Bethea's Karate Studio

119 West Sycamore Street
Kokomo, IN 46901


 Bethea's Karate Studio

Sensei Speaks

Volume 1, Issue 1      August 2016


We Have Been On The Go

I am sitting here in the Arizona Resort Hotel as I begin to write this newsletter. I am here in Phoenix as Chief Referee for the USKA World Championships. I arrived yesterday and spent the day with Mr. Poage at his dojo. Last night, we did some testing for both kyu and black belts. There were two upgrades to Nidan; two to Shodan; one to Ni-Kyu; and four to San-Kyu. All of those who were upgrading did very well. As the evening concluded I checked into the hotel.

The championships began on Thursday morning. The turnout for the beginning of the event was not as large as I had anticipated but things got off to a great start. We were out of the event early in the evening  and of course it was time for some food.

There were lots of people who were unable to catch  their flights because of the computer glitch at Southwest Airlines. I talked to some of the Indiana people who had some flight difficulties. I am sure that all will eventually make the event and the tournament will do well. I do know that the hotel sold 100 rooms over the room block.

The event will run through Sunday and it will get more exciting as competitors arrive. The main events, Kata and Kumite, are scheduled for Saturday and Sunday.  Weapons competition took place on Friday.
Monday I will be leaving for Florida and Kyoshi Williamson’s dojo.  I don’t think that it will be as hot there as it is here. Temperatures has gone over 114 degrees.




This is a great question to be asked by every karate student regardless of age. Not only should you ask it but you should also have an honest answer to the question. Those who are competitive will probably think that they have the right answer. If they have won awards they will most likely feel a bit more assured in their answer.

However, we need to think of our physical and mental condition. Karate  will build our bodies and our minds if we would only give ourselves to our training.  It should not imposed to get you there. The teacher should be your guide but not a warden. He should not have to discipline you to get you to do things. Yes, he does but it should be you doing your own thing. Start pushing yourself and see. He has set you on a path.




July was time for graduation again and we did have a few who did that. I was well pleased with all who did the upgrade. I know that there are some who tend to become a little afraid when we start talking about graduation but I don’t really understand that.

However, the graduation was done and I am proud to announce the following promotions:

  • Ju-Kyu
  • Zereya Woodard
  • Hachi-Kyu
  • Noah Stodgell
  • Ni-Kyu
  • Wyatt LaMons
  • Emma LaMons
  • San-Kyu
  • Collin Earl

Those were all of the karate promotions and we did have one Kobudo promotion. Thus far there have only been four students to upgrade in the kyu ranks of Kobudo. 

  • Go-Kyu
  • Collin Earl

Others who have kyu Kobudo ranks are Mr. LaMons, Ms. LaMons, and Mr. Solomon.

The Kobudo Program will be changing at the end of 2016. That program will begin having a charge attached to it.

Congratulations graduates!




The United States Karate Alliance World Championships ended Sunday night. As I have said already it was a very good tournament and everything went well throughout the tournament. It was difficult to determine the number of competitors but it was a very good number. There were quite a number of competitors from Chile and Argentina. They were very competitive and won in quite a few divisions. For the first time in years they had a competitor in the Black Belt finals for kumite grand champion. Unfortunately it was not to be for him to win.

First was the Black Belt Kata Grand Champion which was very interesting and was won by Mr. Drake Sass. This was followed by the Black BeltWeapons Grand Championship which was won by Michael Bork. The Black Belt Women’s Kumite Grand Championship followed with Jenna Brown Losing to Anna Gorman. Finally, the Black Belt Men’s Kumite took place. Adrian Galvan prevailed as defending champion which made his seventh Grand Championship at the USKA World’s.




As usual this is one of my biggest challenges. However, I get an excellent chance to review all of the students and their overall behavior. I must say that all of you are growing immensely.

My selection for Student Of The Month is Mr. Wyatt LaMons.  Mr. LaMons has distinguished himself through his dedicated and devoted efforts in class. He is constantly in class and readily prepares himself for training. Mr. LaMons listens very closely to all instructions and follows  them to the letter. He is regularly in class and normally early to prepare. As an orange belt he is very advanced in kumite compared to others of the same rank and higher. My special congratulations to Mr. LaMons and his selection as Student Of The Month.  Continue as you have and you will be an excellent  martial artist and an asset to the Black Belt rank. Mr. LaMons, you are also an example to those who are coming behind you. I am proud to have you as a student. Keep it up!




