Karate today is an international art in scope and popularity. Many praise
and revere the way of the empty hand fighting for its method of uniting the
devastating power of the human body with the self-control and restraint of
the human mind and spirit. To others, it is the acme of sport competition,
the clash of superbly conditioned athletes. Whether the emphasis on the art
is grounded in the ideal of budo or the reality of the sporting ring, karate
can be found from Okinawa to Japan, Europe to Australia and from America to
The members of the Rochester Chito-Ryu Dojo are taught the Japanese
art of Chito Ryu Karate as a lifestyle and a means of overall physical fitness.
The instructor, Shihan Dr. Jesse E. Brown, Jr., Go-Dan (5th degree black belt)
has been studying Chito Ryu Karate, since 1971.
After graduating from
James Madison High School in June of 1971, Shihan Brown immediately joined
the Tsuruoka Karate Dojo located on the third floor
Harry Foreman Clothing Building at 116 Saint Paul Street, Rochester, New
York. The Tsuruoka Karate Dojo, during that time, was associated with the
Chito Ryu Karate Federation and the North American Karate Association. The
well-respected and admired instructor of the Tsuruoka Karate Dojo was the
late Sensei James Merolillo, who was an ardent disciple of Sensei Masami
Among some of Sensei Merolillo’s committed students during this period
were Joe Ferraro, Tony Cerami, Don Vacosi, Chuck Hughes, William (Bill) Pavone,
Kathy MacGowen, Ted Rickettes, and later making application for membership
at the same time with Shihan Brown were Carmen Arilolia, Moses Powell and William
Valentine. It was during the late 60’s and early 70’s that Sensei
Tsuruoka made frequent visit to the Rochester dojo for weekend training and
likewise, the students from the Tsuruoka Karate Dojo returned the visit to
Sensei Tsuruoka’s dojo located on Young Street in Toronto, Canada. It
was during those days that Shihan Brown was introduced to the art and science
of Chito Ryu Karate taught by Sensei James Merolillo, the “Mike Ditka” of
Sensei James Merilillo
Sensei Masama Tsuruoka
& Sensei James Merolillo
Perhaps, it is fair to say that all of us, who were introduced to
Sensei James Merolillo’s teaching, have been touched by his spirit
and in some way, have become better people and karate-ka by his commitment
It was from those early
days of the 70’s that Shihan Brown gained a
deep appreciation and adopted into his training regiment the discipline and
art of karate-do that was taught to him by Sensei James Merolillo. Now under
the shadow of Sensei Merolillo’s teaching methodology, ShihanBrown
values a high standard of training and competitiveness for each class where
are rigorously taught the techniques on Kihon (basics), Kata (form), and
Kumite (fighting). He views it as necessary training because it develops
techniques fresh and sharp. Moreover, it is important that each technique
is taught to perform in harmony with body movement.
We exercise the body, mind and spirit, extending our knowledge of tactics,
techniques and application. As a result of this training, the techniques are
performed with sharpness, freshness and executed with power. In each class,
Sensei Brown insists that he sees clean and powerful techniques. His approach
to traditional karate training is hard and fast. When he emphasizes kihon or
kata or kumite, it means each routine must be performed fully. He believes
that if this is done correctly, the student will reach his full physical potential.
Consequently, one cannot endlessly repeat his regiment. To do so is to show
that one is not living the training. Only on occasion will one repeat his regiment
a number of times and that is for mental and spiritual purposes, to force the
student to go beyond the body, the mind and the art.
(from left to right) -Sensei Tatsunori Ikeda (deceased), Sensei David Tollis, Shihan Jesse Brown,
Sensei Todd Samolis, and Sensei Masaru Inomoto.
In our training, we use speed and power. This is why traditional karate-do
is so important because the body is trained, the mind is trained and the understanding
of techniques deepens.
As the student advances in his study, his understanding of the techniques
becomes deeper and more profound. True karate-do training is to understand
the purposes, to understand the many, many uses the techniques have and how
to apply them. Without the benefit of this training, one is not following the
way of martial art.
Profound techniques are
the real benefit of rigorous and hard karate training. This kind of martial
art training demands in-depth knowledge and study of
every technique, i.e., kihon, kata and kumite. It is to this end that the
of a technique’s application can only deepen as one’s familiarity
with the technique develops and grows through a persistent training process.
True karate-do is many,
many things. It is budo! It is being physically fit, confidence and exhibiting
a good character. Likewise, it is crisp and
techniques. However, the other side of karate-do is artistic combative empty-hand
art. It is known as self-expression. This is another aspect of karate that
Sensei Brown insists the students of karate to be aware of. The artistic
self-expression of karate-do is necessary to develop the body physically.
It enriches one’s
fighting knowledge by increasing complexity and variety of every technique.
Yet when all is said and done, there is also the satisfaction of self-expression
Thus, Shihan Brown always
reminds students that true karate emphasizes the mind, body and the perfection
of the person. The late Gichin Funakoshi, the
father of modern karate, said, “the art does not make the man, the man
makes the art!” All of this is traditional karate-do! It is among the
students of the Rochester Chito-Ryu Dojo that one can reach an honest understanding
Today, members of the
Rochester Chito-Ryu Dojo take great pride in knowing that they are learning
fighting techniques that have been developed over hundreds
of years and everyone works hard together to develop a spirit of camaraderie
and personal dedication. We are a proud and unique dojo by the fact that
we trace our roots directly to the founder of traditional karate-do, O’Sensei,
Dr. Chitose, and our affiliation with the United States Chito Ryu Karate
Federation, Hanshi William Dometrich and Kyoshi Barbara Dometrich.
April 26th through April
30th, 2002, Shihan Jesse Brown, along with twenty members from the United
States Chito-Ryu Karate Federation, attended Japan’s
most prestigious Martial Arts Society, the Second World Butoku Sai and the
40th Japan National Butokai Sai held at the historic and legendary Butokuden
in Kyoto, Japan. The four-day event attracted the elitism of Japanese Marital
Art Yudanshas from all over Japan and the world, to include such disciplines
as Aikido, Jiujutsu, Karate-do, Judo, Iaido, and Kendo.
US Chito-Ryu delegation at the
Kyoto, Japan, April 26-30,2002.
As a selected, rank certified
and honored member of the Dai Nippon Butoku Kai, Shihan Brown had the esteem
privilege to perform, along with the members
from the U.S. Chito-Ryu, Niseishi Dai Kata and Bunkai; and Sochin Kata. The
entire four- day occasion was conducted with dignity and reverence as the elite
Black Belts from fifteen nations performed their profound and dignified art
before the imperial authority of Japan and the international representative
of the Dai Nippon Butoku Kai. This unprecedented event was truly a historic
celebration of Budo cloaked with international peace and harmony among the
exclusive elite society of today’s best Martial Artists dedicated to
nobility and excellence.