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Thread: Research into British Jujitsu

  1. #16
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    Chris,

    thanks; I'd already read those posts a few weeks ago when I started doing my initial research and had promptly forgotten about them (I started reading the Greystone thread, that was a mistake, I think that it pushed valuable memories from my skull).

    So, if I'm getting this right, the line of evolution looks a little like this:

    James Blundell starts the BJJA
    Morris and Clark train under him.
    There is some cross over with Juko Kai, as the BJJA was part of the WJJA
    There was some split and the BJJA became the BJJA (GB), the WJJF formed under Clarke and Morris ended up with the World Kobudo Federation and him and Pell were together on a course back in the 90's

    http://www.e-budo.com/forum/showthre...eek#post417357

    Was where I saw that.

    Why oh why does everyone keep using the same initials.

    Ishin Ryu started in 1990, back then it was under the WJJF, I think, but it later moved out totally by itself. The syllabus is from the WJJF, then, but with some changes and development.

    Am I on the right track here?

    Also,

    Have nothing to do with the other Fudoshin, who were they?

    Eugene McFadden
    Last edited by EugeneMcFadden; 28th April 2010 at 02:46. Reason: add a bit more + sig

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    Once you've established a general outline, then, as you know names and towns, my recommendation is to start looking at the newspaper archives.

    Start with the obvious, meaning advertisements for schools, articles about teachers, etc. At the same time, follow the people as if doing standard genealogical research. That is, include marriages, divorces, day job activities, university or high school yearbook entries, arrests, and all that sort of thing. Poohbahs are people, same as anybody else, and their mundane activities often explain things that seem otherwise inexplicable.

    Follow the money, too. Okay, it's not always dollars, pounds, and euros, but there is some kind of reward here. Maybe it's cash. Maybe the guy likes little kids (any sense of the phrase you want). Maybe he's interested in building character (which has lots of meanings, too). Perhaps he has political ambitions. For example, read up on Oswald Mosely and jiujitsu. (Now there is an unwritten history. Not undocumented, mind you, just unwritten.)

    See if there are government mentions. Business licenses are one way to document. If you incorporated, then you signed up with the county, city, or whomever to pay taxes. Even if you taught out of the rec center, there were probably flyers. In addition, were there lawsuits, opening day events, advertisements? What was the dojo street address? When did it move from one location to another? What caused the move? What's there now? Did they buy or rent property? That sort of thing.

    Finally, see if you can find family members and former business partners. You definitely want to talk to Poohbah's sisters, mother, and so on. Why? Because in most societies, the Aunties are the Official Keepers of The Family Archives and if Poohbah annoys the Aunties, then his holiday get-togethers get pretty embarrassing for, oh, the next 70 years or so.

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    A colleague of mine raised an important point last night. The title of a style can be viewed either one of two ways. A) Is it purely an academic point what a style is called? Judo after all is Jujutsu. Judo was originally called Kano Jujutsu and Kano was a master of several styles of Jujutsu all with verifiable lineages. B) Is the purist argument which follows that no art should be called Jujutsu unless it has a verifiable lineage to a traditional Jujutsu style.

    I think it was Shakespeare who said "A rose by any other name would still smell as sweet". If you are studying a hybrid Judo/Karate type system then technically it is Jujutsu if that is what the Instructor calls it. Likewise if you are studying BJJ it is Jujutsu because the creator has decided to call it Jujutsu (or Jiujitsu / Jujitsu or any of the hyphenated versions!)

    Is BJJ really Jujutsu? It is after all a watered down version of Judo at concentrates on the newaza. Does it matter?

    I am more concerned at the fraudsters who claim a lineage to an organisation that isn't a genuine lineage than some karate instructor calling his style Jujutsu.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Joseph Svinth View Post
    Once you've established a general outline, then, as you know names and towns, my recommendation is to start looking at the newspaper archives.

