Bethea's Karate Studio

119 West Sycamore Street
Kokomo, IN 46901


 Bethea's Karate Studio

Sensei Speaks

Volume 1, Issue 1      February 2018


Sensei Speaks—The Year Has Begun

I can imagine that the kids have enjoyed the first month of the year since they have had several additional days out of school. That included the “Martin Luther King” holiday that we’ve just finished celebrating. Unfortunately, we have had some very severe weather which has brought about sicknesses and death. I must say that the weather brought back memories of when I first came to Indiana.

Inspite of the weather we have kept the Dojo open with classes on schedule. Unfortunately, there have not been very many people attending classes. With the snow and extremely low temperatures everyone had to be prudent in making a decision to come out of the house for any reason. Whether the Dojo is open or not I don’t want it to be the reason you were involved in an accident or got sick..

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. The senior ranks took terms sharing information with the class. It was interesting to see how each of them presented material that they have been taught by their instructors.

Mr. Franz had a Kagami Biraki training session at his Dojo on January 28th. Ms. Cole, Mr. LaMons, and I went to that event which was also exciting and interesting. 




Memorial Service For Mr. Poage

We are saddened by the loss of Mr. Richard M Poage who passed away on the 27th of December. Some  may remember him from teaching at our camp a couple of years ago. He was a very young man at age 32 and he will certainly be missed by many people in and out of the martial arts world.

Just recently I went to Scottsdale, Az and participated in a “Memorial Service” for Mr. Poage. It was an extra special event that was put together very well and there were martial artists from all over in attendance. One of the highlights for the event was the final bow that was done at the conclusion of the service. Most if not all of the martial artists were in their Gi and made for an excellent bow. 




Studying Karate

Most may have noted that I have been talking, lately, about your study and learning of karate. I know and understand that there are many who will disagree with my methods/means of teaching karate.  As a matter of fact,  I often feel as though I’m a little antiquated for some of the younger students. There are those instructors who are very adept at many of the cartoons and they use that in their teaching. That is good and impacts their relationships with the young ones.

I am straight out of tradition as I was taught in the Hombu Dojo on Okinawa. Day one was a presentation of the raw material required to learn karate. The major difference was that I did not speak Japanese (Hogan) which was the language spoken by the Okinawans at the time. We drilled on the material daily until it was second nature. Sensei would advance you when he saw that you were obviously studying the material  regularly.  It was understood that your study contributed to your learning. When studying regularly you learn everything about the system (Ryuha). Today, students are only concerned about advancement. Yes, They know material but they did not study all of what went on with their bodies. Each student should be able to recognize deficiencies in new students and help them to correct them. This further develops us as disciplined individuals. Do you study?

If you want to grow you must go the extra mile.




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 get 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. On December 27th I lost a student. Although he had not been sick there was never any expectation that he would die. Then there were several other people who transitioned (died) and again there was no thought that any of them would  leave us.  We have a student in the Dojo who lost his father. These have all made a point with me.

That is, live your life fruitfully everyday. Do the things you have to do today while you can. Tomorrow is not promised to us whether old or young. Don’t procrastinate. I’m guilty. God placed us here for a reason. Whatever your purpose you must get it done.  That is living the life.




Student Of The Month

You will recall that we are looking at things differently when selecting the Student Of The Month. It is still a challenge for me but it is a task that must be completed.

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.

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

Congratulations Mr. Drew Fisher 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.

[1] The result is a feeling of increased muscle control, flexibility and range of motion. Stretching is also used therapeutically to alleviate cramps.

[2] 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.

[3] 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.

[4] 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?




Where Are They Now?

This is a very interesting question that at a point in time will become a great story. They refers to the many black belts who have come through Bethea’s Karate Studio and still living. All of them did very well as students and some have gone on to be very successful in their careers. There are those some of you may know and others will be only a name to you. The list begins: Robert Kearnney, Phil Notaro, Skip Heffernan, Vickie Wood, Omari Solomon, Jackie Wiles, Chad Wysong, Holden Simpson, Dennis Anglin, Mark Pugh, Ted Sutton, Marie Guyer, James Parker, Cortlandt Alexander, Pamela Surack. We miss them all.




Karate History-Ankoh Itosu

Itosu was born in 1831 and died in 1915.[2] 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.[3]

Itosu served as a secretary to the last king of the Ryukyu Islands until Japan abolished the Okinawa-based native monarchy in 1879.[4] 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.[5] 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.[6] 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. skill.s,mastery, and role as teacher to many.

While Itosu did not invent karate himself, he modified the kata (forms) he learned from his master, Matsumura, and taught many karate masters. Itosu's students included Choyu Motobu (1857–1927), Choki Motobu (1870–1944), Kentsu Yabu (1866–1937), Chomo Hanashiro(1869–1945), Gichin Funakoshi (1868–1957), Moden Yabiku (1880–1941), Kanken Toyama (1888–1966), Chotoku Kyan (1870–1945), Shinpan Shiroma (Gusukuma) (1890–1954), Anbun Tokuda (1886–1945), Kenwa Mabuni (1887–1952), and Ch?shin Chibana (1885–1969).




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