In Japan, there is a most honorable designation called “National Treasure.” When a person has excelled to the highest degree and impacted many, they are awarded this title. If such a distinction was given in America, Peter Carbone Sensei would be one of the first in line to receive it.
Carbone Sensei is a Soke Keizon and even a novice can watch him for 20 seconds and recognize why he earned this rank. Movements are clean, powerful and creative. He effortlessly goes through technique after technique in a flawless fashion, as demonstrated this Saturday at the Winter Weapons Seminar in Apopka.
Though I have not done karate in over 2 decades, it did not take long to get into the flow of training. We covered knife and bo work from the Ryukodo system. Regardless of the style, it is always the most efficient, smoothest movements that are the most effective — not the most elaborate. Such was the case yesterday.
The group was simply wonderful, a collection of dedicated individuals from all ages and backgrounds. The weather was perfect and the outdoor setting could not have been better. What really drew me to the event (and will always keep me coming back) is Carbone Sensei.
I have noticed over the past decade or so, a loss of some of the great lessons in martial arts. At the top of this list is the loss of respect for both individual and for the art, along with the masters from days gone by. Perhaps it is a sign of the times. Perhaps because of MMA where in-ring competition and accompanying “trash talking” and other antics are viewed as the be all/end all. Or the McDojo-mindset where TKD schools pass out black belts like parents pass out candy at Halloween. Something has been lost.
But not by everyone.
Carbone Sensei is both “old school” and the future. His is a walking wikipedia of martial arts. Ask a question about a weapon or technique and be prepared for an eye-opening, mini-seminar on the subject. He also has taken on the responsibility for passing along this information to future generations and has planted many seeds in this regard. His students, including Jude Ferguson and John Krieger Seinseis, have graciously and admirably followed in his footsteps. Yesterday is known. Tomorrow is taken care of. Today. . . . we train.
Peter Carbone Sensei also epitomizes what martial arts are truly about. Yes, his movements are flawless and seemingly endless in terms of variety. When one devotes many decades of their live into training (including over 25 visits to Okinawa), one approaches such rarified air, a level that many of us dream of experiencing.
But it is more than an overflow of talent and experience. It is that inner spirit that is hard to define but easy to see or feel. Respect meets Dignity and then hooks up with Honor and forms the perfect martial arts amalgamation.
Each person is treated with dignity and regard. Each person is expected to treat others in this fashion, themselves included. It is in this circle that true martial arts and the real meanings are found.
If you have trained with Carbone Sensei, you know what I speak. If you have not, sign up next time and experience what it is to train with a true martial arts master.