Bethea's Karate Studio

119 West Sycamore Street
Kokomo, IN 46901


 Bethea's Karate Studio

Sensei Speaks

July 2019


Kobayashi National Karate Championships

Well. The 2019 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. Our dojo population is relatively small right now but I know that it will get better. I say that but I realize that we were in the midst of soccer and baseball season for some 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.

Fortunately, Xavyn Pugh and Wyatt LaMons were winners of bicycles this year. They all did very well and the bicycles were the grand championship Prizes. I am very excited about this because Bethea’s Karate Studio has done very well for the last two years. Last year Ms. LaMons was a bicycle winner and her brother made it a family affair this year. You can not imagine hoe proud I am.




Haynes-Apperson Battle Of Independence

Just a reminder that we have the 2019 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 differencewhat 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 coincides 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 being brought forward and we will have to open our minds to study. Minoru Sensei introduced 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. The various levels will help all students to understand them better. 




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 Mr. Zaden Kennedy. This is one of my Li’l Dragons at age five who is here regularly working to improve his karate. I am proud to have him as a student. He is a White Belt and  in class regularly trying to follow the instructions that have been given by Sensei. Mr. Kennedy has a very good memory for things that have been said to him. It is most interesting to work with him and seeing how he thinks.

Congratulations to Mr. Zaden Kennedy on his selection as S.O.M. I am confident that he will be a great addition to the Shorinkan system if he stays and grows with the same learning attitude.





Since we are celebrating the 4th of July, I thought that I would write an article that significantly talks about the cost of  independence. First of all I would like to ay that independence means freedom; no forced control; and you can look the word up and find other definitions.

Most Americans look at the 4th of July only as a day to party and have fun doing whatever it is that they want to or like to do. They travel visiting family; go to beaches and/or amusement parks just for the enjoyment of that day. At some point during the evening they will go and watch a display of fireworks which are beautiful. That happens all across the country no matter how big or how small the town/city.

However, as we go back into history we begin to see how many men and women lost their lives to secure the freedoms that we enjoy. I am going to do my best to attach a couple of pages to this newsletter that has a very interesting story that has to do with our freedom.

I was blessed to spend twenty years in the military, go to the war zone twice, and yet I am here to tell about it.  On the other hand there are so many who have gone to war and made the ultimate sacrifice for all of us to celebrate our freedom. None of us want to be referred to as a hero. We just did what we had to do.

Try to read this attached story in its entirety if you can.




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 a 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 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 friends. 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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