MARTIALFORCE.COM

 

PRESENTS

 

AN INTERVIEW WITH

MASTER 

PAUL SEQUENCE FERGUSON

JAN / 2012

 

My name is Eddie Morales and welcome to Martialforce.com Online Martial Arts Magazine.  The person I’m introducing in this interview has a strong Martial Arts lineage. He studied with one of the most fearless Shotokan fighters on the East Coast circa 1970s. His instructors name is Errol Bennett and the man I’m speaking of is Paul Sequence Ferguson. In his interview we will speak on how he turned a bad situation into a positive one, which was the result of the mental and physical training he received.  He has an extensive background in Martial Arts as well as Music. We hope you enjoy reading about this humble and dedicated human being. 

 

Interview by Eddie Morales

Martialforce.com

Online Magazine


 Martialforce.com: Where are you originally from and where did you grow up?


 FERGUSON: I was born in battle hospital Great Britain, at the time of birth my mother and I died; the doctors put the white sheet over both of us and left the room. A little while after we both came to life, in a sense I have two birth dates and may I say from that point on until now I have beaten death close to 50 times.

 

 I'll give you two examples, while growing up in the Caribbean islands Jamaica, my father Rev. James Ferguson used to preach all over the country in fact the world, one day he took the whole family in the van and headed to Kingston, we had to drive a long way to get there from where we lived in Portland, Jamaica.

 

Along the way the brake fluid caught on fire everyone got out the van and ran approximately 200 or so feet, my sister Elaine suddenly burst out shouting, “where is Paul,” everyone looked around and I was nowhere to be found. Elaine ran back to the van open the door and there I was, she reached in the van and pulled me out. I would say she got maybe 100 feet or more away from the van when it blew up in flames.

 

From that day on I would never step foot in a van for at least two years. They couldn't get me in one and I was around six years old at the time.

 

 Also, just to let your thoughts go for a while we had over 14,000 acres of land then and I ran wild through all of it. You can just imagine all the times I could've been killed as a young boy at that age 6 or 7 running around hills mountains, exploring underground caves. I can remember walking in a dry riverbed and suddenly hearing a rumbling sound and just as I looked up I could see trees, boulders and thick red mud coming towards me. I quickly ran to the correct side of the riverbank and up just in time. I would have been killed by the flood. In the mountains, it was raining and that could of been my end, but it was only the beginning.

 

 

 

Paul Bobbi Humphrey and Stanley Clark

 

Earth Wind & Fire

 

Paul SEQUENCE Ferguson Guitar/Keys for GURU JAZZMATAZZ

 

 

 

Martialforce.com: What is your current occupation?

 

 FERGUSON: My current occupation is president and CEO of two companies. Yes, we care, Incorporated and the PFF music company, Incorporated. I also produce a weekly radio show entitled public matters, which is broadcast all over Connecticut and Long Island on Sundays, it's a public service show that runs for 30 min featuring individuals and corporations that do good for humanity.

 

 

Martialforce.com: When was your first introduction to the martial arts?

 

 FERGUSON: After returning from Germany US ARMY my Cousin Sensei Rick senior of the Tremont School of jujitsu under Master Pereira, invited me to see his class after class he told me if I wanted to learn an all-around system of martial arts I have to go and see Errol Bennett sensei.  He described Bennett sensei as one of the top master instructors and competitors in the world, and said if you want hard training and you’re not worried about rank, this is the Dojo for you.

 

Paul & His Cousin Sensei Rick senior

 

Martialforce.com: What Style of Karate do you practice and who was your instructor/s?

 

 FERGUSON: Shotokan Karate My Instructors are, Master Tsutomu Ohshima and Bennett sensei, Mr. Errol Bennett teaches traditional Shotokan karate (SKA) Kihon- Kata-Kumite, self-defense- throwing techniques, locks and submission holds.

 

Mr. Oshima Shihan and Paul

 

 

 

 

Martialforce.com: Can you tell our readers what a typical day of training was like back when you began?

 

 FERGUSON: Bennett Sensei would train us in Kata (Prearranged movement) and Kihons (Basics), over and over hundreds of times, if you made a mistake on Kata you would have to repeat the technique for at least an hour. In Kumite we would spar for at least two and a half hours nonstop. Most of the black belts were rated fighters, and current grand champions, such as Lee Smith, Wakki Smith, Billy Beason, Michael Jackson, Mike Murphy, Matty Melisi, Ricardo Pickens, Steve Thompson, Byron Snowball, Maurice Baker, Orlando Chambers, Barry Brooks, Walter Kong, Clark Marquez, Paul Bent Earl Razor, Arthur Barnes, Skeeter McCullough, Paul W Smith and Al Lyn.

