Bethea's Karate Studio

119 West Sycamore Street
Kokomo, IN 46901


 Bethea's Karate Studio

Sensei Speaks

Volume 1, Issue 1      July 2017


Kobayashi National Karate Championships

Well. The 2017 Kobayashi National Karate Championships have come and gone. I must say that it was a great tournament even though the turnout wasn’t that great. I was displeased in the turnout from our dojo. I say that but I realize that we were in the midst of soccer and baseball season for most of the kids.

We will be changing the date on our tournament next year or at least that is the plan at this time. For quite a few years now our tournament has fallen on graduation weekend. That is a time that is very important to  many people. That is, the graduates, friends, and family members view this as a keypoint in the lives of the graduate. I was fortunate this year with no grand children graduating.

Unfortunately, none of our students won any cash or the bicycle. They all did very well but did not fare well in the grand championship round. Competitors were Collin Earl, Emma LaMons, Wyatt LaMons, Omari Solomon, Ayden Miles and they were very representative of Bethea’s Karate Studio. I am extremely proud of them and their performance at the tournament. I am sure that each of them enjoyed themselves. Mr. Miles had not competed in a while but performed at very high level.




Haynes-Apperson Battle Of Independence

Just a reminder that we have the 2017 Haynes-Apperson Battle Of Independence this weekend. I am soliciting the help of all of the students and the parents for the event. The tournament is scheduled for Saturday. We are in need of help for the concession stand; scorekeeping and time keeping; and assistance at the door. We are anticipating a fairly good attendance for the event which makes the help that much more important.

I realize that many of you will want to get involved in the festivities, but, if you could give a little time to helping with the tournament it would be greatly appreciated.

Please let me thank you now before the week gets crazy and busy for me.




Training Is A Necessity

Is it really true that You have to train to learn? The honest answer to that question is an emphatic “yes!” I will be the first to agree that some things are learned by hearing them repetitively over time. I believe that you will find those things to be mental and verbal applications. It becomes altogether different when you begin to talk about physical applications. This is when training really becomes a true necessity. It makes no difference what field it is in. When the body has to assume different positions, use strength, shift and turn, etc. it becomes necessary to train.

In karate we sometimes confuse practice with training . There are those of you who have heard me say that practice is for the body and training is for the spirit. We practice for the purpose of getting the body ready for what will be required in our primary activity. Normally, the practice will put forth scenarios that coincide with the activities in which we will involve ourselves. Practice becomes training as we begin to exert ourselves after initiating the practice mode. Hopefully, I did not confuse you with the last comment. While in the training mode there are many things that go on in the body. We begin to visualize adversaries who tried to do the applications of the techniques that we use. Every technique is quickly translated to something usable for the situation. You know all the ins and outs of the situation being visualized. So, train and train hard. It is for you!



Ordering The Yakusoku

While at Kyoshi Stolsmark’s Gasshuku and observing the material being taught, Hanshi Hayes began to address all of us from a different perspective. He talked about different concepts in kata and application. In many instances he used quite a few terms that we have used but the application was different. Of course I had previously sat through one of his presentations that included some of the material which gained my interest then. I do know my interest was aroused enough that I have already begun to go online and search for more of the information. I am certain that this is a new line of study that will captivate the minds of seniors like me who will seek out more.

At any rate, we are living in an era where there is more material be brought forward and we will have to open our minds to study. Minoru Sensei is introducing his Yakusoku Kumite and we are learning new things about our karate and how it really is. I have labeled them set 1= novice, set 2=intermediate, set 3=advanced. Hopefully this will bring more clarity to which is which.



Student Of The Month

As usual the selection of our Student Of The Month has been challenging but a selection has been made. There are quite a few of you who are involved in sports and that is a good thing. You miss lots of classes and I don’t get to see you and your progress.

As said I have made a selection and that is Ms. Emma K. LaMons. She basically fills all of the squares when it comes to karate. There is only one other person who matches her attendance. More importantly she follows the rules and procedures of the dojo and she readily helps others who may be struggling to learn material. Ms. LaMons is very competitive and is always working to improve her karate. I am proud to have her as a student. She is a 1st kyu and currently in training for her black belt test.

