I have arrived in Pittsburgh for the 20th Annual International Black Belt Hall of fame at the invitation of Dr. Lawrence Day.
This East Coast organized event is an invitation only black tie affair with over 700 people attending the ceremony from all over the US, from Ireland, England, Iceland and Australia. Last night there were seminars and workshops for everyone attending.
The crowd is primarily martial artists of sizes shapes and ethnicities and a few family members and friends observing. Members of the audience are participating in Kendo workshops and learning Fan forms from a young woman who is a Black Dragon from West Virginia and Dim Mak from the Black Dragons. Dr John Ward, of Dublin, Ireland, did a fascinating Kenpo seminar with over a hundred people participating in a what was really too small a space. Other workshops include Glima from Iceland, Chi-Gung, Arnis, and Tae-Pyung.
The flight from Chicago to Pittsburgh was the easiest flight, 52 minutes up and down with no delays. I stopped and checked email, made phone calls had a little coffee and headed to the hotel shuttle. As I approached there I saw a bunch of people with luggage and canes. As they pass me, I spy this really cool hat that said Black Dragon Fighting Society. The guy in the hat called me by name, it was on. He was a student of Dr Lawrence Day's. Dr Day had arrived with students of his from Florida, Tennessee and Texas. There is a lot of them and, I am happy to say, they are all really great people.
I suddenly find myself among non-hostile people related to the project who are not my lawyers. It felt like a sea-change of atmosphere occured. Black Dragons I could have a laugh with.
I met Dr Day outside. and he was just as cantnkerous and hilarious as he is on the phone. One of the first things he said after our greetings and introductions was he was hungry, then started talking about Bob Evan's Restaurant and biscuits and gravy with fried potatoes. Pretty soon the crew went from 7 people to about 14. Other Black Dragon associated people were arriving.
When we all got to the hotel, Mike Felkoff was waiting on us. Among all of these martial artists his diminutive size is quite apparent and he was holding court and talking smack, per usual.
The Black Dragon group has a strong presence here. This is the first time Day and Felkoff have seen each other since Thursday night, April 23, 1970, the day of the Dojo War. Day was outside when the fight took place, he observed the death of Konsevic when the door burst open and people poured out and the police were on the way.
Felkoff's hotel room became the informal meeting place for Black Dragon Fighting Society. Felkoff was holding informal seminars on the internal skills. Masters Ricky Taylor and Guy Whimper, Kenpo practioners from the Warriors for Christ Fighting Dragon Academy in Knightsbridge, NC were impressed at what they were seeing from Felkoff and have now become members of the International Black Dragons.
The Banquet and Awards ceremony are this evening and it is late now so I better finish this up and get going. Time is passing quickly.
This working alone stuff is coming to an end as of 2008. I definitely need a cameraperson working with me. I am not being as effective as I could be with someone wlse helping me. Film id collaborative art form and I desperately need that at this point.
Little did I know that all of this back and forth on the internet has given me a bit of notoriety. People seemed to know who I am in this martial arts context. People are talking directly to me by name when I have the camera, on. I was a bit disarmed by that. I will solve that problem by January, 2008.
I am having a great time and I got my own official Black Dragon Fighting Society Hat and T-Shirt. It is good to be able to realx and have a good time for serious.