Thursday, July 7, 2016

Sins of Our Fathers

Recently, we’ve all been tied up in the emotions of the death or our leader, Oyata, Taika.  It has been an emotional ride and now as I reflect after four years I’m not sure I’ve really even started the grieving process.  There has been a lot of hate, bile, ego and testosterone flung from one side of the world to the other.  I’ve allowed myself to get caught up in it as well as the next practitioner.  I feel it is time to move on, to let bygones be bygones, and get to the point where I can not only begin to train more effectively, but to grieve.

Once massive emotional thorn in my side that I’ve had for many years, and that came to a head when Taika passed, is all the people that hurt him before he died.  There were a few people that were kicked out of the association for various reasons, some truly hurt Taika and his family emotionally, financially and in other ways.  For years, I have fostered a major hate for these people and all associated with them, particularly if they were still riding on his coat tails.  As illogical as it is, I think I somehow blame them for his death.  That isn’t reality, isn’t even possible, but part of me feels like lashing out at them because he is gone.  Well, it is time to move on.  Some of these people have been gone for decades and Taika has been gone for over four years.  I cannot let hate consume me.  Neurons firing in pursuit of training are much better spent than in pursuit of hate.

I’ve gradually come to this realization over the last few months, and I’ve fought it.  I didn’t want to let go of the hate.  I wanted to hold on to the hate, to feel as if I am defending Taika’s honor.  After going to a grief counselor to deal with the fact that I can’t grieve when I’m still dealing with this mental cancer, I have to just move on.  This is no longer a concern of Taika’s as he is gone, why should I let it tear my heart apart.

So where is the ‘Sins of Our Fathers’ part?  Recently, a friend in the art was called out for his association with a former student of one of these blacklist refugees.  I found myself analyzing and researching the situation a bit because any time any name from that black list came up; I immediately went into defensive mode.  I had to step back and ask myself ‘why’?  There are a handful of people that Taika kicked out.  Many others left with a not so pleasant standing with Taika.  I won’t say I’ll ever forget but I can move on.  I should move on.  I’ve never really liked the phrase ‘Forgive and Forget’ as you should never really forget.  Learn from your mistakes and others, but keep moving. 

When someone would leave the association for whatever reason, their students would only ever hear one side of the dispute that brought upon the departure.  They wouldn’t hear Taika’s side, only that of their instructor.  Put yourself in their place for a moment.  Imagine your first instructor, and how they were probably almost a god in your eyes.  Many students never even met Taika or if they did it was just a fleeting glimpse at a seminar.  Maybe they went to test for Shodan and he was in the room when they tested, yelling or tasking them on some mission.  Now suddenly, your instructor sits everyone down and says we are branching out on our own.  He give you a story about ‘creative differences’, being stifled, whatever.  It doesn’t matter.  You don’t personally know Taika, but you have known your instructor for months or years.  Most likely you are going to believe your instructor and follow along blindly.  Now keep in mind, 10, 20, 25 years ago there was either no internet as we know it today or it wasn’t nearly in the social state it is today.  In one profound instance, an instructor was kicked out and told his students for 19 years that he was still training with Taika.  Those students believed him.  Very few students ever stay long term, so hundreds if not thousands of people march on by only hearing their instructor’s side of the story.

I can remember in one instance, where an instructor was expelled by Taika.  Taika personally contacted the students and gave them a chance, gave them a choice.  He told them his side, and said they could either stay in his association or stay with their original instructor.  If Taika gave these people a chance, shouldn't we?

Back to my friend getting called out, after a bit of digging, I found that the person, who I myself had associated some bile with……was never actually in our association.  I was caught up in the hype as well, guilty as charged.  This person doesn’t even make claims to have been in our association on his bio unlike many others out there.  He had been a disciple of someone who Taika separated from; let’s just call his instructor Mr. Big.  At some point, not too long after Taika’s separation from Mr. Big, this student smelt the bull and separated from Mr. Big as well.  Shouldn’t we commend that person for smelling the bull and leaving the person Taika had an issue with?  Others didn’t leave Mr. Big and are still knee deep in that association. 

As I began to research further, I finally realized that I have had numerous students over the years that originally came from these other splinter groups.  I’ve had students from at least four different associations, probably more, that were founded by people that were either kicked out of the association or left under shaky grounds.  My tutelage of these students gave them a chance to see how Taika’s art had grown since the departure of their former instructor.  It gave them a chance to finally hear Taika’s side of the story.  In each case, it gave me a chance to further spread Taika’s unique art.

As a group of people that profess to be dedicated to spreading Taika’s art, his philosophies, his techniques… is time we move on.  I’m not saying we need to put the whole band back together.  There are some things that can’t be mended.  I cannot forget what some people did but I must seriously limit the blame to them and not their followers.  This is probably the hardest thing I have had to consider since Taika’s death, but I will never be able to move on and grieve if I cannot forgive the students for the sins of their masters.


  1. Seiyu Oyata gave freely much of his inner knowledge...many took advantage...I was present for some of his original choices to build an organization and build respect amongst the members...still many abused his generocity.
    Yet more time in gave more learning and more understanding....a meijin
    And still humble man.

  2. What I have learned in my own life, is that you can not move forward if you live in the past, although, you still have to make right judgments, but also be compassionate and forgiving. What I do is look at the heart. I'll publicly say that Dillman is a fraud and a fake, because I have judged him for his activities. But for other's, their heart is for Tiaka, for the survival of this miraculous, special, powerful art that contains goodness, but also absolute strength, overcoming any threat and/or situation depending on the practitioner, and to obtain it's purity. Those should be given voice and respect and acceptance. As for me, I will continue to train fearlessly, as Taika told me to do, "Train Hard", striving to understand what I'm doing, so I will be able to pass it on also into the future this art delivered by Taika Oyata to even my very children if that what it takes. But training is the key, as I was doing Chizicun Bo kata last night, the more I did it, the movements became more fluid, my motions began to change and become more meaning full. Then I realized this weapon was an extension of Wakinaguri's fingers, in whom was a master of pressure point striking. Then I saw how the weapon worked, that every motion and strike was significant and my motions/movements became even more meaningful and effective, changing how I was holding the weapon. That's my experience daily in training, perusing, and excelling in the art of Oyata Shin Shu Ho Ryu as a true practitioner.

  3. If you do not allow comments, how will anyone no anything?

    1. Sorry for the delay. I do allow comments but moderate them, otherwise someone will try to sell Phen Phen, Joe-Bob's Super Delux Weight Loss substance, et cetera. I was teaching class during your posts.

    2. -Sorry about that, when I posted the comment, a message a few minutes later said my e-mail subscription had been cancelled to your post, so I was actually thinking of myself to be an idiot, so out of frustration of my own insecurity I commented again, in which I felt like even more of an idiot. :)

  4. -Through my experience from 14 years of age(1988)until now, I have seen and heard and listened to your views and experiences of the politics in the association. Luckily, I was able to avoid the extent of these situations personally, although my instructors were both at odds and disagreement through my training years. I understand and feel your grievances having experienced this first hand, instructor taking over instructor school, having new instructor. Both, close to Taika, moving forward into the art in different directions. So, now what do I do, who do I follow. I follow the heart, but train for myself, to excel, understand, advance not only my physical ability, but to live up to the moral responsibility also. I really enjoyed your post, thank you.

  5. Amen forgive and Forget and teach Taika's teaching...

  6. Mr. Richards, like what you have to say.


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