 

 Sometimes Bennett sensei would pull the black curtains, and you would have you spar in the dark.  If you were swept or thrown on the floor, you had to keep fighting until you got up or submitted by your opponent. Bennett Sensei did not believe in Mats, we were taught how to fall on the floor. During these legendary sparring matches Bennett Sensei would be in the middle of it all, kicking us and punching us through the walls, sweeping us taking us down and chocking us out. You had to be strong and a quick learner to survive in that environment. Then after class he would look at us and say, he was not building better karate men he was building a better human being, so that we could be successful in our personal and professional lives.

 

 

 

 

Martialforce.com: Were you a competitor and if so what was your motivation?

 

 FERGUSON: I saw one of the greatest karate matches in the history of American karate in Harlem, between East Coast grand champion Errol Bennett sensei, and US national champion Fred Miller. It was a classic match between Shotokan and GoJu Ryu. The match had the crowd on the edge of their seats. Both warriors executed vicious and realistic Kicks, Punches, and Sweeps. After one hour of non-stop fighting, the match was declared a draw, both warriors Gi,s were soaked the audience was stunned, they gave both warriors a standing ovation.

Bennett sensei and Master Fred Miller are called the pioneers of bare knuckle full contact karate, which is now popular in the UFC.

 

Bennett and Miller

Copyright Bennett Sensei

 

Copyright Bennett Sensei

 

Martialforce.com: What was tournament competition like when you were first introduced and is it any different today?

 

 FERGUSON: When you fought fighters in the nineteen sixties and seventies such as Louis Delgado, Fred Miller, William Oliver, Ron Van Cleif, Abdul Mussawir, Mylo Thompson, Earl Thompson, Errol Bennett, Hawk Frazier, you would know, you were in the fight of your life. These fighters would fight all day maybe 15 to 20 opponents before they even got to the finals. Today’s fighters may fight one or two opponents before they get to the finals, after scoring a point with a kick or punch they usually fall down. This would not be allowed in the sixties and seventies.

 

 

 

Martialforce.com: Can you tell our readers who were some of the Martial Artists you competed against?


 FERGUSON: Abdul Mutakabbir, Andre Mason, Mahalia Bethea, Derrick Williams, Mark Zerat, Thunder Foot, Lamar Thorton, Herb Wiles, Steve Thompson, Sheldon Wilkins. These were my toughest opponents.


Martialforce.com: Do you believe Kata is an essential part of training and if yes or no, why or why not?

 

 FERGUSON: I believe kata is part of a well-rounded martial artist, today most young martial artist would not even know the meaning of bunkai.  Kata gives you balance, coordination, and the ability to fight multiple attackers. Most of today's martial artists don’t want to practice kata, it’s too much repetition for them and they lack the discipline and sometimes the stamina to do a few hundred at a time. So yes I do believe, kata is a vital part of your Martial Arts training. 

 

Martialforce.com: Do you train in weapons and is such training necessary and why?

 

 FERGUSON: Bennett sensei teaches Kobudo, Bo & Sai to the advance black belts, my favorite is the Bo, I practice Sakugawa No Kon sho, Sushi no Kun and Choun-no Kon. Weapons are complementary to your kata, it also connects you back to the old Masters.

 

 

Photograph by Gina Tatum

 

Martialforce.com: Are you currently teaching and if so at what location?

 

 FERGUSON: At this time I'm currently giving private classes; I assist at teaching through the New York Do Jo’s and also continue to train.

 

Martialforce.com: What do you teach those who want to learn Survival Skills?

 

 FERGUSON: The first thing I teach is to know yourself, know your weaknesses and know your strengths.

 

 

 

 

Martialforce.com: Do you think that training in the Martial Arts played an important role with who you are today?

 

 FERGUSON: In November 2005, I was diagnosed with prostate cancer after 8 1/2 hours of surgery and two months in the VA Hospital, I was told that I had no more than three years to live. However, in 2009, my prognosis was revised I was told that I now have a 70-percent chance of beating cancer. When a doctor looked me in the eye and said, “Staff Sergeant Ferguson, you have cancer,” my entire insides were at war. I immediately went to the dojo to sit with Bennett sensei and have a heart-to-heart talk. I focused on the things that I had to do, to get ready for death if it came, and to focus on the battle ahead. I drew on my fighting spirit, and strived to personify and multiply it in order to succeed in combat against the viciousness of cancer.

 

While I was in treatment, my practice was different. When I was in a hospital bed for weeks I started doing practices in my head. I would question kata, and reconnect with practice whenever possible. Although the morphine or chemotherapy medications made this practice challenging, I always connected through meditation.

 

One Saturday evening while lying in the bed, with around 2 inch Staples in my stomach, a tube running in the side of my stomach, four ivies, a catheter, and morphine, I started to practice kata in my head.  Suddenly I saw Bennett sensei walked into the room, but I couldn't really move or talk as good as I would have liked to. I asked him if he could refresh my memory on a few moves in a kata.

