Former students of Fusei Kise:
Karate Students beware!
Al Gagne (dojo's in the Rhode Island and Florida areas)
who is one of “SMOKA-USA” members, and one of my students,
and I just returned from a trip to Okinawa, Japan, November 12th, 2003.
The weather was good with the exception of one and a half days of light
to heavy rain.
Our purpose for the trip was to visit Sensei Kise and
to have Al see the birthplace of our style of karate “Matsumura
First let me give you a little back ground; Al and
myself (Jimmy Coffman) started trying to contact Fusei Kise and his
son Isao, plus their Association, months before the trip to no avail.
We tried to reach Kise through his Internet site, as well as by local
mail directly to Kise.....No response from either after repeated tries.
We decided to make the trip anyway.
My last trip had been in 1994 to also visit Kise. That
trip was made by Ed Marucci (my senior student) and myself, and turned
out to be quite pleasurable.
In 1994 we had arrived around the same time of year,
where Kise will most likely be there during the whole month of November.
In any case we arrived and called Kise. We met at his dojo located in
Okinawa City, formerly known as Koza City. We went through the normal
greetings, things went well, and next we presented him with $750 in
cash as a gift. That night we then took him to his bar of choice and
spent another $350. So here we have spent over a Thousand dollars (US)
in a matter of hours. Things could not have been better; Kise is warm
and happy with his $750 cash stuffed in his pocket. (Money, Money)
Now this year, we once again arrive and contact Kise.
He states he is busy for the next few days, so we do the Okinawan tourist
thing, visiting the castles etc. which is also a very nice experience.
During one of our visits, at the “First Chinese
settlement on Okinawa“, Naha area, I excuse myself to go off to
the men's room. Kise and a lady friend walk in the entrance. Al Gagne
recognizes him, goes up to Sensei Kise bows, pays the proper respect
and then states that he is one of Sensei Jimmy Coffman's student black
belts. Kise says “where is Jimmy Coffman?” Al states that
he is in the men's room and will be right back. Kise says he will be
right up the path. I come out of the rest room two minutes later. Al
informs me that Kise is in fact here, and has gone up the pathway. I
tell Al that we will wait at the exit for him, so that we will not disturb
his sight seeing. Now, there is only one way in, which is also the only
way out. There is a wall built around the whole complex. So we wait,
and wait, no Kise. We waited over an hour. When we started to see people
that had come in well after Kise, and leave, we gave up. Kise must have
turned around and left right away.
Well, we finally get to hook up with Kise. One of his
students, a Mrs. Sayoko picks us up at our hotel and takes us to Camp
Foster, a marine base. We meet Kise about 11 am and he does all but
ignore us. He does not shake our hands, does not greet us in any way
whatsoever, just as though we were not there at all.
Now one would think that one would be pleased, if not
honored, to have two people travel “Nine Thousand miles”
and spend all of that money just to come and see you.
We had brought expensive gifts from America to be presented
to both Kise and Isao as a token of respect and friendship.
During the whole meeting I repeatedly asked Mrs. Sayoko
to explain to Kise that I wanted nothing from him, I just wanted his
friendship as a former student, as I had stated back in 1994. Kise would
not even direct his comments to us, only to Mrs. Sayoko. I next asked
Sayoko to ask Kise to simply state that if he did not want any contact
whatsoever from me to just say so! If in fact that was how he felt.
No response from Kise, he just short of blew it off, stating he was
now an “Old man” (68) and wanted no conflict, he was retiring
and that Isao was making all the decisions now. Kise stated that Isao
was teaching “sport karate” and he was teaching traditional
karate. Stating that any decisions would have to come from Isao. I stated
that I was happy with staying the rank I hold for the rest of my life,
but wanted a means for my students to go as high or higher than I. Sayoko
said that we, Kise, Isao, Jerry and herself would meet after Isao's
class on Tuesday and discuss how to work this out. Kise said he had
a class and had to leave, once again not giving us the time of day.
Sayoko said we should call her at 6pm to get the exact time for the
We called a couple of times and finally we were told
that they wanted to meet tonight (Monday) at 9pm. At 9:45 pm they came
in as we waited in the hotel lobby. When I say they: I mean, Jerry (student
of Kise that handles the Non-Okinawans for Isao's association.) Sayoko
and her husband.
No sign of Kise, No sign of Isao! No way to direct
our questions directly to Kise, Isao.
The meeting went like this; Jerry starts out by saying;
“so you're going to retire?“ I say “No I'm not, at
least for a long while.” Jerry then states that Isao says you
have your own association and he sees no need to join our groups together.
He wishes you well, thanks but no thanks, in so many words.
Now I see how the meeting is going to go, so I give
them the back ground on what has happened in the past. i.e.: Kise setting
in a car at a Colorado seminar for one and a half hours refusing to
get out until I leave, calling the police. Greg calling the police each
and every time I went to New Hampshire to see Kise, etc. etc.
Sayoko asks me how do I promote my students? I give
out my own certificates, stating that I have been a 7th degree under/from
Kise/Soken since 1977 (of which Sayoko asked Kise and he stated yes
during our meeting at Camp Foster) and also having a license to teach
the system since 1964 from both Soken and Kise, that is how I promote
my students. Next I give an example that he has promoted Greg Lazarus
(N.H.) to the same rank, 7th Dan, and that he did not even start karate
until 1978, plus his first instructor up to Sho-Dan was in-fact Al Gagne
sitting right here. Also I do not have a Black belt under me that cannot
Jerry states that he thinks Greg is good, stating his
kata looks almost like that of Kise, plus his change of body is good.
I ask Jerry if he has ever sparred Greg or even seen Greg fight? He
stated no. I asked if he has ever worked with Greg, again he states
he has only seen him do kata and some change of body. (where no one
is really trying to hit one another, because that is how they train).
Jerry states he does not know what has happened in
the past. He then states that Isao is, Quote: Building the association
from the inside out, whatever that means? and that they are not looking
for more members. Of which I took to mean...at least not our group.
Jerry than stated that people think Kise is only teaching
“Sport Karate” now, that is not true he states. Jerry says
we are taught traditional karate first and than taught sport karate.
Now wouldn't you think it would be the other way around? Teach the new
students sport first, than after they have proved themselves teach them
Next he states that Kise is upset with the Americans,
etc., as they learn his karate, go to the States, or where ever, start
up a dojo and do not send him money. Jerry stated that is why he does
not teach them real karate any more. Now you would think by that statement,
Kise was giving them his karate. Not that they paid him for it. Plus
trained hard for their ranks.
It's funny that it took this long for me to see the
“Real Kise“. I have spent 40 plus years being loyal, defending
him, honoring and respecting him. However I have reached the stage as
many others, that he is about money and nothing else. His principles,
his values and honor are a thing of the past. I'm finished with the
new Kise. I only want to remember the Kise of old.
In closing; To any and all former or future students,
Beware! Money is the only driving factor. If you are not giving him
money.... he has no use whatsoever for you, past or present. He and
Isao both are about nothing but money.
Trips Main Page