Congratulations to her on her selection as S.O.M. I am confident that she will be a great addition to the Shorinkan Black Belt Family



 When Life Ends

Most if not all of you know that my “Big Brother” went home to spend eternity with Jesus. Jim was my dearest and closest friend outside of the karate world. I called him my “Big Brother” and he was just that. We entrusted everything to each other. Basically there were no secrets between us. If there was a problem with either one of us we resolved it together. If there were secrets passed between us we vowed never to tell even after one of us was gone. Now, he’s gone and I will never divulge anything that he told me that was never to be told or said.

Jim had one of the greatest going home services that I have ever experienced. There were hundreds of people who came by to say “goodbye” and to show the love that they had for him. Chrysler employees took time out of their work schedule just to show the love that they had for Jim. There were many young men including my sons who showed their love by just being there. Most of them, including myself, gave a final kiss on the forehead.

I could go on but my point is this. Jim wrote his obituary while he lived. This was done in the way that he lived by loving people, treating them like somebody special, and always showering them with kindness in words and deed.

I know that his family misses him but I do also along with many others. However, God allowed us to be filled with great memories that will last until we are joined together again in heaven.



I May Not Be The Best

I am recalling my days as a competitor and what a memorable time that was. Students have all heard me say that I was on the circuit competing for five years before I won my first trophy. That trophy was for breaking bricks which I did not practice. It was a first place but it upset me because it was not what I practiced.

Making a long story short, Mr. Ward and I began to work on our karate. I began saying that I may not be the best but there is nobody better than me. That and working hard became our existence. We would go to the tournaments and we began placing regularly in the top three. There were no fourth place awards but third was not good enough. We continued to work and we got better. When they couldn’t beat us or didn’t know us they tried to intimidate us. That only made our karate better because we let it show when the intimidators were in our ring. We were always able to disperse them easily and send them away with their tails wagging. Today, I teach the students to do the same. I never advocate intimidation but I never want students to be intimidated.



Summertime Blues

This is for all of the kids in the Dojo. School has been out for a month and I am wondering what have you done with all of that time?

As kid I remember getting out of school for summer and we just ripped and ran. I would do summer jobs, go work on farms, ride bicycles on long rides and it was lots of fun. There were many other things that we also did to keep from becoming bored. Now, I hear kids complaining about nothing to do and there is so much more available to them. I have often asked what would they like to do and they don’t have an answer.

Well, don’t just sit around doing nothing. Be innovative and find something to do. No, you don’t have to practice karate unless you just want to do that. You’ll be coming to class anyway. However, find things that you like and do them. Go to the library or the “Y” and make some new friends. Go to a movie and remember what you liked most about it. don’t sit around with the summertime blues do with all of the time that you have on your hands. You don’t have to practice karate. Get on the bike and go to the library and/or the ”Y” and make some friend. Go to a movie and think of what you like most in it. Don’t just sit around being bored. Use your mind and grow beyond where you are.


 Karate History

The martial art of karate has brought about many changes in my life and it is important to me that it will continue to influence the lives of many of its practitioners. For me, this sounds like the typical story of so many blacks who migrated from the south during the years of , “Jim Crow”, segregation. Whether or not you will look at it in that manner is perfectly alright. More importantly, this is not written to generate any feelings of regret; sorrow; or animosity. However; imagine yourself as a youth in a small southern town being very poor in a segregated society, and black. The setting is in the 40’s, 50’s, and into the 60’s. Seemingly at the time, there were only two races. You were white or you were colored.   This type of environment induced as many inferior complexes and negatives that one individual could possibly have. There was one consolation to becoming an adult and that was the fact that I could get out of that environment which made me feel so insignificant and small.  I graduated high school in 1961 at the age of 17. First I wanted to be a Baptist minister and then I watched airplanes descending into the airport and decided that I wanted to be a pilot. No matter what it required a degree. I knew that was useless because my parents could barely afford lunch monies for the six of us who were attending school at the time. I had never heard of loans and/or grants for education. Needless to say, it seemed that there could be no real direction to my life. I thought I could never have anything that I really wanted. However, I chose the U.S, Air Force and that was my out. It gave me opportunities to grow and then karate helped me to become somebody. That’s God! 



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July 2017 Newsletter