Bethea's Karate Studio

119 West Sycamore Street
Kokomo, IN 46901


 Bethea's Karate Studio

Sensei Speaks

Volume 1, Issue 1      August 2015


We Have Been On The Go

It has been truly a busy time for me this summer. The travel has been excellent and I have enjoyed every minute of it. I am just returning from my family reunion in Charleston, SC where I visited the church that was involved in the shooting incident. It was very interesting and I did get a few pictures. There were lots of people paying tribute to those who lost their lives there. I was fortunate enough to sign one of the boards that were up.

From Charleston I traveled on to Niceville, Fl where I was teaching a camp for Kyoshi C.D. Williamson. The time in Florida was even more exciting. It was an inner Dojo camp that was open to all of hi students. The children filled the daytime hours and the adults filled the evening hours. That worked out really well and there were over a hundred children participating in the daytime classes. Kyoshi's son takes the lead in the camp he is very enthusiastic  and motivated which keeps the kids motivated about being there. He uses some of his senior ranking kids as assistants. These students are also highly motivated  and very enthusiastic about what they are doing. As I have said, the kids had an excellent time participating in the camp.

Shortly after you have received this newsletter I will be headed for New Orleans and the USKA World Championships.  Upon return I will be doing a Mini Camp in Sparta, Mi with Mr. Wilson and other student from the area.


Special points of interest:

  • A look at what we have done this summer.
  • Going back to school and being a good student.
  • More about Minoru Sensei's visit to Wisconsin
  • Kumite can be and is good for every one to practice.
  • The camp in Florida was really special for those people.
  • Karate History


Back To School 

Unfortunately, the youth have spent their summer and it is time to get back to the books. I have enjoyed having them for the few morning classes that we did and some of them seemed to have benefitted greatly from them. Just as you have benefitted from the karate classes I know that it will be easy for you in school.

Everywhere I've gone this summer people have given a bad rap to school kids. It is said that they are unruly, and no respect for authority. Of course I am always under the pretense that my students are far above that. They are well mannered and very respectful of authority and elders. Bethea's Karate Studio prides itself in having students who standout in doing what is right and following the rules. So, lets show others the right way.


Sensei's Visit 

Minoru Nakazato Sensei was here. during the month of June. This was a great opportunity for many Americans and the Canadians. There are so many who don't get the opportunity to go over to Okinawa and visit the Hombu Dojo. Many will not recognize nor understand the undertaking to organize an event of this magnitude. However, Kyoshi Stolsmark and his wife Kyoshi Stolsmark made that commitment and I want all of you who attended to know how much I appreciate your support of this event. This is some additional follow up to what was said last month. I am confident that everyone appreciated the manner in which Sensei conveyed the material that he covered. He tried to be very thorough in order to reach everybody. I always watch closely to ensure that I am grasping everything.

Most are already aware that he is going to be in California in November. He will be hosted by Kyoshi Noujaim, his wife, and students. The event will take place  during November 6, 7, and 8 at the Quechan Hotel in Winter Haven, Ca. Fortunately, I have already made room reservations. I will normally go out early and visit Mr. Hughes' and Mr. Poage's dojos. This is the once a year visit for them and a good review with their students.


Why Kumite? 

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!


Student Of The Month 

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 O f The Month  is Mr. Vincent Cook.  Mr. Cook has distinguished himself through his dedicated and devoted efforts in class. He is constantly in class and readily prepares himself for training. Mr. Cook listens very closely to all instructions and follows  them to the letter. He is regularly in class and normally readily prepared. As a white belt he is very advanced in kumite compared to others of the same rank and higher. My special congratulations to Mr. Cook 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. Cook, you are also an example to those who are coming behind you. I am proud to have you as a student. Keep it up!


The Florida Camp 

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. Sylvester and the senior students for covering for me. I took the opportunity to stop by my Family Reunion in Charleston , SC on the way down.

Kyoshi picked me up from the airport and we just took it easy until the evening. His students got together and threw a reception gathering for me in the evening at the home of one of the parents/students. There were quite a few students who came out to this.

The camp began on Monday and the re were  lots of kids in the  camp. Kyoshi Williamson's son Coy has become an excellent instructor for kids.  The kids were really getting into the games that they played. When we began with the adults 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.


How Fit Are You?

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.


Karate History - Kyoshi Tom Ward 

Kyoshi Tom Ward is a very interesting person and a bit of my history. Ironically, Mr. Ward and I attended a tournament at a college down in Indianapolis. This article will not allow me to tell it all but you will get the idea. I saw him competing and he was running kata exactly as the kata that I worked. Out of curiosity I went to him and began asking questions about who he trained under and where he lived. There was very little, if any, apprehension as we talked during the remainder of the day. He did have a friend with him whose name was Larry Cotton. As the day went forward we became more and more comfortable in each other's presence. Mr. Cotton also seemed comfortable.

Kyoshi Ward and Mr. Cotten were very sharp and had been trained well by their instructor. Unfortunately, I never met their instructor, Mr. Dan Henley.  I could see through his students that he was a good teacher. The two that I met represented him well and I was eager to get to know them. By the end of the tournament and the conversations that we had, it was agreed that they would come to Kokomo and visit the Dojo. They came the next week and the relationship began and remains. Over 30 years he has traveled to Kokomo to train. Mr. Ward and I worked very hard to gain greater recognition for our system. Mr. Ward is an excellent kata person, a great martial artist and historian. His students have always been top competitors in and out of the state of Indiana. The two of us competed AAU and open tournaments and became a force to be reckoned with at events that we attended.  Since 1978 we have been at each other's side. Thanks Mr. Ward for always being there. Kyoshi is his title and well deserved.


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August 2015Newsletter - Printable Version