Saturday, July 21, 2007
Return of The Masters: Chicago
I met Bill Wallace last night with Preston Baker. He is in town for The Return of the Masters Tournament this weekend. Bakers school is in the basement of a nondescript industrial building on the far Southside of Chicago.
Former karate Champion Shihan Baker, is a community activist and a minister. He remains true to his core constituency, instilling discipline and encouragement to young black men and women, empowering them through martial arts.
He uses his classes as an opportunity to infleunce young minds in more than the physical. He really aims to build a whole person in his classes. He has educators come to the class to talk to talk about opportunities and educational programs available to them
Friday evening was a seminar that included his sensei, Jimmy Jones, and Bill Wallace was a special guest. Among the innumerable pictures on the walls was a small xeroxed image of John Keehan. His presence is there even if it is not mentioned.
This little school in the basement of a nondescript building on the Southside of Chicago is an example of what lineage is all about. It is here where we see the direct influence of the best of John Keehan/Count Dante.
What is a teacher if not an instructor of generations. The core values of martial arts are taught in this modest little basement school as they were taught to Keehan, then to Jones and on down to Baker. In this school is where life's learning begins for many of the children who enter.
Some of the children respond to any elder instructor with a loud "YES SENSEI" with a military precision. There is value in instilling a physiocal and mental discipline in children in urban environments at an early age.
Jimmy Jones, as part of his lecture demonstration, talked to the children about standing apart from the crowd, to become leaders and entrepreneurs.
After the tournament at Truman College on Saturday I caught up with Bill Wallace at his hotel near Midway Airport. We did about a 20 minute interview. Very interesting comments from Wallace concerning Dante. We talked about Konsevic also. The death of Konsevic arises once again as the source of Dante's downfall. I will run a few excerpts of that interview this week.
Had a busy weekend. Shooting on Friday night, Wallace and a Jazz Institute promo on Saturday and then a friend from South Africa showed up to do a last minute spot with Angelique Kidjo in New York for a documentary TV series. I lent a little remote assistance to her on Sunday and Monday morning.
I am a bit tired. Gotta return lighting equipment and a shotgun mic I never want to use again to Fletcher Monday morning.