Northern Crane Martial Arts Association - Chief Instructor - Sensei Phil Perez - (b. 1954)
Small Circle & Kodenkan Danzanryu Jujitsu - Professor - Wally Jay - (1917-2011)
Kodenkan Danzanryu Jujitsu & Okazaki Seifukujitsu - Daihanshi - Sig Kufferath - (1911-1999)
Modern Arnis - Professor/Guro - Remy Presas - (1936-2001)
Matsumura Karatedo & Kobudo - Hanshi Fusei Kise - (b. 1935)
Matsumura Karatejutsu & Hakutsuru - Kioshi - Chuck Chandler - (1955-2009)
Tai Chi Chuan - Sifu - Lu Ping Zhang - (1943-1998)
Tai Chi Magazine - Sword Silk Reeling
Northern Crane Martial Arts Association - Senior Instructor - Sensei David McKnight - (b. 1966)
Small Cohort of Legio III Cyrennaica rennactors at the Kennebunk May Day Festival 2013. Sensei Perez at left (holding shield).
A Short History Of The Northern Crane Martial Arts Association
In 1986 Sensei Fusei Kise's organization, known at that time both as the Ken Shin Kan Karate and Kobudo Federation and also as the A.O.S.K.K.F. or the All Okinawa Karate & Kobudo Federation asked Sensei Perez to establish the Kittery Kenshin Kan Karate Dojo under the auspices of the Kittery Parks & Recreation Department at that town's community center in Kittery, Maine. Sensei Perez taught there until 1990 and then passed it on to his Sempei, Bob Modee after resigning from the Kise organization because of a serious dispute with Kise Sensei's U. S. East Coast Director, Greg Lazarus. Greg Lazarus had demanded that Sensei Perez seize cross training in other martial arts. Sensei Perez's response was simple, that since the United States is a free country, no man has the authority to tell another where and with whom they can associate.
Soon after his resignation in 1990, Sensei Perez established the Old Falls Martial Arts Association in Sanford at the Family Skate Center. In 1992 Fusei Kise personally asked Sensei Perez to return to his organization and he did so in spite of his dispute with Greg Lazarus. In 1993 he moved his dojo to the Fitness Forum Health Club with a branch dojo located at the Ogunquit Dunaway Center under the auspices of the Ogunquit Police Department and the Ogunquit Parks and Recreation Department.
In 1996 Sensei Perez consolidated all his teaching activities to Arundel and established the Northern Crane Martial & Natural Healing Arts Center. This consolidation took place so that Sensei Perez could practice his Shiatsu Therapy as well as teach Yang Style Tai Chi Chuan all at the same location for the first time.
In 2000, Sensei Perez again resigned from Sensei Kise's organization after a second serious ethical disagreement with Greg Lazarus. This disagreement essentially concerned the unethical behavior exhibited by Sensei Lazarus towards Sensei Perez. A sensei should act ethically in general as an example to his students and a sensei should act ethically towards his students specifically. A true sensei owes this to his students since it should also be what is expected from each student in return because what is taught in a Karate dojo is potentially dangerous to society. Instead, an unhealthy 'cult' like atmosphere of sensei idolization had been taking place in the Lazarus dojo for several years. This type of atmosphere can foster an attitude of superiority in a higher ranked individual due to the subservience shown to them by lower ranking members. In an unbalanced person this can become dangerous. ***
Sensei Perez closed down the Northern Crane Martial & Natural Healing Arts Center in 2008. He now teaches at a private location. The reasons for the decision to close down the commercial space facility in Arundel were numerous but chief among them are the changes in society and in the martial arts marketplace that have taken place in the last couple of decades.
Today, about 80% of the traditional martial arts education market has devolved into the teaching of younger and younger children and is primarily sport based. This age group has never been an appropriate one for real martial training, however this has not kept the majority of martial arts schools from teaching watered down martial arts to be able to capitalize on this lucrative market, which is now essentially its only market.