    Start with the obvious, meaning advertisements for schools, articles about teachers, etc. At the same time, follow the people as if doing standard genealogical research. That is, include marriages, divorces, day job activities, university or high school yearbook entries, arrests, and all that sort of thing. Poohbahs are people, same as anybody else, and their mundane activities often explain things that seem otherwise inexplicable.

    Follow the money, too. Okay, it's not always dollars, pounds, and euros, but there is some kind of reward here. Maybe it's cash. Maybe the guy likes little kids (any sense of the phrase you want). Maybe he's interested in building character (which has lots of meanings, too). Perhaps he has political ambitions. For example, read up on Oswald Mosely and jiujitsu. (Now there is an unwritten history. Not undocumented, mind you, just unwritten.)

    See if there are government mentions. Business licenses are one way to document. If you incorporated, then you signed up with the county, city, or whomever to pay taxes. Even if you taught out of the rec center, there were probably flyers. In addition, were there lawsuits, opening day events, advertisements? What was the dojo street address? When did it move from one location to another? What caused the move? What's there now? Did they buy or rent property? That sort of thing.

    Finally, see if you can find family members and former business partners. You definitely want to talk to Poohbah's sisters, mother, and so on. Why? Because in most societies, the Aunties are the Official Keepers of The Family Archives and if Poohbah annoys the Aunties, then his holiday get-togethers get pretty embarrassing for, oh, the next 70 years or so.
    Oswald Mosely the blackshirt from the 1930's?

    Any info?

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    Steve --

    No particular details, just some mentions in academic articles that his organization was providing training. It was evidently judged something useful to know during Depression-era street fights, especially for the female members of the organization. (Males presumably boxed, or used boots.) An example: http://pi.library.yorku.ca/ojs/index...File/5649/4842 .

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    Fascinating glimpse into what can turn up when you do proper research. But also annoyingly vague and rather typically, it creates more questions than answers. I can see how researchers can get drawn deeper and deeper into their chosen subjects. It must be a rather addictive endeavour.

    In the example that Joseph Svinth linked to, the reference to "jiu-jitsu" makes me think it was of the "dirty fighting"/tricks/judo/military combatives variety, given as a few classes - rather than any formal training regime. It just seemed to be used as a general descriptive for striking/grappling techniques that weren't boxing. What do you think?

    I remember coming across the phrase "jiu-jitsu" in comic books and fiction about wartime exploits (WW2)... and then it was usually talking about the stuff taught to Royal Marines Commandoes, SAS, etc. I never got the impression that it was anything more than vaguely connected to a specific school or tradition from Japan. Have you seen any of the Peter Lorre "Mr Moto" movies?
    David Noble
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    For now, I'm just waiting for the smack of the Bo against a hard wooden floor....

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    Default British Jujutsu

    Hi Eugene

    I have a few dates, anecdotes and so on that may be of interest in the early history of British Jujutsu (I'll use this spelling but please assume spellings such as Jiu-Jitsu as may have been used at the time). I won't suffix everybody's name with "sensei" but no disrespect is intended etc.

    In 1899 Barton-Wright brought Yukio Tani and his brother (alternatively Tani and Uyenishi) over from Japan. They mostly competed in pro wrestling exhibitions alongside Bankier and Garrud.

    In 1906 when Gunji Koizumi arrived in Wales, he headed to Liverpool because a Jujutsu school called the Kara Ashikaga school were advertising for an instructor. When he arrived the chief instructor it appeared had "gone back to Japan" so Koizumi was asked to be chief instructor. This was the first Dojo in Liverpool as far as I can work out.

    The second Dojo in Liverpool was the Alpha Jujutsu Institute (Towchester Street) which in 1924 was run by Jack Britten, a student of Yukio Tani. As has been mentioned before, one of the students of Britten was Robert Clarke. Another was Ronnie Colwell. Another was Andy Sherry.

    We should note that when the Jujutsu instructors in London were converting to "Judo", the instructors in Liverpool stuck with the old terminology.