 

He immediately dropped into his low stance and began performing the kata, which to me looked as if he was moving a hundred and 50 miles an hour.

 

Bennett stayed there for quite some time; it must have been over an hour. He continued going over kata right at the foot of my bed, before he walked out of the room, he looked at me and said NEVER GIVE UP!  I will never forget that, it's something that will always be with me forever. I credit years of practice with Bennett sensei for giving me strength, focus and discipline that guided me through the hard times and most useful through my musical Career.

 

 Ferguson and Bennett

 

Martialforce.com: What would you consider your greatest accomplishment?

 

 FERGUSON: First, I would say my greatest accomplishment is having my son and daughter, because my legacy should live on through them. The next would be the creation of; YES WE CARE Incorporated, which is my charity that helps the veterans and their families, and just human beings that need a little help. WWW.YESWECARE.NET

 

Martialforce.com: Do you have any plans to make DVD’s or books?

 

 

 

 FERGUSON: I currently have two DVDs and 15 smooth jazz CDs. If you visit WWW.RELAXATIONTOOLS.NET you can preview all those products including OUTSTANDING framed photography, that I took all around 500 to be exact.  All of my products go to fund my not-for-profit foundation.

 

WWW.YESWECARE.NET 

 

Do  Martialforce.com: Do you believe The Martial Arts training would be beneficial for children and why?


 FERGUSON: Well, as a former computer science teacher for the archdiocese of New York, I know that children these days need a lot of discipline. It doesn't help that cafeterias in our schools serve food that contribute to overweight hypertension, and diabetes.  So yes martial art training for children is a good thing all around.

 

Martialforce.com: What are your thoughts on cross training in regards to other styles of Martial Arts?


 FERGUSON: I think it’s okay in moderation, let me clarify that statement, there are some who try to go to every discipline they can to learn just a few techniques and that is something that I don't believe in. If you're going to do something, do it well and if you're going to learn something then learn it well. Show loyalty and remember where and who you came from.


Martialforce.com: Do you think the respect for Tradition is important and why or why not?


 FERGUSON: In Western society when you get old, it means absolutely nothing because there is no respect for the elderly. In the Eastern countries the older you get the more they treat you with respect and kindness, why, because they believe the older you are, the more knowledge and wisdom and traditions you possess and can pass along. So to answer your question, YES IT IS VERY IMPORTANT. I once asked a competitor at one of the local tournament in New York what style of Martial Arts did he study, and who was the founder he had no idea whatsoever.

In order to preserve the history of the martial arts that were passed down one must know their heritage and the pioneers who came before us.

 

Martialforce.com: What are your thoughts on teenagers being promoted to ranks such as 5th, 6th and 7th     degrees?

 

 FERGUSON:  I really don't think the level of maturity is there yet and the road of hard knocks traveled long enough. It takes time, years of experience, and time for one's body to develop and mature, not to mention the mental discipline that is required.  I don't think this would've been an issue back in the 16th or 17th century’s, back then proof of being called a Master was being able to survive in life or death battles.

 

 

Martialforce.com: Do any of your students compete in Sport Karate?


 FERGUSON: Yes we do but we still maintain our traditional values such as scoring strong points and not playing tag. The dojo web site http://www.shotokan-ny.com/

 

A special thanks to Art In Motion Karate, Inc. Master Eric King for getting me that Bo Staff, And also to Master Gina Tatum for the Bo Staff Picture.

 

Most of all to my friend and teacher Bennett Sensei for all the years of knowledge you have given to me. Thank You!

 

Paul's 1st place

Black Belt Fighting awards

 

1.   The twin tower classics 

2. Malone's Garden state Nationals 

2.   The Duel of Champions 

3.   Team member three years in a row S.K.A east 

4.   Metro Fit Karate classic's 

5.   The annual goju open karate do championships 

7. Ed Browns Invitational Championships

8. North Eastern Open karate Nationals 

9. The NEMAC Associations Memorial Karate Tournament 

10. Top finalists in David Washington's New York city karate do championships 

11. Top finalist in Miyazaki’s karate international championships.

12. Tom Festa's Greater Metropolitan Nationals.

 

 

In addition, Paul has made Martial Arts history and we quote from Sport Karate & Action Martial Arts Magazine. “ The nighttime finals began with an opening performance by the junior students of Long Island Tae Kwon Do accompanied with live music by Paul Sequence Ferguson. The opening number was a perfectly synchronized accompaniment of Basai. The crowd was overwhelmed, by this first ever anywhere live musician performing the background music for the entire Martial Arts event.”  Paul also customizes music for forms and video.

 

Visit Him At

 

www.YourAudioPlayer.com

 

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