Thursday, October 05, 2006

Everything you ever wanted to know about Gotan Ryu, East Coast School of Combined Martial Arts, and Shihan Cornell G. Paterson.

From There…… To Here

Shihan’s first experience with Karate happened back when he was eight or nine years old; back in his birth place of Trinidad. It was on a Saturday evening, when his older brother took him to see a movie called, The Five Fingers of Death. He returned to school that Monday running around, during recess, hitting his classmates in the chest with shotai strikes that he observed while watching the movie. Shihan would return to that very same playground this past June with members of his East Coast Family; revisiting old memories and creating new ones.

The next few encounters, not in chronological order, would fuel his thirst to learn the Martial Arts:
-During an episode of the Johnny Carson show, a
young boy is announced as being the youngest black
belt in the world.
-Shihan vividly recalls his first Bruce Lee movie, The
Fist of Fury.
-The young son of Bruce Lee was featured on an
episode of the Merv Griffin Show.
-Passing by the Inner-City Tae Kwon Do Academy
in Grove Hall, everyday to and from school.

Shihan would often open the Yellow Pages to the Judo and Karate section and call the Martial Arts schools listed, to find out the cost enrollment. He would also go into Paul’s Army & Navy Store, in Dudley Square, admiring the Karate uniforms; knowing one day he would wear one.

Two things would come together that would begin the journey that allows us all to gather here tonight.
1.) Shihan’s older brother returned home from Okinawa, after being stationed there with the Marine Corp’s. One of the most important things he brought back, in Shihan’s eyes, was a jet black Karate uniform and a bright white Karate belt.

2.) Sensei Bobby Mallard, the neighborhood Karate expert, was about to start teaching classes to the young and willing children on Thetford Avenue. Now, it was not guaranteed that Shihan would be able to take classes; since Shihan and Sensei Bobby’s first encounter was not……well let’s just say that they did not get off to a good start. Something about a baseball glove, a push, an older brother, a grab, and a karate stance, and we will just leave it at that for now.

Sensei Bobby, being the bigger person, put all of that behind him and became a great teacher, outstanding mentor, good friend, big brother, little brother, and now Shihan’s student. He was the key to open the first door of a structured curriculum of techniques; which we still practice today as it was first taught to Shihan.

The first class that Shihan took with Sensei Bobby was a true test of his physical stamina. During the workout Shihan became ill and he began see black dots before his eyes. Those of us who study the arts know how important it is to remember “ranks” and “titles”. Well, Shihan couldn’t ask for permission to step out of line, to pass out, because he couldn’t remember the title “Sensei”.

Soon after that, Shihan was introduced to Sensei Jesse Whitley; Sensei Bobby’s teacher. He remembers one class, where both Sensei’s Bobby and Whitley were observing kicking drills. As Shihan did side kicks across the floor, they would both give a look and a nod of approval every time he would execute his kick well. He had no clue whether what he was doing right or wrong; he just tried to duplicate his movement when he got that look of approval.

Taking classes on Clayborne Street, with Sensei Whitley, is where Shihan would gather some very important ingredients necessary for his Martial Arts training:
*Consistency and stability- Sensei Whitley was always there for class, even when Shihan was the only student. This is where he separated in rank from his friends who he started with under the instruction of Sensei Bobby. As the Sempai, he would start the classes and instruct the junior classes for Sensei Whitley. He would be given his first opportunity to be a paid instructor at the ASWLOS House by Sensei Whitley. Shihan would test through white, yellow, and green belt fourth kyu(four brown stripes), before the program moved to the Holland School. On the day he graduated from high school, Shihan left the ceremony to that he could go take the test for his brown belt. A teaching blunder made by Shihan, during a self-initiated program at the Ballaru Skating Rink in Medford, would conclude the teacher student relationship between Shihan and Sensei Whitley. Many years later, Shihan would return to the Holland School to perform a demo for Sensei Whitley with some of today’s members of East Coast.

Shihan would be introduced, to whom most of you know as Hanshi Wayne Hector, through Sensei Bobby; as they were classmates at Madison Park High School. Hanshi has always been an awe-inspiring kicker and warrior. Two memories come to mind when reflecting back on Hanshi. One instance was during a competition when Hanshi executed a kick, which was so fast, the five referees could not agree on what technique was used. They did all agree though, that the opponent was hit. The second would be the only meeting between Billy Blanks and Hanshi. It took place in Berry, Massachusetts; on a snowy Saturday at a tournament which would normally have a few hundred competitors, but because of the snow, there were maybe twenty to thirty spectators and competitors combined. It was in the era when video cameras were still pricey but could be attained by a selected few, so there is no record of this match. But this match was like the clash of the titans. He knows it’s impossible, but Shihan swears there was lighting every time the two would come into contact with each other. This was no ordinary match. This was two, two minute rounds. Time was stopped between every call. The competitor at the end, with the most points won. It went on forever. Under Hanshi, Shihan would experience some of the most intense and extreme training methods he had ever seen, and increased his knowledge of ways to create champions. He forged new relationships with classmates Teddy, Ralf, Skeeter Pratt, Monte, Tony, Sensei Lewis and Sensei Shawn.

