actually flying into Oakland, as that airport is so much calmer than SFO. When I did go up there, it seemed no one was around at their studio. Time went on and I kind of forgot about the $35.00 and joining their organization. But, I was reminded of it today.
 
In the years following that, I heard from a number of people about them having problems with their membership, their certificates from the organization, and stuff. But, for someone like me, who has been around since the birth of the Korean martial arts in American, I knew this was nothing new and paid it little mind.
 
Time has gone on; decades, in fact. I don’t really know what became of the man, (the president), his daughter, her brother who was teaching the classes, and the organization itself. I wonder if mismanagement had anything to do with their being removed from their prestigious place in the Korean organizational hierarchy? …That’s not throwing a shot or anything, because I truly liked everyone I met there very much. Just a question?
 
It's kind of a funny thing, I think… Organizations and all that… In my lifetime, even some of the biggest martial art organizations have come and gone. Then, what did their all-powerful, certified certificate issuance actually mean? The president of the biggest Taekwondo organization in the world actually did time for some of his wrong doings in getting Taekwondo into the Olympics. A million years ago, I met the man, had dinner with the man, seemed like a good guy. He even signed a couple of my certificates. So, what does that/this all mean? Like I have long believed, one-on-one teaching, learning, and certification is the best form of martial art advancement. You know the person. They know you. What better method of interpersonal knowledge is there than that? And, what does a piece of paper actually mean anyway? Pretty much anyone can print one now. I’ve known a lot of martial artists, who’ve claimed a whole lot of stuff, based on a piece of paper they possessed. But, were they actually making the world a better place or were they just riding their ego?  
 
I don’t know about you, but don’t you hate it when someone sucks you in, takes your money, and then you end up with nothing? …Nothing, except a blog like this.
 
Anyway… Just some thoughts and remembrances broadcast out to the world. But hey, you owe me $35.00! Happy