Tino Ceberano’s 9th Dan Presentation

 Hanshi Tino Ceberano was awarded his Black Belt 9th Dan on 4/10/08 during the Australian Martial Arts Hall of Fame Expo on the Gold Coast. This was a total surprise to the man. The presentation was originally set down for at the Martial Arts Supershow 2008 but Hanshi had other ideas and suddenly flew out of the country 4 days prior; every effort to convince him to delay his flight failed. To this day, through no fault of his own, he left people standing there with dismal faces; you can't hold him down (not bad for a bloke who has just turned 67). However, this has now been accomplished.The main speech at the presentation:

"The International Kojosho Karate Federation (click here to visiit website) ..is an umbrella organization for independent karate schools and individual membership. Some of the Kojosho’s mission objectives are to preserve the work of past masters with an eye toward identifying significant new contributions, to provide members with certification recognised and accepted world-wide. The Kojosho has been under the direction of Mr. Fred Absher, Hanshi since 1966 which is represented in 15 countries. The Australian Representative is Kyoshi George Adams.

Forty years ago, Mr. Absher aligned the organization with the United States Karate Alliance (Jim Hawkes), and more recently with the Dai Nippon Butokukai, under Hanshi Richard Kim. These national and international organisations membership have proven to be invaluable, and have been in part, responsible for the global recognition of the International Kojosho Karate Federation

Many senior martial arts Instructors in Australia have been graded and recognized by the Kojosho. Some of you might remember one of the oldest martial arts masters, Hanshi Les Harnos – the man who on countless occasions would support tiles held by skewers through his forearms whilst a sledge hammer would be driven through smashing the tiles.

George Adams and Richard Norton were responsible for the presentation taking place but many thanks has to go to one of Hanshi Tino's senior students, Shihan Alex Alt, who put it altogether on the night.

Approximately two years ago, George approached Richard about having the Kojosho promote Hanshi Tino Ceberano to 9th Dan which has been long overdue. This was something they can do in return for the most outstanding person in the martial arts. The promotion is based on many factors including:

  1. Over fifty two (52) years of martial arts skills
  2. International recognition as a Martial Arts Instructor visiting over 45 countries
  3. His spiritual leadership
  4. His contribution to the martial arts and society
  5. His vibrant and kind personality
    … and the list goes on.

The certificate is signed by Hanshi Fred Absher (President of the Kojosho) and Shihan Richard Norton (one of Hanshi’s original students).

Personal congratulations were read from various famous Masters around the world supporting the endorsement such as Hanshi Ticky Donovan and Hanshi Terry Wingrove. This is not all, but too numerous to list!"

Shihan Richard Norton:
“I want to take this opportunity to offer my profound congratulations to you on receiving this honour that is so very much deserved. As a pioneer of Martial Arts in Australia, you have paved the way for so many of the teachers of today. Your example of excellence has been a personal inspiration for me for the whole of my Martial Arts career and for that I am eternally grateful. I can't imagine what my life would have been without the caring and nurturing introduction you gave me to the arts as a teenager that have since become my life's journey and my absolute passion. I feel truly honoured and blessed to call you my master and my friend. So again, for whatever it is worth, I totally endorse this recognition of a true master of the arts."

Kyoshi George Adams:
"Hello Hanshi, this is your little brother, George Adams. On behalf of two of your earliest students, Richard Norton and John Will, I’d like to congratulate you on your promotion which is well deserved. Like many other senior martial arts instructors in the world, your promotion to Black Belt 9th Dan is in recognition of all the good work you have been doing for over 45 years in the martial arts and your position as head of the IGK. Richard, John and I have a great admiration for you and we have discussed your promotion on many occasions. I would like people not to take the grading lightly because it was something we have been working on for two years. Like Richard and John, it has become impossible for me to be with you this weekend but I am looking forward to seeing you, and Grandmaster Rodel, in Sydney next week. I believe I know you better than many others. How many know you like your coffee black with a shot of vanilla. A special mention to Shihan Alex Alt who is one of the nicest persons in the martial arts around and who has the deepest respect and best interests for his Hanshi. Alex has been my main point of contact with the IGK and has really helped make this possible. Congratulations, once again."