It is now very common to see 10 year old 'black belts' and 15 year old 'masters'. This commercialization and mass marketing to children has been detrimental to every aspect of the martial arts except one - making money!
Our association has records of our activity for the past 27 years. Before 1990, the records kept were for the Kittery Ken Shin Kan Karate Dojo. They were handed over to Bob Modee, the person Sensei Perez passed down that program/dojo to.
Since 1990, the Northern Crane Martial Arts Association and its predecessor, the Old Falls Martial Arts Association has accepted 267 applicants for its Karate curriculum, out of those applicants we have ranked past the white belt stage only 204 individuals. To date, only 19 have achieved the rank of black belt in the association. In its Tai Chi Chuan curriculum we have accepted 177 applicants and out of those only 4 individuals have reached a proficiency level equal to a rank of black belt. The Northern Crane Martial Arts Association is only interested in quality, not quantity.
In conclusion, traditional non-sport, battlefield level martial arts training is no longer commercially viable, at least not at the present time. We will continue to teach these arts but until such time as there is a renaissance in such type of training we will keep teaching it the way we are now, which coincidentally is the way it used to be taught before the mass marketing and sport aspects were introduced - in a low key manner and in a private space.
Sensei Phil Perez - Renshi, Rokudan - 6th Degree Black Belt*: Director and Chief Instructor
Formal Martial Arts Experience:
In 1984, he started studying Matsumura Seito Shorinryu Karatedo and Kobudo under Hanshi Fusei Kise.This organization is now known as the Okinawan Matsumura Seito Shorinryu Karate & Kobudo Federation (O.S.M.K.K.F.). He earned and was issued the rank of Yondan (4th degree black belt) with this organization. Sensei Perez has further earned and been issued the rank of Rokudan (6th degree black belt) as well as the Title of Renshi (Full Proficiency Teacher's License) in Matsumura Seito Shorinryu Karate, Hakutsuru & Kobudo and Yamane Ryu Kobujutsu with the late Kioshi Chuck Chandler under Hanshi Takaya Yabiku after resigning from Kise sensei's organization. Both of these Sensei were former students of Hohan Soken.
As stated above, Sensei Perez left Kise's organization for the second and final time in 2000 over a second serious dispute with Greg Lazarus. Sensei Perez had also been struggling for quite some time with philosophical and practical changes made in the the A.O.S.K.K.F. that had been troubling Sensei Perez. Quite simply, Sensei Kise's organization was quickly transitioning towards sport applications for financial reasons under Isao Kise, Fusei Kise's son, who started to take over the directorship of the organization in the later part of the 1990's.***
***On August 14, 2014, A judge in New Hampshire handed down the maximum sentence to 31 year old Seth Mazzaglia. Mazzaglia was the assistant instructor of Bob Modee, himself a senior student of Greg Lazarus and the sensei of the Kittery Ken Shin Kan Karate Dojo since Sensei Perez left it in 1990. Mazzaglia was convicted for the brutal sexual murder of 19 year old Elizabeth "Lizzi" Marriott, a student at the University of New Hampshire. On July 11, 2015 the Okinawa Shorinryu Matsumura Orthodox (Seito) Karate and Kobudo Federation issued an official statement on their website; kenshin-kan.com that as of June 15th, 2015 they have no interest in being further involved with Greg Lazarus in any way.
Sensei Perez has trained extensively in several other martial and related arts such as Taijiquan (Tai Chi Chuan)**, Baguaquan (Pa-Qua Chuan)** and Qinjiquan (Ching-Ji Chuan)** under the late Master Zhan, Luping. He has also trained in Bajiquan (Pa-Chi Chuan)** under Master Kai Yu, Modern Arnis, a Filipino Escrima style of blade, stick and unarmed martial art under the late Professor Remy Presas, Okazaki Danzanryu Kenpojujitsu & Seifukujitsu under the late Professor Sig Kufferath, Small Circle Jujitsu under the late Professor Wally Jay and Matsumura Shorinryu Seito Karatejutsu, Hakutsuru & Kobujutsu as well as Kohokan Konanryu (Koshinryu/Kojoryu) Karatejustu, Hakutsuru & Yamane Ryu Kobujutsu under the late Kioshi Chuck Chandler.
