Bethea's Karate Studio

119 West Sycamore Street
Kokomo, IN 46901


 Bethea's Karate Studio

Sensei Speaks

Volume 1, Issue 1      September 2018


Sensei Speaks - What A Month!

August was as busy as any other month for all of us and everybody carried a full load. First of all, school began on the second and the kids were filled with excitement. They were off and running with new clothes and school supplies ready to begin learning with their new teachers.

Right out of the gate Mr. Brading, his dad, Mr. Culpepper and me headed to Okinawa for the 1st Okinawa International Karate Tournament. Mr. Hughes and a couple of his students also joined us on Okinawa. Mr. Hughes and one of his students competed in the tournament along with Mr. Brading and Mr, Culpepper. It was an exciting event and I wish that there could have been more of my students there for the competition. Significantly, you could only compete in kata or weapons but not both. There were more than 35 countries represented at the tournament. Shuri and Tomari Kei were grouped together and Naha Kei was in a separate group for kata. The weapons were grouped together except being split between Sai and Bo.

There was a strong presence of Shorinkan both from the U S and Okinawa. When it was all over, Mr. Brading came in with a very strong 2nd place finish. There were no other Shorinkan practitioners to make it to the final round of competition. Mr. Brading’s 2nd place finish brought lots of cheers from all of us including Minoru Sensei. Naturally I am very proud of Mr. Brading and the fact that Sensei specifically asked for him to be present for the tournament. There will be other times for you. 




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

We will do the Kick-A-Thon in September since we have been so busy. We will try to do this as fast as we can since we are off to a slow start. We are small in numbers and every student will do his/her best. All of the funds will be sent in as quick as possible after our event is over. I must say that for the small number of people we had participating we did very well.. I will meet with all of the parents and students to ensure that everybody knows our goal..




PKC International Karate Championships

We have just gotten through the 2018 PKC International Karate Championships. I am happy to say that those students who competed in the tournament did very well.  Xavyn Pugh was 2nd in Continuous Kumite and 1st in kata. This is very good for any student to do this well at an international competition. Emma LaMons went  further and she has become a real standout at all competitions. Ms. LaMons is one of those individuals who came make adjustments to contend with the competition that stands in front od her. She showed that at the 2018 PKC International Karate Championships. She earned 1st places in kata, Ippon kumite and Chanbara; 2nd in weapons  following up with 4th place in sparring and Continuous. Along with these students is Mr. Brading who has established himself as a true champion. Mr. Brading won his Black Belt Men’s kata and Weapons division.  Before the tournament was over Mr. Brading won the Big Dog Grand Championship in Kata. Mr. Pugh and Ms. LaMons were also able to compete in their respective divisions for a chance to win one of the Big Dog Grand Championships. I was well pleased with the students and their efforts in the competition. Congratulations to all of you and I am very proud of you. 




Martial Disciplines

Martial discipline is an interesting subject but one that requires commitment from those who fall under it. Let us first look at our military service members and all that they go through to preserve our freedoms. They are so disciplined that they will give up their lives in order that American citizens can continuously enjoy the freedoms that we have. This is the ultimate in discipline and it is what each of us long for.

We say that karate is the military art of self defense to protect and preserve your life and never to attack others on your own initiative. If this is true we should be working hard to develop the same kind of discipline that military men and women have. I have watched many students grow over the years and the most successful of them were disciplined.

Sensei constantly imposes discipline on students in the Dojo. No, they don’t like it but they submit themselves to that authority. Pushing for discipline is key to every students growth in karate. That is, imposed discipline brings about self discipline. Martial discipline is initially imposed until the recruit becomes that self disciplined machine




Student Of The Month

It is always that I am watching all of the students to make the S.O.M. selection. Once a student has been selected I am curious to his/her  thoughts about their selection. We are hoping that those who have received it are grateful and wear the patch with pride.

I have made a selection and it  is one in which I am proud to have made. This student has been giving his best in training and he tries very hard to always make the next step. My selection as Student Of  The Month is Mr. Evan Clarkson. Mr. Clarkson has distinguished himself through class attendance and hard training. He is one of the Li’l Dragons and this is a new world for them to conquer. He is  attentive to instruction and very compliant to the rules and standards of Bethea’s Karate Studio. Mr. Clarkson tries very hard to stay on track and listen to what Sensei is saying. This young man does extremely well for his age . I am often surprised at some of the things he will say. Out of the mouths of babes you will always hear the truth. When we listen closely it becomes a great learning experience. I am proud to have him in the Li’l Dragons class and hope to keep him. He is smart and will go far in karate. Congratulations Mr. Clarkson.




Out Of The Past

This  should have come out in the May Newsletter but in this fast world I sometimes get lost. The Kokomo School Of Self Defense as we were originally called was founded in May of 1976. This was our 42nd year of doing business  and June was my 52nd year of studying karate.

Over the years God has been really good to me. We were fortunate enough to move into this building in 1987 with the purchase coming in 1990. In 1996 the Dojo was relocated to the upstairs after extensive renovation. In 1997 The downstairs was renovated and leased to Howard Community Hospital. In that area they operated the Healthy Children and Healthy Teens  clinics. Those facilities were in place until 2014.

During all of these tears from 1976 until today, I have had the opportunity to work with many students old and young.  In some cases I have had the opportunity to work with 2nd and 3rd generation family members. That is certainly an honor and a privilege for me to have done this. I can say that our youth have changed many times over during  the years and unfortunately, I remain a dinosaur. That is not a bad thing but it is much different than what most are used to for this day and age. Many may be critical of my ways and I can accept that. However, when working with people and trying to induce change, you hope that you are doing the right thing. There have been many to come pack and say that they appreciated the training.




Becoming A Champion

How many of us really want to be a champion? Soon some of us will become involved in other sports. As we involve ourselves in these sports, we will note that the coaches are saying some of the same things that Sensei says. No, it will not be punching and kicking but it will be the same goal.

That goal will be the championship in whatever the sport may be. It is certain that all of us want to be a champion. Becoming a champion is not easy unless you want it.

Champions are passionate about their training and they go all out to prepare. They are disciplined to train on their weaknesses. No, they do not neglect their strengths but they give extra to developing weaknesses. Those who want to be champions will manage their time. This ensures that there are few, if any, distractions. You can not use school as an excuse because that is always a key element in becoming a champion.

We already have champions in the Dojo but I want more. Most of you have already watched them evolve.




We Mourn Our Losses

August has been a month in which we have friends and family. Although we have celebrated many blessings during the month, we have sorrow in our hearts and grieve the loss of a family member and several friends. However, we are well aware that when God calls there is nothing that stands in the way. We are certain to be on time.

Two years ago we lost Sensei Shugoro Nakazato and even at his age we were shocked. All of you know that I lost a niece August 24th. She was a young lady who was full of love for family and people. We are going to miss her as we continually mourn her loss. However she will forever remain in our hearts. 

Kyoshi Eberhard Welch passed away on August 20th and he was a great loss. A friend and brother in every sense and I miss him dearly. There are no replacements for men like him. He fought the good battle and went home when he could fight no more. 

Mr. Tim White’s wife passed on September 1st. Ms. Cole and I attended that service. Finally a friend lost her son the day after my niece passed. All losses are hard and we miss them all. God Bless The families and Friends.




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. A brother still 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.

As a 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. 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 for the better.








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