Officially recognized in Japan

“I can­not gra­dua­te hig­her than my sen­sei.” When it comes to his princi­ples, Olaf Bock is very con­sis­tent. And loyal­ty to his tea­cher, his sifu, is abso­lute­ly necessa­ry. “Cor Brug­man always had the 8th dan. And the­re­fo­re, as his mas­ter stu­dent and suc­ces­sor, I had the 7th DAN. And that’s it.” In 2004, Cor Brug­man gra­dua­ted to the 7th DAN. And he stay­ed that way for 16 years, alt­hough Olaf had actual­ly alrea­dy held the 8th and later the 9th DAN in other orga­ni­za­ti­ons for a long time. In 2011 he was appoin­ted Kyo­shi in Japan, in ear­ly 2013 the sta­te Furinka­zan Kara­te­do Socie­ty in Japan reco­gnis­ed Shao­lin Kem­po as Sho­rin Kem­po Kara­te and on 20.07.2014 rai­sed Olaf Bock to the rank of Han­shi with the right to hold the 9th DAN.

But he did­n’t. Becau­se Cor Brug­man was “just” 8. DAN. And sin­ce Sifu Brug­man was no lon­ger active due to ill­ness and an even hig­her gra­dua­ti­on was the­re­fo­re not to be expec­ted, Olaf had finis­hed with the topic DAN gra­dua­ti­on for him­s­elf.
Actual­ly. Becau­se on May 23rd, 2019 some­thing chan­ged, both for Cor and Olaf. Becau­se on that day, the old mas­ter was awar­ded the 10th DAN in reco­gni­ti­on of his life’s work and his ser­vices to Shao­lin Kem­po. For Cor Brug­man this was a real sur­pri­se. The Dutch­man was of the opi­ni­on that he did not deser­ve any fur­ther gra­dua­ti­on due to his inac­tivi­ty. But final­ly he accep­ted the offer. Olaf said: “Cor had deser­ved this for a long time. Becau­se he real­ly is one of the pioneers of Shao­lin Kem­po, has influ­en­ced more than just one genera­ti­on of mar­ti­al artists, in Hol­land as well as in Ger­ma­ny and far bey­ond”.

Now this who­le DAN asso­cia­ti­on out­fit has fal­len into dis­re­pu­te. Too many fat bel­lies, too many old men, too many hand levers and “SV” ins­tead of mar­ti­al arts at the semi­nars — no glo­ry for Shao­lin Kem­po. Rather a sad pic­tu­re of obe­se body ruins with the halo of “Do you remem­ber” and “Ever­ything was much har­der then”. Well, if it makes the bud­dies hap­py …

Little belly, lots of exercise

Sifu Olaf Bock is a dif­fe­rent calibre. He moves smooth­ly and skil­ful­ly. And his trai­ning is real­ly deman­ding, not­hing for posers. But I’ve been raving about this for a long time. But in addi­ti­on to that, he has an under­stan­ding of mar­ti­al arts and the tea­cher-stu­dent rela­ti­ons­hip, which actual­ly has some­thing to do with “old times”. As repor­ted, Olaf has offi­ci­al­ly accep­ted me as a stu­dent. No mon­th­ly fee, no con­tract, no for­mal com­mit­ment. He cho­se me, not the other way around. But I imme­dia­te­ly noti­ced with the sideburns from Betz­dorf that this stu­dent-tea­cher-rela­ti­ons­hip real­ly means more to him than just increa­sing the trai­ning group. Olaf is actual­ly a tea­cher, a path expert, who helps me with much more than just tea­ching indi­vi­du­al tech­ni­ques.

Even though we only see each other once a month, even though we are appro­xi­mate­ly the same age, even though I am actual­ly rather scep­ti­cal about aut­ho­ri­ties.  But Olaf Bock has exac­t­ly the same cha­ris­ma that I alrea­dy expe­ri­en­ced with my for­mer tea­chers in Kung­Fu (Sifu Win­fried), Tae­kwon­do (Mas­ter Oktay) and Kem­po (Wital­li). And mean­while I am far enough in my deve­lop­ment in the mar­ti­al arts to not only ack­now­ledge the tech­ni­cal know­ledge and skills, but also the spe­cial spi­rit, the spi­rit that a real tea­cher can give to his stu­dent, if the stu­dent is serious­ly wil­ling to deve­lop in the mar­ti­al arts.

And sin­ce Olaf is Olaf, he obvious­ly thought that if he is alrea­dy a reco­gni­zed Han­shi of an offi­ci­al sta­te mar­ti­al arts orga­ni­za­ti­on, then the ladies and gen­tle­men from the Far East could actual­ly reco­gni­ze his offi­ci­al stu­dents as just that — his stu­dents. And wit­hout Tho­mas Kuclo and me kno­wing it, our Sifu sud­den­ly pul­led out two parch­ment rolls at the end of the last trai­ning in Betz­dorf and solem­n­ly han­ded over the docu­ments from Japan to us.

I was very moved by this ges­tu­re. The docu­ment is beau­ti­ful, but actual­ly unim­portant. But what Olaf is try­ing to express has arri­ved. He appre­cia­tes our com­mit­ment and dedi­ca­ti­on to Shao­lin Kem­po and our wil­ling­ness to trust and fol­low him as a sen­sei. And of cour­se we also show this appre­cia­ti­on towards us. This has not­hing to do with blind alle­gi­an­ce, but with a deep respect for each other.

So Tho­mas and I are now offi­ci­al­ly regis­te­red black belts in Japan. Which streng­t­hens us even more in our way to mas­ter Shao­lin Kem­po. Which, howe­ver, does not make us any bet­ter in our mon­th­ly trai­ning with Olaf. 🙂

The only thing that helps is prac­tice, prac­tice, prac­tice. So now I’ll take my fin­gers off the key­board and go to the dojo!

 

 

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