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One Tree: A Pagan Based Martial Art Now Open to the Public

by Max Holton

We have all watched our share of action movies with advanced martial arts choreography in them. But what do you really know about martial arts? According to Simmons Market Research and a recent study done in the United States it is estimated that 18.1 million Americans participated in karate or some other form of martial art at least once in the past year: including 9.4 million adults, 5.5 million teenagers and 3.2 million children. The study further revealed that 28 percent of the adults surveyed indicated that they participate in the martial arts “every chance they get.” Of the millions of adults identified in the martial arts 52% are men and 48% are women. 63% of adults in the martial arts are between the ages of 18-34 years. The Martial Arts History Museum reports that 100+ colleges have martial arts programs. And according to by Martialinfo.com, a leading martial arts website, there are an estimated 30,000 martial arts schools across the United States alone each with a student base of a handful to hundreds in each school.

Asian martial arts like karate, jujitsu, kempo, kung fu, ninjutsu, tai chi, tae kwon do and escrima are what are most popular across the country. But boxing, kickboxing, MMA, wrestling, fencing, and European martial arts are growing in popularity as well. There are martial arts to meet the needs and tastes of everyone from ground fighting, to tournaments, from Christian-centered martial arts to Buddhist and Pagan-minded martial arts as demonstrated by PMAC (Pagan Martial Arts Council http://pmac.yolasite.com/). Age and ability are no longer deterrents in martial arts, as programs have been developed in many martial systems and schools that promote ideologies allowing all body types, ages, and limitations to become proficient in self-defense.

Washin International, a martial arts organization that brings all styles and traditions together to train, network, and educate participants in the varied styles- looking for the similarities and not the differences between the traditions. Coming soon to Rhode Island Washin International and PMAC joined to bring three high quality, high ranking, world-class martial artists together to share the warrior way. Not unlike what PMAC or Washin International is known for , the seminar feature Hanshi Alda Anduze of St Croix, USVI, a 9th Degree Black Belt and the current leader of Sansei Isshinryu Karate-do. Anduze has studied a number of martial arts since 1970 including: Shotokan, Goju Ryu, Kung Fu, Moo Doo Kwan, Chung Doo Kwan, Judo, and Kendo. In 1981 she began her journey in Sansei Isshinryu, and was the first female Virgin Islander to achieve 8th Dan (8th Degree Black Belt) and 9th Dan. As the highest ranked female in the Caribbean, Hanshi Anduze was inducted into the World Martial Arts Hall of Fame in 1995 and received the Diamond Life Achievement Award in 1996 for more than 25 years of Martial Arts training. Anduze is defined as one of the top female martial artists and is a positive role model for women of all ages, abilities, and martial arts styles. This seminar is her only scheduled northeast seminar for 2011-12.

Joining Anduze is Renshi Rick Wilmott of Providence, RI. Wilmott holds Black Belt ranking in 10 different martial arts and is a World Martial Arts Hall of Fame inductee as well. His primary martial art, Kosho Shorie Ryu Kempo, a Japanese martial art that originated from the temples of the fighting monks in 1235 AD demonstrates the soft and hard aspects of martial arts as defined by the principles of natural law. In the seminar Wilmott will be sharing one of the lesser known martial arts known as One Tree, of which he is a Root Master.

Alongside Wilmott, Soke Christopher Bashaw of New Hampshire, family head of the Kosho Hoho Yooga martial arts system and holder of several black belts, as well as a World Martial Arts Hall of Fame inductee and 8th degree Black Belt will share One Tree teachings. Bashaw is an ordained Buddhist Priest, active registered nurse, and practicing shaman as well as a Root Master himself in One Tree.

For those unfamiliar with the One Tree system, Bashaw and Wilmott define One Tree as a complete system of warrior instruction of gathered, organized, cultivated and harvested ancient philosophies, concepts and trainings from ancestral teachings now preserved for future generations so they are not lost forever. The system includes multi-cultural aboriginal teachings from several ancient nature- based cultures that include martial, shamanic and healing wisdom and methodologies, formatted in an easy to comprehend 21st century mindset and curriculum. The application of One Tree is appropriate for practitioners of all martial styles from novice to master. Bashaw reports, “One Tree is really a new compilation of ancient ways now being forgotten and lost. Many are based in a Pagan-mind set of esoteric sciences life energy-work, magik, and intentionality with ceremony and ritual. One Tree brings these relatively obscure traditions into one practice. “

One Tree breaks training into three main grouping; martial, healing, and mystical. Within the martial teachings the emphasis of movement in accordance to natural law is throughout the training. Open hand and weapons combat is share; the three primary and main weapons of the art taught are boline, Druid Longknife, and prong. Additionally weapons like the Stag’s Antler, Wizard’s Wand, and Monkey’s Fist are shared as supplementary armaments. The philosophy of the warrior-way based on ancient cultures from the Druid to the Samurai are taken on, not as mere lessons but also as a way of living their life outside their training. This systematic approach to martial training has three coveted ranks within the system; practitioner (black belt level), instructor (one qualified to run his or her own grove), and master (teacher of teachers- overseeing multiple instructors and groves assigned to him).

Healing is encouraged to be learned additionally. Primarily the curriculum includes Shugendo Yoga, Kokoro Ryu Reiki, KHY Herbology certification, and 5-element Healing certification. These particular subarts were chosen because of their philosophies and effectiveness. When added to the martial approach in One Tree, the martial artist enhances his martial ability and understanding of the human body not only physically but energetically as well. Again the ranking in this category is also practitioner, instructor, and master.

Spiritually the curriculum includes training in advanced shamanic journey-work, healing and prayer lodges, White Lotus Tantra (both white and red tantra respectively), meditation, and psychic development. Contrary to most commercial martial arts schools the spiritual side of the art is an important aspect of training. As in the previous two categories of martial and healing ranking of practitioner, instructor, and master also apply.

The ultimate goal of the One Tree system is to achieve Master ranking in all three categories. Bashaw and Wilmott have been sharing the One Tree teachings internationally for years and now are making it publically available through seminars, private classes, and rank boot camps (week long sessions of intense training). Bashaw and Wilmott have been establishing study groups of three or more students who meet regularly to enhance their training under the guidance of a master via long distance. Once a student attends a One Tree seminar or boot camp they can arrange to run a study group in their area to train and eventually test for instructor and then actually run their own grove (Schools of One Tree are referred to as Groves, similar to the Japanese term dojo.).

“We have been booking seminars in currently existing local martial arts school of all traditions, like the one in November in Rhode Island, as well as through metaphysical shops where the pagan interest is high, “ reports Bashaw.

Catherine Walker-Golec, student on One Tree shared, “I hold a black belt in Tae Kwon Do and came across One Tree and went to a seminar. I was blown away to the depth of instruction of not only the system but of the Root Masters. I am hooked and now have not only an better understanding the warrior way but an appreciation for the wisdom of One Tree. It is wonderful that these teachings are preserved and packaged for the masses to train and share now. I feel One Tree is an art that is suitable for the novice to the master of other traditions from Kempo to Kickboxing to Tae Kwon Do; I invite you everyone to experience real martial arts of the warrior-way.”

One Tree has recently been recognized by the Pagan Martial Arts Council. Those interested in setting up a One Tree seminar in their area in hopes of establishing a study group and eventually a grove are invited to contact Bashaw and Wilmott at bashaw42@yahoo.com , subject: One Tree.

Max Holton is a practicing martial artist and freelance writer and sits on the PMAC board of advisors. He is a practitioner of the Druid path and black belt in ninjutsu and kempo, now studying One Tree.

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