Tag Archives: Sensei Bob


5 Jul

Fishing is where, when and how you find it. You take what Mother Nature gives you rather than attempt to make her conform to your wishes. Fly Fishing Dojo’s New Jersey correspondent Sensei Bob knows this maxim well. He is often required to draw upon his extensive martial arts training to tap into his abilities to persevere and adapt so as to find fishing opportunity.

Recently, Sensei discovered that big bass can again be found in the midst of New Jersey’s most populated county. Big bass are again on the prowl at the man-made lake at Hudson County Park. Admittedly, the location, set against the New York City skyline and nestled in amongst condominiums of various size and shape, is not the most pristine of natural environments.


But, as much as “Home is where the heart is”, I say, “Nature and beauty is to be found all around you, if you open your eyes to it.”

Sensei Bob, reports that while fly fishing for these nice-sized urban largemouth bass is presently slow, they are eager to take a well presented Gulp worm.


Sensei Bob also advises that when fishing for these bass with a Gulp worm, don’t be surprised if you happen to hook one of the monster sized carp call this lake home. He has already caught and released two of these monster sized city-carp. Photographs of future catches of these huge carp to follow. Good luck Sensei Bob!


You can follow the DAILY adventures of FLY FISHING DOJO on FACEBOOK, See the Video & Media Page for details.

Please feel free to “window shop” our unique logo products by clicking on the “SHOP” page tab above.

You are also invited to read my martial arts protocol, philosophy and ideology weblog for non-martial artists at WWW.SenseiJohn.Wordpress.Com.


22 Apr

Three months of steady work in New Jersey have come to an end.  The Fly Fishing Dojo “Dry-Heat Crew” is now back home in Arizona, getting unpacked and settling in. As we do so, I would like to reflect a bit on the past few months in New Jersey.

It was a good time on many levels. I was able to again see family, including my dad, mom, daughters, Jess and Kim and especially my grandson Stratton. At 19 months, the little guy is turning into quite a handful and a bit of a daredevil. With his Mom, Jess, he even took his first ride in a cherry-picker!


I was able to spend time with my Sensei, Shihan Thomas DeFelice, Ku-Dan (9th degree black belt) and hone my physical, mental and spiritual skills.

With great pleasure, I attended weekly training sessions at the USA Goshin-Ryu Karate Dojo of Shihan Wayne Norlander, Ku-Dan (9th degree black belt) in Bogota, NJ.

Shihan Norlander graciously allowed me to use his Dojo to produce a unique video entitled “Fisherman As Warriors”. Here is a convenient link to the video which is archived on the “Video & Media” Page – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-cMRW503DbY

I was especially honored to have attended the senior black belt promotion of Sensei Pablo Peneque, Roku-dan (6th degree black belt) and Sensei Scott Zamora, Yon-dan (4th degree black belt).

The promotion ceremony was a forum for a reunion of several of Shihan DeFelice’s Goshin-Do Karate-Do Yudansha (black belts).

After three and a half days on the road, we arrived back home in Arizona on April 18th.

Di, Chloe and I were able to be on the water for the first time on April 20th. A great morning was spent at Veterans Oasis Lake in Chandler; even Chloe got a chance to “savor” a few bluegill.

And thus, begins another segment of the Fly Fishing Dojo weblog. The “Dry Heat Crew”, including Sensei John, will continue to provide Arizona Fishing Reports, while our New Jersey correspondent, Sensei Bob, will continue to submit reports from the Garden State.

Much more to follow. I remain,

Sensei John

Fly Fishing Dojo can be found on Facebook; please see the “Video & Media” page tab above.

Please feel free to “window shop” our unique logo products by clicking on the “SHOP” page tab above.

You are also invited to read my martial arts protocol, philosophy and ideology weblog for non-martial artists at WWW.SenseiJohn.Wordpress.Com.


6 Mar

Well, I survived my first month visiting and temporarily working in New Jersey. It was difficult to say the least. Weather may best be summarized as snow – snow and more snow. Work demanded six days a week of my time; but, I am very grateful to have the work. I was able to go out fly fishing on Sunday March,  20th with Sensei Bob, the FFD New Jersey correspondent.

