Thursday, November 10, 2016

Memories of Instructors who made an impact on Me – Sherman Harrill

Sherman Harrill and John Dinger
This past week I decided to do a deeper dive into memory than I normally do.


I decided to examine a bit of video (just 21 minutes) from 1995 when my students first met Sherman Harrill. I had met him the year before at a clinic Garry Gerossie had hosted for him. That next year Garry and I decided to host another clinic at the Boys and Girls Club in Derry, NH.


His clinic started in the morning, and when he asked me what I would like to see, I requested applications from Chinto, Kusanku and Sunsu kata.


That made Sherman laugh and reply with a smile, “Ok, we will see.”


Then for the first 2 hours he worked on the opening section of Chinto kata. We all were gulping. So much was shared.


Then we broke for some lunch, and afterwards when we were more relaxed he started to cruise.


Sherman Harrill and Young Lee
I looked at my video record of that 21 minutes. During that time he shared over 20 applications. Most of which were taking an application and making it work against a variety of attacks.


Serman Harrill and Mike Cassidy

And he was doing so effortlessly. He would grab a partner and demonstrate a series of uses for one application. Then he would grab another partner and show another application and a variety of uses. Then again, and again, and again…..

Sherman Harrill and Jed Kurkowski

The thing I became aware of was this was not just a clinic on applications. That is what you do in the dojo.

Sherman Harrill and Tom Chan

Instead he was showing an encyclopedic presentation on the variety of possible uses of Isshinryu. In later years at other clinics he made the point more clearly. It was what was important that you see and understand the underlying principles of application. Then you begin to understand what opportunities the entire system offered.


Over and over. That day there were many lessons we did not retain, but many that we did.


There  were  more clinics over the years, but this experience remains very clear in my mind.


Sherman Harrill passed away in 2002, He was an outstanding Isshinryu Instructor. He was also a beginner on Okinawa along with my original instructor, Tom Lewis.



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