    A very interesting man who trained under both William Garrud and Raku Uyenishi was Norman Grundy of Scarborough. He later became a student of Kenshiro Abbe. Grundy Sensei along with Kevin Murphy of Birmingham and later Scarborough were considered among the few who were given the "real stuff" by Kenshiro Abbe. Last year my association put a course on attended by Roger Grundy 8th Dan (Norman's son) and some of Norman's senior remaining students including Jim Walker 6th Dan. Very very tough men. Grundy and Murphy are discussed by Dave Turton here:
    http://selfprotection.lightbb.com/q-...iams-t5863.htm

    The third (Ashikaga being the first and Alpha being the second) Jujutsu school in Liverpool was Skyner's Jujutsu in 1928. The chief instructor Gerald Skyner was later the top student of Mikonosuke Kawaishi in the few years he taught Jujutsu in Liverpool. My great uncle was a student of Skyner.
    Skyner's Jujutsu was on Catherine Street. Professor Skyner (as he was styled) had briefly been an army combat instructor. One of his students was the father of legendary Karateka Terry O'Neill.

    The second world war brought a new phenomena. That of instructors who had studied Judo or Jujutsu and then been taught some fighting techniques while on shore leave in Singapore/Canton/Okinawa/Taiwan (delete as appropriate) - of course whichever part of Asia they were stationed in, they always brought back "Jujutsu".

    You mentioned Vernon Bell..... Very interesting man. He apparently first learnt Judo when in the RAF (a fairly disastrous job for someone petrified of flying like him). He trained in Judo with a comrade called Ray Keene while in the RAF from 1941. Bell joined Bankier's Health and Strength League and joined up with Pat Butler in the Amateur Judo Association in 1948. In 1949 Bell became a full-time Judo instructor, teaching in his dad's garage.

    In 1950 Bell was apparently graded Shodan in Tenjin Shinyo Ryu Jujutsu in Cape Town by Dr Henry Johnston who established the "Kodokwan Jujutsu Institute" in 1928 and it seems by 1950 was running something called the "Anglo Japanese Judo and Jujutsu Society". Johnston it seems was a student of a Seishi Teppei (alternatively Seika Teppei) who apparently lived in Hong Kong. By the way Johnston was succeeded in Cape Town by Joe-Grant-Grierson who later achieved the 10th Dan (presented to him I understand by the formitable Dennis Hanover).

    Bell took his Shodan in Judo in 1952 and Nidan in 1953 under Pat Butler. He took his 3rd Dan under Kenshiro Abbe. In 1955 Bell took his Nidan in Jujutsu - of course the following year he also became the first Englishman to study Karate (Kenshiro Abbe claimed to teach Karate but it was most likely Judo Atemi Waza rather than anything Okinawan-derived) after training in France with his Judo pal Henri Plee.

    Back to Liverpool, James Blundell was a student of Harry H Hunter author of the impressively titled Super Jujutsu and William Green. During WWII while in the Navy he was apparently in Singapore and ended up been taught "Jujutsu" by a Chinese antique dealer called "Master Kim".

    So in Liverpool you had Jack Britten (Tani student), Gerry Skyner (Kawaishi student) and later Blundell (Hunter student).

    Two of Britten's seniors in Chester Fred Kelly and Jim Pape continued teaching Tenjin Shinyo Ryu (as they called it) but I understand a group of their students have now migrated back over to mainline TSR.

    When Vernon Bell's Karate spread from humble beginnings (his mum's back garden) to the rest of the country his first students in Liverpool, (Dojo led by Fred Gille) included students of Jack Britten such as Andy Sherry and Terry O'Neill whose dad trained under Skyner.

    On a final note, it always occured to me that in London you had Jujutsu instructors converting to Judo whereas in Liverpool you had Judo instructors converting to Jujutsu!

    But remember that back in the day, the two terms were interchangeable. I have a 1950s book by Yukio Tani and EJ Harrison called The Art of Jujutsu" and throughout describes Judo techniques!

    I'm afraid I can't help with Dick Morris, Kevin Pell and the others you mentioned.

