Bethea's Karate Studio

119 West Sycamore Street
Kokomo, IN 46901


 Bethea's Karate Studio

Sensei Speaks

Volume 1, Issue 1      June 2017


Sensei Speaks - 2017 Midwest - Okinawa Connection

The 2017 Midwest-Okinawa Connection was a very successful and exciting event. The camp was held at The Gospel Martial Arts Union Headquarters and as always they treated us like royalty. Dr. Johnny Russell (Shidoshi) and his people go all out to ensure that we will want for nothing while using their facility.

For those who don’t have or want to spend money for a hotel, they have lodging space at the facility. Renshi Wilson, his grandson and one student took advantage of the lodging on Friday and Saturday night. That has been a tremendous cost saving for participants in the past few years.

On Saturday, Dr. Russell and his students served lunch to all who attended the camp. The menu for us was chicken, corn bread, and green beans. They also served refreshments and a dessert with the meal. This was unexpected but that is what the GMAU is about.. It was a very good lunch that everyone enjoyed. Dr. Russell has always kidded me about the fact that I love chicken and he really took advantage of an opportunity. I was flattered that they provided food for the entire camp. I am very thankful for the Gospel Martial Arts Union and the many things that they do.

I will forever remain indebted to the GMAU and their cause. Dr. Johnny Russell and all of the members are special.




St. Jude Kick-A-Thon

We have been talking about it in class and there is a poster on the door. Each year at this time we do a joint fundraiser. Eighty per cent of monies raised go to St. Jude and twenty per cent goes to KKI (Karate Kids Incorporated). KKI is an organization within the karate school which helps to pay for students participating in karate tournaments, i.e., karate tournaments and other functions. Most of you in class have not competed and may have never thought about a karate tournament. However, this is something that gives a great opportunity to help other people. There are so many who are less fortunate than we are and St. Jude is there. There are fundraisers like this and other donors who help make it possible for St. Jude to do the great work that helps.




Kata Enhancement Class

At the 2017 Midwest-Okinawa Connection. There was an array classes that were a bit different from previous camps. This was an opportunity to get some extra training to our attendees. Having put that on the itinerary I was able to select the perfect instructors for these classes.

I selected Hanshi Phil Morgan and Mr. John Adamson for that task. Particularly, I believe that karate entering the Olympics in 2020 more and more people will become interested in trying to make the cut. Kata performance will be a major element for getting karate into the Olympics, my belief. Of course, much of the performances that we see in open events will not qualify.

I don’t think that anybody really knew what to expect out of the classes as they joined in. However, they were not in there very long before the smiles began surging forward and their energy level heightened. Hanshi Morgan simply had them takes some things out of kata and work on them as he made suggestions. Before you knew it they were beginning to put things together as he had suggested. They did not become perfectionists in one class but they certainly made some great strides.

Mr. Adamson gave an insight to the judging of kata and what the judges will be looking for. He also talked about performance with regard to rhythm, timing, and posturing. Its coming!




System Study - Yakusoku Kumite

We got the 2104 camp started on a really good note. That is, we began the camp by reviewing the Shorinkan Yakusoku. The majority of the senior students have a really good grasp of the Yakusoku. However, the idea was to set the pace for working two man drills.

Nakazato Sensei told me that there are 21 of these yakusoku. Once he told me that I asked why he didn’t teach us the other 14 yakusoku. He responded by saying that the students did not practice the first seven and there was no need to teach more if no one was going to practice them. Immediately I told him that I would like to learn them. That terminated the conversation.

Minoru Sensei has introduced a new yakusoku. Most American students know these and all are anxious to learn them. During my April trip, we had the opportunity to work these in several of our classes. These are fairly simple but difficult to learn. All of the students who have done them seem to do well when working them. We continue to focus on these but have not included them in testing.




Student Of The Month

Our Student Of the Month selection was a real breeze this month compared to some in the past. It is always a pleasure to make these selections. It is also amazing at the things that I learn about the students as I go through looking at each student individually.

Our selection for S.O.M. is Mr. Elias Duke. Mr. Duke is currently alone in the Li’l Dragons class. This young man is now five years old and has a very high maturity level. He adapts very well to the procedures and rules of the dojo. Furthermore, he is a fast learner an remembers his techniques just as they have been taught. As he arrives in the dojo he immediately addresses himself to his reason for being in class.

