The Quiet Man

“To see as far as one may and to feel the great forces that are behind every detail…to hammer out as complete and solid a piece of work as one can, to try to make it first rate, and to leave it unadvertised.” -Oliver Wendell Holmes

John Roseberry-Shihan officially started Roseberry’s Martial Arts Center in 1972, and since then he has built a world-wide organization, and he’s earned a powerful reputation as a true martial artist. He is continually sought out by people who want to be associated with him, and he’s always receiving awards. He has accomplished all of this without ever advertising himself. For the most part, he doesn’t even like to advertise our school.  When we teach classes to students outside the school, he allows us to give people flyers if they ask for them, but we are not supposed to just hand them out, or try to sell the dojo.

He’s been offered a lot of money to write books, but so far he has refused to do so because he feels like that “cheapens” the art. He’s not in it for the money, and he probably would not charge dues at all if it didn’t cost to run the dojo. We often have students who cannot afford to pay, but he lets everyone train anyway (as long as you give him the courtesy of letting him know).

He has been literally begged by people within the organization to make and sell videos, but he has no interest. He tried it once, releasing a couple of videos that were meant strictly for organization students, and someone decided to upload portions of them to the internet, so now he restricts access to them. Whether you agree with his viewpoint or not, you have to respect him for sticking to what he believes in, when so many others succumb to the temptation to “sell out”.  He feels as though protecting the integrity of his teaching is more important than exposing himself to a larger audience, and that videos are too one-dimensional to be of real value, unless you are already receiving the same teaching on the floor.

One of the reasons I devote so much of my time and energy to Roseberry’s Sho-Rei-Shobu-Kan is the people who call it home. I feel blessed to be surrounded not only by quality teachers, but quality human beings. I know that if I ever have a question, or problem, or I need help, there’s always someone I can turn to. Not only about martial arts, but anything in life. They say that “like attracts like”, and I believe the number of wonderful people who have been training with Shihan for so long, some since even before hombu dojo was officially founded, goes to show the heart of the man himself.

One of the best things about Shihan is that no matter how many accolades and awards he receives, he never wants it to be about him, he actually dislikes being referred to as something like “Grandmaster”.  He’s a quiet man who just wants to spread the life-changing power of the martial arts to as many people as he can, while still remaining true to his ideals and tradition. He almost never shows up to accept any of the awards he’s given, he usually just sends a senior student in his place. A couple of months ago when he was honored by the Martial Arts Hall of Fame, he finally agreed to go personally to accept the award. His son Tim filmed it, and I made this video to capture that rare moment.

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4 comments on “The Quiet Man

  1. Was that Abe Vigoda?Shihan doesn't like the title "Master" because he says you can't be a master of anything while you're still alive. There's always more to learn.

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