Jan 12 2009

Remembering Brad VanAlstyne

Published by at 9:43 am under Other Stuff

I can not say enough good about the short time that I knew Brad.  I was looking for a way to properly remember him on my blog.  That’s the least that I can do.  I found this post he wrote so I thought I would share it.  It speaks volumes to the quality of man that he is.  It’s a post on testing what you know taken for kutaki.org, sorry Shawn.

A small bit of my background will explain what I have experienced in my training. I started in the Bujinkan in 1987 when I was 16 years old. I had trained in other MA since the age of 9 years and had done quite well. When I say my 1st Booj instructor move I was hooked. This person had speed, power, flexibility and raw ferocity that seemed to defy reality. I began training the next class. We would condition ourselves by smashing shinai into our bodies to build up resistance to strikes we would hit anything hard. We would bare knuckle spar all the time. We would have people come to the dojo to challenge us even. We would boast all over the city that we were the best. By the time I was 20 I had had countless challenges from high ranking students from every type of Martial Arts that were in the city. I never lost. Why? I had no fear. I would never quit no matter how hurt I was. My body was a finely tuned machine for fighting and I tested it all the time.
If you are still with me here is what all of that got me.
In 1991 I went to the Texas Taikai (my 1st ever) and was blown away by sensei and others. I had also been extremely disappointed by what I saw too. I remember Mr. Severe doing a demo with his students and can attest to his skill and ferocity. I like it he trained like I did and as I thought everyone should. I saw others that I felt were not worthy of the rank that they held.
Then I met a person who shed some light on what I had seen.
Her name is Abi Allen and I will be grateful to her forever. She told me that I could learn a lot from everyone there and that I should not be closed to others. I was young and stupid (I can say it I was) and did not really get it.
Sorry that this is long winded by I do have a point.
She came to Canada for my wedding and a seminar and I had the opportunity to train with her. She tried to teach me to open up but could see that I was a closed door. She then told me to show her what I had. She then proceeded to beat me like a dog for the next hour. No matter what I did she was better than me. After an hour I was exhausted and could barley move. She asked me how I felt and I told her I was beaten. She said well now we can get started. She proceeded to teach me sanshin for the next few hours and as I learned to move properly she talked to me about me, her, life, Hatsumi, ect…

I have trained the way she has instructed me from then on and have been growing ever since. What I have learned is that I am an exponentially better “fighter” than I was before but more importantly I am a better person. I do not regret my earlier training although it caused numerous bone and joint problems and I ended up with a Kidney transplant due to the severe training. But when I teach my students I train as Hatsumi and the Shihan do. The skills and methods have been tested under conditions we can just barley imagine. I have learned to trust those that have gone before me and have suffered so that I do not have to. Instead of trying to chase reality scenarios do the techniques exactly as shown by your teachers. If you do this then the fighting part will take care of itself.

Just my personal experience

Brad V

In your passing you teach me I have to live a life without regrets.  Brad, I will miss you.

Comments Off

Comments are closed at this time.