Bethea's Karate Studio

119 West Sycamore Street
Kokomo, IN 46901


 Bethea's Karate Studio

Sensei Speaks

Volume 1, Issue 1      February 2016


Sensei Speaks- What’s Up

Well, we eased into the new year with all things going well. I must say that we have gotten the year started off doing very well.

We began the year with a New Year’s Day workout. There was a very good turn out of students from both Mr. Michael’s dojo and our dojo. I think that everybody enjoyed the workout. It is truly an interesting experience when you can have students from several schools  come together and train. In particular, everyone seems to have started the year with a real hunger to learn more about their karate. That excites me and makes me want to teach more.

I went to Houston, Tx  during the first week of January to visit with Mrs. Sutton, her family and students. It was a most enjoyable trip and a great time with the students. I had several friends to come and visit. Some may know RayOwles, Charlie Dean and Hanshi Ron Lindsay. We had a very good time together and they contributed to the teaching. Mrs. Sutton’s husband had me speak at his church on Wednesday night. They prepared an excellent meal for me and several of the church members attended. The following week I went to Mr. McElwee’s Dojo in Grand Rapids, Mi. Again, we had an exciting time even with the cold and snow.

We attended the first tournament of 2016 in Marion. There were 163 competitors at the event and our students did very well. Again, I am very proud of all of them who competed including Mr. Culpepper, Summer, and Logan.
Finally, I am going to train with Mr. Hooven’s class in Elkhart, In on Jan30th and Mr. Franz’ Dojo on Jan 31st.Mr. Franz has invited all who want to come. We’ll see who makes it.



Karate Kids, Inc (KKI)

Immediately, most of you will want to know what KKI is. This is a nonprofit organization that operates within the dojo but without any control by or responsibility of Sensei. It has been under the control of parents and students since its beginning which goes back many years.   Currently, I don’t think there are any students attending their meetings or participating in their decisions. Mrs. Solomon is the person who can be contacted for additional information.

When funds are available KKI supports students attending tournaments and camps authorized by Sensei. The amount will vary based upon available funds. There will be a major fundraiser held in April. We ask all students to participate.



Congratulations To Our Graduates

There were several students to graduate in January. I would like to commend them for the way that they performed their requirements during the test. Each of them gave their very best and have elevated the standard for those who will be coming behind them. Following is a list of the graduates and their rank:

  • Ku—Kyu
  • Mr. Santos
  • Mr. Sipes
  • Shichi—Kyu
  • Ms. Sipes
  • Go—Kyu
  • Mr. Kearney
  • San—Kyu
  • Ms. LaMons, Emma
  • Mr. LaMons, Wyatt

Again, I am extremely proud of all of those who graduated during the January testing. Not one of these students fell short when it came to their material. As previously said they have set the standard just a little higher for those coming along behind them.

All of you have demonstrated that you are Black Belt material and I am looking forward to that day when you reach that goal. I certainly hope that this is the goal that you have set for yourself. Of course, I am going to be reminding you of this and continue to push you to be the very best that you can be. Congratulations to all and you  did well.


Do You Have Heart?

That seems to be an odd question. Of course, it is a question that every karate student needs to answer. This is a question that every coach will ask members of his team regardless of the sport. No, it makes no difference if the team is young, older, or professional.

You ask, why do they ask this question? That question pushes a man, woman, or child to take a good look at him or herself. It pushes you to know and understand what your capabilities are as a human being.

That heart refers to the core of your soul. Men, women, and children will most generally be very responsive when asked if they have the heart to play the game or the sport. To understand you have to hear the coach and/or other team members coming at you. It can be very frustrating and motivational at the same time. Frustrating because it cuts into you when people yell at you. Motivational because you already know that you can do much better than what you have done.

Do you have the heart to do this karate? Don’t you want to be a winner?  Show me!  


Student Of The Month

I have always enjoyed selecting the S.O.M. and often it becomes a real challenge. There are several students whose names will always tend to stand out. That is, they are very compliant with rules, procedures, and/or standards.

My selection as Student Of The Month for January is Mr. Collin Earl. Mr. Earl has distinguished himself through his attendance and timelines to class. He further distinguishes himself through his willingness to work on material that has been presented to him. I have had no difficulties with him disobeying rules, standards, or procedures that have been established. Mr. Earl seems to be a goal setter and puts forth lots of energy and effort in achieving that goal. He has been straight forward in demonstrating his desire to learn karate and to be good at it. 

