Farewell to the Founding Father

Uchi Mata

Shihan started out training Judo in 1955…

I got to beat up eight kids in Karate class yesterday! Okay, I didn’t really beat them up, it was more like I got kicked in the shins a thousand times. Friday the 13th was Shihan’s final class at the Lincoln dojo, and at the end of the kids’ class, he had the adults line up on one side, and the kids on the other, then we went down the line sparring. That’s one of Shihan’s favorite drills to do with the kids, and it’s always a lot of fun. The size differences between some of the larger adults and the smaller kids makes for some interesting pairings, but I think it really helps to teach the kids one of Shihan’s favorite sayings “don’t be intimidated by anyone!”

It was somewhat emotional during the adult class yesterday, being John Roseberry-Shihan’s last time teaching in Lincoln, but we still “had a little fun” (translation: sweated a lot). At the end of class, each of the different arts in attendance performed a demo for Shihan. I found it strange that I was actually a little jealous when the Judo demo was going on, because I wanted to be out on the mat with them! However, since there was no Jiu-Jitsu demo, I guess it makes sense that I would long for the closest thing.

John Roseberry-Shihan

…but Karate quickly won his heart, and holds it to this day.

It was an honor for me to be able to stand up with the rest of the Karate black belts and demo the kata that Shihan developed, and then hear the emotion in his voice, and see the tears in his eyes when we were done. He knows he’s leaving the dojo in good hands, with teachers who have been his students for over thirty years, but walking away from it is still a hard thing for him to do. Probably about as hard as it is for us to watch him go.

Shihan always stresses that the kids are the future of any art, so it was nice that we had so many of them there to experience his final class. Hopefully even after he’s gone, the lessons he has taught will continue on, passed down from teacher to student, as it has always been.

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