The day was clear, crisp and cold. We fished the Raritan River at Ken Lockwood Gorge. This stretch of the Raritan is a trout conservation area. While there are certain restrictions as to tackle, bait and harvest requirements, this conservation area is open all year long. There is no closed season.

The area we fished was beautiful and had promising water. In my mind’s eye, I envisioned many large rainbow holding behind various rocks, in the depths of deep pools and otherwise lurking in the swirling water. In actuality, it was a slow day for Sensei Bob and I. Despite casting flies that were sure to seduce a trout or two, no such finned beautify fell prey to our feathery offerings. Such is fishing; notwithstanding results, it was a pure joy to be out in the cold, crisp fresh air, in nature, alone with one’s thoughts, or lack thereof. All, in all, a great day.

Here are a few pictures which I hope you enjoy.

Sensei Bob fly fishes under a railroad bridge.

A handicapped access ramp above a deep pool.

Thank-you to Meltzer's Sporting Goods, Garfield, NJ for helping me with my NJ Non-Resident fishing license.

Until the next submission, I remain,

Sensei John

Follow FLY FISHING DOJO on Facebook, see our Video & Media Page.

Please feel free to “window shop” our unique logo products by clicking on the “SHOP” page tab above.

You are also invited to read my marital arts protocol, philosophy and ideology weblog for non-martial artists at WWW.SenseiJohn.Wordpress.Com.


16 Nov

I went fishing early this morning to clear my mind.

I wanted to placidly revisit this article. I hoped to transform a straightforward  tale of a good day spent on a river into a melody of words worthy of all who cast feathery little flies with the hope of seducing nature’s magnificent creatures to our offering. This was the result; “A good day of fishing?”

I arrived at a favorite fishing location along the Lower Salt River here in Arizona. Prior to casting, I stood upon a rock outcropping and performed my form of moving meditation, to wit: several Goshin-Do Karate Kata

The rock outcropping on top of which I performed Kata.

I performed several Kata with exotic names, Sanchin (Three Battles), Seienchin (Walk far to quell and conquer), Nami Kiribi (Cutting wave), Chinto (Crane on a rock) and Hakutsuru (White Crane). I finished. I was physically and mentally sound. This state of being reminded me of a quote by Ernest Hemingway, “All I must do now was to stay sound and good in my head until . . . I can start to work again.” (See Endnote # 1).

Being “sound and good in the head” I set about fly fishing. Then it happened. A simple mental glitch. Clarity of thought was invaded by clouds of a once slumbering sentiment awakened. In the end,  all that remained was a haunted shadow of a poem, a tanka. So, I’ll simply relay Sensei Bob’s dazzling fishing journey and leave you with the tanka. Maybe after enjoying Sensei’s Bob’s good day on a river, you can figure out the rest.

FLY FISHING DOJO’S New Jersey Contributor, Sensei Bob had recently spent a bountiful day on the Ramapo River. He had previously fished a certain location on the river to no avail. After several visits to this unfruitful location, he once again cast into its seemingly barren depths. Drawing upon his martial arts induced tenacity and his instinctive feel for nature, he knew this location would bear fruit. This past Saturday was the day. In less than thirty minutes he had caught and released three shimmering rainbow trout. All exceeded fifteen inches in length.

One of three of Sensei Bob's magnificent rainbow trout.

Sensei’s tenacity and instinct bore fruit; it did not fail him. I know Sensei felt a sense of natural redemption. A feeling that nature inured him with the ability to enter its domain and leave fulfilled with a pure sense of satisfaction. It was a good day of fishing on the Ramapo River.

I had hoped that my own fishing sojourn would intuitively formulate the words that would breath life into Sensei Bob’s day. Words that would coalesce into phrases that would capture the essence of triumphing over frustration; eventually seducing three majestic rainbow colored trout. Those words failed me. All I was left with is this tanka.

  • On a river
  • In a barren desert
  • A trout rises; a fly is cast.
  • A fisherman recalls
  • A moment in time
  • Best left forgotten.

In closing I remain, shrouded in the cocoon of thought, perhaps to be forgotten on another day, on another river. Another “Good day of fishing?”

