A open letter to the Checkmate family from Sensei Joe Maguire

Dear Checkmate Family,

                  My work day ended today with a much needed visit to my Chiropractor. While feeling my neck vertebrae and preparing for an adjustment his fingers stopped at the base of my skull, he looked down at me and said very quizzically “What happened to your neck?” It was the way he said it that struck me kind of funny. I knew that my responses of “Brian happened to my neck” or “flying headlock” was not going to be enough to ward off the neck injuries lecture that I’m sure I deserved……   
                    My Black Belt test that was administered by Master Leigh Rossi and Senpai Steve Gilcreast was to date the most physically demanding and punishing experience of my life. After the first 15 minutes I really did not think that finishing it was a possibility. Surprisingly enough I remember it (well most of it anyway). The instruction that I have received over the past 5+ years allowed me to keep my wits and stay in the fight. Jujitsu for me is not a hobby, it is not exercise, it is not personal defense. For me it is a way of life, a habit. The longer I do it, the harder it is to stop my brain from thinking “in Jujitsu,” and I hope as I continue on this journey that it truly will become second nature, instinct. Now that I have achieved rank of Shodan, I already feel like I am taking steps backward (As Senpai said after his black belt test, He felt like a beginner again). I know the mistakes I made during my test, and I know what I will be working on personally over the years to come.

                  Truly it has one of the greatest honors of my life to achieve the rank of Black Belt in Checkmate Jujitsu under the instruction of Master Leigh (the greatest Martial Artist I have ever met), Senpai Steve (the most dangerous man I have ever met), and Sensei Nate (the most violent man I have ever met). These three have given me (and all the rest here at Checkmate) invaluable life saving information and instruction based in reality, and that is the key, REALITY. There are plenty of schools out there that will take your money and teach you or your children how to disarm a knife attack with an “inside crescent” kick. That is not reality, that is negligent. I will be forever indebted to my instructors for the firm base that they always teach from….. REALITY

                   I would like to thank all those who took time out of their schedule to help me demonstrate the skills that Master Rossi, Senpai Steve, and Sensei Nate have passed onto me. Without all of you there would be no training, no Black Belt test and no Black Belt. It has been an incredible journey for the past several years. It has been fun to train with all of you and I look forward to your Black Belt tests. It is great to see everyone making there way up the ranks. We are all helping to build a wonderful tribute to the legacy of Checkmate Jujitsu.
                   Also i would like to second Senpai’s thoughts about family. With the birth of my second child last August my wonderful bride continues to make sacrifices every week that allow me to pursue my passion. I will be forever indebted to her for her support. I know it is not easy for her with young children at home and me working two jobs. My family time is precious, and her sacrifice does not go unappreciated.


              Joe Maguire

My personal favorite part of the test is when I got introduced to the Shock Knife for the first time. SURPRISE!!!!!!! I hope Pat got a picture of my face.

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