Bethea's Karate Studio

119 West Sycamore Street
Kokomo, IN 46901


 Bethea's Karate Studio

Sensei Speaks

Volume 1, Issue 1      February 2017


Sensei Speaks—The Year Has Begun

I can imagine that the kids have enjoyed the first month back in school. The holiday season has ended without too much change in the weather. That is much different than the kind of weather that Indiana seem to have when I first came here in 1971. I am no weather authority but I still believe that is a lot to come when we talk about our weather.

In spite of the weather we have kept the Dojo open with classes on schedule. We will begin running occasional ads in the newspaper to try to attract new students into our Dojo. I am sure that there are some of you who have family or friends who may be interested in karate. Bring them in to a class and let them try it. For those who bring someone in and they join the class, there is a special perk for you. Just see Sensei and tell him who you brought in.

We began the year with a Brown/Black belt workout at Mr. Michael’s Dojo. It was a really good time and I think that all who attended the workout had a great time. This was a great beginning for 2017. Traditionally this is called Kagami Biraki which is the renewing of the mind and/or spirit.

Mr. Franz had a Kagami Biraki training session at his Dojo on January 15th. I went to that event which was also exciting and interesting. He had an excellent turnout for the event and I was surprised ay the number of kids who attended

On January 21st Mr.Curt Jones, held the first tournament for 2017. He had a good turnout and it looks promising for 2017. We will be polling the different schools to see what would encourage more students to attend tournaments. Now is the time for the tournaments to take a turn and build on our competitions in Indiana. 



Camp In July - Washington, D.C.

Minoru Nakazato Sensei will be coming to the U.S. in July. Kyoshi Welch will be the host for the event and I am hoping for several of my students to attend that camp. It will be an expensive endeavor and it would be good if we could do some fundraisers to help students with expenses. I know that some may be opposed to fundraisers but it takes some of the burden away from your pockets. I would be happy if kids and adults could attend the camp. Kyoshi Welch was very supportive of our camp. I would like to do the same and more importantly to show Sensei that we are bonded as an association here in the united States

You will be hearing quite a bit about this right up until the event is held.




Congratulations To Our Graduates

It is always an interesting time when it comes to evaluating students for promotions. As it is they already have a copy of all information that they will need but some are never prepared. Why is that? I wonder. As a student and even today it is important that I invest in myself. How do I do that? I am straight out of tradition and I was always practicing and reading about karate. In those days there was no training record or manual.   It was just practice and learning the hard way.

However; I am glad that we have some graduates.

Our Graduates


Mr. Wright

Mr. Duke—Li’l Dragon


Mr. Richie


Ms. Woodard


Mr. Stodgell

Congratulations to all of you and I am encouraged that all of you stuck with the task. Your goal just as everyone before you should be Black Belt. Properly applying yourself that should happen in two years.

Today, students are concerned with advancement. They know material but they don’t study all of what went on with their bodies. To help you learn, help junior students along. Remember when you were where they are. Do you study?




Living The Life

Today we are all living the life. We get up each morning taking the entire day for granted. We even take the time to make plans for tomorrow. Often we are so intent on doing things that we are really upset that things did not go as planned, or we missed out on something that was supposed to have been fun. More often than not we consider this as living the life.

Do you think that is really living the life? For most of my life I thought that was ideal. Often there are people who die unexpectedly and they had plans. Nevertheless, their plans fall by the wayside and nothing becomes of them.

Where am I going with this and what’s the purpose. I want us to take a close look at our mortality. What am I doing with my time in karate? Yes, I would like to earn my Black Belt and maybe open a dojo at some point in time. Oh! I see now.

I have to use my time more wisely and practice. I know that there is something special that I have to do and I have to get busy. I am living the life and nobody can live it for me. My first goal is to get my Black Belt.  




Student Of The Month

Student Of The Month. It is still a challenge for me but it is a task that must be completed. The youth student base is beginning to grow and there are some promising students in it.

Unfortunately, there are not many to choose from this month because the weather has been terrible.   However, I will make a selection based upon the attendance of the students who came in regularly.

Ms. Emma Lamons is my selection for S.O.M. She has been very aggressive towards her training and readily adheres to the rules and procedures of Bethea’s Karate Studio. This young student tries very hard with all that she has been shown and never backs down. Ms. LaMons works very hard at becoming the best that she can be. I am looking forward to the day when she is ready to become a black belt. She is destined to be a great student and Black belt.