    Hope this is of some interest
    Kind regards
    Simon
    Simon Keegan 4th Dan
    www.bushinkai.org.uk

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    David --

    My guess is that most of the folks were taking a short course, but there is no guarantee. Think Mrs. Roger Watts and Mrs. Garrud -- they trained for years, taught for years, and the surviving photos and so on show that they were teaching very legitimate material, from a very functional knowledge base.

    Conceptually, though, you are undoubtedly correct in asserting that most of this involved self-defense training. These people weren't training to beat Yukio Tani or the Gracies on stage; they were training to throw a policeman and escape, or to throw an overconfident Liverpool docker and escape.

    In terms of books, I'm thinking Leopold McLaglen, Bruce Sutherland, etc.

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    Thank you Simon, that fills in some blanks.


    That, coupled with this:

    http://www.arrse.co.uk/Forums/viewtopic/p=2455423.html

    Really does fill in blanks


    So, there's basically 2 trends in British jujitsu, the first goes straight back to Yukio Tanni, who taught Jack Britten who started Alpha jujitsu (which should be a form of Tenshin Shinyo Ryu as that was probably Tani's style*)

    Robert Clark left Alpha jujitsu and went to James Blundell.

    James Blundell was taught by Mr Green, who was taught by Harry H Hunter, the jujitsu champion of Europe, or so he claimed. And also a man in Singapore taught Blundell jujitsu, but there you go.

    James Blundell and Clark form the BJJA and the rest is history, it seems.

    Is the Alpha institute of jujitsu still going?

    The BJJA syllabus does, then, have some links to traditional jujitsu through Clark and his being a one time student of Jack Britten.

    Of course, it all has links back to traditional jujitsu as, even if it's just dirty judo, it's then dirty Kano jujitsu.

    *http://www.budokwai.org/history_vol_i.htm

    Everyone, thanks for your input.
    So, does this seem correct to everyone?

    Eugene McFadden

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    Sorry to post twice, got all excited and pressed the button too early

    To be fair, David, you're right. This started of as a bit of an academic exercise and now it's getting really interesting. But then I am a history teacher.

    Part of this research has had me investigating other clubs and emailing loads of teachers (numerous sokes and multi-Dan people). It's a bit sad that most of the higher ups have been self awarded grades and all sorts, but that seems to be the nature of the beast in British Jujitsu these days. Maybe when I get back to the UK I'll start a back to basics movement...

    Joseph-
    That Oswald Mosley stuff does look interesting...

    Eugene McFadden

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    It is interesting. Maybe it is something that everyone MUST do at some point in their journey. Sadly, not everybody that trains, nor everybody that teaches, is willing or able to devote enough time to ALL the aspects of their art; concentration often focuses on either the here and now, or the next grading.

    Looking to the past and using it to bring a better understanding of the future is surely the mark of an educated society - The Dark Ages in European history was a pretty rotten time to live if you wanted to find a good book to read . Using the lessons from the past, in the modern age, is what the study of the older Arts is all about. That the modern era martial artist might be better off devoting his time to learning how to clean and load a handgun than disarm a swordsman is where some people might start to consider the phrase "waste of time". The "British Art of Jiujitsu" (if I can call it that), seems to have been influenced quite strongly by the military pragmatism of the Army instructors. They like the discipline, they like the hard work and sweat, but they also want simple and brutal moves that can be taught quickly and don't require unusual physical skills to perform. I get the impression that these instructors, and their civilian contemporaries, were less inclined to keep techniques for which they saw no use. The tradition and integrity of the ancient Art was less important than the results.

    Is that a fair assessment? I am really only an observer from a distance and if I have said anything that offends anyone then I must admit that I do it from ignorance. I mean no disrespect.

    Perhaps one area that prompted Eugene's enquiries, relates to the amount of Japanese tradition and cultural heritage included (or not) in the Art that he was taught as Jujutsu. If my crude analysis of the history of "British Jiujitsu" is anywhere near the mark, it might feel decidedly odd if an instructor went to great lengths to emphasise a link to Japan where one didn't exist. Some people might be drawn to the training for that part as much as any other, only to discover that it was nothing more than a vague affection for the Japanese way - without any depth of knowlege. But then again, to ignore the roots of the art would also be amiss. Like I said, not everybody that trains, nor everybody that teaches, is willing or able to devote enough time to ALL the aspects of their art.
    David Noble
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    For now, I'm just waiting for the smack of the Bo against a hard wooden floor....

