Karate Kids Interview
This is an interview graciously
given to us at Karate Kidz Online.
Interview with Martial Arts Legend and Founder of Seicho Jutsu Grandmaster
Daniel Verkerke interviewed by Louis Velazquez.
I would like to take this
opportunity to thank Grandmaster Verkerke for granting this
interview with Karate Kidz Online. He is one of the true pioneers of
Martial Arts and asset to the Martial Arts community, it was an
honor to interview him. Grandmaster Verkerke is an inspiration to
many people worldwide through his accomplishments. It is a
priveledge to have him on KKO and to know him.
LV: How did you get started in Martial Arts?
GDV: I must first explain my understanding of starting in the Martial Arts. To
me there is an official starting and an unofficial starting. Unofficially I had a great desire as far back as I can remember. Having an older brother who was a Judoka always put me in a position to defend myself. Like many children I had influences from the movies, wrestling and boxing with friends before I reached the age to be accepted as a student.
Officially, meaning enrollment in a registered school had an age restriction. I do not know of any official martial arts governing bodies in my area that accepted students under the age of 10 throughout the late 1960' s and early 1970's . Only the year was used as a cut off point. If you were born in 1963, you could be enrolled January 1973 even though you may have been 9 yrs. old at the time.
I started my official Martial Arts training in Judo. I can still remember looking so forward for the new year, so I could join my brother's school. It can be sad when age is used to hold back some who are ready to learn.
LV: Who inspired you the most which lead to your success today?
GDV: I view my success today as the level of physical, mental and spiritual understanding I have at this point and time.
I can not think of a "Who" as individual beings that have inspired me to my level of insight. Everyone can inspire you to see and grow. You can learn positive knowledge from a bad person / instructor, which can inspire you to grow. I have been inspired to grow positively from my worst hardships in life, from experiences I have received from hurtful people. I will share a point of view which will guide you to the person which will inspire your success in growing positively as a human being. When you see someone conduct an admirable act, something that shows the good in that person. Think, in that situation, or a similar situation, would you have done the same thing.
If the answer is no, you should now be aware of that positive act. Awareness is the first step, if you keep yourself on tract you may be able to replicate that positive trait. That positive act becomes an inspiration which helps lead to your success. When you see someone act or react out of a negative emotion stop and think. Given the same or similar situation is there times when you react the same. Now you can see how other people must view you. We can all justify negative acts, but this justification is only seen from a negative mind. Seeing actions and reactions around you while you have no emotional agenda allows you to see from a higher oneself. Start paying attention, these lessons present themselves over and over, just
waiting for people to learn.
LV: Seicho Jutsu and Martial Arts in general have become a major part of your life, do you plan on increasing your knowledge or are you content?
GDV: I can speak as a martial artist, but I can not speak for all martial artists. In understanding this I will give you my point of view through my vision of Seicho Jutsu. Your question is rather limiting. Some people may be content in what they know. In Seicho Jutsu we are content in increasing our knowledge. Seicho Jutsu is the "Art of Growing" If we become content with what we know, we will no longer be participating in Seicho Jutsu.
LV: Do you have any plans on taking your skill and knowledge to Hollywood?
GDV: Hollywood would be a great medium to promote and popularize my art. I don't think there is any other quicker exposure to the masses. Unfortunately what you see in the movies is far from what most arts actually are. I could not see going to Hollywood to become something I am not. If there was a way in which I could promote and teach what I believe in, I would consider this.
LV: You are the authority on Seicho Jutsu and Ninjutsu, your credentials are impeccable, what is your ultimate goal with Seicho Jutsu?
GDV: I would not consider myself the authority on Ninjutsu. Ninjutsu has become more of a generic term with so many different styles and schools falling under this category.
As for my ultimate goal for Seicho Jutsu. I'm living it each day, whether I 'm teaching, meditating, promoting, writing or practicing. Now if I had a wish / dream, I would like to be able to guide all those who are in a position to comprehend the lessons we utilize to inspire others to grow and develop themselves.
LV: How do you feel about martial arts becoming a main stream in todays society?
GDV: Martial Arts in general taught correctly for the right reasons are a great benefit in today's society. Not only for physical exercise, developing balance, coordination, reflexes, unifying a neural network between the mind and the body, but also for the mental aspects of confidence, discipline, responsibility, respect, self control.
It is sad that society has taken this long to realize the benefits to martial arts.
LV: What are your feelings on "Full Contact Fighting" and how it exploded over the last few years?
GDV: Full contact has always been around. It just became a greater form of entertainment. Sort of a revival from the Roman days. You can view most of the fighters as Gladiators. Being a Gladiator is not for everyone, most of the popularity is from fans not from people wanting to fight. This is more of a sport which emphasizes greatly on a physical nature. One small aspect of martial arts. Full contact did and still does allow one to test the effectiveness of their physical techniques. Some people need the proof before they believe.
LV: With the big trend today in Brazilian Jui Jitsu and "Cage Fighting", what effect if any, do you think that will have on Seicho Jutsu?
GDV: They really don't have an effect on Seicho Jutsu. The reason one studies Seicho Jutsu is different than the reason one wants to participate in "Cage Fighting" I would think the only effect would be as an inspiration for one to feel what is right or wrong. This inspiration may cause one to analyze and explore many more directions.