Hanshi Ticky Donovan (UK):
"Please give my warmest congratulations to Tino on receiving his 9th Dan. I am glad I have not reached that age yet!!!"

Shihan Paul Ceberano:
"On behalf of all the Ceberanos, Kate, Phillip and I would like to congratulate our father on his receipt of the rank of 9th Dan hanshi. As a living legend and pioneer of martial arts in Australia this is an honour that is long overdue. Know one could doubt the he deserves to be the first true 9th Dan in Australia. I know that all his peers within Australia would agree that my father's contribution to the martial arts is a direct indication to its current popularity, expansion and growth.Because of the people he influenced, trained and graded the future of all martial arts within Australia is guaranteed. My family and I wish him all the best on this special occasion and cant wait to celebrate this award with him at my Brothers wedding next week. We all love you very much dad."

Hanshi Terry Wingrove (UK):
"It gives me a very great pleasure to congratulate my dear friend & colleague on his overdue elevation to the rank of 9th dan Hanshi. Few people in this modern world deserve the respect that this true master has earned. From all your fans and admirers in Europe a very big congratulations."

IGK Shihan Kai:
"A true master of the Arts comes along once in all of our life times, Chojun Miyagi Kaicho was a pioneer, then Gogen Yamaguchi Saiko Shihan was another well renowned and innovative master of his era. Currently we are priviledged to be in the same dojo as Tino Ceberano, Hanshi who has searched for answers to create new and improved technology and has been able to keep the imagination of thousands motivated around the world including masters, he is a master's Master!! We congratulate Hanshi Tino on this well deserved achievement to the rank of 9th dan hanshi of the Goju Kobujutsu Kenkyukai. The respect Hanshi commands in the martial arts community here in Australia and around the world is second to none – Hanshi is an inspiration to us all."

This presentation was extremely unique and Hanshi Tino was very emotional which was shared by many of the people who know him as the Australian Father of Martial Arts.

Self Defence, Pot Holes & Sand Castles

 To most people ‘self defence’ is about warding off assailant(s) quickly and easily without attaining a single bruise or scratch. This is most likely due to assumptions that if one learns all these skills they should be able to defend themselves. Unfortunately, this is not always true because in the real world there are no rules, no respect, attacks are usually spontaneous, and the presence of fear and adrenalin will likely affect mental and physical ability etc. We are usually hard wired to avoid trouble which is another setback. The only way you may come out unscathed would be pre-empting the danger and reacting to it before it starts (fencing skills). Your martial art is your back up artillery if things don’t turn out the way they should.

Whatever martial art, you need to learn it as best you can but, to those who have very little experience in actual street confrontations, you need to learn from those who have the experience and hopefully that might be your Instructor. At the end of the day it is the simple and direct techniques that will save you and most of these may not look so fancy (thank goodness for that because showing off can get you into strife – please read on about my mate). These very few techniques required for these situations will only be as good as the level of skills you have attained through your martial arts training. Usually, the higher the grade, the better you should be able to use these skills successfully in a physical street altercation. I remember one of my colleagues in the cops, many years ago, a very good Karate Black Belt got himself into a bit of trouble and he spun around and tried to land a spinning heel kick; needless to say he got knocked down and hell was kicked out of him whilst he was in the gutter. I asked him, “You never do that in sparring so why on earth did you do that? He said he didn't know. In other words he did not have the correct weapons (techniques) available to him.

Of course, avoiding trouble is the best policy; if you see a pothole, you walk around it. If a beach is known to be shark infested you might consider building sand castles instead. Another factor which some people overlook is a good cardio workout because this is extremely important when all of a sudden you need that extra energy and breath. Our organisation ensures we equipe our students with the right 'arsenals' because 90% of new recruits will mention 'self defence' being their primary reason for taking up the martial arts. I personally don't want to feel like a 'used car salesman'; I want to make sure people get what they came for. We all want to enjoy life and we certainly don’t want to deal with any sort of trouble so we don’t go looking for it. Just watch out for the potholes.

