As a rule I try not to get involved in pissing contests. As a pastor as well as a martial artist I value integrity above most of the other traits that are included in the lives of honorable men. Without integrity we have nothing. Before I get off deep into this missive let me say that I’m not the greatest martial artist that ever walked the face of the earth but I have longevity and I try to walk in integrity. What I do know is much of the history of the arts that we study and having been involved in the arts since the nineteen fifties I’ve seen some of that history unfold. I come from the era when martial artists were honorable people. Please don’t get me wrong. There are still many honorable martial artists but it seems that these days there are several charlatans for every valid martial artist. There are masters and grandmasters by the square inch many of whom couldn’t punch their way through a wet Kleenex. I remember when there were basically three belt ranks, white, brown and black. I remember when brown belts owned and operated schools and were more skilled and knowledgeable than many of the self proclaimed masters and grandmasters of today.
I believe in building people up and not tearing them down. Generally if I don’t have anything good to say about a person I have nothing to say about them at all. However amongst those who know me my silence in those instances are thought to speak of my position on those issues.
I’m writing this because someone asked me what I thought of the event that Allen Goldberg hosts annually in Atlantic City, should they attend and what was my experience with the event. I have had the opportunity to attend two of those events and I would be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy myself immensely. I had an opportunity to meet and interact with some of the martial arts greats that I probably wouldn’t have had the opportunity to meet otherwise. I was able to participate in a wide variety of training with individuals that I had previously only read about.
The event was greater than anything that I would otherwise have been a part of. I had an opportunity to make friends with people that I am still in contact with today. Many of them martial art dignitaries I was inducted into their hall of honors on both occasions that I attended and I am grateful to have been involved in both of those events. To be honest it was a high point in my martial art career.
There is a lot of division between people that I care for on both sides of the argument concerning that and similar events. I refuse to take part or sides in such arguments. I can and will only speak on what I know.
There has been some bad blood between people that I know and like on both sides of that argument. I am not going to add fuel to those arguments. I believe that there is value in any event that brings people of like minds together to share knowledge, fellowship and to honor those who have sowed into those arts that we so love.
I have had a number of friends, students and members of the organization that I formally led attend the event and they say that they greatly profited from the experience. It’s up to the individual to decide which if any of such events they would care to support. I’m not here to build anything up or tear it down. I will say to anyone who asks the same thing that I say to my students. If you’re interested go and see for yourself and leave your politics at the door. It will definitely be an experience that you won’t soon forget.
I was treated well by all that I met. Though I am not a martial art dignitary I was treated as an equal by many individuals that I have looked up to. No big I’s and little U’s. Just many men of honor finding occasion to enjoy a common experience.
That’s my read on the event without promoting it or criticizing it. It was a good experience for me but I would urge you to decide for yourself. It’s something that’s worth checking out for yourself and then you can come to your own conclusion.
Rev. Doctor Donald Miskel ThD, PhD.