**Traditional Chinese Systems have no formal belt ranking system.
Sensei Perez is also an avid military historical re-enactor: He depicts a Mile (rank & file Roman army legionnaire) with the New England re-enactor group known as Legio III - Cyrennaica (1st Century AD Roman Legion) as well as a 1st Century Roman Ordinarius Gladiator. He also depicts an 11th Century Knight Templar. Sensei Perez is an active member of the Living History Association.
Martial Arts Teaching Experience:
Sensei Perez started teaching martial arts in 1986. He has been actively teaching ever since then and hopes to continue to teach well into his advanced years.
Martial Arts Publishing:
The Northern Crane Martial Arts Association's graphic Acupuncture Anatomical Charts which were developed and illustrated by Sensei Perez is also published with the permission of Sensei Perez at the online encyclopedia: Wikipedia at its Meridians of Acupuncture web page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meridian_(Chinese_medicine)
This illustration has recently also been published with permission in 'The Energetic Performer: An Integrated Approach to Acting for Stage and Screen' by Amanda Brennan. It is also being used without authorization by several websites that have copied it from the Wikipedia site.
In 1994 Sensei Perez produced a popular training video 'Learning Tai Chi Chuan'. This 1 hour instructional video was sold under contract at all Bookland Bookstores in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and Massachusetts until 1999.
At left: Tai Chi Magazine: (Vol. 31. No. 1) Feb./Mar. 2007. Containing an article titled 'Sword Silk Reeling' authored by Sensei Perez. This magazine is the world's #1 leading publication dedicated to the Tai Chi Art Form.
Sensei Perez was born in Havana Cuba and emigrated to the United States in1960. Academically, Sensei Perez received a Classical Jesuit education at Fordham Preparatory School, considering becoming a Jesuit himself. Sensei Perez went on to earn a Bachelor's Degree from Stony Brook University. Sensei Perez's spiritual training continued in Maine with the formal study of Taoism, Zen Buddhism, Zazen meditation and Kriya Yoga meditation.
Professionally, Sensei Perez worked as an art director at several New York City advertising agencies before moving to Maine in 1983. At the last advertising agency he worked at in New York City, he was the Art Director in charge of the creative group for WNBC-TV NY, NBC's Flagship Station.
Sensei Perez is a published illustrator and author of the 'Official Rules of Little League Baseball in Pictures' originally published by Grosset & Dunlap. An updated paperback edition is still available on the web: 'Official Little League Baseball Rules in Pictures' by Phil Perez (ISBN:9780448154657). Sensei Perez also received a U.S. Patent: http://www.google.com.py/patents/US6109698. He is a Freemason and a Past Master of York Masonic Lodge in West Kennebunk, Maine.
After moving to Maine, Sensei Perez quickly ended his graphic arts career to fulfill his childhood dream of becoming a martial arts instructor. He also obtained a massage therapist license in Maine and practiced both fulltime from 1986 until 2008. Since then he has taught martial arts and practiced massage therapy only part time.
Sensei Perez resides in Sanford Maine with his family and enjoys canoeing, camping and the outdoors of Maine. He has never regretted leaving the uber-urban Big Apple for the country life of northern New England.
Sensei David McKnight - ChiDan - 4th Degree Black Belt*: Senior Instructor
A native of Maine, Sensei McKnight started his martial arts training with Sensei Perez in 1999. He has achieved a Sandan (3rd degree black belt) in Matsumura Seito Karate-do & Kobudo at Northern Crane Martial Arts Association and has been a dedicated student for over 16 years. Sensei McKnight graduated from Thornton Academy in 1984. He graduated from Southern Maine Tech in Electronics. He resides in Dayton Maine and works as a technician in a high Tech company.
