Sensei Arturo Martinez was born and raised in Mexico, along with his five brothers and two sisters. He has traveled widely, including having lived in France for two years where he studied for an MBA in International Business. He has traveled to over thirty countries and notes that he loves "to talk to people and eat their ethnic food".
As a young man he met a fellow who was a great chess player, able to play the guitar, held a Black Belt in Judo and was studying medicine. This inspired him to seek a Dojo and take up recreational and creative hobbies. When he started training he was still in High School. He would train two hours f Judo and two hours of karate twice a week. He kept up this schedule for a year. Originally his interest was to learn how to defend himself against aggressive groups in high school. However, he was also impressed by the beauty of the Martial Arts, particularly after seeing his karate instructor Sensei Murata training in Kata. To this day one of his favorite things about karate training is the "perfection of the movements we are able to achieve when we perform our Kata."
Sensei Martinez current hobbies include drawing and history, also he lifts weights three times a week. He reads Greek literature and Italian Renaissance History. In addition to teaching at the Dojo he teaches Spanish at FAU, and at the Miami Herald. Sensei Martinez also runs the UKC Birthday Party program on Saturday afternoons (ask at the Front Desk for details), and is one of the most popular instructors for Private Lessons.
He has a firm belief that what we eat is important in our life. His diet consists of: fish, broccoli, broccoli sprouts, spinach, bell peppers, avocados, soy beans, tofu, soymilk, bean sprouts, berries, olive oil, whole wheat products, lots of water and lime juice.Respect
Respect is a word that is sometimes misunderstood in our culture today. Aretha Franklin, arguably the most well-respected lady of popular music, sang it into the memory banks of most baby boomers and there it stays, in our vocabulary, but not necessarily in our behavior.
According to Webster, respect means high or special regard, the quality or state of being esteemed (to set a high value on, the regard in which one is held, to regard highly and to value accordingly). Regard means to look at or appreciate from a particular point of view.
To quote the song, "R E S PE C T, find out what it means to me".
The foundation of the martial arts is respect. Karate Do, the way of the empty hand, originated in the East, where deferential behavior is an established part of the culture. In feudal Japan a lack of deference to a person in authority was taken to constitute a lack of respect. In the USA we are somewhat used to this perspective where Judges or Police Officers are involved, but not necessarily in social or work situations.
We live in the most influential Western country in modern times, whose traditions place a high priority on individual freedom and equality, rather than on a deferential respect for authority. These traditions form a significant aspect of our recent cultural history, which includes the turbulent civil rights and counter-culture movements of the 60s and 70s, as well as the cornerstone of its origins in the constitution. Yet here in the Dojo we are attempting to practice an art which paradoxically promotes a quality that we have abandoned culturally, at least since the colonists threw off the yoke of Britain and established the USA as an independent country.
It is almost like a Zen koan, e.g. "what is the sound of one hand clapping?" How can Americans assert themselves in the manner that their heritage and our personal histories encourage, and yet be respectfully open to the teachings of a "foreign" art that seems to emphasize an almost deferential respect?
How can we learn what the martial arts has to offer while still retaining our individuality? How do we explore the advantages of deferential behavior in our karate training without becoming subservient? After all, Americans are sovereign citizens, the country was founded on the principle that "all men, (and women as of 1921 Right to Vote Amendment) are created equal."
It is understandable that many Americans do not feel comfortable with the traditions of courtesy and respect inherent in the martial arts, because they involve what appear to be external signs of subservience: the bowing when entering and leaving the Dojo (training hall), the method of addressing the Black Belts as "Sensei" (one who has gone before), taking off ones shoes before entering the Dojo, the restriction of entry into the training facility to students only. All of these customs are unusual in a culture that promotes equality, and yet they form part of the necessary etiquette for maintaining safety, order and discipline in an art which gives its practitioners the power of life and death.
Sensei Robert H. Mason c2000