Bethea's Karate Studio

119 West Sycamore Street
Kokomo, IN 46901


 Bethea's Karate Studio

Sensei Speaks

Volume 1, Issue 1      January 2016


Sensei Speaks- What?s Happening

Well, we have closed out 2015 and ready to get started on 2016. I am not one for making resolutions but I do set goals. We made some great strides in 2015 and I am convinced that there is more to come in 2016.

I saw so much that came out of the students in 2015 and I am convinced that they are ready to go to the next level. However, I have learned there are no excuses when I fail to accomplish any goal. It does make a difference what the goal or goals may be and if everyone wants to participate in achieving the goal. So, all of you must prepare yourself  for achieving the goal or goals to be set.  

In the past I have allowed students to determine their own destiny when it comes to promotions. I have learned that most of the students never look at their Training Record/Manual as they are training from one rank to another. Some will have no idea where their book is and will only begin to search for it when it is time for stripes. It is time to accept responsibility for your achievement.

I will use the Training Record/Manual as a teaching guide. If you have it in class I know that you will know where you are relative to your rank goal.

Graduations changed a little last year. They were a bit more comprehensive and we began Kobudo testing. The primary goal for the year is preparation for the next rank.

Mr. Simison and Mr. Sylvester tested and received their Black Belts in December. I had hoped to have two others to go to black belt in 2015 but that did not happen. All students should know that they have to earn their ranks and that nothing will be given to them. Just attend class and learn through practice.



Something Old - Something New

Students are reminded that they must wear a white Gi on Monday. That Gi must have the Shorinkan patch on the left breast. Other patches that have been given out in the Dojo, may also be worn on the Gi as instructed by Sensei. They must be in place on the Gi as instructed.

There are specific guidelines in the Training Manual/Record on the wearing of the Karate-Do Gi. Some students may wear different color Gi.

Bethea?s Karate Studio initially had the black Gi as the Kobudo Gi. Shureido no longer makes the brown Gi that Nakazato Sensei used for the kobudo Gi and I have not seen any in the U.S. 

In 2015 we began our  Kobudo testing. This testing does not occur as frequently as the karate testing. Currently, there are weapons listed, in the Training Manual/Record,  with each rank. This is what will be used to determine the rank and the test for upgrade. I know that there will be questions about this since it will be new to everyone. Please don?t be afraid to ask questions if there is something that is not clear.



Getting The Year Started

There will be quite a bit going on this year just as last year. We will begin in January with a trip to Houston, Tx. I will be going there to train with Mrs. Sutton and her students. After that event I will be going to Michigan to train with the students in Mr. McElwee?s school. The students from Sparta will most likely attend that event also. This is contingent upon weather conditions. Our first tournament for the year will be on January 23rd. The schedule of events seem to escalate from that point. Region VI will host an event in February which several Region II competitors will attend. I will also attend that event. The Cabin Fever event is also scheduled each year in February. That will normally be scheduled during the third weekend. Region II?s second event and banquet is scheduled for  Saturday March 5th. The tournament will be held at Maple Crest school. The banquet will be held at the Elite which is only a couple of blocks from the school. This is a very nice facility and I am sure that everyone will be well pleased with it. This year Winter Camp is scheduled for the same weekend in Virginia. Of course I can?t attend this event this year. This is hosted by Kyoshi Green and he has a great lineup of instructors.  That?s right, the month of March is full. The ISKA annual training is scheduled later this year. The trip to Okinawa comes up at the beginning of April and it would be great to have some of you along for the trip.


Take A Look At Me

I was just a small boy when I began taking karate. My parents would bring me to class and drop me off for an hour and then they would pick me up and take me home. They would always make sure that I would get my homework done for school.

Some days I thought that Karate was a lot of fun, especially when we do the kumite. We would go really hard it seemed but nobody ever got hurt. We didn?t have head gear so we had to control our punches and kicks to the head. Some of the students did not have any sparring gear but they had to spar just as everyone else did.

Sensei used to be really hard on us but we would never think of quitting or giving up. He used to say that it would pay off later in life and it has for me. When I interviewed for my job I was asked lots about my karate training including competition. I used to wonder how my karate could play a part in my job or getting a job. Now that I have found out I encourage students be as aggressive as you can. Your success could be the result of your training in karate.


Student Of The Month

In the past year it has been challenging but exciting to select a Student Of The Month. In as much as I have to stand in front of them daily it has been easy for me to see their changes and their growth. This young student would have no idea that he is even being considered for this selection.

