Bethea's Karate Studio

119 West Sycamore Street
Kokomo, IN 46901


 Bethea's Karate Studio

Sensei Speaks

Volume 1, Issue 1      October 2018


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 Iwill push for nothing but the best because I know that it is there.





Kick-A-Thon Completed

Thanks to all of the students who have participated in the 2018 St. Jude Kick-A-Thon. It is normal for everyone to dread the 2000 kicks and trying to collect $200. However, we’ve tried to make it a fun thing by using music and allowing every foot lift to be counted as a kick.

I am especially proud of the Li’l Dragons because they work to have more fun than the larger kids. They did flying kicks, spinning kicks, and all of the regulars.

Now is to get the monies in. Can you imagine yourself, a family member, relative or friend having a catastrophic disease? St. Jude is there to help those people and the money that we raise supports that. God wants us to do these kinds of work throughout our lives.





Karate Terminology You Should Know

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


Uke—to receive/block


Rei—to bow


Seiza no kamae—kneeling poature



Gyaku zuki—reverse punch

Seiken zuki—forefist punch


Mae Geri—front kick

Yoko Geri—sidekick

Mawashi Geri—roundhouse kick



Jodan—upper level

Chudan—middle level

Gedan—lower level

Domo arigato—thank you

Do Itashi Mas Te—you’re welcome

Konban wa—good evening

Konichi wa—good afternoon


Sumi mas sen—excuse me







What Kata Is

Kata has always been very interesting to me. This is especially so when I look back at my days as a beginner when I first began my study of karate. During those days I could learn the movements in 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, 52 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. It is all kata!





Student Of The Month

Student of the month has become a true challenge. That is, so many of the students have themselves locked into other activities. That is not a bad thing because it keeps them busy and all sports including karate are pushing for the same outcomes. Significantly, we are talking about courage, courtesy, integrity, humility, and self-control.  Every coach and karate instructor from the professional down to little league express the same views.

I have made a selection for S.O.M. and he is one who is very involved. Most important is that when he comes to class he is 100% engaged in his karate. He listens to instruction and puts forth his best  effort. When kids are as involved as he is they often suffer from burnout. I know that this can happen but this my selection. Mr. Trenton Smith is our S.O.M. He is commended for his efforts and his push to move forward. He is a good student and could be a promising Black Belt. We will see!





A Visit With A Pioneer of Karate

A few years ago I visited my family in North Carolina and was blessed with the opportunity to meet Hanshi Victor Moore. This is one of the pioneers of karate and was very popular in early tournament competition. He is labeled in some circles as the man who beat them all.

I contacted Hanshi Moore and asked if he would allow me to take him out to eat. He responded with a yes and we set the time. I went to his home the next day and he was elated to have me as a visitor. He sat me down and began to tell me his history. I learned that he is a few months older than I am. He began learning his karate at age 14 from a gentleman who had studied karate in the military while overseas. That person made it very difficult for Mr. Moore before he began teaching him.

Later he became Master Trias’(father of American Karate) leading student and assistant instructor. He was a top competitor on the tournament scene. He won the 3rd USKA Grand National Championships by beating Mike Stone. One of his claims is that “he is the man who beat them all.” He told me also of a story in which he and Bruce lee exchanged punches. He stopped Bruce Lee’s punches short of target each time. Bruce Lee was unable to stop his punch. As said, the conversation was very interesting and he had many stories to tell. There are numerous you tube videos if you would like to know more about him.





Congratulations To Our Graduates

Our graduation was small this time around but that is good when you are not ready. Most important is that you should be moving forward when you graduate. Those who graduated did very well and I commend them for their work. I am concerned that most students will not use their Training Record/Manual to review their material. Not only that, I never have any of them come to me to ask questions except what they need to know for the test. 

Our Graduates :

Mr. Lopez—Ju-Kyu

Mr. Eshelman—Ju-Kyu

Mr. Williams—Ju-Kyu

Mr. Clarkson—Ku-Kyu

Mr. Smith—Hachi– Kyu

Mr. Shaffer—Hachi-Kyu

Mr. Wright—Hachi-Kyu

For most this is where and how it all begins. Each promotion is another step in the journey on which you have embarked. It is a journey on which you can’t be afraid but eager to move ahead.

My congratulations to all of you and I look forward to the day of your promotion to Black Belt. Hopefully that is your goal.





Making A Difference

Why do I feel that I have to make a difference to anybody? Well, it is not an easy thing even feeling that way. However, it is always important that each us will make a difference in somebody’s life. No, it does not have to be anything big that makes them what they ultimately become. Sometimes it might be a gentle smile, a kind word, a small gesture or even giving them a dime. These small things can make a big difference to a person who never gets that.

In general most of us come from loving and nurturing families with all of the amenities of comfortable living. We never have to worry about where the next meal will come from or where we will sleep when night falls. There are many out there who don’t have that luxury.

Taking that little action mentioned in the beginning of this article might be their turn around. Often we hear these stories but pay no attention to them. Listen closely to the next story and think about this.





Karate History - Nakazato, Shugoro Sensi

I have been to Okinawa twice this year and it is so exciting to go there. It has been two years and a few weeks since Sensei passed. That  came to me and I’ll never forget because his birthdate and death were so close. As I met with Minoru Sensei and we talked there were so many memories. It was very much like the last time I visited Sensei when I left Okinawa as my first tour of duty ended. Some of the things he said then just popped into my head. That was a funny feeling but very refreshing.

Minoru Sensei would share some of the things his father shared with him and it was some of the same that he had said to me. All of a sudden I realized that he had put a great deal of confidence in me to continue perpetuating the Shorinkan that he had invested his life in developing. He had once said that the karate of Chibana Sensei  was beautiful and was all that he could do to keep it alive.

God called Shugoro Sensei home at age ninety six and it is now our responsibility to continue his legacy. Since his departure I have watched his recordings over and over. It is amazing how much jumps out at me sometimes. Yes, I have asked Minoru questions about the things that I am seeing. They are minor but we are fixing them. 

Nakazato, Shugoro Sensei have always given some life lessons over the years as I had visited and/or trained with him. However, when we are young those lessons never register. Then, as we begin to grow older and become more spiritual we begin to smell the roses. Don’t honestly know what Sensei’s faith background is but mine is Christianity.  I was 22 when I began training but had a lot to learn. Fifty two years and I’m still learning.



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