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    Eugene,

    This is indeed very murky waters.
    James Blundell started the BJJA, by 1979 when the World Ju Jitsu Federation program was officially launched following the International course held on the 28th October 1979 Bob Clark was the chief instructor of the BJJA, Richard Morris was chairman and in charge of the London branch and James G Short the secretary. The original style taught was the creation of Clark and Morris, whatever their background may have been (and that seems far from clear), James Blundell was a figure head and technical advisor come 'Soke' (A Juko Kai title) .

    The World Ju Jitsu Federations (and thus the BJJA's) original training program had a manual in which appeared some photos of Kuatsu and Shiatsu techniques based on a cross section of information taken from the British Ju Jitsu archives dating back to 1906 and demostrated by members of the WJJF and photographed. I mention this as it is (apart from the word Yudansha) the only Japanese terminology used.

    The BJJA was the British branch of the WJJF (Bob Clark was the WJJF International co-ordinator and Giacomo Bertoletti was the WJJF International president). Eventually the WJJF and the BJJA which seemed at least in the UK to be two different names for the same organisation, split and became two completely separate organisations.

    As regards James Blundell (22/12/21-13/11/89) he joined the merchant navy out of Liverpool in 1935 at the age of 14 and picked up a few tricks on his travels. He was a merchant seaman for most of his life, although he later operated out of what was called the Lowlands Ju Jitsu club, West Derby, which he established and later re-established the British Ju Jitsu Association this was in the 1950's which much later was affiliated with Rod Sacharnoski's Juko Kai organisation (WJJF, under which BJJA came was a member of the WJJA, the latter being part of Sacharnoski's Juko Kai). However there was at one point a British Ju Jitsu Federation that was established originally by Vernon Bell. As far as I am aware there is no connection apart from similar names between these two groups.

    The blunt fact of the matter is the British Ju Jutsu is a mish mash organised into a syllabus by Robert Clark, who it is known had some background and training in wrestling, he also at one point sort out some Chinese martial arts material from within Liverpool's Chinatown. However the syllabus of these Ju Jutsu organisations had input from various others who were associated with it at various times, many of who had joined it as an umbrella body under something called the British Jiu Jitsu Board of Control. As time went on everyone was required to follow the syllabus set out by Bob Clark and graded according to that syllabus. Joe Svinth mentions money, the WJJF was a limited company sole shareholders were at one point Bob Clark and his girl friend at the time according to one newspaper report.

    As regards to any claims about links of British Ju Jitsu to any Japanese styles of Ju Jutsu there have been various claims at various points which appeared to include discrepancies on certificates with the names of Prince Nashinomoto of Imperial Royal Family, Hayabuchi of Araki Mujinsai Ryu, Inoue of Hontai Yoshin Ryu. How innocent all of this was or not I am unable to comment, what is certain though is that there were a number of attempts at various times to try and show a Japanese connection. So why was Nunchaku and Tonfa in the WJJF/BJJA syllabus? At one point there was also claims of a new Japanese link for the WJJF to Fumon Tanaka, which was arranged by Giacomo Bertoletti.

    As regards Vernon Bell, who is credited as being the bringer of Karate to this country, it is frequently overlooked that he had links to the Yoseikan system founded by Minoru Mochizuki, a student of Jigaro Kano, Morihei Ueshiba, Funakoshi and Masaji Yamaguchi. I am led to understand that Jim short also had links to Yoseikan, and given that he was involved with the BJJA and was its secretary, this needs to be taken into consideration as well.

