Thursday, August 30, 2012

Mentor , Master, Friend....

Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength,
while loving someone deeply gives you courage.

 I first met Joe Lewis at a seminar in 1984.
 Joe asked my instructor why I had been a brown belt for 6 years.
 (I was tested for Shodan a month later.)

While teaching at Karate College, John Maynard, Ian Marshal, Mike Allen and I
discussed the concept of forming an association of Joe Lewis Black belts.
 Joe Lewis said,
 'The purpose of creating Joe Lewis Fighting Systems Black belt Association
was too dignify the student’s efforts and pursue a common vision based on courageous leadership. Happiness as a martial artist is not attained with self-gratification
 or the greedy pursuit of ego centered values, but through fidelity of a worthy purpose.'

We simply wanted to share a weekend with our mentor, coach and friend sharing his philosophy, wisdom, tactics and strategies without the encumbrances of style,traditional secrecy and the political agendas prevalent in other Martial Arts associations establishing
a 'Fellowship of Valor' for future generations wishing to share Joes' vision.

'The Monkey Dance'

  Following the 1991 death of Kanei Uechi,
 son of Uechi-ryu founder Kanbun Uechi there was an organizational split.
 The directors of the Okinawa Karate-Do association officially created the name Shohei-Ryu,
 their organization's version of the style.

Upon the death of Bruce Lee on 20 July 1973
 there was a split between Lee's direct students.

Some used the JKD and Bruce Lee names for marketing and commercial purposes.
The two main divisions are Original/Jun Fan JKD and JKD Concepts.
 Proponents of both branches include Lee's direct students.

 Have we learned nothing from these lessons of history..?

 Associations fragment upon the death of their founders...!

and so it begins.....
( I received this email the other day.....)

Mr. Buckland:
I understand you are trying to promote your business and know fellow Joe Lewis Black Belts will continue to support your endeavors.
  However, it would seem appropriate to avoid promoting on the Joe Lewis Fighting Systems Facebook page or using Mr. Lewis' name to assist in these promotions.

I thank you for your time and consideration as I am speaking for my self and not on behalf of the JLFS Association.

Of course you don't speak for the association.
 We are a 'Fellowship of Valor".
 We promote the philosophy,
tactics and strategies of our friend, mentor and teacher
Joe Lewis

Tomorrow I fly to see my Friend and mentor Joe Lewis for what is probably the last time.
 His courage, integrity, wisdom and friendship will live within me forever.
 I will take him with me to every class I teach or attend.
I will continue to honor his memory all the days of my life. 

I am who I am today because of his inspiration.
 Through me he will continue to inspire the hearts and minds of all who's lives I touch.

He asked us to
 'Innovate not Immitate'.....
That's what I will do !!

My mentor and friend Grand Master Joe Lewis,
 passed away peacefully at 10:45am on Friday, August 31st,
 with his family at his side as I sat on the runway in Portland, Oregon to go see him.
Mr. Lewis fought a valiant 13 1/2 month battle with brain cancer. 

His vision will live on in the hearts and minds of all whose lives he touched.

Good Bye and God Speed Joe Lewis
we love you Rest in Peace. 


  1. A beautiful eulogy by an honorable man. GM Lewis would be very proud of his students, stumbling at the obstacle on the path of life which was his passing, but then picking up the torch he lit to continue the journey. Thank you to those teachers honoring GM Lewis by innovating, not imitating. And thank you Marine, Champion, Teacher, and Father- GM Lewis. Rest well.

  2. Robb, your pain and admiration for this great man is evident. Please accept my sincere condolences for your loss. I hope, someday, to have the time and circumstances to join the Joe Lewis organization and learn his methods. God bless! Sean McLaughlin