The Black Belt Installation Ceremony for Joe Van Winkle

by Hanshi M. Lubitsch

On Saturday, November 7, every single active Black Belt attended the Black Belt Installation Ceremony for Joe Van Winkle.  After eight years of diligent, dedicated and determined training and practice the 57 year old was awarded the recognition he so justly deserved. The now Shodan Joe, traveled from New Jersey at least twice a week for training for a number of years in addition to his work on the demonstration team. His performance clearly reinforced his ownership of this recognition.  He was exceptional.

Shodan Joe was assisted by your incredible Demonstration Team.  The Team worked tirelessly for weeks to put this event together.  Sensei Doro, the team captain, aided by Co-captain Shodan Kevin, and Technical Advisor Shodan Alberto truly worked together to make this event come to pass.  Sensei Chris, Shodan Annette, Shodan Laudy, Kohai Nidan Olga, Kohai Decland and Kohai Eileen were the other black belts on the team.  Clearly, adding to the expertise of the performance.  The non-black belt members of the team are really troopers, they were magnificent. Alex, Amari, Angel, D West, Evan, George, Gerrell, Joselyn, Louis, Luis, Martin, Michael and Thomas, each of them was exceptional.

Shodan Dr. Henry drove in from Mass. to give his support and participate in the demonstration and introduce a new jo kata.  Sensei Jim's demonstration with Shodan Joe along with Sensei Chris and Kohai Nelson who rejoined the team to round things off.   Nice to see Amanda do a form with her dad.The ceremony was truly an emotional one and clearly Shodan Joe showed that he deserved this advancement.

The demo team after a number of unfortunate cancellations had the opportunity to show their talent and spirit.  I was very proud of them and I bet everyone who witnessed this event was also proud.   Two members, Alex and Tomas,  had a problem with their boss getting off early but managed to make it on time and did their part flawlessly.

Once again, Shihan Dan Hayes, chief instructor of Shorinjiryu Kenkukai and Senior Vice President of the Shorinjiryu Shinzen Kyokai, attended and expressed his congratulatory remarks along with his students, Kohai Annabel and Sempai Stephanie.

The evening festivities were truly a success.  I think a special thank you is appropriate especially for Audrey, Alexandra, Elias, Marco, Sonia, and Vera who organized the food service and made sure things ran well, which they did.  I know that I drove Louis Lopez crazy with running around for miscellaneous last minute items- thanks.  In the background was Martin Santiago who helped with the setup without being asked.  Nice to see Sempai Chris and Jonathan volunteer their assistance during the ceremony, key word, volunteer.

Shodan Joe shocked everyone with his performance as a guitarist.  His band attended the event and entertained the group with fantastic renditions of rock and roll songs.  Incredible would be an understatement.

The foods that were volunteered by parents were finished in record time.  The styles were varied but the tastes were delightful.

All those who volunteered must be thanked and are.

Congratulations Shodan Joe.


written on November 10th, 2009