The following is a personal facebook post by one of the recent students who graded under Taira Sensei. All content has been published with permission by the original author, Mathew Weisfeld, owner of United Martial Artist Dojo, and student of Mark Kapel Sensei .
"Hi everyone! Not too long ago I had an amazing experience of meeting and training under Taira Sensei and acknowledged by the Okinawa Gojuryu North America. I've trained most of my life, 20 of those years were various forms of American/US Gojuryu, and Gojuryu Kai/Japanese. In general, I was not a traditionalist or even that Kean on Kata and Bunkai. I liked to kick high and hit things but took a major step back because of life and complacency.
COVID-19 pulled me back into the "karate world" to save my old school, but I initially didn't have a real passion to save it. That is a much longer story for a different time.
For me the stress of the Pandemic was starting to hit more than I realized. Everything was making me upset, drinking more than ever, weight gain, and really "feeling old" (and I was only 35 at the time). Saying that Okinawa Gojuryu Kenkyukai saved me might be an exaggeration but its not too far off. I met (my now Sensei) Mark Kapel with no intention of training. I went through my favorite kata, Seiyunchin and realized I never really understood it. Next thing I know I'm hooked and training everyday! Doing Sanchin in the snow, learning and relearning katas, and training Bunkai on a deeper level with the unrealistic aspirations of meeting Taira Sensei. As a Karate Nerd I knew all about him as a Karate Idol
My training got my head back on straight. I work in manufacturing/the music industry and us going out of business was a very real possibility. The decisions I've made in my life/day job were directly positively impacted by Karate.
Training in Traditional Karate kept my life at work and home balanced when I needed it most. More importantly 2 weeks ago I had a chance to not only meet but train and grade under Taira Sensei himself! This is the greatest moment for me in my Martial Arts career and one of the greatest in my life. I can't thank Kapel and Taira Sensei enough and now I'm training even harder so I can get to Okinawa!
I wanted to share this because I'm proud of what I accomplished but also to encourage everyone, KEEP TRAINING! Find a Traditional school (or whatever you have access to) and reach your goals and dreams! If you have had a life changing experience from the Martial Arts, share it!
Taira Sensei left me with the kanji: 一期一会, Ichi-go ichi-e: One encounter one chance, one life one chance.
We all get one shot at all of this, we can't waste it! Thanks to everyone who actually read this Facebook novel I wasn't planning on writing"
It has been a long time since we have been able to have Taira Sensei visit us for a grading and seminar. We are proud of all of the students who had a chance on his visit to train and grade with him!
A big congratulations to all who trained and graded! We hope everyone continues their efforts to push themselves as they take another step in their Martial Arts Journey! Looking forward for others to make the trip to the Head Shibu Dojo in New Jersey and become part of our Karate Family!
After a forced two year break from seminars with Taira Sensei, we are excited to have accomplished the first successful Gasshuku for 2022!
We would like to thank everyone who took the time to join us this weekend for the amazing training experience with Taira Sensei. Congratulations to all those who trained and graded! Schools from all around the country and as far as Canada journeyed to the Head Shibu Dojo for the experience to train with Taira Sensei. We will post more about the experience, the training, spot light on those who graded and more! If you are part of the Okinawa Gojuryu Kenkyukai North America you have all associated schools behind you to support and train in our art!
If your school has pictures or video from this weekend or have questions about the seminar or our organization please email us at email@example.com or private message us.