Some memories are forever etched in his mind, including his first Karate tournament at the Roxbury YMCA, where he first saw Master Sonny Dee and his Goshi Shun school march in with what seemed to be one hundred students. This was an amazing sight to someone coming from a program which at most, had ten students on a good day. Observing for the first time, a young man of about nine or ten years of age, wearing a black belt, and doing things with his legs that were absolutely phenomenal. Shihan doubts that there is one black belt that does not remember the first time and place, where they first laid eyes on Anthony “Mafia” Holloway. Also present that day was Raymond Jenkins, Master Dee’s younger brother, who was doing back flips across the length of the gym. Shihan was hooked. He knew had to be a black belt, a Sensei, and a school owner with students like that; one hundred of them. The aforementioned Masters, teachers and black belts would become a few of Shihan’s closest peers and friends. A student, Robert Shavers, a black belt in Goshi Shun; was probably in the gym that day. Shihan recalls, the days he, Raymond, Jimmy Chambers, Gloria Phillips, and Junni, all martial arts practitioners of different styles, performed a number of demos for classmates at Hyde Park High School. This was in the 1979-1980 school year.

The Morton St. Dojo was Sensei Bobby and Shihan’s first attempt at a commercial dojo. This was after a summer of teaching the neighborhood kids, from and around Thetford Ave., in Shihan’s backyard and up at Dorchester field, (now known as Playsted Park). Winter was approaching and sheltered training was needed. Sensei Bobby secured a commercial storefront on Morton St. in September of 1982, and the Okinawa Karate Warriors were in business; though only lasting a very short period, two and a half months. But something good came out of that experience. Well four good things emerged; Sensei’s Ronald and Donald Brady. They primarily took classes early in the afternoon with Sensei Bobby, Sensei Gina Simmon, and Willie Grant, who trained in the evening with Shihan. So, classes would return to the back yard and the annex of Dorchester High School.

The two car Garage was transformed into a dojo by necessity; Shihan needed a place to continue the early successes he was having with the students he retained. Shihan would spend the next few months paneling walls, sheet rocking ceilings, carpeting floors, and sealing windows. He also added stretching bars, kicking bags, and a mirrored wall. Though the space was small; a mere 24’ by 24’, the spirit and the atmosphere would rival any big-time dojo, and was viewed and envied as a personal home dojo. Hanshi, Raymond, Mafia, Skeeter, and others, would have frequent late night training, and sparring sessions. Classes would grow to two full sessions a day, Monday through Friday, with about thirty to forty students combined. Shihan also developed the OKW patch, using the universal Okinawa Tomoye symbol. Shihan was promoted to Shodan 1st. degree black belt in May of 1985 by Renshi Hector.

The Lynn dojo came about as a unique opportunity. It happened when a tournament adversary and friend, Master Luis Hopkins (who was already based in Lynn) suggested they combine their teaching styles and open a school. Shihan was honored that he wanted to open a school with him. Shihan first saw him at his very first event back at the Roxbury YMCA; his competition name was Black Magic. Shihan and Master Hopkins would be matched as opponents on three occasions. The first, Shihan was a rookie black belt, and had much respect for Master Hopkins. The second, the judges favored the veteran and to get a win you needed to take it. It was not going to be close. The third time would be a charm, and Shihan would not be denied.

A long respected friendship would be established with Sensei's Sherwin and Thaddeus Wheeler (Tae Kwon Do stylists), Master James Lou Hopkins and his student Sensei Charles Crayton (Waza Waza Ryu and Kung Fu stylists). This fostered the creation of, The East Coast School of Combined Martial Arts; combining Shihan's Uechi and Gotan Ryu knowledge with the Tae Kwon Do and Waza Waza Ryu systems of the other instructors.

With the departure of Master Hopkins, Shihan became the primary instructor at East Coast. He continued to develop his teaching and the application of his skills, which was evident in his students. Shihan was promoted to Yodan fourth degree black belt, by his peers, in the summer of 1987; with the approval of Renshi Hector. It was during this time Shihan created the East Coast patch. The first rendition of what is known today as “The Book of Gotan Ryu". He was introduced to his knowledge of Tae Kwon Do by Sensei Sherwin Wheeler, Jujitsu by Sensei Peter Freeman and his instructor Shihan James Jones, and Karate System Management and School protocol by Professor Don Jacob ( Donjitsu stylist of Trinidad and Tobago), then received training as a police officer survival instructor.