Kyoshi C D Williamson invited me to come down to his camp for the past couple of years. It took a bit to get it all worked out and I appreciate Mr. Brading and Mr. Sylvester for covering for me. He does a tremendous in-hose camp for his students and has an excellent turnout.

Unfortunately, I was unable to be there for the reception held on Sunday because of my stay in Arizona. However, I did arrive on Monday. Kyoshi picked me up from the airport and we just took it easy until the evening. His numbers seemed to have doubled since last year. All of the students were very enthusiastic and receptive to  our teaching. Kyoshi Stolsmark  and I worked together as instructors for the camp this year.

Kyoshi Williamson’s son Coy has become an excellent instructor for kids.  The kids were really getting into the games that they played. The adults were all ready and anxious to get started as they came in. More importantly is that nobody stood around waiting to be told what to do once they were given instructions. Each one became immediately responsible for learning what was taught. As I have opportunities to instruct other groups I am seeing things that are beneficial  to our dojo.
This was a great camp and a wonderful group of people.




One of the major concerns of Americans today is fitness/obesity. When we think in terms of fitness/obesity we have to concern ourselves with both mental and physical conditioning. Much of what we are comes straight from what we think. I am one who sincerely believes that I am what I think I am.  No one else has to agree with you as long as you are firm in your belief and satisfied with where you are.

Now, I am only speaking in terms of condition. It has been quite a while and I have, for the most part,  not been eating after 7:00p.m. Often when I am away I have no choice but to eat after 7:00p.m. No Matter where I am I maintain a short exercise regimen that is completed in the mornings before I dress. While at home I will eat in the mornings and in the afternoon. I have managed to stay away from most fast foods.  The result has been a little smaller waist and increased fitness. I can never be what I was but still fit.

I only want you to consider yourself and be the best that you can be.  How fit are you?



Why Do Kihon Kata?

Karate schools are rushing to teach the meat of their systems. However, they need much more before they are released into the system.  That is why I am addressing this subject.

The Kihon Kata was developed by Chibana Sensei. They were to ensure that the student understood the origin of basic technique. Kihon Kata gets us started toward becoming more aware of our selves. We  must understand that basic karate is different than combat karate. Kihon takes us right to the grass roots of karate. In the Dojo there is not a lot of time spent on those kata and I am appalled when I see black belts forgetting  the Kihons. Anybody can make a mistake but not forget. These same kata expose us to Ryuha. Ryuha is simply those things that set one system apart from other systems. 

It is surprising that many students, black belts, have no idea of what Ryuha is. If you ever compete Internationally it becomes very important. Regardless it is important.




This being my 50th year in karate, I have received numerous accolades. Of course I had no idea that I would have received either of them but I am extremely thankful that the students and people thought enough of me to give them.

First, Mr. Michael and Mr. Ward spearheaded a surprise  anniversary party for me. Their wife and/or significant other were right there helping. Needless to say that one got me really good. I appreciated the roast and all of the wonderful things said and done. There were numerous gifts from people from everywhere. I received a Cowboy Hat from  Mrs. Sutton and her group in Texas; a wonderfully framed picture from Mr. Franz and his students; numerous gift cards and other gifts of which I will not try to name them all. Significantly, I want everyone to know that I truly appreciate everything from the bottom of my heart.

Along with all of this were the travel that many of the people endured to be at the party. In naming some of them I begin with Hanshi and Mrs. Keeney, Hanshi and Mrs. Bowles, Hanshi and Mrs. Morgan, Kyoshis Neil and Rocky Stolsmark, my daughter Angela, Marcia my sister, Mr. Franz and Mindy, Mr. Brading, Ms. Cole and students from the dojo along with many others. I can never repay this debt of gratitude no matter how much I would wish to do so.

At the USKA World Championships I received the Chittim/Jordan Roll Of Honor “Patriot Award”. I was honored but just as surprised as ever with all that had come with my anniversary. Again I am very thankful for all that I have been given  and I will always do my best in furthering the study of karate.

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August 2016 Newsletter