Hanshi Pete Siringano Sr.
November 6th, 2004 marked the 10th anniversary of the passing of my Father and Sensei, Hanshi Pete Siringano Sr.
In the 10 years since his passing, the Martial Arts World has lost many other equally stellar Hanshis. In my conversations with other Inheritors of their respected Systems, I have observed the following.
When the Soke of any
System passes on, there is first; the mourning period. Black belt and student
members come "out of the woodwork" to pay their respects. Recalling the
"good old days" when the Dojo was a new and important thing in their
lives, and the Spartan training sessions which they endured.
Then, there is a lot of "If it's okay, can I come back to the Dojo and finish what I started years ago?" Many swear unending loyalty to the System and to the new Inheritor.
But, there are also those who are already plotting and scheming even before the Soke has been laid to rest. Phone calls are made and meetings arranged by individuals who will not allow themselves to be a student or black belt to anyone but the man who first accepted them into the Dojo. Even if, and in some cases especially if, the Inheritor is the Soke's Son and highest ranked Black Belt in the System.
Instead of accepting
that the "torch has been passed" and building an allegiance with the
Inheritor, thereby helping the System to grow and flourish, these individuals
choose to break away. They claim that they "can't learn any more" or
"don't want to serve under anyone."
But, they would NEVER have told this to their departed Soke when he was alive.
Everybody gets brave after the man is dead.
Those of you reading this who are Inheritors, know EXACTLY what I'm talking about.
Those of you reading this who are grinding your teeth and cursing me, the truth is a $#&!, isn't it?
I will not mention
any names or Systems here. As, unfortunately, MANY individuals from MANY Systems
have done this in the last 10 years.
Martial Arts is SUPPOSED to teach humility as one of its virtues. But where is the humility when students of lesser rank decide that they know more than those placed in positions of higher rank by their Soke, and then after he's dead, form their own "Systems" and make themselves whatever rank they feel they deserve?
Everybody gets brave after the man is dead.
One Inheritor from another well respected System said of the people who broke away from him, "They know WHAT they are and what they are PRETENDING to be. And if my Soke were still alive, he'd break their legs." Knowing his late Soke, I concur.
My Father was a very trusting man when it came to his students. He gave 100% and then some. A lot of students took advantage of his name and status in the Martial Art World. They would be nowhere without his name recognition. One just had to say they were with Pete Siringano or show up with him at a Tournament or Dinner, and you were shown respect.
He allowed many his black belt students to open their own Dojos, and never took a dime.
He held Sunday Clinics for the Black Belts once a month for YEARS, and never took a dime.
Yet, when he was ill and needed financial assistance with the medical bills, these same individuals refused to contribute a dollar a month per student to help. This is how much they "LOVED" this man. Some of these people didn't even visit him when he was on his death-bed. This was also the "straw that broke the camel's back" as far as he was concerned. And in his observant eyes, the writing was on the wall.
I count myself as one of the very fortunate individuals on this planet that I was born into the Martial Arts. I had one of the BEST Senseis and role models that ever lived. I was doubly blessed in that he was also my Father. I remember the many workouts we had after everyone had left the Dojo for the night, and at our home. He taught me MANY things and techniques that he would otherwise have taken with him to the grave.
I have not deviated one iota from his teachings and techniques. If it ain't broke .....
I wish my students
who didn't know him could have had the honor. My students that DID know him,
remember him with reverence and respect.
They have remarked many times, "Like Father, Like Son." I consider that an honor.
In the 10 years since his passing my life has changed as well. I have children of my own. My Son is already training and hopefully will be the next Soke of the System one day. My Father would be proud that I, like so many others who bore the responsibility of Inheriting a System, weathered the winters of discontent.
Dad, I miss you and I will continue the work which you began back in 1956 with Honor and in the Spirit Of Bushido.
God Bless You.
Your Loving Son and Students.
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