Sunday, June 9, 2013

Honorary 7th dan black belt in JKA Shotokan karate, presented by Sensei Masataka Mori

When I was an undergraduate at Columbia University, from the Fall of 1968 through the summer of 1971, I spent a lot of time practicing Shotokan karate, which was very satisfying and which taught me that I could work harder than I had thought. Our instructor was the now legendary Sensei Masataka Mori, who came to New York in 1968, where he founded the NY Dojo, and also taught at Columbia.

It turns out that Nobel prizes are followed by other recognitions, and the most unexpected of those that I have received is that the Japan Karate Association in Tokyo has made me an honorary 7th-degree black belt, something that, given my athletic abilities, is even more unimaginable than being a Nobel laureate.

Sensei Mori came out to San Francisco earlier this year to make the presentation:  in the photo below, he and I are holding the certificate.

Next to me is my wife Emilie, and next to Sensei Mori is T.J. Stiles, the Pulitzer Prize/National Book Award winning biographer of Cornelius Vanderbilt (and Jesse James, too, but in a different book, it turns out that they weren't the same person:).  T.J. is a 5th dan black belt and the chief instructor of the JKA San Francisco dojo.

Behind the camera was Dr. Jacob Levitt, a 4th dan black belt who made the trip with Sensei Mori from New York, where he teaches and practices dermatology at Mt. Sinai Hospital.

Emilie and I felt that we were in the company of three unusually accomplished people.

Here is what I gather is an approximate English translation of the Japanese certificate:

1 comment:

J Rose said...

Congratulations, that is an honor not many people have achieved. Mori Sensei must value your insight and determination. Bravo!