Congratulations Mr. Earl on your selection as Student Of The Month. You are an example for beginners to view and model themselves after.



Where Are They Now?

This is just an opportunity to reflect upon some of the Black Belts coming out of Bethea’s Karate Studio. Most will already know  Renshi Donnie Michael, and Kyoshi Tom Ward. These gentlemen are very active with the Regional and National PKC functions.

Nathan Shallenberger, Demetrius Williams are the two of my students who earned their Black Belts as youths. These students received their  belts in the early Dojo at 604 N Washington. This list must include Phil Notaro, Mark Pugh, Frank Ramirez and Jackie Wiles.  Shon Belcher  earned his belt while we were in the downstairs. He finished high school, college, and is now works for the State Department. Theresa Rassega received her Black Belt just prior to graduating high school. She finished college and is currently married with a couple of kids. Jeanne Dunne was one of the top female competitors. Pam Surack is constantly in contact with me on social media. Bill Overstreet, Luther Triplett, and Vickie Wood. Skip Heffernan is a 4th Dan and helps each year with our tournaments. Dennis Anglin was  transferred to Indianapolis with his job shortly after earning his Black Belt. James Parker a very promising Black Belt but was sidetracked with medically. Aaron Barnes pursuing his Doctorate, Dan Minor deceased, Cameron Notaro USN, Robert Kearney relocated, Chad Wysong and Cortlandt Alexander School.


Japanese Vocabulary

Lately, we have begun covering some Japanese terminologies. So, I have decided to list some terms here for you.

  • Name—namae
  • Reverse punch-gyaku zuki
  • Jodan-upper level
  • Chudan-middle level
  • Gedan-lower level
  • Elbow-hiji
  • Knee-hiza, dachi-stance
  • Punch-tsuki (zuki)
  • Good morning-ohayo gozaimasu;
  • good afternoon-konnichi wa;
  • good luck-gambatte;
  • good bye-sayonara
  • Stance-dachi
  • Block-uke
  • Begin-hajime
  • Stop-yame
  • Fast-hayai
  • I-watashi
  • Mokuso—meditation
  • Seiza no kamae-kneeling posture
  • Kumite—Sparring
  • Sensei-teacher/instructor
  • Mizu-water
  • Owari-Finish


2016 Tournament Season Has Begun


I am extremely proud of all of the students who competed in the first 2016 tournament in Marion. All of the students who attended the event placed. I did not have an opportunity to watch  all of you compete but I did see some. I must say that all of you worked hard in getting yourself ready for the event and it showed.

The students who made the trip were as follows: Collin Earl, Adam Kemper, Emma LaMons, Wyatt LaMons, Omari Solomon, Evan Kearney and Derek Brading. I am especially proud of Mr. Culpepper, Summer and Logan who made the trip from West Plains, Mo. I apologize that I don’t have the results in hand as I write.  I am confident is lots to come out of these students in the future.

Our next Region 2 event is scheduled for March 5th. It will be here in Kokomo at Maple Crest School followed by the annual banquet. The banquet will be held at The Elite Banquet Hall which is a short distance from the school.  


Karate History- The Dojo

The Kokomo School Of Self Defense was founded in 1976. The man most responsible for getting me into a Dojo was Mr. Jim Stidham. Mr. Stidham is a man who was driven to do anything and everything he could to get me started in a Dojo. Although my first karate classes were taught at Carver Center when I was here initially in 1971. I went to Viet Nam at the end of that year. I returned a year later and started classes again.  We were at Carver Center at first, and moved several places before ending up at 604 N Washington. That is where the we had the first Dojo. Upon retiring from the military in 1981, the Dojo was incorporated under the name of Martial Arts, Inc. doing business as The Kokomo School Of Self Defense. The  Dojo remained at the Washington street location until 1987. We relocated to the downstairs on the west side. In 1990 I was given the opportunity to purchase the building on contract from the owner. Better things were yet to happen. We had a Studio A & B. Studio B was in the back half of the east side. The Dojo was relocated to the upstairs in 1996 and also became Bethea’s Karate Studio with that move. We had some leaks in the roof from that time until 2014 when we got a new roof. In 1997 the entire downstairs was leased to Howard Regional Community Hospital. They  maintained a Healthy Children and Healthy Teens’ Clinic. We maintained a Kardio Karatee class from 1998 through 2013. There have been numerous programs that have gone through the Dojo. Significantly, Community Health terminated their lease on October 131st, 2014. We are looking forward to new development in the downstairs this year.