Bethea's Karate Studio

119 West Sycamore Street
Kokomo, IN 46901


 Bethea's Karate Studio

Sensei Speaks

Volume 1, Issue 1      May 2016


Okinawa - A Wonderful Trip

Social media, its availability to you any where in the world keeps family and friends at your finger tips day and night. You can share your adventures, your ups and downs as they occur. I know that I don’t have to tell you all of that but it is an opportunity  to make a point.

Since we have been here I can’t imagine that there is anyone who has not looked to see what we have done during our day. There is a 13 hour time differential between here and the eastern daylight time folks. Then there are the other time zones. In our group we have people from both EDT and CDT. It is amazing to me how fast everybody is posting information and how fast everybody is responding to it.

I arrived on Sunday night but without my luggage. That could be a problem but I can go to the base and buy clothing to get me through until my bags get here, if necessary. Right now, there is nothing to do but settle in and prepare to perhaps meet Sensei tomorrow. Of course I contacted Mr. Chibana the first thing in the morning and told him that I had made it in. He scheduled the meeting but Genka and Asato  wanted to take us sightseeing. However, I  got an early start and converted money and even placed an order at Shureido before we went sightseeing. The Okinawans were made aware that I had the meeting. We made the meeting but was almost late. Asato contacted Sensei to let him know that we were on our way.

Met with Sensei and got training hours set. Everybody is ready to enjoy themselves for the trip. Kyoshis Riley, Williamson, Stolsmark and Ahtye will be here during this trip. Kyoshi Noujaim is already here with a group. 30+ in class .




Kick-A-Thon Completed

I am proud of the number students who turned out to participate in the Kick-A-Thon. I think that all of them had fun and we tried to make it more fun for them. As a matter of fact, we allowed some of the friends, who came in, to participate also.

The goal for each student was 2000 kicks and a financial goal of $200. Of course, everybody knows that the easy part was the 2000 kicks.

Over the past few years it has gotten harder and harder to get donations. That is why we have only encouraged you to contact family, close friend, and neighbors. These are the ones who have most likely contact you for the same reason. Hopefully there will be enough to help KKI for a short period. 



We Must See It All!

This trip is exciting with Mr. Michael, Mr. Franz, Mindy, Kyoshi Williamson and his students, Kyoshi Stolsmark, Kyoshi Stolsmark, Rocky, Mr. Newland, and Tommie. His girlfriend came later in the week. There were things that we did together but we were independent of each other except training.

The first thing that we all did was go to Shureido and place orders for all that we wanted. Iy has gotten to the point that they never have the orders ready before we leave. Shureido is a short walk from the hotel and the people in there are so warm, friendly, and anxious to serve you. Mr. Nakasone, the owner, is almost always there and he is a very friendly man.

Everywhere that you go you are always in a friendly atmosphere. I made my first stop at the bank and no one there speaks English. However, they are very accommodating. They do all that they can to make you comfortable and ready to do business.

On our walk back to the hotel we stopped at the Sogenji Temple which is usual but no pictures this year.  There is so much to learn about Okinawa. We tend to get caught up in karate but there is so much more than that. It is all inter-connected in some kind of way. One can not exist without the other. That is the yin and yang of Okinawa and one can not exist without the other. I look forward to my trips to Okinawa.



New 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.

He says that the most recent set are for beginners. These 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.

There is lots more than meet the eye when performing the yakusoku. However, you must get involved in training to see what is there. Get into them now!


Student Of The Month

Our selection for Student Of The Month one that I am very proud to make. This  student has been in the class for six months and he has given freely of himself and accepted karate. As a matter of fact, he did not really want to do karate.

I know that you are wondering who the selection is for this month. Our Student Of The Month is Mr. Noah Stodgell. I have been pushing  him very hard in class and he has given me his best. It is noteworthy that he has accepted the commitment to be in class and has given it his best. I am excited that he has grown mentally and physically since joining the class. Mr. Stodgell is regularly in class and he works on his material when not in the line up. Often he appears ready to give up but he manages to keep going no matter what. I am proud to have a student of this caliber. I believe that he will continue to train and become an excellent Black Belt.

