Bethea's Karate Studio

119 West Sycamore Street
Kokomo, IN 46901


 Bethea's Karate Studio

Sensei Speaks

Volume 1, Issue 1      December 2016


Another Year

As we bring 2016 to a close I must thank all of you for what I consider a great year. The year was filled with lots of travel and meeting lots of people. Our first event of the year was Mr. Jones’ Central Indiana Karate Tournament and we were off and running from that point. Region 1’s Cabin Fever is the initial event for the year and their annual banquet is held on Saturday evening. Imust mention that I visited Mrs. Sutton and her students in Texas in early January. Our training there was very interesting. Her Dojo is growing and I am sure that it will show when I am there at the beginning of the year. That trip was followed by a trip to Dallas and Mr. Galvan’s tournament. In March we host Region 2’s first tournament and banquet. As always the students from Bethea’s Karate Studio did well. Although I don’t remember all of the places I do remember who received awards at the banquet. The following students were recognized: Adam Kemper, Omari Solomon, Collin Earl, Emma, LaMons, Wyatt LaMons, and Derek Brading. The Dojo received The 3rd Runner Up award for total points accumulation during the year. That was really a surprise to me since that had not happened in many years. Travel then took me to Ohio, New Mexico, Okinawa, Wisconsin, Illinois, Texas, North Carolina, Michigan, Arizona, Florida, Washington, D C, Missouri, Arizona, California, and Kentucky. As you can see, I was on the go quite a bit. There are several students I have to recognize for helping with classes when I am gone. Mr. Brading, Ms. Cole, Mr. Sylvester, Wyatt and Emma LaMons have always helped to maintain classes while I am away. My special thanks to these individuals.



Christmas Basket

I have to begin this article by first saying thanks to all of you for bringing goods for the Thanksgiving Basket. We had lots of goods to fill the basket and I am sure that it was a huge blessing to the family that had been chosen to receive it. I personally get a great enjoyment in going out and purchasing the meats for the basket. It is also a joy to see the appreciation the family shows when we have taken everything in.

At Christmas we will service the same family. That has been our normal practice for many years now. We will be sure to get the family sizes and post them for everybody’s information. There is still a need to bring canned goods. However, we go a bit further in asking for toys and/or clothing that you can no longer use. We will get gender, ages and sizes posted for your information.



The Competitors

I have pondered many ideas for the Dojo and things that I wish for. Those things are all for the betterment of every student in Bethea’s Karate Studio. First, I must say that I enjoy seeing students going to compete in tournaments and seeing their expressions for wins or losses. Although we hate to lose, it is in those losses that we experience our greatest growth as individuals. This is where we begin to develop character. More importantly we begin to develop a work ethic that adds value to our individualism. This begins to stand out as we become adults and entering our chosen careers. As Sensei it has been exciting for me to watch this take place and then to be asked for references. Over the years I have received calls from the FBI and numerous corporations inquiring about students and there performance in school and the Dojo.

One of the things that I will say is that our young responds differently to the demands of training than they did just a few years ago. That is not all bad because it is an adjustment that I have to make. It is a difficult one but it is an adjustment for me.

As competitors we have to set the bar for ourselves. How do we do that? As you compete you should watch your competition to see what they do and how they score. This is especially important when you lose to them. They obviously do the same where you are concerned. Look at yourself!



Reviving Kata

I have been talking about some of my ideas and things that I would like to do. Although there are many ideas and things that I would like to do we have gotten started. There are those of you who would ask what have we started doing.

Well, before I learned all of Nakazato Sensei’s Kobudo we worked over fifty weapons kata. Once I began working Sensei’s Kobudo and getting ranked in it, I failed to work the other kata. As a result, I have forgotten some of them. So, I have decided to try teaching some of them as I remember them.

I have begun teaching one of the Tonfa kata that I learned quite a few years ago from Oyakawa Sensei. The kata that I began teaching was Matsuhiga No Tonfa. The students have been impressive in learning it. There are a couple other kata that I have taught from the list of many. Those who are ranked in kobudo have been the primary recipients of the kata that I learned from Oyakawa Sensei.

Mr. Ward, Mr. Michael, and Mr. Talbott were always the ones to get the new kata as I learned them. Good Luck!



