Well, after some considerable technical difficulties, we are finally up. In the meantime, I managed to accidentally erase all prior posts. One that I recall was from a Mr. Shrewsberry, I believe his first name was Kevin (I apologize in advance if I got it wrong) who wanted to know more about the Mel Wise Award. He mentioned that he trained with Dr. Wise as a child living in Kansas in the 1970's.
Well, Mr. Shrewsberry, Dr. Wise, as you may well know, died from cancer in 1977. He fought and ultimately lost a valiant battle with cancer. He was such a well-regarded figure in the karate community that he instantly became an icon of American bushido. Those who knew him around the time of his death say that he kept his head up and his spirits high even while staring into the face of his own mortality. In 1979, my sensei, Mr. Ron Rollins, created the Mel Wise Memorial Bushido Award to preserve the memory of Dr. Wise and to honor karate-ka who embody the bushido ethic in their daily living. To date, there have been twenty-four recipients of this prestigious award. Only they may nominate and vote for candidates for the award. The award itself is hand-crafted from oak, and no two are exactly alike. It prominently features a full color image of Dr. Wise in a classic back layout kamei. Recipients of the award also recieve a patch to wear on their gi and a copy of the original proclamation written and signed by Illinois Governor James Thompson. Ironically, Mr. Rollins also died from cancer in 2009 and left the administration of the Mel Wise Award to me. I was, and still am, humbled by this gesture and sincerely hope to maintain the high standards Sensei set for this unique award.