Bethea's Karate Studio

119 West Sycamore Street
Kokomo, IN 46901


 Bethea's Karate Studio

Sensei Speaks

Volume 1, Issue 1      November 2015


Sensei Speaks- Okinawa Trip

For those who keep a close eye of FB, you already know that our trip to Okinawa was fantastic. I have said it before and I must say it again ?it is something that you must do at least once.? This was Mr. Brading?s first trip and I am quite sure that he will be just as vocal about the trip as I have been and all others who have gone. It was probably a little more exciting for him since he was fortunate enough to have his father with him.

Even though we only there for a week we made the best of it. On my first day there is always a meeting with Sensei and we find out what the training schedule is along with other business that must be taken care of during the visit.

I am happy to say that Shugoro Sensei is doing very well at age 95. He does not hear very well but that is nothing. He is very strong and his mind is very good.
Mr. Brading tested for Godan on Wednesday and that was more excitement for the trip. Minoru Sensei did the test and was very well pleased in making the promotion.
Sensei had some encouraging good words for all of my students who have made the trip to Okinawa. We had one day to go out and eat with Minoru Sensei and his wife and that was also a very good time for all of us together. Mrs. Nakazato enjoyed herself immensely.


Special points of interest:

  • Visit to West Plains
  • Japanese Terms
  • S.O.M.
  • Truth In Training
  • Thanksgiving
  • Arizona/California
  • Karate History

Fall Break

I know that all of you enjoyed your time out of school. For those who traveled  I am sure that you had a wonderful time. You are all very fortunate to be able to have the time out of school and to travel is certainly a bonus. My question to you is ?how many of you thanked your parents for whatever it was that you did?? I can imagine that most of you did thank them in some small way.

I will be the first to say that I missed you just as I did when I am traveling. Sometimes you may wonder about that but it is the truth. At any rate, we are glad that you are all back safe and doing well.

Get back to the grind and keep your grades up. I saw some good grades before you left for your break.


West Plains Dojo - Mr. Culpepper

Upon my return from Okinawa I was off again to Mr. Culpepper?s Dojo in West Plains, Missouri. He is doing a truly awesome job with his students and they are really growing. He has made an impression on Minoru Sensei and that speaks volumes for him since he has gone to Okinawa twice with me.

The Dojo maintains an after school program which has lots of kids in it. They will normally come in and have snack and start preparing for their workout. Uniquely, Mr. Culpepper uses some of his senior youth students to help with the afterschool kids. Some of the kids have just grown up in the program. I have enjoyed watching the senior students work with the younger kids and how they maintain their attention in the classes.

Mr. Culpepper is becoming more and more eager to improve as a competitor and also become a member of PKC Region II. He has been making a concerted effort to make to our Region II tournaments and he has been doing quite well. He has also gone to the USKA World Championships and done very well. Several of his students are wanting to travel to our region to compete also. Of course we will welcome them but it is such a long drive for them to come to our events.

Mr. Culpepper had several students to up grade and Mr. Copp had one. Shorinkan has 4 new Shodans and two new Nidans. One Shodan is from Mr. Copp?s Dojo.


Japanese Terms You Should Know

As students enter karate training they begin hearing terms that they don?t know nor do they understand. So, I am giving some terms that you should know.

  • Sensei - teacher
  • Seiza - kneeling
  • Kamae - posture
  • Mokuso - meditation
  • Hajime - begin
  • Jodan - upper level
  • Chudan - middle level
  • Gedan - lower level
  • Seiken - forefist
  • Dachi - stance
  • Kiba Dachi - horse stance
  • Zenkutsu Dachi - forward stance
  • Neko Ashi Dachi - cat stance
  • Gyaku Zuki - reverse punch
  • Ude Uke - forearm black
  • Mae Geri - front kick
  • Yoko Geri - side kick
  • Mawashi Geri - roundhouse kick
  • Rei - bow

These are basic terms that you begin hearing right away.  They are easy but ask questions if necessary.

Student Of The Month

This is my challenge point in the newsletter. It is a time when I look at all of the students and remember things about them in their class performance. I can also self evaluate to see what I am missing in a student.