Student Of The Month

It is time that I select a Student Of The Month again. This month, it is a real challenge for me because everybody has been working as if they have this as a goal. There is not one student who has not worked hard trying to learn the material that is being taught. I am excited about having this challenge. Regardless, I have made a selection with which I am comfortable. My selection for Student Of The Month is Ms. Emma LaMons. Ms. LaMons has been very aggressive in her training. She is regularly in class and readily adheres to the rules and standards that have been established. She has been eager to learn new material which has been quite a bit.

Ms. LaMons is highly commended for her selection as Student Of The Month. I am confident that she will become a Black Belt. She has surpassed boundaries well beyond her imagination She has the heart and the spirit to become a great karate champion.

I am proud to have her as a student!



The Goal - Black Belt

In our karate training, no matter what system, in this or other countries you are measured by the progress you make. To determine your progression most will use a belt system commonly described by kyu ranks. Significantly , I am referring to all of the ranks below black belt. Often we use the term Mudansha when referring to Kyu ranks.

Black Belts on the other hand are referred to as Dans or Yudansha. As they progress through the Dan ranking system they are elevated to different titles. Different systems may convey their titles at different levels. I won’t endeavor to go through those titles now but I would certainly explain if you approached me with a question on a title that you have heard. I think that would be fair rather than to put all of you out to guess what title different people are wearing and be wrong in approaching them.

Right now is a time to address some of our new students who have just joined the dojo.

First is Mr. Holden Riddle who has received his white belt; Mr, Ryland Richie who has also received his white belt, and the newest member to join Bethea’s Karate Studio is Mr. Reece Wright. All of these students have become members in the last two months and doing well.



Growing From Kihons

Often I have wondered if I am presenting the Kihon Kata in a manner that is understandable and acceptable by all students. I have always tried to present them as 1st grade material. We all know that our progression in school is based upon how well we do with each years’ material. Karate’s progression is also based upon learning material. Thus, upon learning the Kihons our progression takes us to orange belt. During this training phase we learn karate basics. That is, maintaining fists, chambering, three levels of blocking, and first level stances. From there we progress through an advanced level of basics called Fukyu Kata. This is the blue belt level when the student learns to transition stances and multiplying techniques. Students who have earned their blue belts are ready for the meat of karate training.

By this, I mean that they are ready to learn the kata from which comes the combat that we so often talk about. The basic material that you learned in the Kihons has prepared you for what is ahead in the kata. It is called Ryu-ha and it is common to all who work our system of karate.



Congratulations To The Graduates

Ju-Kyu - Mr. Wright-Li’l Dragon

Ku-Kyu - Mr. Riddle-Li’l Dragon & Mr. Richie

Hachi-Kyu - Ms. Woodard

Shichi-Kyu - Mr. Stodgell

I congratulate all of you on your accomplishment and I know that there is much more to come. All that is required is a little effort, some listening, and paying attention to what is happening in class. Sometimes I know that this becomes a challenge but that is a great part of the learning process. I am hoping that all of you will someday become a Black Belt and continue the things that you have been taught.

Promotions are just a means of measuring a students progress in class. No student should ever have a difficulty in graduating from one belt to the next.



Karate History - Your Sensei

Few will know that I suffered a bout with Jaundice and Hepatitis just before graduating high school. Actually, I became sick immediately as I came home form my Prom. This came very close to keeping me out of the military. I was back and forth to the Induction Center five times before I was finally inducted.

For most it would be difficult to imagine what this was like for me. My parents had to sign for me to get into the military and my dream was about to go down the drain. During those trips back and forth I was afraid but certain that I would not get into the military. However, I know that it was divine intervention that got me into the military. God has a way of working things out for us.

After getting into the military I was determined make a better life for myself. I did not want to live my adult life like that of my father. My father was good and spent lots of time with me. He always worked jobs that did not pay very much. He always encourage me in school and said that he did not want me to travel the road that he traveled.

Basic training took place at Lackland AFB, Tx. Military buildup was underway and training was cut to eight weeks. There was lots going on between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. That period was known as the “cold war.” I completed basic training and was stationed at Maxwell AFB, Al. Being raised in the south made that an easy assignment for me. I was assigned to the Motor Pool and did not know how to drive. Primarily I was a military taxi driver. I learned to drive using a mop bucket. There were no automatic transmissions. I did well on that assignment and left for Okinawa in May 1966. The story grows. Ask!  




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December 2016 Newsletter