Bethea's Karate Studio

119 West Sycamore Street
Kokomo, IN 46901


 Bethea's Karate Studio

Sensei Speaks

Volume 1, Issue 1      August 2017


On The Go

Well, July was a very busy month with travel. I went to Phoenix, Arizona as chief referee for the USKA World Championships. It was a very interesting trip because Mr. Culpepper drove out from West Plains, Mo with fifteen people. I arrived on Wednesday and all of the West Plains group did also. Of course we spent Wednesday trying to get settled into our respective hotels. I was at The Arizona Resort and they were a couple miles away in a Quality Inn. The Az Resort was the tournament hotel and it was filled with many of the competitors and other events that were going on. There were some family reunions and several other conventions .

On Thursday the tournament began with  Continuous Kumite, Ippon Kumite, Team Kata, and Musical Kata. Friday was also filled with competition. It consisted of Koshiki, Team Kumite, Chanbara and closed out with the Hall of Fame meeting. Unfortunately there were no inductees. Saturday’s competition was filled with traditional divisions as in kata and weapons. The competition was very stiff in all divisions. As all of the Black Belt divisions came to an end, There had to be a runoff to determine who would go to the finals to compete for the Grand Championship. The run offs were very exciting and interesting. Sunday’s competition was all kumite and then to the finals. The finals were as exciting as usual There were some underdogs who came out as winners of Grand Championships.





It is often that I travel and when I am away I have to rely upon senior students to  maintain the dojo. Maintaining the dojo is a two way street since it requires cooperation from both the seniors and the juniors.

Mr. Sylvester, I am thankful to you and all of the students. I know that it is not always easy to get away from family when you have young children as you do.

I also realize that students tend not to view you the same as Sensei even though they should. However, we have discussed this before and seniors are always able to help and/or correct junior students. This is a respect that is due to each other throughout the rank structure. Thus far all have done well and I thank all of you for the manner in which you have carried yourself.





1st Place
Mr. Culpepper—Kata
Ms. McDonald—Kumite
Mr. Marks—Kata
Mr. Leija—Team Kumite
2nd Place
Mr. Culpepper—Kumite
Mr. Culpepper—Continuous
Mr. Murph—Kumite
Ms. McDonald—Kata
Ms. McDonald—Continuous
Ms. Culpepper—Ippon
Ms. Culpepper—Team Kumite
Mr. Baker—Kata
Mr. Baker—Team Kumite
3rd Place
Mr. Culpepper—Weapons
Mr. Jackson—Continuous
Mr. Jackson—Ippon
Mr. Marks—Continuous
Mr. Baker—Continuous
Ms. Maguire—Ippon
4th Place
Mr. Marks—Kumite
Mr. Murph—Kata
Mr. Murph—Continuous
Mr. Jackson—Kumite
Ms. Culpepper—Continuous
Ms. Culpepper—Kumite
Mr. Green—Continuous





This is a really good topic to discuss. Today this is a subject of discussion in almost every Dojo across the country. It is discussed because most students do everything that they can to avoid kumite. I will be the first to admit that there are some who will have no choice but to avoid kumite because of medical or physical reasons. Of course there are also those who want to do karate and are older and can’t take the chance of being injured.

I took this topic to discuss because there are many students who just don’t know or understand it. First, one must know that the purpose of kumite is to prepare you to do battle. Before any battle begins there must always be preparation. There are drills and scenarios that prepare the mind. The body has to be ready  to deliver whatever the  mind calls for.

Kumite in the Dojo is safe and it is fun when two people are seriously trying to learn. It addresses the spiritual qualities of courage, courtesy, humility, integrity, and self-control. Kumite! Don’t be afraid of it!





Kyoshi C D Williamson invited me to come down to his camp for the past several years. It took a bit to get it all worked out and I appreciate Mr. Sylvester for covering for me.

I left the hotel at 4:30am going to the airport. All of my flights went well and I was in Florida by 3:30pm. Kyoshi picked me up from the airport and we just took it easy until camp began. Of course this was Monday evening that I’m speaking about. There were quite a few students who came out to this. As a matter of fact his classes have grown considerably since last year. There were lots of kids in the  camp. Kyoshi Williamson’s son Coy is an excellent instructor for kids.  The kids were really getting into the games that they played.

Kyoshi Stolsmark and I were all set for the adults and there was a change of atmosphere. That is, there was an eagerness to learn whatever was being put before them. From the youngest to the eldest they were all the same. More importantly is that nobody stood around waiting to be told what to do. Each one became immediately responsible for learning what was taught. The lesson for me in that camp was presentation for different groups. It was good to see that everyone was  eager and enthusiastic to learn. 





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?





Graduations are held every other month and the students are being very progressive. Even though there were not that many this time there were more of them ready. Of course some of them are in outdoor sports and some were trying to get vacations in before going back to school. Following are the July upgrades for the dojo:

Mr. Hall-Fisher
Mr. LeMasters

Mr. Pugh
Mr. Salhieh

My special congratulations to these students on their upgrade and I encourage them to put forth their best effort as they go forward. Karate is a lot of fun and there are times when it is work. What is important is that you must feel good in doing the things that you do.  The greatest reward is when you put the Black Belt around your waist. All of you are candidates for the esteemed Black Belt rank.                   





When I began my karate training there were only 14 kata being taught. I do not remember doing the Kihon and the Fukyu kata when I was in the Dojo as a young karate student. I have talked some of the others who began during those early years and they are in agreement.

The first kata that I learned was Naihanchi Ichidan, and went upward from there. As expressed earlier in this newsletter, the Kihon  kata and the Fukyu kata serve a  specific purpose. I also added the history of the Kihon Kata as they pertain to Shorin ryu Shorinkan. The Kihon kata are very basic.
Fukyu Kata tend to add a bit more to the training at the beginner level. You begin to see combinations and quicker stance transitions. Nakazato, Shugoro Sensei developed the Fukyu kata that we are doing. He developed them around the time he opened the Shorinkan Dojo. This makes their origin at approximately 1958 which is just after he opened the Dojo.

As it pertains to the majority of all other kata, they come from within our lineage. Immediately referencing the kata they are referred to as Itosu/Chibana. This means that the kata were taught to Chibana Sensei By Itosu Sensei. The exception to this is that the Pinan Kata were developed by Itosu Sensei  for the school system. However, it should be remembered that Itosu was a student Sokon Matsumura and the kata will most likely be the result of his teaching also. Goju Shiho kata was taught to Nakazato Sensei by his first teacher Seiich Iju.

Lastly, Nakazato, Shugoru Sensei developed Shugoro No Kata Gorin for the 1996 Olympics. That was the first display of the kata for public knowledge.                                   





Printable Version