*Martial Arts Degrees are very subjective. Some styles or associations have members that are considered masters and hold very high ranks like 9th & 10th degree while still under the age of 40, some even in their 20's and some even have black belts under the age of 10. This is unimaginable in the old traditional systems like Northern Crane's where it can take up to 7 years or more just to go from white belt to black belt.
Koskinen, MD - Portland, ME
Dr. Amy E. Littell, Psychologist - Kennebunk, ME
"When first coming to the Sanford area I was discouraged at the limited choice for instruction in Tai Chi. I have since studied with Phil Perez for five years and I now realize how fortunate I was that circumstances directed me to his dojo.
Phil is bright, gracious and extremely dedicated to his art form. Our philosophical discussions are often as interesting as the physical training. He continues to pursue improvement in his own expertise and freely passes on his insights and information to his students. I have the highest regard for Phil and hope to continue training with him for many years."
Kent E. Shomaker, M.D. - Springvale, ME
"My son has been taking Karate for six years now with Sensei Phil and it has truly been an uplifting experience for him and for me as a parent. Northern Crane's martial arts program has given my son the confidence I believe he would not have found in himself if not for the positive impact of Sensei Phil's program. My son is now in college and it is comforting to me to know he has the skills to defend himself mentally as well as physically."
Kathy Stearns - Waterboro, ME
"Phil offers content in a way that's respectful to all his students. Each class is different depending upon the needs of the individual students, their energy levels, and moods. His classes are challenging but rewarding. Phil's Tai Chi is about breathing, relaxation, meditation & martial application. The rewards come with better focus & energy to deal with life's everyday challenges. I've waited years for Phil to offer Tai Chi, and I can honestly say...it was worth the wait.
With a deep understanding of anatomy & the movement of energy throughout the body, Phil delivers a massage that's beyond relaxing. After one of Phil's massages, I feel a bit dazed I'm so relaxed. The day after, I feel great, revitalized, and ready to 'take on the world'. To anyone who has ever gotten a massage, or has ever considered getting one, I highly recommend a massage by Phil, they're absolutely phenomenal."
Denise B. Crowley, RN - Sanford, ME
"Being a chiropractor can place great physical demands on my body. Thatís why massage therapy with Phil Perez has been part of my regular program for several years now, and is part of my secret in keeping myself in tip-top shape. Many of our clients have greatly benefited from Philís professional and skilled care as well over the years, and will continue to do so for many more!"
Dr. Pete Gay, Chiropractor - Kennebunk, ME
"I began practicing the ancient oriental martial arts in 1967 and have studied two other styles before studying Tai Chi. As I've grown older, I've developed degenerative arthritis in various parts of my body, so it made it difficult to continue my studies in the "hard" styles of martial arts. Tai Chi is considered to be a "soft" style. Now I feel Tai Chi is a spiritual thing for me.
I started studying Tai Chi with Sensei in October of 1993 and have never looked back. Tai Chi enables me not only to continue my martial arts study but my arthritis pain is much diminished. I will continue doing this for the rest of my life. I do it every morning, it's wonderful."
Bob Jacobson - Springvale, ME
"About seven years ago I was fortunate enough to mention to my sister that I had never had a massage and always wanted one. I had come from Albany, NY to visit her on my birthday and she gave me a very special gift - my first massage with Phil Perez. During the past seven years, I have visited her and had a shiatsu massage with Phil about four times a year. Phil is a most caring and accomplished therapist. He knows of my medical history of breast cancer and deals specifically with my physical conditions with great awareness. I have had both the traditional and Japanese massage and enjoyed both, but will keep coming back for the Japanese healing massage. My body and spirits are both grateful for having Phil as a part of my life. He invited my husband to observe the massage one day and he was duly impressed with Phil's professionalism and caring. I only wish an office in Albany was not out of the question!"