    As regards Vernon Bell (who was indeed a student of Kenshiro Abbe) You may also want to look at this thread:
    http://www.e-budo.com/forum/showthre...ell#post459964

    Regards
    Chris Norman

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    David,
    Yeah, I'm slowly of the opinion that we should stop heavily linking British jujitsu back to Japan, but there is a link via the Judo element. Maybe we should just start calling it British Combatives

    I've also spent time trawling Youtube looking at techniques I've been taught and seeing how others perform them. Interesting to notice the degradation, or perhaps alteration, of technique over time. Certainly the throws here

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MJA8T...eature=related

    are different in subtle little ways to the throws I was taught at Ishin Ryu. Hummm... evolution?

    Chris,

    I'm going to get a big piece of paper and start doing some sort of family tree, this is now at the point where I can hardly keep anything in my head any more.
    Speaking to Terry Parker and Bryan Cheek, they call their style Juko Ryu, with Ishin Ryu being a derivative of this. Is Juko Ryu just a name that was appropriated from Juko Kai or is there something I'm missing?

    Eugene McFadden
    Last edited by EugeneMcFadden; 30th April 2010 at 05:12. Reason: no name

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    Default Vernon Bell

    As regard's Vernon Bell and Yoseikan.

    Yes, it's true that Minoru Mochizuki trained in a wide range of Budo including Gyokushin Ryu Jujutsu and Daito Ryu Aikijujutsu but I find it unlikely that many of these skills were transmitted to Vernon Bell.

    In the 1950s Mochizuki Senior was teaching Judo, Aikido and Karate as separate arts and sent his son Hiroo and Tetsuji Murikami to France to teach Karate - they were joined by Shoji Sugiyama (Italy) and Mitsuhiro Kondo (Switzerland).

    Hiroo's French operation was run by Henri Plee who very much taught Karate as a punch-kick-block basic Shotokan system.

    Vernon trained under Henri, occasionally with Hiroo and then invited Hoang Nam and Murikami to come to England to teach. They also ran seminars in Yoseikan Aikido.

    Yes Vernon had a background in Judo and Jujutsu (as I mentioned in my previous post) but this Yoseikan Karate was Kihon-Kata-Kumite and Vernon was only a few months ahead of his students in terms of expertise.

    Hiroo later converted to Wado Ryu and this flavour became the dominant one and then Kanazawa and co arrived in about 1966 and JKA Shotokan took over the BKF.

    Of course Vernon later abandoned this "new" style and went back to teaching "Yoseikan Karate" and "Tenshin Shinyo Ryu" and later Seibukan etc.

    I wouldn't think any of Mochizuki senior's Jujutsu training as such had a tangible effect on British Jujutsu until much later when he became involved in IMAF and along with Sato pioneered the Nihon Jujutsu syllabus. Mochizuki graded Kevin Murphy (refer to my previous post) to 7th Dan in Nihon Jujutsu but this was much later than the early days if British Jujutsu,
    Simon Keegan 4th Dan
    www.bushinkai.org.uk

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    The British Jujitsu Society is also worth investigating. This was apparently an off-shoot of William Bankier's Health and Strength League (they had membership badges and so-on) active throughout the 1920s. William Garrud, Percy Longhurst, W. Bruce Sutherland and other "second generation" British jujitsuka were the principals.

    Bearing in mind that, by this time, people like Tani, Garrud and Longhurst were well established self defence authorities in the UK, it's possible that they were threatened by, or simply resented the shift of power to Tokyo implicit in the Budokwai's official adoption of Kodokan judo following Professor Kano's visit in 1920. It was also during that visit that Kano accredited the second dan to Yukio Tani.

    The BJS published a regular journal (The Jujitsuan) and also issued a number of booklets on various aspects of what they considered to be jujitsu, which was (IMO and going by best evidence) a highly eclectic blend of almost everything Barton-Wright, the Tani brothers, Uyenishi, Yamamoto, Ono, Miyake and others had imported into England over the previous two decades. That probably also included their own innovations, etc. The Bartitsu Society has copies of two of the booklets (on ne-waza and atemi-waza, if memory serves).

    Cheers,

    Tony

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