Bethea's Karate Studio

119 West Sycamore Street
Kokomo, IN 46901


 Bethea's Karate Studio

Sensei Speaks

Volume 1, Issue 1      June 2018


Sensei Speaks - 2018 Midwest-Okinawa Connection

The 2018 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. Sensei Culpepper and his students took advantage of the lodging Friday and Saturday after classes were over. 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. This was totally unexpected. 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. The GMAU hosts several activities during the year and we have been fortunate enough to attend one this past year.





St. Jude Children's Research Hospital Kick-A-Thon

Annually we have endeavored to raise funds to help the hospital. St. Jude is compassionate about their mission and they contribute to the world medical community when they have mad progress in research. As it is, they have taken in patients from around the world. Many of these patients were not expected to live and they have recovered from their illnesses to the point that they have become very productive.

This year the goal will again be 2000 kicks and each student will do their best too raise $200. The monies raised will be split 80% to St. Jude and 20% to KKI. KKI is an organization in the Dojo that supports the students who compete in tournaments. The date will be set soon for the event.





Youth Kata Enhancement Class

At the 2018 Midwest-Okinawa Connection there was an array of classes that were a bit different from previous camps. This was an opportunity to get some extra training to our students. Having put that on the itinerary I was able to select the perfect instructor for the class.

I selected Sensei Steve Franz for that task. Mr. Franz has been excellent in keeping his students as top performers at tournaments and therefore my choice in selecting him. He also has a great rapport with the youth and communicates very well with them.

I don’t think that the kids really knew what to expect out of the class as they joined it. However, they were not in there very long before the smiles began surging forward and their energy level heightened. Mr. Franz simply had them takes some things out of their kata and work on them as he made suggestions. Before you knew it they were beginning to put things together as he had suggested and they performance started upward.

We also Had Hanshi Phil Morgan come in and teach a couple of classes. One was on the moving forces which was my suggestion and the other was teaching the NekoButo series of kata from the Shorei Goju Ryu system.

Dr, Russell also taught a class for us. It was a very dynamic class that dealt with the subject of fahjing.I truly appreciate his input.






System Study - Yakusoku Kumite

Minoru Sensei has, since becoming the lead in Shorinkan, introduced several  new sets of Yakusoku Kumite. They are all very interesting. Some of them relate to movements in kata and that is how I have chosen to remember them.

The most recent set are for beginners. They are very simple and most should have no difficulty in learning them. The first sets introduced seemed difficult. I have learned them and I consider them to be very simple. There are several that you can easily relate to kata or moves that are in the first set of yakusoku.

It is rather interesting as to how the yakusoku are evolving in the Shorin ryu Shorinkan system. Nakazato Shugoro Sensei had the foresight to develop the initial set which will be a key part of his legacy. Minoru Sensei has developed the second set to usher in his reign as leader and head of Shorinkan.

As we have looked at the Yakusoku we have learned that we have, perhaps, overlooked some small things that are in them. That is the most important about study. Always look closely.




Student Of The Month

We got the 2018 camp started on a really good note. That is, we began the camp by reviewing the Shorinkan ksts. Then we transitioned the review of Yakusoku. However, the idea was to set the pace for working two man drills.

Nakazato Sensei told me that there are 21 of the Shorinkan Yakusoku. Now, Minoru Sensei has introduced his yakusoku and there are three sets of seven. Even though there are still some changes being made to these we have gone full steam ahead in presenting them to the students. Mr. Michael took the lead instructing them at camp. There are lots of ideas being introduced using the yakusokus.

Minoru Sensei has been well pleased with the progress that we have made in learning his yakusoku and presenting them to our students. Mr. Michael had several drills that he introduced at the camp that incorporated self defense techniques using the ends of the yakusoku. The students in that class seemed to have enjoyed the class immensely. I am encouraging everyone to work on them.






Youth Nakazato Cup Competition

I continue to wonder if there is something wrong that we don’t have students eager to compete anymore. This becoming more and more noticeable in all sports. Because of the lack of competitors for the Nakazato Cup last year, I decided that I would not offer it this year. What I will do is take a poll to see what kind of interest can be generated. Dependent upon the response we will make a decision on keeping  tha Nakazato Cup Competition as part of the Midwest-Okinawa connection.

The competition ran for quite a few years and alternated between Mr. Poage (now deceased) and Mr. Brading as winners. As time passed these two became worn and others seemed to lose interest in competing in the competition.

The competition was founded on the idea of recognizing Hanshi Shugoro Nakazato. I had hoped that this would be my way for honoring him for years to come. I was already aware that competition was beginning to fade but not to the level that it has.

As you read this newsletter I would like for you to think about what I have said about competition and let your mind wander. If you come up with ay ideas that would help to boost this competition I would like to hear it. I will be open to anything that you might have in your mind.

Most important is that I want to thank all of you for supporting the Midwest-Okinawa connection.






School Is Out!

Well, with school out what will it be like for you this summer. I am confident that are many things that you can do this summer and I encourage you to keep your parents informed to where you will be and who will be accompanying you. Many of you will be spending time at the beach, the Kokomo Y, and perhaps the movies. Regardless as to what you do and where you will be, I only want to ask that you be safe and always alert. We have seen so many thigs happening in the news and we must remember that these things can happen in Kokomo as well as any other city in the United States. I am especially concerned about the fact that kids are getting guns in their hands.

There are many dangers out there and I don’t want ever lose any of my grandkids and/or students to any of them. Most vulnerable are those who are of age to spend their days at home while the parents are at work. Important also is to remember  family emergency phone numbers along with 911. Beyond that, please enjoy yourself and have fun. I will still look for you in class. Enjoy!





Kobayashi National Karate Championships

I am excited as I write this because the newsletter should have been completed and out days ago. It is because we were preparing for the tournament that it was not completed and out.

Our tournament went very well and I am very appreciative of all of the people who were there to help with the event. There were many Open Houses that kept people from attending the tournament but we got it done.

Each year we give bicycles to our Youth Grand Champions. This year marks the third time that one of my students have won one of the three bicycles. Emma LaMons was the 13—17 year old winner of the bicycle for that group. I was very excited and proud that she was the winner. Adults Kyu and Adult Black Belts receive cash for their Grand Championships. Derek Brading was the Black Belt Kata Grand Champion and received the cash prize of $100. I applaud Ms. LaMons and Mr. Brading for their competitive spirit and wish them well in future endeavors.





Karate History - Your Sensei

This not enough space to tell all of my history but it is a start. There have been several movies of late that have familiarized you with segregation in the south. They were: The Help, The Jackie Robinson Story (24), and The Butler. These were very good movies and presented some good ideas of what life was like during those years for Blacks living in a segregated society.

While I do say that they were good movies there could have been so much more. Of course, I have no idea of what kinds of tensions and feelings would have come out had there been any more than was in them. I can say that because I grew up during that era I experienced the good, the bad, and the ugly.  I am aware that a number of the white actors and actresses had some difficulty playing their roles.

As you know I grew up in Wilmington, NC. As a kid, I endured the name calling, getting spit on and often times chased for no reasons at all. Naturally I went to segregated schools which were only a few blocks from each. In High school our football  practice fields were separated only by a tall block fence. As white and black kids went to school we passed each other daily but I never remember any confrontations between the kids. Most frustrations were initiated by adults. I remember riding the back of the bus; using toilets marked “white and colored”; going to theatres and blacks had to sit in the balcony; only being served from the rear of some restaurants and the list goes on. Today, it is refreshing to look back and see how America has evolved. There is still growth to come and I believe that it will. Now, the history books try to tell it all. They can’t. Feel free to ask me questions.






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