Hall of Fame Rant


Like a lot of school owners I would get several Hall of Fame invitations every year, usually in the mail. The typical invite outlines the process and that I was nominated and selected for a particular award and inclusion in their Hall of Fame. All I had to do was buy some over-priced banquet tickets and show up at their event. Travel and hotel costs not included, of course.

Most of the time the invite was placed in the circular file.

On the other hand, there have been three instances where no money was solicited and I was sent a certificate or an award. That was a surprise. The World Martial Arts Hall of Fame sent me a certificate, out of the blue. A group in Ireland sent me a nice trophy-type Hall of Fame award. In 2015, the Ilinois State Martial Arts Hall of Fame group contacted me and asked me to come to their banquet. At their suggestion, one of my black belts, Kurt Barnhart, and his wife, Barb, went to represent me when I could not attend. In what I thought was a classy move, they held onto my award and embroidered polo shirt and when I came to Chicago to teach, Mike McNamara and Pete Hoffman actually showed up at the event. They took a few minutes to read a bio and my accomplishments, just as they did at the dinner, and presented me with the award. How cool was that?

Contrast this with my latest “inclusion” in the Kenpo Karate Hall of Fame in 2016. There was a list of nominees posted on Facebook and my name was on it. The initial post indicated the award dinner was going to be held in Las Vegas, date to be announced. That was the last I heard, other than one a message from the promoter telling me I was nominated.

There’s a difference between nomination and inclusion. Nice to be nominated, nice to be included. I didn’t see an update on the event, so made no plans to go. The promoter finally contacted me, said he heard I would not be there. I asked him about the lack of follow-up info and he told me he’d sent it to me. When I asked him to explain he said it had not been sent directly to me, it had been posted on Facebook. I don’t read everything on Facebook, so I missed it. However, if you’re going to honor someone, you typically engage with them directly.

The event came and went. My name was on the list, which, I assume, was the final list. I assume I was inducted. I don’t know for sure, I never heard anything. I saw lots of post-event photos of inductees with a nice-looking award. All I can suppose is that I was being punished for not showing up, so no trophy for me. That’s ok, I have a lot of trophies and plaques.

The reason for this rant is to show the differece between how it should be done (the Illinois group) and how it should not (this recent event). At least they should have contacted me and shipped the award. I suspect they never had it made, though. To top it off, one of my senior students, Steve White, was on the nominee list as well. He didn’t go either. Yet, at the event, his was the only name from that original list if inductees that did not appear. In fact, there was one posted, (he sent me a picture) that showed him to be be getting his “posthumously”. ???

I asked the promoter about why Steve was ignored and I was not even given the courtesy of an answer. No contact by e-mail, Facebook, or phone. Yet, he told others he explained why to me. Not so. And why not tell Mr. White?

Here’s their website. http://kkhof.com/ ¬†Well, well. It shows me as a 2016 inductee.

Make your list. Contact the people directly. Find out what the best channel is to keep them abreast of time, date, place, etc – text, e-mail, phone?
Set aside places for them all +1. Go from there.
If they show, great. If not, make arrangements to get their award to them.

End of rant.