My selection for this month?s  S.O.M. is Mr. Rogelio Santos. This young man is fairly new to karate but he has come in with a very positive attitude and aggressively pursuing his karate training. He is attentive to instructions as they are given and he follows them without hesitation. He attends class regularly and has already begun getting involved in the kumite classes. He shows great confidence in all things that he does.

Mr. Santos, my congratulations to you on your selection as S.O.M. Continue to train as you have been and you will become a Black Belt. It is my pleasure to have you as a student at Bethea?s Karate Studio. Keep on pushin!



Remembering The Black Belts

  • Frank Ramirez
  • George Swain
  • Luther Triplett
  • Nathan Shallenberger
  • Dan Minor (Deceased)
  • Eugene Talbott
  • Tom Ward
  • Donnie Michael
  • Jeanne Dunne
  • Robert Kearney
  • William Overstreet
  • Marie Guyer
  • Teresa Bowling - Rassega
  • Derek Brading
  • Phil Notaro
  • Aaron Barnes
  • Skip Heffernan
  • Howard Lawson
  • Teng Lee
  • Chad Wysong
  • Sandyjo Cole
  • Vicky Wood
  • Shon Belcher
  • Mark Pugh
  • Cameron Notaro
  • Robert Prescott
  • Sam Colbert
  • Mike Garro
  • Andrew Wert
  • Demetrius Williams
  • Ted Sutton
  • Joseph Meiring
  • Marlon Pugh
  • Matt Van Aken
  • James Parker
  • Jim Arsenault
  • Tom Cleaver
  • Dennis Anglin
  • Joe Hendershot
  • Todd Ussery
  • Steven Ussery

December 2015 Holden Simison and Rob Sylvester were added to this list of Black Belts. These men and women worked very hard to achieve their Black Belts. Congratulations to Mr. Simison and Mr. Sylvester. 


Building History

Would you believe that the building that we are in was built in 1885? That sets the age at 131 years old and that is some real history. When the building was constructed they did not have codes that dictated safety as they do today. A good example is the electrical code which requires that the facility have 200 amp service and all interior wiring be in conduit. There are several other code requirements which have been met.

A major requirement today comes from The American With Disabilities Act. This law requires that an elevator be installed for use by handicapped individuals. If you have entered the rear of the building you have used the ramp which over rides the requirement for an elevator.

We still maintain some of the remnants of the old facility. Upstairs there are a couple of old radiators which were part of the heating system. There are pieces of wood, old doors, a sink and some metal.

There was at a time a Ballroom in the upstairs. The downstairs had a couple of retail stores. There was once a Dojo located in the downstairs during the 80?s.



Death Comes But We Live On

In September we lost Mr. Paul Bridges who was one of the initial PKC Members. In November we lost Hanshi Herb Johnson who was also one of the first members of the PKC. In December I lost my brother who had been sick since July. All of families, friends, and acquaintances of these people were deeply saddened and grieved very long and hard. No matter what, those who are left behind have to continue to go forward. That is exactly what those who left us would want us to do.

As they remain in our hearts they will forever encourage us to push for the best. I knew all of them and they were all in search of what it takes to be the best. Each of them showed us while they were here. 

My brother was not a martial artist but he maintained the same drive. Larry had a quiet nature about him but he was persistent in things that he wanted to do. All of the family and me will miss him dearly but he will never be forgotten. Rest in peace my brother.


Karate History- Shorinkan Comes To America

The history of Shorinkan in America is interesting. I?ll start by saying that this is my fiftieth year in karate and I would say that Shorinkan has been in America approximately fifty five years.

Sid Campbell (deceased) Okinawa in 1960 and he was the first to open a dojo in California. Mr. Campbell was a very knowledgeable in his karate and also an extremely creative individual. Over the years I have had the opportunity to read some of his material and see some of those he trained.

The second to open a dojo was Tadashi Yamashita. I am not sure but he came to America perhaps in 1963 and settled in the South Bend area. His most senior student in the area passed away last year. He was a prized student of Hanshi Shugoro Nakazato for many years.

He was followed by Frank Hargrove in 1966 and began perpetuating Shorinkan throughout the east coast, He served as my mentor until he left Okinawa. Mr. Hargrove was fluent in Japanese very aggressive in his training. His initial dojo was in Hampton, Va. He developed many black belts throughout the east coast.

There are those who address us as the magnificent 7. That is the three who have been mentioned to include Jiro Shiroma, Bob Herten, Noel Smith, and myself.  I had the opportunity to train with all of these men except Sid Campbell. Jiro Shiroma and Tadashi Yamashita are native Okinawans who moved to the U S.

Shorinkan continues to grow in the U S and around the world. The legacy goes on and will go for as long as you live. Don?t ever forget that!


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January 2016Newsletter