Goju-Shorei Systems

Martial Arts for the 21st Century

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Blog Posts

The UBBT and me

In the early 2000s Tom Callos and I were talking at a coffee shop in Reno when he mentioned something he was thinking of doing. He called it the Ultimate Black Belt Test, and when he explained what it consisted of I told him he was crazy, because no one in their right mind would do such outrageous things over a year. 

Fast forward a few years. In November of 2004 I had just returned from Nashville after 3 months of chemo and radiation treatments. Tom called me and insisted that I join the UBBT and play full out. At that point I could not do even one push-up and he was insisting I do 52,000 over the next 12 months. Putting common sense aside I agreed. Seven months later I did 2005 push-ups over the July 4th holiday. 

I know for certain I would not have had that kind…


Posted by Dave McNeill on April 9, 2018 at 10:34am

PTSD and Martial Arts

I strongly believe this curative effect would apply to all martial arts.

Posted by Dave McNeill on March 19, 2018 at 1:27pm

Master Dan McCuskey

This is a picture of Master McCuskey teaching pressure point theory and application at my dojo decades ago.

Dan had a heart attack late last week and passed away last night.

He introduced me to pressure point in the 80s by knocking me out with a Lung 1 & 2 strike. I was sold before my butt hit the ground. He was generous with his knowledge and time in spreading the word on Ryukyu kempo karate.

He was always so kind to myself and the students of Goju-Shorei and he will be missed deeply.

Posted by Dave McNeill on February 20, 2018 at 12:36pm — 2 Comments


Learning a martial art from scratch – basics, concepts, forms and vocabulary - is hard. But not as hard as herding butterflies.

Testing for any rank requires a trust in the process, a high level of conditioning and overcoming nerves and doubt. It is hard, but not as hard as herding butterflies.

Coming to a martial arts class when you are sore or tired is hard, but not as hard as herding butterflies. 

Teaching a class of beginning students night after night is exhausting and hard, but not as hard as herding butterflies.

Signing up for a year long process that will push you beyond any limit you could imagine takes courage and a deep belief in yourself and your maturity. As any UBBT (Ultimate Black Belt Test) participant will attest, this is very hard, but not as hard as…


Posted by Dave McNeill on February 17, 2018 at 6:13pm

Seminar in New Jersey

Posted by Dave McNeill on February 13, 2018 at 8:28am

Model A Teacher To Be A Teacher

If you are in the martial arts you should aspire to be a good martial arts teacher. We look to other martial artists for inspiration, examples and guidance. If we are inspired by our own martial arts instructor then our style of instruction will probably be a close copy.

But I think we should also look back to our teachers we had in grades 1 through 12. We all have at least one teacher that we admired and who inspired us. In grade school I had Mrs. Fike and Mrs. Campbell, and they couldn't have been more different in age, size and energy. What they did have in common was their accessibility, caring, and expectation that all their students would do their best. To disappoint either one of them would have been unbearable.

I encourage everyone to remember that exceptional primary teacher,…


Posted by Dave McNeill on January 25, 2018 at 10:30am

UBBT Reminder From 2008

This video is to remind the UBBT alumni of the connections and reconnections that this challenge has afforded us.
To the newbies, this is an example of the wonderful memories you can create with the 2018 UBBT Team.


Posted by Dave McNeill on January 16, 2018 at 8:40am

New Karate Yellow Belt

Black belt Patti Oji has earned her yellow belt in Goju-Shorei Karate. Traveling once a month from the Bay Area for 2 years, Patti has been diligent and consistent in her studies.

Sensei John Mayes, on the left, was in charge of the test, supported by Sensei Marta Azzam and uke Jake Passas.

Posted by Dave McNeill on January 14, 2018 at 4:30pm — 3 Comments



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