Congratulations Ms. Emma LaMons on your selection as Student Of The Month.




Stretching is a form of physical exercise in which a specific muscle or tendon (or muscle group) is deliberately flexed or stretched in order to improve the muscle's felt elasticity and achieve comfortable muscle tone. The result is a feeling of increased muscle control, flexibility and range of motion. Stretching is also used therapeutically to alleviate cramps.

In its most basic form, stretching is a natural and instinctive activity; it is performed by humans and many other animals. It can be accompanied by yawning. Stretching often occurs instinctively after waking from sleep, after long periods of inactivity, or after exiting confined spaces and areas.

Increasing flexibility through stretching is one of the basic tenets of physical fitness. It is common for athletes to stretch before and after exercise in order to reduce injury and increase performance.

Stretching can be dangerous when performed incorrectly. There are many techniques for stretching in general, but depending on which muscle group is being stretched, some techniques may be ineffective or detrimental, even to the point of causing permanent damage to the tendons, ligaments and muscle fiber. The physiological nature of stretching and theories about the effect of various techniques are therefore subject to heavy inquiry. Students are encouraged to stretch daily.




Learning And Showing Respect

The society that our youth are growing up in today does not emphasize respect as it once was. During my youth, my parents demanded that I give respect to all adults. Then as I left home and went into the military I had to learn to respect everyone who was of higher rank than me. Having had respect pressed upon me from my youth, I had no problem adapting. Finally I began training in karate and respect was a main stay in martial discipline.

The discipline requires that students respect higher ranking students. Generally it is done with a bow. Junior ranks will always bow lower than seniors with eyes looking down. As part of the daily greeting the students should bow as they greet each other. The Japanese bow to each as part of their greeting whether or not they know each other. That is just their custom.

I agree that respect should be earned and not demanded. That is the culture of the martial arts. Each of you should work to sustain this culture. As karate-ka we can and do make a difference in how people will act and speak. Are you respectful?




Michigan Mini-Camp

I am happy to say that I have just returned from Grand Rapids, Michigan where Mr. Michael and did a Mini-Camp. Mr. McElwee did an excellent job in bringing people together for the camp. He had excellent support from Mr. Merritt and Mr. Wilson who came down with students from Sparta.

The camp began on Friday evening and lasted for a couple of hours and we took the opportunity to review some kata and a few other things. Everybody was very receptive to the training and got involved right away. The kids were surprisingly energetic and enthused to participate even though the material was above some of their level. Mr. Lefnesky from Canada came down for Friday and Saturday.

I am well pleased with the way everyone is trying learn Shorinkan as I have been trying to teach it. We have always been the same but different. They were in the Yamashita lineage and he changed quite a bit over the years as he taught.  



Karate History - Ankoh Itosu

Itosu was born in 1831 and died in 1915. A low-rank Okinawan samurai, Itosu was small in stature, shy, and introverted as a child. He was raised in a strict home of the keimochi (a family of position), and was educated in theChinese classics and calligraphy. Itosu began his tode (karate) study under Nagahama Chikudun Pechin. His study of the art led him to Sokon Matsumura. Part of Itosu's training was makiwara practice. He once tied a leather sandal to a stone wall in an effort to build a better makiwara. After several strikes, the stone fell from the wall. After relocating the sandal several times, Itosu had destroyed the wall.

Itosu served as a secretary to the last king of the Ryukyu Islands until Japan abolished the Okinawa-based native monarchy in 1879. In 1901, he was instrumental in getting karate introduced into Okinawa's schools. In 1905, Itosu was a part-time teacher of To-te at Okinawa's First Junior Prefectural High School. It was here that he developed the systematic method of teaching karate techniques that are still in practice today. He created and introduced thePinan forms (Heian in Japanese) as learning steps for students, because he felt the older forms (kata in Japanese) were too difficult for schoolchildren to learn. The five Pinan forms were created from two olderforms:kusanku and chiang nan. Itosu is also credited with taking the large Naihanchi form (tekki in Japan) and breaking it into the three well-known modern forms Naihanchi Shodan, Naihanchi Nidan, and Naihanchi Sandan. Itosu's style of karate, Shorin-ryu, came to be known as Itosu-ryu in recognition of his skill.


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February 2017 Newsletter