Where do we go from here?

The following is an article submitted by a guest author, Manny Saavedra, Hanshi. He is the HeadMaster and Founder of the World Sansei GoJu organization, headquartered in Miami, Florida. He is one of the Senior Masters who’s roots began in USA GoJu as a student of GrandMaster Peter Urban. He founded the Sansei GoJu organization in 1979 at the same time I began my work on A.G.K.A.I. and has established one of the most credible GoJu-ryu international organizations in the world. I am blessed to call  him my friend and GoJu brother.

We are honored to have him as a guest author at MARTIAL ARTS INSIDER, and I am blessed to benefit from the wisdom of his counsel. Please enjoy the article and feel free to comment and/or pose questions at the end in the comment section after this article. Our BLOG is set up to be interactive and he will be able to respond directly to any inquiry as his busy schedule permits.


Hanshi Manny Saavedra - WORLD SANSEI

…the first appearance deceives many; the intelligence of a few perceives what has been carefully hidden.

As a visual reference, a family tree is an excellent way to think about the connections between individuals, especially in large families. Historians often create a family tree, especially when they are looking at the history of royal dynasties, to follow the paths of allegiance and relation between various nations. A family tree can illustrate what exactly a second cousin is, for example, or show you the precise relationship between yourself and your step-great-aunt. In historical situations where families have tended to intermarry, a family tree can sometimes get confusing, and the linear nature is corrupted by lines which appear to sprout in all directions. So it is that we do the same in Karate.

For us in karate, a family tree showcases the connections and history of a family system. Most of us are proud of their relationships to famous these figures, and are delighted to have a family tree illustrating that point. The family tree can serve as a small history lesson of the family, showing the various origins of different members of the family, along with the children (students) they had and when they lived. It can also serve as a memory prompt, because seeing the family member’s name can bring out other pieces of the individual’s history, such as what he or she did that was distinctive or remarkable.

The Art above the Artist

For a tree to proliferate the branches must grow to gather nutrients for the trunk. There are no favorite branches and all are loved, all are part of the living tree. Some branches will survive the winter, some the rain, some will bend with the wind and some will break. Some of the branches will plant seeds. All are needed and are viewed as part of the one, part of the Toa, the natural order of life. It is within this natural order of life that all things must follow, and we as USA Goju lineage must learn to work together one way or another. (more…)



This article is one of a series focused on issues currently challenging those who have benefited from both the multitude of positive Martial Arts contributions of the late Patriarch of USA GoJu, Peter Urban, and also those who have suffered from some of the negative practices and abuses connected with those who have studied, practices, taught, or associated with this MA Pioneer and his followers. This series is not intended to defame or attack anyone personally, but is solely the opinion of the author, based on his personal experiences, observations and conclusion. BE ADVISED, Enter with a critical mind.

Shihan Pascetta & GM Urban revising USA GoJu Curriculum - Padova, Italy _ Circa 1977

Today I responded to a post on the Facebook Page: “U.S.A.G.A. Urban System of America GoJu Association“. This post by a U.S.A.G.A.member stated: “It’s time for you to take over U.S.A.G.A….”. Since I take this subject very seriously, I subsequently wish to share the contents of my response to anyone interested in the subject of USA GoJu. Please read below an edited and more thoroughly revised version.

U.S.A.G.A. Urban System of America GoJu Association: Thank you for the kind compliment and expression of trust. However, USAGA is not mine to “take over”. If I was so foolish to attempt that, I would be no different than those others who seem bent of reliving the past, taking advantage of Peter Urban’s legacy, in the face and on the backs of so many other legitimate USA GoJu Masters, a few Senior to me and many Junior to me.

Peter Urban personally taught me that the first step in organization was to label everything “accurately” and the operative word here is “accurately”. No matter how much we wish to romanticize the past, we can never change reality or re-write history.