|The Rising Son Association History
The Rising Son Association was founded in the fall of 1992 by Tanka Ramos Sensei with the
help of Michael Wagner and Cornell Cochran. It began as an outreach ministry of
Kingdom Life Christian Church in Milford, CT. It was the first time in several years that
Tanka Sensei had taught and the time away had given him a fresh perspective. At the time
he was associated with the Chinese Goju system founded by Master Ron Van Clief. In June
of 1994, Tanka Sensei was promoted to 8th Dan.
The Rising Son Association was intended to be a new system of martial arts. One that
combined the various arts that Tanka Sensei had studied with basic Christian values. The
new style was a combination of Shotokan and Japanese Goju, with an emphasis on good
stances and sharp kata. The principle ideal was the teaching about the wise man. The wise
man builds his house, his life, on a solid foundation. Thus, he is able to withstand the
storms of life.
In 1995, the Rising Son Association opened a school on Main Street in Bridgeport, CT. The
school grew and continued to reach out to those that had trained in years past with Tanka
Sensei. Many from other styles came to train. In 1996, the first black belt in the Rising Son
was award to Mark Langston. In 1997, three others were award black belt; Neville Rosa,
Elias Papageorge and Craig Foreman.
Around this time, a fundamental change was beginning to take place. Frustrated by the
status quo in the martial arts community, Tanka Sensei had met with a traditional Goju
instructor by the name of John Porta in Pompton Lakes, New Jersey. It was decided that
the ranking members of the school would travel to New Jersey once a month to study the
Shobukan system of Goju. Although the distance was great, all felt it was a very
worthwhile investment in time and resources.
In response, the Rising Son Association began to teach more and more, the traditional
techniques, drills and kata of traditional Okinawan Goju. Unfortunately, after a couple of
years and the loss of several ranking members in the school, the travel to New Jersey
stopped. A few months later Tanka Sensei closed the school on Main Street.
Michael Wagner who had opened his own school in Milford, CT around 1998 continued to
teach and several students from the Rising Son started training with him.
In 2001, Michael closed the school in Milford and moved to Bridgeport. He started teaching
in the Aspira Community Center on State Street. Near the end of the year in 2001 Tanka
Sensei began teaching a black belt class at Michael's school. For several students it was the
first time in a few years to be back in a training environment. It was a great time to rebuild
In the fall of 2003, Kingdom Life Christian Church started the Spirit Academy of Arts. This
was primarily a school for dance and music but the Rising Son began teaching martial arts
there as part of the school's offerings. There were many new students and the Rising Son
had literally risen from the ashes. The classes were held in the gymnasium as there was no
facility yet for the school. In 2004, Spirit Academy opened a new school across the street
from the gymnasium and all classes were held there.
A new curriculum was developed that was a combination of the original teaching of the
Rising Son with the more traditional elements learned from Porta Sensei. In the fall of 2006
Tanka Sensei decided to step down as the instructor at Spirit Academy and Craig Foreman
began teaching classes, with the help of Junior Ortiz. In 2007, new manuals were created to
help students in their training.
At the end of the spring semester in 2008, the Rising Son no longer taught at the Spirit
Academy. The black belt class continued to be taught. Michael Wagner moved his school
from the Community Center to St. Augustine's Church in Bridgeport.
Around the same time, Tanka Sensei began traveling to Niantic, CT to train with Chuck
Merriman Sensei. Tanka Sensei had trained with him years earlier, but now Merriman
Sensei was associated with the Jundokan Goju organization in Okinawa. After several
months of training in Niantic, Tanka Sensei decided to part with the past and embrace
traditional Okinawan martial arts for good. In June of 2009 he completed the remodeling of
his basement into a dojo and started teaching classes once a week. In December a second
class was added and the first promotion of the new class was held.
In 2010, our dojo began training with the advanced techniques and bunkai of Taira Masaji
Sensei, one of the top board members of the Jundokan Honbo dojo. This was done at the
Mountain Martial Arts Academy in Monroe Township, NJ. Sensei Mark Kapel was very
generous with his time and our school began travelling one Sunday a month to his bunkai
workshops. The experience was eye-opening to say the least. A few months later there was
a split at the Jundokan dojo and Taira Sensei left and formed a new organization, the
Okinawa Goju Kenkyukai. Many schools have left the Jundokan organization for the new
Kenjyukai. In 2014, after having spent 6 years with the Chuck Merriman organization, we
also joined the Kenkyukai.