Bethea's Karate Studio

119 West Sycamore Street
Kokomo, IN 46901


 Bethea's Karate Studio

Sensei Speaks

Volume 1, Issue 1      October 2016


Sensei Speaks—What's Happening

You will note that the training in the Dojo has been stepped up a bit. Some will complain about being tired or that they hurt but the idea is to learn karate at the fullest.

Bethea’s Karate Studio is filled with students who are special. That is, all of you can do anything you want as long as you are ready and willing to accept the challenge. Generally all who have enrolled in a karate class are ready and willing. Coupled with that is their acceptance of rules, discipline, and leadership of the Dojo. Our Dojo has the basic guidelines published in the Training Manual/Record. You should always refer to it if there is something that you are questioning.

Karate is the military art of self defense to protect and preserve your life and never to attack others on your own initiative. To do this an individual should be mentally, physically, and spiritually fit. Many of the old masters seemed to be sickly individuals who overcame there  problems through their training in the martial arts.

Therefore, we are tightening the reins and pushing physically forward. Each of you will be happy with your challenges and changes. However, you must be willing to invest in yourself to get desired results. As your sensei, I will push for nothing but the best because I know that it is there. Before my ends life I want to grow more also.



What Is Kumite?

When you come into a karate school you begin hearing terms you’ve never heard. In our case the language most heard is Japanese. Following are some terms that you’ll hear:

  • Dojo—way hall/karate gym
  • Sensei—teacher
  • Uke—to receive/block
  • Zuki—punch
  • Rei—to bow
  • Dachi—stance
  • Seiza no kamae—kneeling posture
  • Kamae—posture
  • Geri—kick
  • Gyaku zuki—reverse punch
  • Seiken zuki—forefist punch
  • Uraken—backfist
  • Mae Geri—front kick
  • Yoko Geri—sidekick
  • Mawashi Geri—roundhouse kick
  • Hiza—Knee
  • Empi—elbow
  • Jodan—upper level
  • Chudan—middle level
  • Gedan—lower level
  • Domo arigato—thank you
  • Do Itashi Mas Te—you’re welcome
  • Komban wa—good evening
  • Konichi wa—good afternoon
  • Sayonara—goodbye
  • Sumi mas sen—excuse me
  • Matte—stop
  • Owari—finish



What is Kata?

Kata has always been very interesting to me. This is especially so when I look back at my days when I first began my study of karate. During those days I could learn the movements of a kata during one class. I remember reading in the Dojo that it took the Okinawans 3 to 4 years to learn one kata. Reading that I immediately began to question the intelligence of the Okinawans. Yes, I thought that I was a genius because I could learn the kata in one night.

Now, 50 years later I have learned that I was the dunce in the Dojo. Learning the movements in the kata is simple. There is very little time required for learning the movements in the kata. The inner workings of the kata requires some intense study. It is extremely difficult to go into the kata and extract the defenses.

Kata consists  of sweeps, throws, grappling, choking, and striking techniques. Rarely does a student of karate begin to understand what the kata is doing as they begin learning it. Karate is the military art of self defense to protect and preserve your life. Learning the defenses is the challenge.



Student Of The Month

Sometimes I wish that I could select two or three S.O.M.’s. However, if I did that it would lessen the value of that selection. The selection is something that a student should take pride in receiving. That is because the student has stood above everyone else in the Dojo for that month.

This month’s selection is Charlie Mavrick. Mr. Mavrick has proven himself to be a positive factor in Bethea’s Karate Studio. He has done so in applying himself in every facet of training. Although he is in the Lil Dragons class he pushes himself to continue with training when it would seem to be easier to just quit. He readily adheres to rules/standards of the Dojo. At this time he is in a class alone and training with Sensei. Mr. Mavrick is doing well in adjusting to school and the rigors of other sports.

This young man will become a Black Belt and a great martial artist. Congratulations Mr. Mavrick on your selection as S.O.M.



A Visit With Pioneers of Karate

The 2016 PKC International Karate Championships were again held In Indianapolis, In and we were showered with some karate pioneers.

