On Monday, March 21, 2016, Grandmaster Mark R. Shuey, Sr., the founder of the American Cane System presented a seminar on yoga and empty-hand self-defense techniques for black belt and brown belts of the American Martial Arts Institute, as well as American Cane System students. The American Martial Arts Institute is under the direction of its founder, Grandmaster Clifford C. Crandall, Jr., who introduced Grandmaster Shuey to start the seminar. Grandmaster Shuey is recognized internationally for his cane self-defense seminars. However, he also holds advanced black degrees in Tang Soo Do (sixth dan), Hapkido (seventh dan), and Tae Kwon Do (eighth dan). He is also a yoga instructor who has produced a series of yoga DVDs.
Many years ago Grandmaster Shuey awakened to find that he was unable to move -- at least not without severe pain in his legs and lower back. For four weeks he lay in agony while doctors discussed various operations. Having spent the past 25 years studying the martial arts, he believed that the body was able to heal itself through proper exercise and diet. It was this belief that led Grandmaster Shuey to dive headlong into yogaasana (postures) and pranayama (breathing). He traveled to Hawaii, where he practiced up to 6 hours a day, 7 days a week. On the fifth week of practice, Shuey's back pain began to fade. He remained in the islands for several months longer and found himself learning more than he'd expected.
"I believe we should try to stretch and move every body part we can to keep our bodies supple so our life force, chi, can flow smoothly and take care of our bodies daily," Grandmaster Shuey affirms.
He has produced a number of videos through Yoga Play that focus on many different aspects of yoga and their applications. One example is “Yoga Your Back Will Love”, a video that shows a variety of poses designed to help strengthen and relax the muscles, tendons, and ligaments involved with the motion of the back. Another is “Yoga for the Martial Artist”.
“People just don’t believe me when I tell them how much yoga has contributed to my world titles," Grandmaster Shuey explained. "So I decided to produce a video that will show other martial artists how to achieve the same benefits I did through this powerful tool. I guarantee that if you follow the routine presented on this video, you will be able to take your art to a higher level! I have even started to incorporate yoga into my Cane Masters seminars.”
Grandmaster Shuey led the group through an intense 30-minute yoga workout, a routine he designed for martial artists to improve their balance, strength, and flexibility. The initial routine took just over ten minutes, holding each pose for three breaths, and taking time to discuss the poses. This then repeated itself over and over holding each for one breath, turning the workout into one that got the blood pumping.
Following this segment, Grandmaster Shuey taught the group some of his favorite empty-hand self-defense techniques. He took special time to explain which pressure points were being hit and where they corresponded to acupuncture meridians and points. Grandmaster Shuey emphasizes the defensive and healing aspects of the martial arts at all of his seminars.
After the seminar ended, a group picture was taken and the American Cane System students remained behind to perform katas for Grandmaste Shuey including the Reflection forms, Autumn Wind, and Old Man with a Cane. Grandmaster Shuey took time to make some corrections and talk with the students, but was very pleased so see such dedicated students growing in the style.
At this seminar Grandmaster Crandall and Grandmaster Shuey offically announced that Master Eric Stalloch had been promoted to the rank of ninth degree black belt in the American Cane System and that he had been designated as Grandmaster Shuey's successor for the style. Also, Mrs. Lynn Jessee had been promoted to eighth degree black belt in the American Cane System and Senior Canemaster.
It was an exciting seminar, and we look forward to hosting Grandmaster Shuey again in the future for an American Cane System / Cane Fu seminar.