The International Martial Arts Council brought the United States Martial Arts Hall of Fame to San Antonio this year on July 20-22, 2017.
GM Thompson reports:
Wow, what an exciting week of fun the International Martial Arts Council of America (IMAC) and United States Martial Arts Hall of Fame (USMAHOF) was.
Up until just this weekend I was literally emotionally and physically drained thus no post action report but I’m glad to write I am feeling better now.
First, behind the scenes I would like to extend a sincere thank you to Master Eric Jones who prepared the posters for the inductees and participants, he actually did several versions as we couldn’t let the people that were getting field promoted know ahead of time, then we couldn’t let then Master Michael Hornsby know that his instructor GM Rodney Kauffman was attending so his logo was left off on purpose and slowly you saw me post them on facebook with the grand finale version being put on facebook and one given to each inductee and some of the participants that attended Camp. He also did up the artwork for the beautiful medals which entailed some precise work then ordering, picking up and dropping off to me. All of which helped me tremendously, so I love that he always there in some form or fashion to help and I am eternally thankful.
Obviously, we all owe everything to my sister, the one constant that was the door greeter, money taker, direction giver as well as table organizer, basket maker, you name it she was everywhere and I was so proud. President John Terry was so happy with her he wants her to be at every event she was so proficient.
I know I will forget people but it is not intentional, Sensei Andrew Moody was asked at last moment to be official photographer for the entire Camp and banquet and him and Billie Moody didn’t disappoint, they never really got to enjoy any of it as much since they were working but we are so proud of their continued support and professionalism.
To Sensei Jose Ramirez who saved my bacon as the day of the banquet a mysterious bug hit me and paralyzed me to the point where I could not attend that evening which was literally one of the worst disappointments of my life but he came thru with flying colors, never questioning just doing the best he could. From picking up all the required items to a dead battery in his car that Sensei Hugh Price helped him out with to his son Mr. Gio Ramirez stepping in to do a last minute fantastic double nunchaka demonstration that everyone loved, to actually helping orchestrate the passing out of the awards even though I had nothing written down so he and his light definitely shined as he knew things just had to get done and he couldn’t sugar coat or rub everyone’s back because he just didn’t have time. Would’ve been nice to have some other folks step up to help vs complain. But it is what it is.
Sifu Oscar Olivares from Harlingen shined with his outstanding demonstration the night the night before at Christian Taekwondo League to a fantastic spear demonstration the night of the IMAC Blackbelt Testing plus a full day of working hard at the seminars and somehow managing to DJ which he was asked to do at last minute’s notice and then had a super equipment malfunction but somehow fixed it. We have to always remember to prepare in case of logistical failures and always plan on a contingency plan, Sifu was supposed to play the Star Spangled Banner but got sideswiped somehow and Chodan Maricela Reveles stepped up last moment and sang…….who does that?? Very proud of her efforts to keep the show going.
To Master Shannon Ramsey who was one of the Camp seminar teachers and Professor John Harding and Professor Alfredo Barum stepped in to help in any way to make her class successful and it was one of the best of the entire Camp from what I heard.
Much appreciation goes out to a dear old friend, GrandMaster Donny Meadows and received induction who made the long journey down with his family and friends from WV. Unfortunally, I got sick and of course met Donny earlier but wasn’t fortunate to meet family that evening but we will fix that shortly.
So much appreciation goes out to the great GM Rodney Kauffman and his great friend GM Roger Rayburn who made the journey from Ohio to accept induction but better yet help promote their student Master Michael Hornsby to his 7th Dan, GrandMaster status, Mr. Rodney provided the beautiful plaques, banners and even presented beautiful plaques to GM’s Clarence Smith, Tom Balmos and myself ranking us in his system. We were so humbled by his special presentation. He indicated from fear of retaliation from my sister that he would be down here in Dec for our annual TKA event J And he gets the award for not only getting his luggage lost on the way down here but when he got home it got lost again.
TKA NW was well represented as well as Sensei Guy Shinkaruk was totally blown away from what I was told by a special field promotion to the rank of 4th Dan Master status, wayyyy overdue if you ask me but he is such a humble man but nothing was given on Saturday night everything was earned. We got to meet his lovely partner Pat and Professor John Harding’s wife Miss Clarice, all wonderful people that were excited to be part of this prestigious event. I was told this was the largest event in 19 years that the USMAHOF had and the host city San Antonio was great. The Hilton got a little warm I heard with over 320 banquet guests and high temps outside I can believe it but such are our summers.
I had the pleasure of vouching for then Sensei Sandra Larwood of Shotokan Karate and Fitness Studios for advanced testing and she was the bar that everyone else had to aspire to beat but they couldn’t and at end of banquet night she not only got inducted into the Hall but was promoted to her Master (Shihan) status of 6th Dan by the IMAC Council who pushed her and her team big time on pre-testing night but she handled it with flying colors, couldn’t have been prouder and we are so happy for forging new friendships with Rob and her Team.
As always, thanks to my lifelong partner’s GM Tom Balmos and to GM Clarence Smith who was one of the first seminar teachers and boy did he have a full class, they loved it and he is always sought after to do his fighting clinics. And they also helped Saturday night to the best of their abilities and for that we are thankful.
And to all the other Blackbelts that helped Professor Terry with that side of the logistics much thanks. But all of this was a team effort, in a weird way it was probably good for me not to be there on Saturday night to show everyone the work that goes into at least our end to make a successful event a memorable one, I am not always going to be here so it’s comforting to know that hopefully, things will continue on status quo and keep growing. But somebody has to step forward and do the real behind the scenes work, as you can tell it doesn’t happen by itself. For me this endeavor was a half year out of my life planning but I was glad to do it.
Thanks again for everyone that traveled far and near and not only talked the talk but walked the walk. As I always say people want to eat the apple pie but not many people are willing to bake it so the true TKA warriors stepped up that week and helped as it wasn’t about them but was about helping someone else feel special and worthy. Always better to give then to receive folks, you all will learn that as you get older. And it drives me crazy for we have so many blackbelts in this state of Texas and this city but lots were depended on for blackbelts from out of state?? For now, I sign off but again my sincere appreciation to all and forgive me if I left anyone off by name or deed.
Johnny K. Thompson, GrandMaster, 9th Degree
President, Tang Soo Do Karate Association