Mr. Duke has recently gotten his orange belt and I certainly expect to see him go to the rank of Black Belt.

My special congratulations to Mr. Elias Duke on his selection as Student Of The Month at Bethea’s Karate Studio. Keep Pushing!




Congratulations To Our Graduates


Ms. Salhieh –Li’l Dragon

Mr. Beatty

Mr. LeMasters

Mr. Miller


Mr. Hall-Fisher


Mr. Duke

Ms. Arroyo

Mr. Gifford

Ms. Estok

Mr. Pugh

Mr. Wright

Mr. Salhieh


Mr. Riddle


Mr. Stodgell

Ms. Woodard

Brown Belt San-Kyu

Mr. Miles

Brown Belt   Ni-Kyu

Mr. Earl

As you can see this is one of the larger groups that we’ve had to graduate in quite some time. I must say that all of them did very well in preparing themselves for what was to come. My special congratulations to all of you and I encourage you to push for the top and that is Black Belt. There is not one of you in this group who can not achieve at that level. The most difficult part is maintaining the desire and the drive to get you there. Your Training Record/Manual is your guide.




Great Lakes National Karate Championships

The GLNKC were held over the Memorial Day weekend and it was a great event. Hanshi Venson and The Just For Kicks Family did very well in getting lots of people to their event.

The event began on Saturday evening with Chanbara, Weapons, and, Self Defense. When the division winners were determined , there was a run off to decide who would compete in the finals on Sunday evening.

Sunday’s competition began on time and ran smoothly. I was amazed at the competiveness in all divisions for adults and especially the kids. Mr. Michael was the shining star from Kokomo and entertained the crowd in his Kata and Weapons performance. By this you will know that he won 1st place in both of his divisions. Mr. Michael had not competed in four years but he demonstrated what preparation is all about. That is special when you look at the competition he had.

He further amazed the crowd with his Grand Champion Kata performance and bunkai. As his Sensei you can only imagine how proud and excited I was.




More On The Kick-A-Thon

I know that you will get tired of hearing about the Kick-A-Thon but it something near and dear to my heart. That is because when I see the posters and pictures of the kids I think of how blessed we are. If we don’t have problems we never think of the people who do have them. We go on our merry way just taking our lives for granted. Only when something happens to someone we know or related to do we ever stop to think.

So, we have our Kick-A-Thon scheduled for June 13, 14, and 15. It will take place here in the Dojo during scheduled class times. If you have completed your kicks in an earlier class you will not be required to do them if you come in and there are those who are getting their kicks done. We make it fun and interesting because each time your foot comes off the floor it counts as a kick. There is no pressure on anyone, just the fun of doing it.

Monies will be turned in the following week and I will send it immediately to St. Jude.



Karate History - Sensei's Study Of Tae Kwon Do

I rarely tell the story or even visit the idea that I tried getting into TKD. Early on as I began teaching karate I would tell students about my experience but it was short lived just as the training was. When I got to Viet Nam I was a 4th Dan and very excited about my karate. Sensei had told me to always study and the Koreans were plentiful in Viet Nam. I had even read stories about the Roaring Tiger Division. This was a Korean unit whose martial arts skills were supposedly superior to most. It was also written that they had made great use of the martial skills while in combat with the Vietnamese.

At any rate, there was a TKD class being held in their area, We were allowed to visit their area. So, I went to join their class and the Korean instructor was not available. An American Black Belt instructing the class. I explained that I was a 4th Dan in karate. He let me begin the class but immediately began to antagonize me. I tried to be patient and jus try to learn what I could from the class. So, I went to class for a few days and finally the Korean Instructor came to class. He

also began to antagonize and questioned my rank. Finally, the instructor wanted to spar and I was very obliging. Right away he was trying to hurt me. So, I swept him and took him down and he told me that they did not do that. After that we continued to spar and he came at me with a flying kick. I side stepped and caught him in the air and slammed him to the floor. He was not happy. That was the end of my TKD classes. next day there were several Koreans who came to my barracks asking questions about me. I politely asked them to leave and that concluded my TKD.



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June 2017 Newsletter