Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Training With The Master Ernie Reyes

We have experienced the awesomeness in person.
Ernie Reyes, the martial arts master, came to Portland to give classes at the dojos bearing his name. We had seen him in films, videos, and our expectations were high.

He did not disappoint. His presence was a good blend of self-mastery, philosophy, and compassion. He spoke no angry words when a four-year-old began to cry (most likely the reasons for the outbreak were not related to the instruction).

One of the many reasons I hold Ernie Reyes West Coast Martial Arts in such high regard is that the school holds personal development central to the practice of martial arts. When imparting the lessons I'm relieved that the instructors don't mention any sort of god, leaving that up to the individual.

As someone who grew up in Minnesota in the 1970s and 80s and enjoyed Scouting, I recall evangelists often showed up at camp bearing spiritual messages. I understood then that the preachers intended to bring a basic message of understanding and humanity, but it always rubbed me the wrong way as I feel there is plenty to talk about without invoking religion (also I'm Jewish).

Seeing Ernie Reyes make jokes, tell tales of tournaments, punch and kick, underscored how all the instructors in the program radiate sincerity - their life's journey has been improved by martial arts and they readily share examples of triumph and failure. When dealing with a franchise one can easily grow suspicions that things may be different at corporate headquarters. Now that I've seen the guy at the top, I am very much reassured.

Here's the video (sorry this can't be viewed on a mobile device):

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