Martial Arts and Bootcamp Training

 This is interesting since we often fall victim to the clock. We, Australians, seem to have the attitude ‘it’s OK to be late’. If this is true then how come we get really annoyed when we have to wait? Lately, there have been quite a few people coming late to martial arts classes, with no guilt on their faces; You probably have noticed I call them 'the night shift’. What would happen if you turn up at work or school like that? I don’t think the boss would give you a pay rise and I don’t think the school teacher would give a student an early mark. As a teenager I would catch 2 buses and walk 2 kms to get to martial arts training and I had a half hour to spare before class. Times have moved on and we now have the luxury of a motor vehicle bringing you right to the doorstep.

We should be showing people, as martial artists, we are dependable; being on time is a good way to start. If you develop this into a habit you will miss out on the stress of being late. The excuse of ‘I have a little further to travel’ wears a bit thin. In my experience, the further I worked from home the earlier I got to work. The closer I worked to home the later I got to work. Don’t stress out if circumstances prevail; there will be times when you might be late for class!

Remember, your training is important to you. Don’t let people or matters get in the way. NOT ALL IMPORTANT MATTERS ARE URGENT AND NOT ALL URGENT MATTERS ARE IMPORTANT. Post a note on a wall to remind you of your training sessions. I am sure this will provide a bit more motivation to get to every class. Martial arts is like bootcamp so you need to acknowledge a big part of your training is based on discipline. Nowadays, people seem to be spend a substantial amount of money to get this bootcamp training.

See you in class, come early so I can at least say hello to you. It makes your Instructor feel good when you can come in early enough to greet them and show them your enthusiasm by not being late.

Kids! You’ve Got to Love’ em

 It’s truly amazing to see students who start off at a very young age. Sometimes, we adults, become annoyed when the kids ‘get out of hand’ in class but we have to be patient and acknowledge this is part of growing up; we were once kids so we should not forget that. A time will come when these little ones will be able to have a mature conversation with you. You will also realise that you might have to tell them to take it easy on you. I have seen many of them grow up, including my own, and some of them who have stuck it out long made it to Black Belt. We, Instructors, find children to be a very important part of the school because they are the ones who will lead the way into the future; they have a lot of years ahead of them. If a child comes up to you, especially if you are a higher rank, give them some attention; usually it is because they look up to you. We all agree we feel good when somebody of higher rank compliments us on our performance; that goes a long way with a child so feel free to pass one on. Complimenting can also be for a child behaving in class and doing a good turn for one of the other students. Even better still pull one of them aside and teach a technique. Especially important for the Instructors ‘students don’t want to know how good you are, they only really want to know how much you care’. KIDS! YOU’VE GOT TO LOVE' EM.

Try the Early Morning Stretches

 Whilst there are literally thousands of different ideas and methods of stretching (particularly for the legs), they may suit some but not others. One thing most of the experts (Richard Norton, Dr Chris Tsolakis, physiotherapists) agree, are the early morning stretches. The only difficult thing about them is self-motivation. The good news – they are not strenuous nor do they take up too much time. The results should make a difference to your day and your martial arts training at night. This light form of exercise literally activates your leg muscles. These early morning stretches will not have the same effect if done in the latter part of the day so it is important you consider doing them first thing in the morning. Basically, all you need to do is 10 front leg raises, 10 side leg raises and 10 back leg raises on each leg. Just take it nice and easy, do not overstretch (otherwise, this may have the opposite effect). After that, I recommend some simple isometric training by holding your leg out in the finishing position of each kick, anything between 20 and 30 seconds for each position. You are now ready for the day; this takes only 5 minutes (that's good news for the rain dancers). Oh, by the way, if you are running out of time on any particular morning, it is ok to do less (something is better than nothing). After these stretches the muscles in your legs are ready to take on anything including if you have to use your kicks. Once your muscles are activated, any activity you do in the daytime eg climbing stairs, is going to enhance that muscle group to perform better at night during training. These stretches are designed only for the morning, they will not do much for you before training. Try it for a week and see if you notice any difference.

A Good Word about Instructors

 Our Instructors at Budoshinkai are very dedicated to their martial arts training and loyal to our organisation. I would like to mention the enthusiasm about two particular Instructors. Damien Philpott must have a lot of energy to drive back and forth from the ACT and West Pennant Hills on Saturdays to train with us and I don’t think the weather bothers him either (rain dancers take note). You’ve got to admire him for his enthusiasm and I’m honoured as his Master Instructor that he would take the time to visit us. Damien has long term plans for the martial arts and will be going a long way.