I have made a selection for the Student Of The Month and it was difficult. My selection is Mr. Wyatt LaMons. Mr. LaMons is a most reliable and dependable student who readily conforms to the standards of the Dojo. He is always in class and eager to assist when called upon to work with lower ranking students. Mr. LaMons is setting himself up as a leader regardless of what he chooses to do in life. There are and have been few of whom I would speak so highly at this age but he has already proven himself. He is an asset to the Dojo and will be an asset to  the martial arts and Shorinkan. He has also proven himself as a competitor on the tournament circuit. I look forward to him becoming a Black Belt. Keep Working! It will happen!


Truth In Training

Karate is the military art of self defense to protect and preserve your life and never to attack others on your own  initiative. Many people, who are in karate, have said that they began their training to learn self defense.
This is where truth in training begins. Yes, we have to endure the beginning stages of training but how could you ever advance in anything if there were no basics to get you started. That was the manner in which we began throughout our educational years. There must be a foundation on which to build.

Sensei begins advance you by teaching kata an we become excited. However, after learning the kata we are ready to move on to the next one. I laugh at myself for thinking early on that the Okinawans were not very smart because it is said that it takes 4 to 7 years to learn a kata. I thought that I was extra special when I was learning kata in one night.

Now, 49 years later I know all of what that meant. You must learn the kata inside and out through intense study. You must understand  striking, throwing, grappling, joint bending/locks, and choking. This is where you begin finding the truth. No, they are not always obvious but they are there. As you achieve the Black Belt rank you have been given all of what you need to find the truth. Practice and training are inter-changeable but you must be aggressive at all times. The techniques belong to you. That is truth!



God has given us another year and we should all be very thankful. Along with giving us another year we have been blessed with so much of what others don?t have. Daily we see people who are living on the street; those who don?t have decent clothing or shoes to wear; and there are those families who have children who have difficulties in paying the rent, utilities, and buying groceries. The list could go on and on but I think anybody who reads this will get the point.

At this time of year we have always tried to help a family who has been less fortunate that we are. If you are aware of a family who can use our assistance please turn the name in to Sensei. It is good that we do this and I am proud of the fact that we have done this for so many years.

I am asking all of the students to bring a can good or some food item to go into our Thanksgiving Basket. On the day of delivery the Dojo will purchase meats and a few other items for the basket.

At Christmas we service the same family again. Most already know this.


Sensei To Arizona And California

It is time for my annual trip to visit Mr. Poage and Mr. Hughes Dojos in Arizona. I will spend the first two days with Mr. Hughes in Chandler and teach in his Dojo. Mr. Hughes is doing a wonderful job with his students and he is growing his Dojo. I have learned that he was recently certified in ?Stick Fighting? which expands his martial arts. It is always an enjoyable time when I go out .

I will spend the next two days at Mr. Poage?s Dojo in Scottsdale. He is also doing very well in growing his Dojo and he was promoted to Godan when we were on Okinawa in April.  Mr. Poage has been doing much to promote himself and his Dojo through video posts on ?you tube.? While there I will do a seminar on self defense combative.

On Friday we will go on to California to Kyoshi Noujaim?s Camp. Minoru Sensei and his wife will be there. Being one of the Shorinkan seniors in the U S I feel obligated to be there. Sensei appreciates that presence.


Repeat Karate History - Words From Sensei

This is really a reflection of my last conversation with Shugoro Nakazato Sensei  prior to leaving Okinawa on December 31, 1967. It is a most memorable event because I was in his home alone with his wife.

Mrs. Nakazato had prepared some sushi and some tea. I have to imagine that Sensei told her that he wanted to have a long conversation with me.  At that time, even though I had been on Okinawa for 18 months, I had never eaten sushi. During that time there were areas that were off limits to the military. Therefore, I took it upon myself to only eat American food. That is, I ate only foods that were prepared on the base or in the Airmen?s Club.

Sensei, Mrs. Nakazato, I began having conversation and eating. Sensei expressed his appreciation for me training in the Dojo and that I had done exceptionally well. Sensei only spoke very little broken English and I spoke less in the way of Hogan. The conversation went on and Sensei suggested that I contact either of three people once I was back in the United States. He named off several of his students who were in the United States and suggested that I contact them once I was back. Those named were Sid Campbell (deceased), Frank Hargrove, and Tadashi Yamashita. Since I was staying in the military that did not happen. Sensei also told me to never change anything that I had been taught by him. Since that day I have worked very hard to maintain everything as pure as it was the day I began training.

In subsequent visits from Viet Nam in 69 and 72 he expressed how well pleased he was with how well I was doing since I left training at the Dojo.


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November Newsletter