On Friday, September 10, 2010, I had the privilege of attending a small black-belt examination at Master Jue's in Pleasanton, California.
I flew in from Burbank to Oakland; Nevada State Director Arjun Dhingra, V Dan, picked me up at the airport. A horrendous accident had left an 18-wheeler destroyed by flames on the 580 ( it appeared that the driver escaped injury), so by the time we arrived, the test was already under way.
I regret not having been able to help grade the entire event, because (and my colleagues who have seen me be rather critical of technical standards in the past will attest that I do not say this lightly) the test was one of the very best, if not THE very best, lower-dan test that I have seen in my 35 years of attending such events.
The candidates were:
1st Dan Candidates:
2nd Dan Candidates:
(My apologies to Mr. Palapati, for not having written down his first name...)
The patterns were fantastic--not just uniformly excellent, but wonderfully TOGETHER when performed as a group. The breaking was completely successful (notable with some very young candidates). In the self-defense exhibitions, i must give special credit to young Mr. Jue, for incorporating, very successfully, slow-motion "model sparring"-type movements into his routine.
But most impressive to me was the high level of general knowledge shown, and even more importantly the wonderful attitude shown by the students.
As I said to Master Jue later: "I have no idea what it is that you're doing with these students, but whatever it is--keep doing it! You will have more world champions in the future."
After the test, Master Jue treated us to dinner at Mountain Mike's Pizza, and then I had the opportunity to spend a little time catching up with my instructor, Master Wheatley.
The next day we, had a very intensive seminar with Master Wheatley. What can say? I have been the man's student now (as has Master Jue) for over 25 years, and he never ceases to amaze me, not only with the depth of his knowledge, but his ability to communicate his knowledge to every level of student, from white belt to Master.
He chose this time to concentrate on the importance of understanding the details of every movement (obverse/reverse, outer/inner, outward/inward, inside/outside, pressing/scooping/upward/downward.rising, etc.), and then all of the variants of elbow thrusts and strikes, and dodging maneuvers.
The seminar was ably assisted by many of Master Jue's senior students, including but certainly not limited to Mr. Wold, Mr. Hick, Mr. Hester, Mr. Isselhart, Ms. Jue, and Ms. Lim. And a special thanks to Mr. Bazo, II Dan, for traveling all the way from Houston to work with us.
And once again I was so impressed by the attitude and work-ethic of even the most junior students. Complete attention, no slacking, and LOTS of sweating!
As always, I was sad to leave my friends and colleagues and head for the airport. (Many thanks for the ride, Mr. Hick!)
Let me say it again: Master Jue, whatever it is you're doing--keep doing it!
--Master Terence Geoghegan