First is to say that the founder of the PKC Hanshi Glenn Keeney is the first to fall into this group. It is without a doubt that he has paved the way for many things that are now in place for and with karate. Just take a moment and look at the PKC.

Secondly, Mr. Bob Yarnall is also one that was always featured in “Black Belt Magazine” during my days as a beginner on Okinawa. For many years he was a huge tournament promoter in St. Louis, Mo.

Hanshi Phillip Koeppelwas another of the men who paved the way for much of our karate. He is the founder of the United States Karate-Do Kai.

Hanshi Joe Corley has made his mark in establishing the Battle Of Atlanta which is one of the nation’s largest tournaments and has been for many years. Hanshi Corley and Hanshi Keeney were responsible for the first televised Kickboxing matches.

Mr. Bud Willis another of karate’s pioneers was key to establishing kickboxing and its televised debut. All of these men of whom I have mentioned have been dedicated and devoted to their martial arts and has done all that they can to move it to a new level.

It is the responsibility of all to make life a bit better than how we found it. I consider myself very fortunate to have come along as I myself very fortunate to have come along as I have and met these men and others. There must be another step that I have to take and I am moving in that direction.



What Do You Want From Karate?

This a very good question that every student should answer not once but again and again. That is because our reasons for studying karate tends to change from time to time. This is especially so for the younger students.

Over time I have heard many reasons why students were starting karate. Here are some of the reasons: to gain confidence in self; to be more disciplined; to learn self defense; anger management; and the list goes on. All of those things can be accomplished and more. As for me, God gave me karate to help me find myself and then to help others to find themselves. I was a person of low self esteem and filled with negatives. All of that changed after I began my study of karate. Today I am a totally different person.

That is why I push so hard with students in the class. Every student is a special person with gifts and/or talents that can be brought out even in karate. It is a matter of getting in touch with self and its value to the world. So give yourself a chance and train hard. In just a little while you can’t imagine what you’ve achieved.



Life Is Passing Us By!

All of you should know by now that Hanshi Judan Shugoro Nakazato, my Sensei made his eternal transition on September 23rd, 2016. It is so unfortunate that all of my students never had the opportunity to meet him or to even see him in person. Yes, he was a legend and I know that it was God who put our lives together and for me to stay for a lifetime. Hanshi was 96 years 0f age and when I saw him last, in April, he was still very strong. His mind was very sharp and his son consulted with him before making any decisions. It is that the world has lost a martial arts legend and all who are Shorinkan have lost a great teacher.  I have always been excited to get to Okinawa and see what he would say that gave me something more to think about as time wears on. Even though there was a language barrier we could communicate easily.

I am going to miss Sensei but I will give his son the same allegiance that I maintained with him. May he rest in peace.



Karate History—Shorinkan In The Midwest

Often times it is good to get some idea of the origins of karate in the area. For that reason we should know basically when and how Shorinkan began in the Midwest.

Shorinkan was brought to the Midwest by Tadashi Yamashita who was originally a student of my Sensei, Shugoro Nakazato. He came to the U.S. around 1965 and lived in the South Bend area. One of his first students in the area was Mr. Jim Ninios who has passed. Yamashita is a very good karate man and his student base grew rapidly once the word was out that he was in the area. In the beginning students would travel from Michigan, Wisconsin, and cities in Indiana to train with him. This went on until some of the students became black belts and started their own schools.
Then, I came to Indiana in 1971 via the Air Force. My initial tour of duty here was short lived and I went back to Viet Nam. However, I was fortunate enough to return by the end of 1972. Immediately I began teaching classes and developing students. I met Mr. Ward at a tournament in Indianapolis and he became a student of mine in 1978. He was already a black belt. Then came Mr. Michael in 1983 and he became solid in his training. Mr. Ward had a class in Crawfordsville and in time Mr. Michael asked my permission to start a class. Following is a list of the last names of instructors who operate Shorinkan Karate Schools in the Midwest: Guthrie, Stolsmark, Michael, Ward, Wilson, Gravelin, McElwee, and Culpepper.

There are others who began as Shorinkan but have since changed styles for various reasons. They continue to perform the same kata but under a different style name and style head.

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October 2016 Newsletter