Jonathan Adams who has been teaching the Little Dragons for the last  few years has that special ability to control and teach youngsters with his communications skills, understanding and patience. Usually, after a kids’ class, he will then jump into an adult class and teach with equal ability. I commend both persons for their efforts. These qualities should not go unnoticed and I think it is important that we recognize people for good work whether it be a student or Instructor. The Instructor always makes an effort to compliment a student. Perhaps, a student ocassionally, should do the same for their Instructor. At the end of the day, all Instructors are students. I prefer to call myself a Professional Student rather than an Instructor. That gives me the right to make mistakes and learn from them. I may wear a Black Belt but I am a white belt at heart; after 34 years I am only at the tip of the iceberg.

Time and Money

 How often do you hear ‘get your money’s worth?’ Why should this be any different with the martial arts. So stop wasting time and money. As a young student, I couldn’t wait to get to the dojo and throw 200 kicks or get a few rounds of sparring in before class. Can you imagine what that extra training adds up to at the end of the year? Sadly, this rarely happens today. Equally important, not wasting your time, is not wasting anybody else’s time. The good news is you can help by responding quickly to instructions in class.

Once too often, I see students who seem to reward themselves by taking time out once they have acquired a new skill. My attitude is, ‘great, I’ve got it, now I am going to keep it.’ How do you do that? Aim for 1,000 repetitions (compliments of John Will); that is what I told the police trainers during a recent knife defence workshop who agreed this is the only way. If you take heed of this advice that will mean the difference between a novice and an expert. What about when you miss out on a kick or two on the Instructor's count. Don’t be grateful you didn’t get caught but think what that means to the person next to you who is going to end up doing 2,000 kicks more than you in a year. You may fool the Instructor but you cannot fool yourself! One last bit of advice, don’t use weather excuses to miss out on your classes. To some of those unfortunate people out there, bad weather presents itself a perfect opportunity to miss out training guilt free. I wouldn't be surprised if some of them would even take up rain dancing lessons.

The Early Days in the Martial Arts

 When I first started training in the martial arts over 34 years ago there was no Internet, no YouTube or even DVDs. The only source of information was one martial arts magazine in the newsagency which came out every 2 months. To most of us martial arts was a hobby but it was also a passion and an obsession. It was not long before the ‘Bruce Lee’ era there were only 2 words that were synonymous with martial arts – Judo and Karate. Judo was thought as something to do with chopping wood with your hand, many thanks to the cartoons around that time. Look at what’s around now – Tae Kwon Do, Kickboxing, Kung Fu, BJJ etc. After each grading I couldn’t wait to visit the chemist and buy dye to change the colour of my belt. These were the days before calculators and long before YouTube. We had little available to us ie no information and no gear so we had to be innovative. I remember buying an army duffel bag from the Disposal store and then taking it to the beach and filling it up with sand. I didn’t realize how, heavy and hard, sand was. We didn’t have information available as we do today so we had to get out there and learn the hard way. There was a price to be paid which meant broken noses, cuts and bruises, to say the least. Those few who made it to Black Belt were tough. However, times have changed; today a Black Belt should have a 'tough' mind as opposed to a tough body. They should strive to better themselves in many ways and that is what Instructors are looking for from their students. I prefer to have a student who may not be so physically talented but has the right attitude to succeed as opposed to that of a talented student with a weak mind (they do not last long). The real benefits of martial arts training usually come at a later time and many of these will vary from student to student. Whatever, the reason for training in the martial arts, a student will eventually reap the rewards. Remember, a BLACK BELT IS A WHITE BELT WHO NEVER GAVE UP.

What do Parents do When a Child Wants to Quit

 There is no doubt parents of many students want the best for their children or they wouldn't have them enrolled in our classes. Almost every child will feel like quitting at some time or another. Tears may even flow. It may be hard for you not to listen to your child's outcry, and say, "Of course you can quit!" I'm asking you to do one of the best things for your child.

Be your child's hero by being strong and encourage them by not allowing them to miss out on the victory of perseverance. Let your child taste real success. One day they will come up to you and say, 'thank you'. Many of things we, as parents, have achieved usually have been a result of our parents motivating us to continue – let's not forget that. Your Instructor can be a big help if this situation should ever arise.