Bethea's Karate Studio

119 West Sycamore Street
Kokomo, IN 46901


 Bethea's Karate Studio

Sensei Speaks

Volume 1, Issue 1      September 2015


Sensei Speaks—What’s Happening

Well, we have just completed a Mid-West Mini Camp in Michigan. This event was with Mr. Merritt and Mr. Wilson of Impact Martial Arts. They have been moving along at a real good pace in trying to build the interest in karate for their area. The students that they have are very supportive and they are being very aggressive and progressive.

The camp went very well and was attended other area/system Black Belts. Mr. Franz and Mr. McElwee were in attendance and another gentleman whose name I can’t spell (Wukowyzck). This gentleman trained in the Shorinkan system for many years under  Tadashi Yamashita. Everyone seemed to have enjoyed themselves by camp’s end. The camp ended with graduations on Sunday. I must say that Mr. Wilson’s brother did more perfectly grilled steaks on Saturday.

Now we are readying ourselves for the 2015 PKC International Karate Championships. Our students seem to be doing more in preparing for the tournament than in the past. That is a good sign and the thing that champions do. Nothing beats preparedness and that is a fact. I want to commend them here for showing dedication to self. Nothing could be better for me than seeing this kind of discipline. The best to Mr. & Ms. LaMons, Mr. Earl, Mr. Kemper, Mr. Solomon, and Mr. Brading. 


Special points of interest:

  • Who are the New Students in the Dojo?
  • Japanese terms everyone should know.
  • An old students visits the Dojo.
  • Getting to a state of readiness.
  • My conversation with Sensei as I left Okinawa.


A Second Trip To Okinawa

Unfortunately, the youth have spent their summer and it is time to get back to the books. I have enjoyed having them for the few morning classes that we did and some of them seemed to have benefitted greatly from them. Just as you have benefitted from the karate classes I know that it will be easy for you in school.

Everywhere I've gone this summer people have given a bad rap to school kids. It is said that they are unruly, and no respect for authority. Of course I am always under the pretense that my students are far above that. They are well mannered and very respectful of authority and elders. Bethea's Karate Studio prides itself in having students who standout in doing what is right and following the rules. So, lets show others the right way.


Sensei's Visit 

That's right, your Sensei is making a second trip to Okinawa this year. This is a first and as always we are looking forward to the trip. Nakazato, Shugoro Sensei has just turned 95 years of age on his last birthday which was August 14th. That is a blessing to him and certainly a blessing to all of us who have followed him over the years.

Currently, the plan is to leave on September 24th and return on October 2nd. As you can see this is only a week and perhaps one day. The Okinawans have been very receptive and encouraging as we’ve visited. I can't say enough for the manner in which we are treated. I don't know that royalty is treated in better than we are when we are there. I will put out a "Wish List." 


New Faces In The Dojo

We have some new faces in the Dojo and we are happy to welcome them to Bethea;s Karate Studio.  I will say to them that karate is a lot of fun but it can also be a lot of work.  It is only a lot of work when you want to be good at it. However , it has been my experience that everybody who does it wants to be good at it .

It really makes no difference whether or not you want to be a competitor.  Just to be good at life there is work required. As children we never think that way because mom and dad take care of everything.  It is when we take responsibility for ourselves that we begin to learn how important it is to work hard or work a lot.

Here are the names of the new faces:

Molly Sipes is in the adult karate class and working very hard to become a good karate-ka.

Austin Moos has joined the Li’l Dragons class and he is also eager to learn.  He is doing very well in learning basics  and seemingly enjoying himself.

Mitchell McClelland  is the last of the new faces  currently in the dojo.  He also seems to be enjoying himself and is grasping basics really well.  Mr. McClelland is also in the Li’l Dragons.

These students have earned their white belts and awaiting their PKC memberships. Again, welcome to Bethea;s Karate Studio. You have made a great choice.


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.

Dojo—martial arts gym

These are basic terms that you begin hearing right away.  They are easy  but ask quest ions 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 Ms. Issabella Edwards. This young lady has just been moved from the Li’l Dragons class to the advanced kids class. It is a big switch for her and an even bigger adjustment. However, she has jumped right in and accepted the challenge of working in the group. Ms. Edward s listens well and follows instructions. She conforms well to class procedures and rules of etiquette. This student is an example of what karate strives to do.

I am proud to have selected Ms. Issabella Edwards as Student Of The Month. She will be an asset to her dojo and the martial arts. I look forward to her becoming a Black Belt. Keep Working! 


A Student From The Past

As we set up to begin class on Friday, August 28th, we had a visitor come into the Dojo. It was a great surprise to me and for me since I had not seen the young man for several years. I had been somewhat capable of always knowing what was going on with him and what he was doing until a few years ago when his parents were visiting Kokomo.

At that time he was an officer in the USMC and stationed in Afghanistan. This young man trained with me from age nine until he graduated from high school.  The name of this young man is Shawn Belcher. Even though as a high schooler he was playing tennis he managed to continue his karate training. Mr. Belcher  was able to get his Nidan before leaving to go off to college. He was a very hard worker and trained as hard at his tennis as he did his karate. He was also a very good competitor in kata and kumite, Surprisingly enough he was very small as a youngster but had lots of heart and listened intently at instructions. Even though he was small he was never afraid to stand in front of larger students or competitors.

Shawn Belcher has become a very successful man in a well established  career. His job involves lots of travel to different parts of the world. He has a beautiful wife who on occasion travels with him in his work. I was excited to have him stop into the Dojo and reminisce about the past and what it held for us.


Ready For PKC Internationals

While in the military s state of readiness was always emphasized. The strategy was to always be prepared for whatever the enemy might through at you. In maintaining that state of readiness there was always a series of drills/exercises to keep everyone mentally and physically ready.

Lately, the students have been preparing for the PKC Internationals. We have taken the opportunity to work on individual kata performances, team kata performances, ippon kumite, continuous kumite, and traditional jiyu kumite. Regardless of all that we have done and will do, everything will  depend upon the individual’s  preparedness and willingness to give it all they have to be a winner.

All of the students have the courage, spirit, and ability to bring it all home. I am proud of the energy that they brought to their training. This especially since school has just begun. Most of them are weighted with homework or getting involved in other activities. All have made the effort to be prepared for the 2015 PKC International Karate Championships.


T-Shirt Season Ends

Well the weather has held for the summer and the wearing of T-Shirts certainly made it cooler during classes. We are entering the fall season and weather is slowly but surely changing. Before long it will be cold and we will be adding more clothes to our daily wear.

At this point, we have had to make some adjustments with the air conditioning. No, we have not turned it off yet but we have set the thermostat at seventy degrees. That may seem high since we only keep it at 68 degrees during the winter months.

T-Shirts may no longer be worn as of September 15th. Only individuals who might have a condition verified by a doctor will be allowed to wear T-Shirts as an outer top after September 15th.
Students who would like to have the school logo on their uniform may get that done for $9.95. The students who have been competitive in the last year have theirs already. Just bring the Gi top in to Sensei and he will get it done for you.


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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September 2015Newsletter - Printable Version