My special congratulations to you Mr. Stodgell. There is lots more to come.



Class Japanese Terminologies

Some of the terms that will be covered are ones that you hear most frequently in class.

  • Kiotsuke - Attention
  • Seiza - Kneeling
  • Kamae - Posture
  • Kihon - Basic
  • Waza - Technique
  • Jodan - Upper Level
  • Chudan - Middle Level
  • Gedan - Lower Level
  • Tsuki - Punch
  • Geri - Kick
  • Uke - Block (to receive)
  • Yoko Geri - Side Kick
  • Mawashi Geri - Roundhouse
  • Ushiro Geri - Back Kick
  • Mae Geri - Front Kick
  • Sensei - Teacher
  • Deshi - Student
  • Komban wa - Goodevening
  • Domo Arigato - Thank you
  • Yame - Stop/Finish
  • Hajime - Start/Begin
  • Gi - Uniform
  • Obi - Belt
  • Rei - Bow
  • Asa - Morning
  • Yoru - Night

You will hear many of these words in class, i.e., those that are relative to karate. Of course there are those times that you will hear a term and it does not relate to the current environment or what you are doing. You should see previous newsletters for review. 


Amazing Sites

This trip was much different in visiting various sites around Okinawa. Hanshi Genka and Kyoshi Asato began right away to take us to visit sites I had never seen before. These sites were all relative to the history of Okinawa. They were not necessarily relative the karate history but to the regions as they were divided in the early history.

We began by going to one of the glass forming factories. It was most interesting seeing them form the glass and put the different designs in it.

We went from there to a park where there was an old Goju Ryu Dojo but we were unable to go in it. For the short visit it was interesting.

From there we went to one of the other of the many castles located on Okinawa. If I am correct the name of the place where it was located was Zakimi Jo. My fear there were the signs posting to “beware of snakes.” The last stop was “Murakami Mura.” At this place we looked at some of the various plants and the beautiful butterflies that were pollinating. The last place was a Chinese Park and I don’t remember the name.



How To Become A Black Belt 

Perceptively most will assume that it is difficult a Black Belt. Really! Well, just for your information it is not that difficult if you really want to Be a Black Belt.

What does it take to become a black belt? It does not take much except a little management of your time and some reading. You have a valuable resource in your possession that has information that points you to what you need.

That resource is your Training Manual/Record. In it there is information that guides you through the belt system. I would think that it is fairly simple since no one ever asks me questions about it.

That pretty much covers the reading. All you have to do from that point is to manage your time to come and attend classes when needed material is being covered. When you don’t think there is a class being scheduled that you need you should ask Sensei when one will be scheduled.

All of you are capable and mature enough to do that. Don’t fail yourself.


Karate History - Your Sensei

Born December 20, 1943, the second of eight children. There were five girls and three boys. Mother, father, five girls and one boy have passed leaving two boys. One brother  lives in the hometown of Wilmington, NC where Sensei grew up. Sensei’s parents grew up in Dillon, SC and moved to Wilmington after they were married. During his youth, Mr. Bethea was fascinated with Judo because of the stories he had heard from the men returning from WWII and Korea. His youthful aspirations were to be a preacher and later an airplane pilot. Those aspirations have basically guided him through his life in many ways. That is, he got closer to airplanes by enlisting in the US Air Force where he spent 20 years. His retirement from the USAF has allowed him to extend himself into the earlier youthful aspiration, the preacher. Today, we use the word “minister” who is normally involved in ministry. Karate is a ministry which allows Sensei and many others to become involved in helping to change people’s lives. More often than not people who get into karate and listen to Sensei will change. All of us have a desire to be something better than we are and Sensei through karate gets us there. Over the years there have been many who have changed for the better. Yes, we have lost a few but that is how life is.  We don’t get upset over one loss, we just have to go on with what we have. There are those who will never change because they have no desire for change. Sensei is hopeful that all will want to change. I have changed, even though late in life. It does not make up for anything that I did in the past but I have changed for the better. 

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May 2016 Newsletter