In 1990, Shihan closed the East Coast in Lynn and returned to Boston to work as a police officer. He stopped accepting new students, but continued to work with his top black belts in Lynn and Boston.

It was during this period that Shihan reflected on his martial art training. Skills that were shown to Shihan many years ago began to show themselves in a new light, opening doors to rooms of new knowledge and understanding that had always been there but could not be seen nor be shown. Shihan’s knowledge doubled without learning one new technique; bringing Shihan to the understanding that this new insight could only be revealed when he was ready. Hence the statement "Take care of your art by practicing and training and it will take care of you."

Shihan was asked to oversee the martial arts program taking place at the Jamaica Plain Community Center, located at English High School, in 1995; which was started a year and half earlier by Sensei Darrel Owens. Shihan re-established the East Coast School of Combined Martial Arts in the summer of 1996.

Shihan would refocus his goals from, the creation of martial arts warriors, to making sure that what was accomplished in the past, will be carried into the future. He would set in motion the future of Gotan Ryu by teaching not just competitors, but also by creating confident, knowledgeable, and respected Shidoin instructors, Sensei’s and Shihan’s. This path would be confirmed in the words of wisdom passed on to Shihan by Professor Don Jacob. He told Shihan, “Without loyalty, all systems will come to and end.” This gave a true definition, of what Shihan was attempting to accomplish. Shihan’s consistency and stability continues to develop not just Gotan Ryu future Sensei’s and competing champions but also champions of life.

The journey has been incredible; the memories of training and teaching on Morton Street, “the garage”, both locations in Lynn, his first trip for a Karate Tournament to New York, Washington DC, Berry (MA), Keene(New Hampshire )and throughout New England. His first trophy, the first time one of his students won a trophy for sparring, forms, weapons, musical and team competitions, grand championships, his own first grand championship.
Traveling to tournaments with Sensei’s Ronald and Donald, Sensei Gina and Sensei Grant, on what seemed like every weekend; watching competitors like Billy Blanks, and all of our local champions compete. Also watching the friendly rivalries between Master Joe Pena’s Boston Tae Kwon Do, and their affiliates. Seeing, meeting, and learning, from Professor Don Jacob and the Purple Dragon community. Traveling to Trinidad for the first time since my family and I left there, accompanied by the twins who were competing in Trinidad for the first time. And, of course, returning after seventeen years, to Trinidad this past June to participate in a tournament sponsored by the Purple Dragon School. The re-establishment of East Coast at English ten years ago, all the satellite locations, introducing the school colors, and uniforms of today, partnering with the PAL organization, along with English, Madison and the Blackstone, Community Centers, traveling to some of his student’s native countries including: Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, and domestically to California, New York, New Orleans, Las Vegas, Atlanta, Florida, and taking a team to compete and try out for the Olympics, at the training center in Colorado Springs; are each important and special pieces of Shihan’s and East Coast’s history.

Shihan’s individual memories of students are so numerous that it would take rest of the weekend to mention them all. Just know that if you are East Coast and trained to your fullest, competed with Shihan looking on from the sidelines, was complemented, or even corrected after winning, you are part of a continuous memory reel that plays through Shihan’s mind and he considers you East Coast for life.


Blogger Tony said...

I pray wayne is doing well and in good health. My name is Tony Marrero ( or as he would call me antonio)an old friend of his long before you folks new him. Wayne tell them how you got into the martial arts...hahaha...God be with you old friend. I found out recently our best friend andy passed away 7 years ago. Please pass this email to wayne. Best.

11:54 PM  
Blogger Wayne Hector said...

Im crying right now for my best friend Andy Breen.It is never to late to respond to a lettrr that were sent to my attention 8 years ago.This is Grand Master Wayne Hector,of the Gotan Ryu Hanshi Do System.Antonio and Andy my first martial arts teacher's in 1971 when martisl arts were real,not unlike this nonsense MacDonald martial arts of today.Antonio my number is 562_227_8056 if u get this message please call me my old friend.

10:18 AM  
Blogger Alex Williams said...

As far as I know and was always relayed to me by those who passed on their knowledge to the young Wayne Hector is the ONLY true master of Gotan Ryu and that Mr Cornell Paterson is a fraud and used his position as a Police officer to try to gain control of and set himself up as master of the system. Those in the know realize this is true and that nothing ever comes from this kind of thievery and deceit. God Blessed me with finally meeting Grandmaster Wayne Hector this year and I can tell you as an old school martial artist with deep roots myself that this man is the TRUE Master of Gotan Ryu. God Bless Wayne.

2:53 PM  
Blogger Al Wilson said...

If it wasn't for Sensei Jesse Whitley I would be the man I am today
Thanks - Alphonso Wilson

9:11 AM  
Blogger Al Wilson said...

Has anyone seen Fu bear?

9:14 AM  

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