LV: Can you explain what Seicho Jutsu is? Most Martial Artist even though aware of Seicho Jutsu don't really have a full understanding of Seicho Jutsu and its impact on Modern Martial arts.
GDV: The name Seicho Jutsu means the "Art of Growing" . Growing physically, mentally and spiritually. When we speak of defense, we mean to defend oneself, physically, mentally and spiritually.
The name was chosen to suggest the limitlessness of the art. Seicho Jutsu is a medium / vehicle that takes one through various experiences utilizing physical techniques to teach a greater understanding / awareness of oneself, cause and effect. As one evolves the lessons taught through the physical training become analogies to open the mind to a greater understanding of a mental, philosophical, and spiritual being.
The physical martial arts aspect to training would be viewed as a combat style. All our techniques come from an understanding of what our attacker can or cannot do. We teach an awareness of why and consequences to moving any other way throughout all our techniques. Learning not only how, but why, is highly stressed. Every technique is an inspiration to explore all possibilities from both sides. All "What ifs" are welcome. Not only are they welcomed, but they are encouraged to be acted on spontaneously. To become one with what is, Is a great part of our art.
LV: Do you mind if we get a little personal?, I am sure that Martial Artist in general are curious on how has being the Founder of Seicho Jutsu and your involvement in Martial Arts has changed your life?
GDV: If I were to do anything else with my life it would be changed. Since I have done this my entire life, there really is not a change so to say. If your asking what impact being the Founder of Seicho Jutsu and my involvement in martial arts has made. I would say if it were not for martial arts I would definitely not be who I am today. Martial Arts / Seicho Jutsu has been my guide to a greater understanding of life on all levels. I don't even want to imagine what my life would be like without the knowledge and experience I received through Martial arts studies.
LV: You have been featured in countless publications worldwide, numerous television/radio appearances, you are a Hall of Fame Martial Artist, you are the founder of Seicho Jutsu, 10th Dan in Ninjutsu, the head of many councils world wide and a Internationally renowned Martial Arts Master, very impressive. I am sure that is only the begining of your journey. Do you plan on releasing any books or videos in the near future?
GDV: I produced 9 Instructional videos throughout the late 1980's early 1990's. I also have manuals and a book titled "Spiritual Development Enlightenment of Life" which was published in 1989 and is now posted on the Internet. We have also the Seicho Jutsu Institute of Advanced Studies online for people interested in studying the art via the Internet. This past year we have been in the process of converting all our videos to VCD and DVD format.
Just finished producing the Seicho Jutsu Black Belt demonstrations volume 1,2, 3, 4. which demonstrated performances by many of the top Seicho Jutsu Black Belts.
Currently I'm producing a 6 part series on Seicho Jutsu which I hope to have released spring 2003.
LV: What are your feelings on young martial artist today?
GDV: The young today should enjoy themselves and their youth. Martial Arts should be their desire and they should look forward to attending every class. They should learn to help their fellow classmates while developing leadership qualities. They must learn to communicate and express themselves. For today's young will be tomorrows future leaders.
LV: There are Martial Arts "Schools" around today that are extremely commerical, as "IKF" president Steve Fossum put it recently, these "Schools" are considered "Black Belt Factory's" and are concerned only with lining the Instructors pocket and give a false sense of security to the students by promoting them through belts quickly to keep them interested, what effect if any, do you think that this has on martial arts as a whole?
GDV: This is very sad, but it is a reflection of our society. Giving people what they want, The business person is laughing under their breath. They want belts I'll sell them belts. Want a diploma, I'll make you a deal if you buy 2 certificates. Everyone wants a short cut or an easy way out.
I personally don't think people should be charging for belts or promotions. Students pay for the lessons, when they demonstrate what they have learned through hard work and understanding they deserve the belt, they earned it. Our society is just as much to blame for this. It is the McDonald's dojo that do so well because of this.
Do I think this hurts martial arts as a whole. No, ignorant people will spend allot of money. It is consumer ignorance or the belt was worth more than the knowledge. This is not just in martial arts, but everywhere where people think they can make a buck.
The true martial artist may be taken for a ride now and then, but it is their quest to learn more which keeps them searching. It is these people who have the potential to effect the martial arts as a whole.
LV: Do your students compete in tournaments?
This is an experience that is good for all. I encourage all to have the experience, but it is not part of our training. Now and then some students compete for their own experience. All who have competed have done quite well. It all becomes a part of ones collections of experience that develops ones understanding.
GDV: Are you being featured in any publications in the near future that our visitors can see you in?
Not that I'm aware of right now, but there have been times when people called me up informing me of articles featuring me. The last one this year was in the "Karate Voice" published in Florida
LV: How can they get more information on Seicho Jutsu?
GDV: The best source of information can be found at our Official web site at: http://bushido.org/seicho
LV: Who are the instructors there?
GDV: Fred Renkowitz, Aubrey Millard, Dawn Marsh, Jacque Morin, Tony Reardon, Jeremy Dancey, and Mike Woldek
LV: And Lastly, Do you have any advice for the martial artist reading this interview?
GDV: The biggest difference to your development depends on the limitations to your own point of view.
Grandmaster Verkerke thank you so much for this very insightful interview. It is our honor and pleasure to have your thoughts and beliefs here on Karate Kidz Online.
To find out more about Seicho Jutsu and Grandmaster Verkerke visit their website at http://bushido.org/seicho
Step up your learning curve with Grandmaster Daniel Verkerke