Sensei John


1. Lyons, Nick, Hemingway On Fishing, (The Lyons Press, New York, NY, 2000) p. 78 excerpting “The River” as appeared in A Moveable Feast.

Please feel free to shop the FLY FISHING DOJO online store by clicking on the “SHOP” page at the top of this weblog.

You may also wish to read Sensei John’s martial ideology weblog at WWW.SenseiJohn.Wordpress.Com.


19 Oct

 Within the context of the traditional Martial Arts of Okinawa and Japan, the term Sensei is a title steeped in honor and is bestowed upon one who is commonly known in the western world as a “Teacher”. When the term Sensei is parsed into its two root words, a more distinctive interpretation is revealed. The root word “Sen” means “Before.” The root word “Sei” means “Being“, as in a physical presence. Thus, Sensei literally means (a) “Before-Being“, or, one who came before me. Thus, a martial arts teacher (Sensei) came into his martial knowledge before the student. (See Endnote #1). 

In terms of familial relationships, a parent is, in effect, a Sensei of their child.
For Sensei Bob and me, in addition to being a chronological Sensei to our children, we were also Goshin-Do Karate Sensei to our children. Each of our children, to varying degrees studied Goshin-Do Karate. Sensei and I are also fishing Sensei as we introduced our children to the pleasure of fishing. This is the story of our recent fishing adventures.    


 Sensei Bob and his two sons, Trevor and Devon recently undertook a Salmon fishing adventure in upstate New York. As every parent knows, as your children grow older, the demands of work, education and their own desire for independence result in less time spent together. Sensei Bob and his boys enjoyed each others company during a nice weekend of fly fishing on the Salmon River in New York.

Sensei Bob displays one of the many trophy sized salmon.

 All three are accomplished fly fisherman and anticipated stalking the large salmon known to inhabit this river. By the end of the weekend, father and sons had many new fish tales to remember.

Devon displays another trophy lured to a fly.

It is such moments of sharing, bonding and enjoying each other’s company that are retold countless times in years to come. I am sure that when Sensei’s boys have children of their own, they will tell them their tales of stalking large salmon; of a time spent with a grandpa, who is a fisherman and a Sensei. On Sensei’s part, not only will he recount the tales of the mighty salmon with a future grandchild, inevitably he will also bestow upon his child’s child the secret knowledge of Goshin-Do Karate. Goshin-Do Karate and fly fishing, secret arts, passed from Sensei to son to son’s son.

In a photo from days long past, Trevor displays another trophy.


In mid-October, I was elated by an extended weekend visit from my youngest daughter, Sensei Kim. As with her sister, Jessica, Kim not only fished with me, but also studied Goshin-Do Karate. Kim spent 16 years studying Goshin-Do. When I relocated to Arizona, she assumed the day-to-day operations of the Issho Dojo.

Sensei Kim made a point that, in addition to visiting and Karate training, she wanted to fish in the Arizona desert. We were able to visit many of my favorite fishing locations, including Veteran’s Oasis Lake, Dog Park, Discovery Lake, and the “big” lakes, Apache Lake and Canyon Lake.

A family night spent fishing.

Although Kim, Jess and I have many fishing tales in our collection, including, falling out of boats, a seashell being dropped on Kim by a flying seagull and cutting her, fishing poles disappearing into the depths of water, mishaps with car doors and the inevitable “one that got away”, we added a few more this weekend. With the hotter than normal temperatures the primary catches (and subsequent releases) were bluegill, largemouth bass and catfish. The effect of these catches were memorable smiles, laughs, and a special, heretofore unknown “dance of joy” displayed by Sensei Kim as she landed a nice largemouth in the dark of evening. One to tell the grand-kids.

As she was reeling in this bass, Sensei Kim erupted into the infamous “dance of joy.”

Until the next article, may you all be fly fishing Sensei to your children,

Sensei John


1. In the dedication to my book, Sanchin Kata: The Gateway To The Plateau Of Human Serenity, I propose the following more embellished definition of “Sensei”:

The Honored One who came into mysterious, secret, knowledge before me and grudgingly bestows his mysterious teachings upon, a yet unworthy, me.

Please feel free to view my other weblog dedicated to exploring martial arts ideology and concepts as they can be applied to daily life. You may visit the weblog at WWW.SenseiJohn.Wordpress.Com.