Sandy Stone - Albany, NY
"I am writing to put into words my gratitude for
all of Sensei Phil's help and support over the past eight years. His guidance
in, and approach to, the practice of Tai Chi -Tai Chi Chuan Taiji or Taijiquan -
drew my interest from the very first. After my first series of classes with Phil
ended and I learned he had no immediate plans to begin another course, I failed
to find anything that worked as well for me. It was a long wait, and my practice
waxed and waned during that time, but I found I always returned to my attempts
to keep going. When Sensei recently began to teach Tai Chi again, I enrolled
immediately and, to my great delight, I discovered that his teaching is more
thorough, structured, skilled, and patient than ever. Your historically informed
instruction is opening up an understanding of the beauty of the form and an
appreciation of Tai Chi as a martial art that I had never before suspected I
Myrna Higgins - Kennebunk, ME
"Phil gives an excellent massage! I recently saw him for work on an old injury and felt great for days. he is holistic in his approach; and a true professional in his work. I recommend him highly."
Annie Lemieux, Art Teacher - Kennebunkport, ME
"Mr. Perez is a rare find. An expert in the martial arts who is also a gifted massage therapist. His treatments have left me feeling both deeply relaxed and revitalized."
Dr. Marc Kaplan, Psychiatrist - Kennebunkport, ME
"I have benefited physically as well as spiritually from my karate training and massage therapy with Sensei Perez. My only wish is that he lived in Orlando or I lived in Maine so that I could have more access to him."
Sensei Ralph Sanchez, Sheriff - Orlando, FL
"My life changed greatly once I came to the Dojo, I was skeptical at first. Although Sensei has taught me things I never knew were there to be taught and continues to. I honestly think if I had not started studying at his Dojo I would be like many of my friends smoking weed and getting in trouble. Not to mention getting in fights all the time, but there is one thing above all I have learned here: Self Control.
Not only is it fun for kids, it teaches them a lot of valuable lessons and is a good way to spend time. I thought it was going to be all about muscle strength, it's not. It honestly doesn't matter what shape you're in. You adjust in time and it's so fun you won't get tired, well maybe a little."
Chris Boucher, Student - Kennebunk, ME
"I couldn't raise my right arm, now I have total mobility. My back, indeed my whole body thanks you for taking such good care of it for the last 6 years."
Betty Davis - West Newfield, ME
"Phil Perez has been my massage therapist for over 5 years; I cannot overstate the relief and improvement to my physical well being his work has provided for me. I travel nationwide on business at least several times a month and my work is fast paced and stressful. Each massage from Phil is welcome, whether Japanese Shiatsu or Swedish style, and I always leave his facility relaxed and rejuvenated. Recently I joined one of Phil's Tai Chi - Tai Chi Chuan, Taiji or Taijiquan classes, and while I cannot attend or practice as often as I would like each time I leave the class feeling stronger and healthier."
John Clinton - Kennebunkport, ME
"We have seen a great improvement in our grandson's self-esteem since he joined Karate at Northern Crane. Nick, our grandson, has also lost weight. Phil Perez, the owner-instructor, is very patient with the kids.
Monique Webster - Arundel, ME
"I first met Sensei Phil through my fourteen year old daughter, who was attending and studying Karate under him. I was impressed with the amount of knowledge he has in the Martial Arts as well as the passion he feels for it. He has a natural ability to instill confidence in his students. All his students are treated with respect, all are equal, no one is above another. After watching his teaching technique, I enrolled myself in his school and it has given me a great sense of accomplishment. I always look forward to my next class with the same feeling of excitement every time I walk thru the schoolís door. Being an over the road truck driver, I go to a lot dangerous areas. With what I've learned, and will learn, it has given me a great feeling of confidence. It is a joy studying under Sensei Phil. As I climb the ladder in my course of study, I look forward to my next challenge."
Steven Silva, OTR - Wells, ME