22 Sep
OASIS. When one reads the word, one conjures up an image of the standard dictionary definition; a fertile spot in a desert. In actual life, the word leaps off the pages of the dictionary to take on a more meaningful definition. For an enlightened few, the word is used to describe a place of refreshment from the mundane. For myself and my Goshin-Do Karate-Do brethren, the Dojo was such an oasis. It provided not only physical refreshment, but also spiritual and emotional rejuvenation as well. For those that explore the art of fishing, such an oasis exists at the point where water meets the Earth. It is at that point that a man, in search of those denizens that reside below the water’s surface, can be alone with and explore his inner being.
One of my Goshin-Do brethren, Sensei Bob, is an active fisherman. In the past few weeks, he has found such an oasis buried deep within the humdrum urban sprawl of Hudson County, New Jersey. The oasis is the lake located within the boundaries of Hudson County Park. For those willing to visit this oasis, an escape from the mundane can be found.
Fly Fishing Dojo first broke the story of this lake in a post dated August 13, 2010 entitled Breaking (Fishing) News. Since then Sensei Bob has explored the tantalizing offerings of this overlooked and under appreciated urban asset. He has found that there are offerings of largemouth bass that would rival the population of the tourist encrusted bass “hot-spots”. Sensei Bob has also learned that this lake harbors within its depths exotic species of fish known only to those that pursue and subsequently release them. Sensei has personally seen photographs of species of fish caught and released that one would not expect to populate a pristine lake, let alone this urban oasis. Perhaps in the future, Sensei Bob will be blessed with catching such an exotic fish. For now, I submit some of Sensei Bob’s photographs of denizens of the depths of Hudson County’s oasis for your pleasure.



If you enjoy this blog, please tell a friend and check back often for more fishing reports, product reviews and most uniquely, an exploration of how martial arts protocols and ideology can enhance and improve your fishing experience and results.

Sensei John

You are invited to visit the Fly Fishing Dojo online store by clicking the SHOP tab at the top of this page.

For those interested in further reading of Goshin-Do Karate-Do protocols, concepts and ideology, please see my martial ideology blog at WWW.SenseiJohn.Wordpress.Com.


13 Aug

7 Pound Monster Bass Caught In New Jersey

I just received a startling e-mail from a Goshin-Do Karate mentor and comrade, Sensei Bob. Not only is Sensei Bob a dedicated Yon-Dan (4th Degree Black Belt), he is also a talented fly-fisherman residing and fishing in New Jersey. Sensei Bob has discovered a dark secret hidden, or even intentionally ignored in Northern urban, industrial New Jersey.

Sensei Bob recently caught and released a beautiful 7 pound largemouth bass. You may ask from what infamous bass producing waters did he catch his monster. Was it the mighty fish producing rivers, the Delaware, Susquehanna, Musconetcong, or Raritan Rivers? No, Sensei caught his bass from a lake. Ok, then, was it the big fish nursery known as Round Valley Reservoir? Or, perhaps Lake Hopatcong, or Greenwood Lake, or a smaller lake, like Shepherd’s Lake? No indeed.
The lake Sensei Bob caught his monster bass in is located in the heart of Northern New Jersey, specifically in Hudson County. This monster largemouth bass makes his home in and prowls the waters of the lake in Hudson County Park! And, this monster bass is not alone! Sensei Bob tapped into his deepest martial skills, and used his courage, imagination, improvisation and concentration to fish in this urban concrete jungle. Sensei’s efforts have finally proven to all those North Jersey-ites that while they work, play and otherwise live the drama of life blissfully unaware of their existence, monster bass lurk and prowl in the midst of their neighborhood.
Please note that, like me, Sensei Bob, more often than not, fishes solo. As such it is difficult to find some one to assist in taking pictures. However; much like the History Channel’s TV show “Monster Quest”, Fly-Fishing Dojo will dispatch a team of journalists, photographers, crypto-zoologists and others to accompany Sensei Bob on a daring return trip to shed light on this otherwise mythical urban legend known as the “Bass and the City“.
Stay tuned, More to follow . . .

Sensei John

%d bloggers like this: