Articles, Essays & Videos

The selected writings below are from SKKAA members and other sources, taken from articles and emails:
◊   Spending Time, by by Mike Poole
◊   Karate Outdoors During the Pandemic, by Sensei Jo McCulty
◊   My First, Day of Qigong, by Joseph Eustache
◊   The Seminar: From a teen's perspective, by Benjamin Sinclair
◊   Black Belt Paper, by Ed Thulin
◊   Battles of Balance, by AJ Best
◊   Black Belt Paper, by Gerald Ness
◊   Meet Doreen Hynd, 92, tai chi chuan master, by Judy Zhu and Wang Linyan
◊   2018 Beisho Spring Clinic, by Justin Sheehy
◊   World Tai Chi and Qigong Day 2018, by Mike Poole
◊   The Passing of a Master
◊   Weekend Seminar in Waltham, by Ido Diamant
◊   What can one expect if they are to attend SKKAA Budo camp? Here is my experience, by Ralph Arabian
◊   World Record Attempt, by Mike Poole
◊   April Seminar 2015 (essay)
◊   Sensei Jayne's Visit to Wyoming Dojo, by Heather Best, White Belt, Wyoming Karate Club
◊   Treuo Chinen Sensei has passed away at the age of 74
◊   Ohio State University to name residence hall in honor of alumni John Hideo Houston
◊   How to Be the Black Belt You Were Meant to Be, by Jesse Enkamp
◊   My Boston Trip, by Jan Hansen
◊   Meet Li Tianjin: Jack Ma's bodyguard and a master of Tai Chi
◊   Finding an Old Comrade 70 Years Later, by Papa Chris Clarke

Previous and Older Articles can be found in the Articles Archive

Spending Time

by Mike Poole

I continue to work my way through a very large stack of MUST READ martial arts books. I picked up “Five Years One Kata – Putting Kata Back at the Heart of Karate” by Bill Barger. Sensei Barger is a 6th Dan in Shotokan. The book is the result of his journey of spending five years with Gojushiho.

I remember my first class after being promoted to Ikkyu, with my two shiny black stripes on my brown belt. Sensei Jan Parton-Hansen told me to pick a kata that I would now spend the next year exploring. I chose Wanshu. It was the kata I had learned most recently. I went to Walden Books (yes, an actual book store) and purchased a blank diary. For the next year, I made sure I did something everyday that worked on Wanshu. I ran through the kata at least once every day. I searched material (we didn’t have the slick exotic internet you have today) to see what others had written. I looked at my other material to compare and contrast. I worked through a variety of bunkai to see what I could find. And I recorded my findings everyday. At the end of the year, I proudly brought my book to Sensei Jan. She looked at the cover, handed it back to me, and asked me what I actually learned that wasn’t written in that book. After all these years and too many moves from place to place to count, I wish I still had that book. But I still have what I learned that wasn’t written in that book.

I learned that you have to spend time with something to really learn it. You have to spend more time with something, for it to become me. After I moved to NYC, I wanted to dedicate myself to this practice once more, to see what I could learn about myself. I chose the kata Gojushiho. (I had no knowledge of Sensei Barger’s book at that time – but I stumbled upon it because of this journey). I spent everyday for a year working on Gojushiho, seeing what I find, searching for the deeper knowledge that the Shomen had left for me. Trying to lift up the other three corners of the material. And more importantly, what might I learn about myself. I now opened my laptop and began to search the World Wide Web for information. It actually led me to engaging with hundreds of other karateka around the world as I began to post on Iain Abernathy’s forum. I recorded my finding in a file on my computer. At the end of that year, I made a video of some of my findings. I sent the link and my Word document to Sensei Jan and Sensei Michael Pepe. It led to wonderful learning moments with them.

Since that time, I have attempted to pick something every year to dedicate myself to study. I next chose my weakest kobudo weapon: the nunchaku. I focused on trying learn how to not kill myself with them. When COVID lockdown hit, I reached out to others to start working on something I had started many years ago, but hadn’t worked on in a while – Kendo No Kata. By the end of April 2020, Sensei Michael Pepe, Terrence Tuy, Susan Hollobaugh, Alan Knepper, Amy Gulas, AJ Walsh and I began meeting every Friday night. We found our hakama and bokken, got on Zoom, and began the journey of learning. By fall 2020, I think that group was working out 6-7 days a week together. We continued getting together every week for a little over two years. We ventured into everything, but continued with Kendo No Kata. There is no doubt that gathering of minds every week, every day, kept me from going crazy in lockdown in NYC. I will be forever grateful to all of them for being my partners in that endeavor.

Later on, my journalling project turned to the Fukiyugata kata. Sensei Jan had always said to us that when we reach a new level or start working on something different, return to where you started, go back to the beginning, start over and see what you learn. That year was surprisingly fruitful was well.

I have committed to take something new every year now: a different kata, a different weapon, a different style or approach. The continuous life-long journey of learning; learning about the specific focus, learning about our art, learning about ourselves, learning about life. I commend this process to us all. Spend some time. You may be surprised what you find!

Michael Poole

Earth And Cup Dojo

Karate Outdoors During the Pandemic

by Sensei Jo McCulty

We've all had to adapt to how we train this year due to the pandemic. The Seishin Karate Club in Columbus, Ohio masked up and moved to a centrally located park. It's a 10-acre space in the midst of a neighborhood where deer romp around while we practice.

As fall approached, we contemplated our indoor options, but as the COVID-19 numbers rose in Ohio, the less I wanted to train indoors with others. I expressed that I did not want my decision to deter others from training indoors, but that I would train outdoors unless it snowed more than I wanted to drive in, which is six inches for my low Honda Accord. (Yes I hear Boston, Chesterland and Jackson Hole laughing!) Or if it rained, which is more likely here anyway, since we found that in the 90-degree heat that you can't breathe well at all if your mask gets wet. So that was my plan - others could come to the park or not. And they did!

We soon encountered a workout with 50+ mph winds that produced a snappy wind chill. Loud howling gusts tried to push you back or spin you around during kicks. It reminded me of the Budo Camps in Florida - Tai Chi at sunrise, listening to the power and timing of crashing waves helped guide my dynamics. A smile spread across my face as I remembered being jostled by waves while rooting my stance in the disappearing sand of the undertow. I felt like we needed to practice some Tai Chi in that great wind to investigate and translate some of nature's power into the intent of our techniques.

One weekend, rain was predicted for the next day's class. I was disappointed, but then thought, if a wet mask is the only reason not to train, why not keep dry with an umbrella? I experimented with my large dog-walking umbrella in the backyard and thought this would make a great kicking class. You need to mind your posture on kicks, so making sure the pole of the umbrella stayed vertical would be helpful in highlighting any excessive leaning.

So I told folks I'd be in the park the next day for umbrella karate and started thinking of what else could work with the umbrella. We could easily do the ba duan jin, and tai chi basics might help emphasize when you turn your body - changing the umbrella to the back hand in the process.

Sensei Terrence Tuy showed up and we did our warm up and basics, then the tai chi forms. Sensei Terrence noticed that the tab that holds the umbrella together when closed, hung in front of him on his center line so he could note how far he was rotating from one move to the next.

Then we started on kata. If the chambered hand has the umbrella, the other hand is available for a single hand technique, so you just need to sort out when to transfer the umbrella to the back hand. In the first move of fukiyu kata di ichi - are you going to wind up your low block outside of the umbrella pole? Or are you going to wind up on the inside... tight, like you were taught to do? Double hand techniques were no problem since you can hold the umbrella in either hand except where it makes sense to use a particular hand depending on the next move in the kata.

The umbrella introduced interesting elements to our training we hadn't anticipated, such as the pattering sound of the rain overhead and the real visualization of the dynamics on pivots. With the 360-degree pivot in Pinan Sandan, droplets would fly off the tips like little shuriken flying at all incoming attackers! It was beautiful to watch and easier to notice how you actually rotate more than 360 degrees to be able to turn the energy from the spin back into the chase punch. I had not expected that training in the rain would be so much fun, but Sensei Terrence and I had a blast!

We didn't get around to working on the umbrella for self-defense since we were using it to keep our masks dry, but there is plenty of material there. Concepts learned from our bo, jo and tanbo apply well - blocks, thrusts, strikes, defenses against grabs and holds as well as wrist, arm and shoulder locks. There are tactical umbrellas for purchase that can withstand these techniques, but even a normal umbrella could help protect you. An open umbrella between you and a threatening dog has been shown to be an insurmountable barrier to the animal.

It hasn't gotten down to freezing temperatures yet, but I am reminded of Winter Budo Camps when Papa Chris would talk about austere winter training practices. I found it interesting, but unnecessary since I had indoor places to train. I'm not interested in training barefoot under a waterfall, but I do want to experience the challenges that the season has to offer. With common sense, layers, protection for extremities and hydration, I expect to enjoy this winter and make the best of our situation.

I expect it will reinforce my sense of tenacity and resilience that karate has helped forge. I will be able to stay in touch with friends in real life at a safe distance, and not through computer screens. And hopefully, if the conditions get just right, I'll be able to pass down some secret Tai Chi techniques that Papa Chris taught us long ago at that winter camp.

Stay Safe and Healthy,

Jo McCulty, 6th Dan, Seishin Karate Club

My First, Day of Qigong

by Joseph Eustache

On Leap Day, Saturday, February 29, 2020 I attended my very first Day of Qigong. This event was hosted by my instructor, Jayne Butram of the Okinawan Karate Center in Chesterland, Ohio. Sensei Michael Poole of the Earth and Cup Dojo of Staten Island, New York was our guest instructor. Later in the day other individuals in our assembly guided us with Tai Chi, also capturing my curiosity.

That early Saturday morning I remember I woke up excited! I remember when the thought entered my mind, “what is Qigong and Tai Chi all about?” I was eager to have my first go at Qigong. Sensei Poole first started us out with many Qigong warm-ups, stretches and some careful breathing exercises to prepare our bodies- all leading up to activating our Qi. A sudden break ensued, but at this point in time, I already felt refreshed and relaxed- wanting more! The latter portion of the morning and early afternoon Sensei Poole guided us with Rooster Crowing in the Morning, Baduanjin or Eight Pieces of Brocade, the Seven Movements of the Sky Fisherman and Becoming the Tree, to name a few.

To me, almost anyone can do Qigong, even while sitting down or in a chair. I began to see that Qigong exercises are probably some of the most gentle, calming and safest exercises for our bodies. Every part of our body is opened, released to move and relaxed, only to come back to original form. A complete cycle that I found does incorporate breathing, mind, body and spirit. One is not performing rigorous exercises stressing our joints, sinews, muscles and spine. You are not out of breath as if running, but very much in complete control of your breathing. I felt like I had a gentle, but full body workout. I was amazed that when I was performing the meditation and breathing exercises how I can clear my mind and how fast time could go by and not even realize it! Becoming the Tree, a twenty three minute and one second meditation, stood out for me. Sometimes the length of the meditation is just right and other times not long enough- leaving you wanting more.

During the whole day I felt calm and refreshed. At one point, I remember Sensei Poole used his phone to utilize an app where someone narrated a meditation. I remember when the narrator talked about our different body parts and senses. When the narrator briefly mentioned that some people may not have all their body parts or maybe lost one of their senses is when I was left in deep thought. I cannot explain it, perhaps at that moment my mind was so cleared I put myself aside and thought about a few people I personally know. I began to feel thankful for having all my senses and grateful for my healthy body. I thought about those seeking treatment for addiction or injury, those enduring post-traumatic stress disorder, maybe a sudden life event or perhaps you have cared for someone so long that you have put your own health aside. However, to remain positive, the others in our assembly made me feel very welcome and were willing to show us more. Qigong and Tai Chi can help and there are those who only want to help!

I am at peace with the fact that I am new to Shorin-ryu Karate, Qigong, Tai Chi and any meditation or breathing exercise. I am just beginning to understand how one is a part of the other. I may not know many kata or the moves associated with Qigong and Tai Chi, so I focus my effort to the controlled breathing aspects. I choose not to rush my journey, but embrace the experience with others. For me, one thing is for sure, a clear mind is just as important as our body and spirit. To this end, my experience with my first Day of Qigong was very rewarding. Perhaps my first experience and takeaway is encouraging to others. I may have taken the first step by walking into the dojo that morning, but I graciously thank Sensei Poole (with pause), for introducing me to Qigong and Tai Chi, both a wonderful, holistic and spiritual way to exercise our mind, body and spirit. Those reading my simple letter just walk into the dojo- may you leave refreshed and humbled as I!

Arigatou gozaimasu
Joe Eustache

The Seminar: from a teen's perspective

by Benjamin Sinclair

In this paper, I will talk about what we did in/out of the dojo, what the general feeling was in the room(s), and how it changed my life (Karate-wise).

The seminar went on for about three days.

Day one: All people attending practiced similar forms and then put them all into a "SUPER COMBO" as I like to call it. This combo is used in jungle combat to protect yourself from incoming danger. This was a new kind of karate for most of the people attending. At first it was confusing but then it started to make sense. (not perfect sense because this is not a fairy tale) We worked on similar techniques for a few hours. When I got the hang of the technique it became super fun. It was also great to meet new people and to see old friends that I have worked with for so long.

Day two: More new people attended than on day one. We greeted each other and started training. We interpreted the forms from day one and adapted them to a city setting where someone might attack you with a knife or a gun. With partners, we practiced wrist locks and takedowns for hours until we did it almost perfectly. During our lunch break we separated into smaller groups.

We had a tasty Japanese dinner together at a place called Edamame. It was amazing to watch the chef cook only a few feet away from our faces. My favorite part was the volcano made out of an onion that is on fire. It was amazingly pleasing to the eye. It was great to get to know new people and to discover that we had similar interests outside of karate.

How it changed my life: The best part was to learn a type of karate that is very different from what we usually do in class. Attending the seminar has really helped my self-discipline and my self-awareness. I liked karate before but now I really love it. It was scary at first to train together with adults. But I learned to overcome my fears because everyone was very supportive and helpful.

Ever since I went to that seminar I have been more focused than ever. It was like something just went "click" in my head. I hope next year you will come to the seminar and I hope something will click for you too.

Black Belt Paper

by Ed Thulin (11/08/2017)

Started Training 2005

As it turns out, I've started martial arts training three times. My first opportunity to train in martial arts came when I was a kid in Minneapolis. My parents enrolled my brother and me in Judo classes when we were about eight and nine. My parents don't remember doing it but you never forget your first Gi.

My next foray into martial arts came in late 1980 when I was twenty-four. I was living in Seattle, WA, just out of college. Chuck Norris was just a few movies into his career. Bruce Lee's and Chuck Norris' movies and, I would guess, testosterone related motivations encouraged me to give karate a try. As luck would have it, there was a Tang Soo Do dojo two blocks away. Tang Soo Do being the style Chuck Norris practiced. I only stayed a few months, almost enough time to learn the first kata, similar to Fukiyu Kata Dai Ichi. I enjoyed the comradery of the short experience, less so the wooden floors, and believe I stopped as a function of moving to the Bay area.

My third introduction, apparently the one that stuck, was with the Wyoming Karate Club. I had three young children who were attending and my wife gave me a trial membership, complete with Gi, so I could attend with my son. As happens with middle and high school students, particularly with activities chosen by their parents, my kids sequentially dropped their karate training. I, though taking some extended hiatuses, continued with it and now find myself preparing for a Black Belt test. It occurs to me that the question isn't really why you start training, but why you continue.

I believe there are three broad reasons why I continue training. The first would be community, the second the subject material. The third is less easy to put a name to; something like an offered way of life. Of course, it's fun too.


When I say community, I am referring to two distinct but related bodies. The first of these is the Wyoming Karate Club and the Shorin-Ryu Karatedo and Kobudo Association of America. Inclusion in the former bestows inclusion in the latter. The second community is the Jackson Hole community, or maybe a part of it.

The Club and the Association of which we are members, is built on mutual trust and respect, cooperative learning, shared goals and like-minded attitudes, at least in respect to the martial arts. It is difficult to understand how a dojo would function without these guiding principles. When training for a real life scenario where one strives to incapacitate their opponent, you can't help appreciating people who trust you enough to let you throw punches and kicks at them, much less letting them do the same to you.

Beyond the trust/respect is the relationship borne through working towards a common goal and sharing a mindset about the basic need for self-defense. Not everyone understands why one should be able to protect oneself, preferring the fantasy that our social mores and law enforcement will protect us.

In writing this, I am struck by the thought that when we travel to a camp or have other Association members visit us, even though we may not know them, these principles seamlessly come into play. How often does that happen?

For several years I have had the opportunity to work with younger students. Helping "teach" and watching these kids learn gives one a perspective on one's own training. It also gives me a feeling of connectedness with the community. How many times have I been greeted with "Hi Sempai" by students or parents at our local grocery stores? I don't delude myself regarding the quality of the instruction I provide. Nonetheless, I do derive some satisfaction in adding to their ability to protect themselves.

Subject material

A couple of anecdotes:

The first of these is a recollection of a recurring dream I used to have as a kid which I refer to as "The Hidden Room". In this dream I would find a secret room in my house. In that room were all kinds of things that a young boy would like. True to dream form, the specifics of what those neat things were are hazy. The ones which I still remember are good things to eat and a television, most certainly black and white. Nonetheless, I vividly recall that the dream would engender a greatly satisfying (visceral) feeling of exploration and discovery.

The second of these is from when I was working towards my MA in Developmental Psychology. I took a class in Psycholinguistics. Linguistics being the "scientific study of language and its structure" [Google 11/01/2017]. The professor began the class by asking us what method we thought was best for learning a new language: being dropped into an environment where only the new language was spoken, or studying the language in a rigorous manner. Intuitively, I thought that immersion would be best. Long story short, I no longer believe that.

I liken this second anecdote to the study of martial arts. Throw a kid into an environment where people are apt to beat the hell out of him and he may learn to successfully defend himself, assuming he survives long enough. On the other hand, systematically teach him how and why an attack may arise, how and if to engage or diffuse the attack, and if engaging, how to effectively terminate the encounter, and I believe that student will, with practice, be in a better position than his immersed counterpart.

Punch, kick, strike. Such is the vocabulary of self-defense. Learning martial arts in terms such as this is akin to simplifying Julia Child's Boeuf Bourguignon recipe to "cook meat"; its conciseness sacrifices substance. Karate is a movement based discipline. To learn this martial art, one must learn to move in the correct manner. The body has to learn and remember how to move.

One of the landmarks of my training which I look forward to is introduction to new Kata. Kata embody the given fighting style with a sequential combination of martial techniques. Through repetition of the kata's movements one builds a procedural memory of the techniques. This "muscle memory" allows for performance of the techniques and the stringing together of techniques on a sub-attentive level. I found the following eight-point list about building muscle memory on Wikipedia and while it seems to address a different skill, the points are all applicable to learning a kata.

  1. Lots of) Practice Makes Perfect. ...
  2. Learn slow, forget slow. ...
  3. Long vs. short practice sessions. ...
  4. Muscle memory doesn't discriminate between good and bad habits. ...
  5. Break songs up into bite-sized pieces. ...
  6. Muscle memory resides in the brain. ...
  7. Learning strum patterns is groovy. ...
  8. Be patient.

Assume you have done your Kata enough times to create this procedural memory of 20 or 25 techniques strung together in a sequence. On its own, what do you have? Much like a gymnastic routine, it can be characterized as a series of movements without inherent meaning.

Analyzing and assigning martial meaning to the movements of a kata is what Bunkai is about. This is why learning a new Kata is so great for me; it's the Hidden Room!

The puzzle of how a combination of movements can end a fight adds a whole new level to kata. If you can identify a technique or series of techniques with a response to an attack, you can imbue your Kata both with new meaning and emphasis. That pull back hand isn't just serving to increase punch velocity but instead is part of a two handed technique to dislocate a joint. Ghoulish relish? You bet!

The lore is that the secret meanings hidden within the Kata were passed along to select karateka by their Sensei, probably at the Sensei's deathbed. I fully expect to be summoned to the candle lit Dojo at some point to have secret applications revealed. Until then it seems we karateka must stumble on by ourselves to unlock the mysteries.

Fortunately, there are other avenues of aid in our quest: In "The Way of Kata" (Kane and Wilder 2005) the authors relay a list of Rules and Principles to use when deciphering a kata. Patrick McCarthy has provided a list of "HAPV Theory (Habitual Acts of Physical Violence) (attached). This is a list of attacks that might be expected and can be used as a starting point for a Kata based response. Pairing these tools with an understanding of the vulnerable areas of human anatomy and you are on your frustrating and at times rewarding way to bunkai discovery.

The Way

I approach black belt with a bit of disquiet. Sure, the test itself will be somewhat grueling and I'm not much for public appearances. That's only a couple of hours long though and training will prepare me for it. That and the help of my fellow karateka will get me through. Rather, I have a general unease that I won't measure up to what I think a black belt should be.

Over the course of training I have been exposed to a number of high level black belts in our Club and Association. Beyond their advanced training and understanding of the Art, I ascribe to them high levels of integrity, discipline and assiduousness. While I am probably guilty of idealizing that which constitutes black belt behavior there is still that little voice....

I answer that particular nag with the understanding that Black Belt is not a destination. It's not a graduation. It is a waypoint on the journey: Riding an ox, looking for an ox.


Note: I have taken a somewhat light tone in this tome because karate training is just so much fun. I am cognizant though of the deadly serious business of self-defense and the respect that must be paid to it in both training and the possible real life use.

McCarty's HAPV list 1. Straight kicks 2. Angular-type kicks 3. Straight punches 4. Circular punches 5. Downward strikes 6. Upward strikes 7. Knee & Elbow strikes 8. Head-butt/Biting & spitting 9. Testicle squeeze 10. Augmented foot/leg trips 11. Single/double-hand hair pull from the front/rear 12. Single/double-hand choke from the front/rear 13. Front neck choke from rear 14. Classical head-lock 15. Front, bent-over, augmented choke (neck- hold) 16. Half/full-nelson 17. Rear over-arm bear hug (& side variation) 18. Rear under- arm bear hug (& side variation) 19. Front over-arm bear hug (& side variation) 20. Front under-arm bear hug (& side variation) 21. Front/rear tackle 22. One-handed wrist grab (same & opposite sides-normal/reversed) 23. Two-handed wrist grabs (normal/reversed) 24. Both wrists seized from the front/rear 25. Both arms seized from the front/rear 26. Single/double shoulder grab from front/rear 27. Arm-lock (behind the back) 28. Front arm-bar (triceps tendon fulcrum up supported by wrist) 29. Side arm-bar (triceps tendon fulcrum down supported by wrist) 30. Single/double lapel grab 31. Single/double-hand shove 32. Garment pulled over the head 33. Seized & impact 34. Single/double leg/ankle grab from the front (side/rear) 35. Ground straddle 36. Attacked (kicked/struck) while down

Battles of Balance

by AJ Best

Black Belt Candidate Paper, March 9th, 2018

I find few virtues more important within Karate than the pursuit of balance. Not only the balance that allows me to stand on one foot or to perform a spin kick but also the balance between conflicting initiatives within myself. There are multiple conflicting physical and mental forces that happen within any Karateka that must be in balance in order to reach one's greatest potential. Stability vs Mobility, Speed vs Accuracy and Efficiency vs Power are examples of conflicting physical forces. Patience vs Aggression and Mindfulness vs Intuition are examples of conflicting mental forces. By tuning the scales between these I can make myself a more effective Karateka. I have found that these same core areas of balance reciprocate within my everyday life and as I have learned to tune their balance within my Karate, I have also learned to tune them outside of Karate.

The balance between physical forces are the easiest to understand and manipulate, although they can be difficult to perfect. Looking at Stability vs Mobility it is easy to understand that while a Front stance may be a very stable position when done correctly, it does not allow for a quick dodge of an incoming attack, hence presenting a decrease in mobility. Likewise, while a cat stance may allow for quick movement it does not offer great stability. In practice, when I step into a front stance, I need to be aware of this change in mobility in order to be prepared for the oncoming attack. This awareness will influence the stance I take and how rooted I am willing to make myself. Stability vs Mobility exists outside of Karate as well, although in a much different way. When considering the future of my children or family, the stability of my home and job are important factors, however if we are too rooted, we run the risk of not being able to adjust if/when needed.

The goals of any Karateka should include both speed and accuracy, however, I regard these as conflicting forces. I find that no matter the skill level of the practitioner, if they are trying to move as fast as possible, they will generally be compromising their accuracy. Both speed and accuracy can, however, be increased simultaneously together through practice. In any individual movement, I see this as an area of practice that needs to be in balance in order to produce a technique that is most effective given the need of the situation. As example we can look at a high block. If avoiding a punch, the most important thing is for me to be faster than the punch so as to avoid getting hit. It is not as important if my arm is an inch higher or lower so long as it is high enough to avoid the punch. In contrast if we are using the high block as the fulcrum of an arm bar, it is much more important that I have my arm positioned correctly then be overly fast at getting it there. The battle of Speed vs Accuracy exists outside of Karate in how we go about any task in the difference between doing something right vs doing something fast. Putting too much detail into a proposal in order to make it as accurate as possible will take too long, making it late. Producing it too fast will result in too many inaccuracies which can have big negative impacts down the road. I, like many Karateka, find the balance between Efficiency and Power to be one of the most challenging aspects of martial movement. The concept behind this battle is to move in the most efficient way possible and still be able to exact power at the right moments. I strive to stay relaxed, which will improve speed, until the moment of contact when I focus my power into my opponent. I find myself constantly holding too much tension in my movements and arms which over time uses too much energy. Outside of Karate, I find this battle to be less challenging because it is not embodied physically. It materializes in my ability to achieve and possess the things I want and need without over-exerting or overextending myself.

The mental side of these balance battles can be a bit more complex to understand, practice and execute. The first I will examine is the battle of Patience vs Aggression. On the patience side we need to wait for the correct moment to strike but at the same time we need to have the aggression and initiative to throw the strike when the moment or opening does present itself. This is a hard skill to practice. Partner drills and sparring present an opportunity to work on this skill but only if entered into with the correct mindset. Furthermore, understanding and receiving instruction on recognizing an opening and taking advantage of that opening seems near impossible. Our best chance at improving this skill is through practice and the more realistic we make that practice, the more likely we will be to execute it effectively if the need presents itself. This battle is especially present outside of Karate in my biggest life changing choices. The most successful people, in my experience, understand the need to wait for the right opportunity and when it presents itself, jump at it. Too many times I will recognize the value of a great opportunity only after it has passed me by because I was lacking the aggression to go after it.

This is closely related to the next set of conflicting forces, Intuition vs Mindfulness. When learning a new drill or Kata I am always very mindful of the moves I am making. Is this the correct move? Are my feet in the correct position? Is my weight correctly placed? What is the timing of the next move? These are the questions going through my head. This excessive mindfulness is important when learning a new sequence of movements but only once I have committed those movements to memory can I allow my intuition to take over. At this point I will start to see greater power and speed out of the same sequence because I am no longer holding my body back by being too mindful. On the opposite side, once I know a kata backwards and forwards, I can be too intuitive where my body starts doing what is easiest and becomes sloppy. Hence there is a balance between the mindfulness and intuition and I find my best Kata are performed when both sides are in play. Outside of the dojo this battle exists in the tough decisions that we have to make. Often times we are presented with choices and use our thought processes to determine the correct solution. However, when two options are so closely matched it comes down to our intuition to go with the option that feels right. Decisions that are balanced usually have the best outcome.

In addition to these battles of balance that exist inside and outside of my Karate, there is also a balance to be negotiated between my life inside and outside of the Karate dojo. This balance was the driving force that led me to Karate to begin with. My daily life involves spending 8-10 hours a day in front of a computer. This led me to seek out a physical activity to balance out my mind and body and to help keep myself in shape. Enter Karate. The time spent at karate offered me the perfect amount of physical exercise I needed in order to not feel too "burnt out" in front of a computer every day. This is also what has kept me in Karate for the past 5 years and likely, far into the future.

These battles of balance represent my growth within Karate and as a person. As my understanding of a particular battle changes or evolves, or as I feel I have gained the proper balance within one set, a new set presents itself as one to work on. Currently I find myself most challenged within Karate in finding the proper balance between Efficiency vs Power. Once I am able to overcome this I am confident my Karate will improve significantly and a new battle of balance will present itself. However, regardless of the battle I am undergoing, Karate continues to be the matching Yang to the Yin in my life.

Black Belt Paper

by Gerald Ness

My fascination with the martial arts started at an early age while watching a show called the Green Hornet. Kato (Bruce Lee), the Green Hornet's sidekick was a man among men in my world. I moved on to watching all of Bruce Lee's movies and started to believe that he was invincible, until the day of his death. This lead to watching more films and television shows like Kung Fu which starred David Carradine, all of the Chuck Norris films and even some Steven Seagal movies. One movie that has always stuck with me was the Circle of Iron; a story about a young martial artist who embarks on an adventure to find the book of knowledge. On this journey he gets into battles with different types of martial arts experts and is able to defeat them all. When he finally reaches the keeper of the book of knowledge, he sits down and opens the book to find that every page is a mirror. This, to me, was a sign that what you are looking for starts from within yourself.

My first experience in training with the arts started in 1994 when Mark Cress, an instructor of Taekwondo, kept insisting that I should come to his dojo and join one of his classes. This led me to my first degree black belt in Taekwondo. We learned forms and how to spar in tournament style competitions. I traveled all over competing in tournaments in Salt Lake City, Utah, Idaho Falls, etc. These were great experiences because you would have to do your Kata in front of a hundred people (more like 10). To be able to perform under pressure showed a side of me that I didn't think was possible. As a youngster, I was very shy and would have problems doing anything in front of a crowd. My Taekwondo experience showed me that I could get in front of people and perform my poomse which helped with my self-esteem. It showed me that the confidence I lacked had always been inside of me and unleashed a new person.

After my son was born I gave up my Taekwondo pursuit, as I had to take care of my little man. As he grew, I always had this desire to get back into training. As he started his high school years, it became evident to me that his self-confidence could use a boost. The first thing that came to my mind was to enroll him into a karate class. I knew of Sensei Sue from her days of Taekwondo and thought that enrolling him in her dojo would be a way of improving his self-confidence as Taekwondo had improved mine. I did notice how much my son's self-confidence began to rise after he had started taking karate. He would come home and show me his Kata, which in turn gave me the bug to start training once again.

The idea of going back was unsettling because I realized I would have to perform in front of crowds again and thought that maybe at being a half of a century old it was too late to start over. This was one choice in life that I can say was the right one. In my last four years of training I have noticed a difference in my outlook on everything from my job to my home-life. I have been able to relax more and have been able to focus on tasks. The achievement of getting a black belt says a couple of things to me; one, that you have the ability to train your body to react in different situations, and two, that you can train your mind in the same manner. Marital arts are a way of connecting your inner self to your physical self. A belt is used to hold up your pants; a black belt holds who you are.

Meet Doreen Hynd, 92, tai chi chuan master

by Judy Zhu and Wang Linyan

Updated: 2018-06-17 11:39

Doreen Hynd performs tai chi chuan during an interview with the Chinese media on April 19 at the Chiryster Building in New York City. [PHOTO BY JUDY ZHU/CHINA DAILY]

Balance is a word that you'll hear often from Doreen Hynd, a 92-year-old tai chi chuan master who has taught the martial art for almost 30 years both in the US and Canada.

"Balance is everything. We all want to live as human beings with very fine balance in our emotions and how we present ourselves to the world," Hynd said in an interview with China Daily last month when discussing the benefits of practicing tai chi chuan, an externally soft but internally hard Chinese martial art practiced both for self-defense and health benefits.

On the 9th United Nations Chinese Language Day, held on April 20 every year, Hynd was bestowed with a special honor for her outstanding achievement in promoting tai chi culture.

"Tai chi has withstood the test of time for several centuries in Chinese culture. It brings about an awareness of breath and calmness and invites the body, mind and inner consciousness to work together for an experience of lightness and strength," Hynd said.

Born in Australia in 1925, Hynd began her tai chi chuan training in the 1980s at Sydney University. In 1984, Hynd moved to the United States and sought out Sophia Delza, who had spent many years in China studying under the famous tai chi chuan grandmaster Ma Yueh Liang - Ma was the senior disciple of Wu Jianquan, the founder of Wu-style tai chi chuan.

After Delza passed away in 1996, Hynd, by then Delza's teaching assistant, carried on Delza's mission of promoting tai chi culture and taught at places such as the United Nations, Carnegie Hall and the State University of New York.

"A lot of the classes that I am teaching are for retired people, and it was one of the most inspiring things in my life," Hynd said.

During her 24 years of teaching the art, miracles have happened, she said. Hynd recalled that one of her students who had suffered serious brain damage started to recover memories after practicing tai chi chuan with her, even though doctors said it was "impossible".

Doreen Hynd is awarded a special honor by Cao Guozhong, president of the UN Staff Recreation Council tai chi club on April 20. [Photo provided to China Daily]

"They (the patients) learned about me through the college that I worked at in Canada, and they stayed with me and are still with me. Now the medical world wants to know what this Chinese exercise is doing with their patients," Hynd said with a big smile.

Hynd wants to pass on the magic to young people as well. "I volunteered to be a mentor in the high school as well as middle school and elementary school," she said. "They want me to teach tai chi chuan, and I am very thrilled about that."

Hynd believes it is important to speak to young adults, as they are inquiring about the world and are the future ambassadors for different cultures. "They are the ones who are going to lead the world, and it's really nice to have them embrace all cultures at a young age. To listen, to learn and to be open to all cultures," Hynd said.

The concept of tai chi ("supreme ultimate"), in contrast with wu chi ("without ultimate"), appears in both Taoist and Confucian philosophy, where it represents the fusion of yin and yang into a single ultimate, which is interchangeable, said Cao Guozhong, president of the UN Staff Recreation Council tai chi club.

"I would make a friend with the stranger who is coming toward me with a knife or a gun. My life might go, but I would rather have my connection with that person," Hynd said when asked whether she would use tai chi chuan to defend herself.

Cao said Hynd has learned the core of Chinese culture by practicing tai chi chuan. "To listen carefully to other people, to accommodate others with an empty heart, to transform enemies into friends... these are the essence of the Book of Changes (or I Ching, an ancient Chinese divination text)."

"Tai chi chuan is such a gift. I am a little bit lost for the best kind of language that I could be using for appreciation for what I inherited. That's where my good health comes from. I am 92, and I can do dancing and tennis and whatever it might be," Hynd said.

2018 Beisho Spring Clinic

by Justin Sheehy

In April I had the pleasure of participating in the 2018 Beisho Spring Clinic at True Martial Arts Academy. There are two main things that I hope to get out of any such event: to benefit from the teachings of a variety of sensei, and to have the opportunity to train with a broader community of fellow practitioners. This weekend was completely successful in both of those measures! I learned a great deal from the array of excellent instructors across the sessions. I appreciated that each sensei demonstrated their own way of thinking about the weekend's 2018 Beisho Spring Clinic theme of "push and pull." The variety of partners, both familiar and unfamiliar to me, participating alongside me added to these new learning opportunities. Working with these partners added to the experience both by allowing us to immediately experiment with the teachings of the instructors, and by providing us with the ability to train with people that would all push (and pull!) each other to improve in slightly different ways. It was immensely inspirational to be working with such dedicated people.

My teenage son also came and participated in the seminar, which was a unique treat for both me and him. He is fairly new to karate, having been training for about a year now. Being undaunted by training for so many hours in a room where he was both the youngest and lowest-rank person was its own achievement, and seeing his hard work and dedication made me proud. Everyone, from the sensei to the participants, were unfailingly respectful and encouraging to him. We both also received promotions at the clinic. Just as I felt with my own rank adjustment, the personal honor of his achievements being recognized as part of a gathering of such a group of luminaries made the experience even more memorable for him. Those events, and many others that made up the clinic, helped to make us feel even more a part of the Beisho community. My son has spoken since then about how the weekend was not only very good training but that the experience gave him new perspectives and opened up new possibilities of practice. As a result, he is even more excited to learn than he was before and has a broader understanding of the wider world of martial arts beyond his home dojo. All of this together is tremendously valuable to me since it provides another way to strengthen my bond with my son. I have benefited from my involvement in martial arts since I was a child, and opportunities such as the 2018 Beisho Spring Clinic are invaluable ways to share that love with my child, while continuing my own growth in the discipline.

World Tai Chi and Qigong Day 2018

by Mike Poole

Last Spring, I had a dream to do tai chi all over New York City on the public transportation. I pitched the dream to a couple people, who encouraged me to take up the cause. I decided I would fulfill this dream on World Tai Chi and Qigong Day. So, on Saturday April 28th, 2018, the dream became a reality!

At 9am, a bunch of us gathered at Great Kills. A couple of us were with Earth And Cup; Meghan Bryant, a Master Trainer with the Tai Chi Institute for Health, had come up from Virginia the day before to teach a Seated Tai Chi workshop; and a group of Wing Chun students from Staten Island. We started on the platform at the Great Kills train station. We did Yang 8, a nice beginning form that is stationary for the most part. We had two different variations of the form, so we worked on the differences between the two. On the train, we taught Meghan the form. She had it down by the time we reached St. George, the last stop.

While we waited in the ferry terminal, we ran through the Tai Chi for Arthritis form, which is a variation of Sun 30. There was a group of guys with a stand-up bass singing four-part harmony, old school Motown. It provided a nice background as with then went through Yang 24. We had a group of about 30-40 people watching us pretty intently.

On the ferry, we started to discuss what to do next. One person offered up Yang 36. Most of us didn't know it, so he showed it to us. The form he demonstrated I originally learned as Yang 44, which I have since come to realize is Cheng Man-Ching's 37 Postures. A rose by any other name is still .... I thought it was appropriate to by doing Cheng's form here in New York City. One of the participants noted that it was possible to match the flow of the form to the shifting of the ferry from side to side, as we slowed to dock in Manhattan. This gave an added dimension to their form.

Our original plan was to head to Central Park. There was supposed to be a large tai chi group up there. As we were docking, one of the Wing Chun guys got a text that Central Park was breaking up. So, we decided to go do Tai Chi in Chinatown! While on the subway platform for the 5 train at Bowling Green, we found some space to do Chen 36. On the train, we worked on some of the seated tai chi techniques we learned in class the day before. I found it was possible to get some decent movement, even on the subway.

While in Chinatown, we went to a couple martial arts stores. I was finally able to buy my little drum. You know, that drum that Miyagi gives to Daniel in Karate Kid 2. Now I can learn the secret.....

From here, the group decided to go in different directions. Meghan and I decided to go down to Battery Park. I had convinced her to teach me a new form. It was a beautiful day, so was a huge crowd at Battery Park waiting for Statue of Liberty tours. We found a little space in front of the Armory, on the opposite side of the line from the hip/hop dancers. They chuckled at us with our slow movements. We showed them that we could articulate to the music just like they could. They decided to move on before full blown dance war broke out. Meghan taught me the first half on Sun 73.

Meghan and I barely made the 3:30pm ferry. We decided to stay and the back deck. We started to work on Sun 73, when we looked over and saw someone taking pictures of us. It was one of the Wing Chun we started with, making his way back home. We did some of the form, with the City at our back. On the train ride home, we discussed our day. Throughout the whole day, we didn't have one person give us negativity about what we were doing. We tried to be mindful of space, and letting people pass as they needed. What we did find was at each location, we had a group of people who took the time to watch what we were doing. It seemed to bring the intensity of the energy down a bit. Now, it wasn't a Monday morning commuter rush, but for the moment, people seemed to be calmer than usual. We wondered if we came at a more stressed time, could the same effect happen? Could a small group of people, just dong tai chi, bring calm to a place, situation or circumstance? Maybe that is next year's project. Meghan is returning to Staten Island in August to lead a Tai Chi at Work workshop. I wonder if she will include some of our learned lessons from this experience in the curriculum. In places like Metro NYC, the commute is sometimes just as long as the workday. Could we give people something to keep their bodies healthy while they are commuting? Stand by as we continue to take tai chi to the streets, uuurrr the trains, or ferries, or buses, or planes, or subways, or the workplace, or....

The passing of a master

It is with a great sadness that we learned the Grand Master Shugoro Nakazato of the Shorin Ryu Shorinkan has passed away at the age of 97. Shugoro Nakazato sensei was a prominent and legendary Okinawan Karate master and a direct disciple of Chosin Chibana, the founder of Shorin Ryu. Click link Shugoro Nagazato

Weekend Seminar In Waltham

by Ido Diamant

In Waltham, Jim True Sensei hosted a weekend seminar bringing in instructors from Ohio, and student Ido Diamant wrote about the weekend.

Throughout the weekend, many interesting and insightful exercises were taught by the visiting sensei from Ohio. These unique lessons, many centering on connectivity to an assailant, or minimizing the moves required to defend one's self in some situations. We took time to cement some kata (Jayne Butram Sensei), specifically Sanchin. We were able to learn more about the rhythm of the kata, the breathing required throughout, and how to make a strong, stable stance to base the kata on. Later on, we dissected basic techniques, such as high blocks, middle blocks, and chest punches. The focus on each of these basic parts was a valuable experience, and strengthening our skills and applying them to other more complex techniques was a beneficial use of time.

On some of the other days, we studied Tai Chi briefly (Sue Holobaugh Sensei), and talked about energy and connection to the earth. Another interesting lesson (with Terrence Tuy Sensei) was studying throws, and how taking an opponent down could come easily from a grappling situation, leaving you with the advantage in a fight. On Sunday, one of the most useful and interesting lessons (with Mike Pepe Sensei) was discussing and practicing what to do in a fight. Often, a fight can break out for the sake of fighting, not in a fatal situation, and learning how to deal with an attacker in self defense without overreacting was crucial.

In addition to all these valuable lessons, the weekend was my opportunity to rise to the rank of Shodan. As a rising black belt, the weekend doubled as a test of my abilities as well as a learning experience. The opportunity to train with higher ranking adults provided me with insight I don't often have the chance to hear, and I feel it improved my abilities to hear others' advice and experiences. After studying at the dojo for many years, the experience of finally reaching my goal, in addition to the useful teachings of the Ohio teachers was a fantastic weekend. I feel I learned a lot from the seminar, and am glad I had the opportunity to attend.

What can one expect if they are to attend SKKAA Budo camp?
Here is my experience below.

by Ralph Arabian (Purple Belt)

I was initially encouraged by my sensei to attend this year's SKKAA summer camp. At first, I was uncertain and ambivalent about participat- ing given that the fact I am early in my journey and cur- rently at the level of purple belt. Selling the idea of a long drive for a weekend camp to my wife and family was also a consideration, and not an easy one at that. After many "conversations" and "discussions", I was able to "sell" my family on the idea. The first day at the camp, I quickly realized how valu- able this experience was going to be. While attending my first meeting, I was impressed by the expertise and knowledge of my peers, especially that of the senior staff.

I was truly amazed of how dignified, graceful and flawless they were as they demonstrated their mastery of kata. I was somewhat uncomfortable at the start, due to the realization I was "low man on the totem pole" by far. However, I was impressed beyond my expectations, of how welcoming, suppor- tive, friendly and encouraging everyone was. The sensei were extremely helpful and allowed me opportunities to discover their "secrets" as they are commonly referred to. All the partici- pants were very encouraging and generous with their time and patience. I certainly had more questions than most due to my experience level. It is great to have two excellent sensei at the dojo where I am currently studying; it was priceless to have so many sensei in the same room dedicated to helping and guiding you to refine kata and skill sets.

I also have a new appreciation for Taiji and its parallels with Shoryn-Ryu. By participating in the exercises each morning, I developed a better sense of the importance of grounding and being rooted. This concept was delivered in a method which made it interesting, engaging and easy to grasp.

As camp progressed, I continued to cultivate a deeper understanding and appreciation for the diverse, practical skills I was learning. I was guided to recognize how these talents may be applied to possible real life situations. By the third day, I was more confident, comfortable and acquired a greater understanding of ideas, concepts, and philosophies of this refined "art".

With regards to my family; they had an excellent time at the resort. They enjoyed the use of the indoor and outdoor pools, which came in handy on the hot and humid 90 degree days. They also made a day trip to nearby Gettysburg and visited the National park. Most of all, they were very understanding of my commitment and enthusiasm to attend the sessions.

It was also great that all attendees, from seniors to beginners, were very easy to relax with during free time. Everyone was friendly and welcoming; a first-rate group of people, all work- ing towards the same goals and principals. In summary, and without hesitation, I would en- courage anyone, at any stage in their journey to attend. The people are welcoming, encourag- ing, and the experience, concepts and skills one will learn and attain will be unparalleled.

In short, if you are considering attending one of the future Summer Budo Camps, go for it!

World Record Attempt

by Mike Poole

I grew up a Lutheran. I learned very quickly what a potluck was (long before Garrison Keillor started revealing them to the world). About ten years ago, it was a dream of mine to set the record for World's Largest Potluck. My plan was to make it an event that would bring awareness to the issues surrounding hunger. The more I articulated my dreams to others, the more people looked at me funny.
I joined Facebook in 2008. Back in the day, it was used more to play games than it was to communicate. There was an app that was called "Dishes from the Church Basement". You could send other people strange potluck dishes (that had some basis in fact). I seminary classmate of mine called me up in December of that year and asked me what could we do to use the concept of potlucks to bring awareness to hunger. Eureka!! Someone who will listen to the dream and not mock. From that conversation, and grassroots movement was formed, which at that time was called A Month of Potlucks. It would later transition into Potlucks To End World Hunger.
The concept is we ask groups of people to have a potluck meal. As they gather to eat, remember there are those locally, regional, nationally, and internationally that are not able to eat. During the potluck have an awareness component that sheds light on the issues, both short-term and systemic, that leads to hunger and food-insecurity. We also ask to have information on how individuals can become advocates for the work to combat hunger. We suggest they have connections available that people may move to action on the local, regional, national and global levels. And we also ask that some donation be taken and sent to an organization that works in the area of addressing hunger. We also began setting up regional workshops called "Hunger Huddles". We bring people together on a regional basis to discuss the on-the-ground issues in a particular location. I have had the opportunity to travel the eastern half of the US attending potlucks and huddles for the last seven years.

In November 2013, I turned 50 years old. I decided I would wear a kilt every day for a year, from my 50th to my 51st birthday. I would do this to raise awareness, advocacy, action and funds for two national organizations, one being ELCA World Hunger. It was a great year as I took the story of the hungry and food insecure to a new level. My kilt collection grew that year from 6 to 13!

I gained a one-of-a-kind Kilted 50 For Charity kilt. The same kilt maker made me a karate gi kilt!
I still had this dream to break the potluck world record. In January of 2015, I started to put the plan in place. People started seeing the same dream. The date was set for November 21st, 2015. It would be held at a civic center in Cambridge, Ohio. The current Guinness Book of World Records record for World's Largest Potluck is 1, 240 people set by a church in Chandler, Arizona. So, our target number was 2,000 people sitting down for a potluck.
For the advocacy component, we would go to the Statehouse, and see who we could talk to. On Wednesday November 18th, 2015, a group of people held a press conference at the Ohio Statehouse. Several news services attended. The first question asked of me was what if we don't break the record? I stated that the record was a residual thing. The day won't be about setting a record. It will be about bring awareness to hunger; advocating for the hungry and food-insecure; food people; connecting people with local pantries to meet their needs; providing items for local pantries; sitting down together around a meal. We then visited with the staffs of six legislators. All in all a good day. The Columbus Dispatch had a two-page article in the Friday November 20th edition of the paper.

The day when dreams come true was Saturday November 21, 2015. We gathered early to set up display tables and food tables and to get ready. And people showed up. And they brought food. And they met others. And they talked. And they had a great time.

Sensei Jan Parton Hansen (Hansen Family Karate) brought her whole family to participate.
At the end of the day it was a dream came true! Did we break the record......... no.... But it wasn't about the record really. At the end of the day 385 came and ate, including residents of a local homeless shelter. There were 12 local hunger organizations present to make a personal connection with the people they serve. 1,442 non-perishable food items were collected for local pantries. AND, everyone stated we should do this again. Dare we dream??

To read the Columbus Dispatch article:

April Seminar 2015 (essay)

The best thing about Karate is that everyone immediately knows how bad you are at it. I know we're supposed to say that our belt shows how much we've learned. But, since I'm uncoordinated enough I've given up on ballet, step, belly dance, and any yoga that doesn't emphasize the word 'slow,' I appreciate the freedom to be bad at something. 'Being bad' isn't an excuse to give up, it's permission to say "I don't have to do this perfectly, I only have to try and get better."

It helps that Sensei Marisa is very patient with us. She encouraged us to give the seminar a try, repeatedly pointing out that both that we didn't have to attend every session and that attending would be easier than one of her belt tests, more than half of us - myself, Kristen, and Kayla - came. (We were the ones holding down the fort on the left side of the room.)

Only going to what you can was important, because for the week prior, until 2:30 am Saturday morning I was the only adult in the house. And, as much as I'd have liked to abandon my children to go hit someone or something, this is generally the sort of thing that gets CPS called.

Still, I attended three sessions: Saturday morning, covering defense using a bunkai of a kata none of knew, but we muddled though; Saturday afternoon introduced a basic aikido technique (I'd always though aikido was about flow, and grace, but it turns out, even if you can only follow though step three of a dozen step process, it's really about horrible, horrible, pain); and the Sunday review.

"Even if you only remember one thing, that's OK," is something that I'm usually told when I'm at Saturday practice across from the 5-to-8 kids lesson. And it's something that was repeated at least once a session. Best of all, it's true. Weeks later I remember about three things: how to practice falling, turns in excess of 180 degrees in a kata are usually substituting for a throw, and if someone grabs your collar you can stabilize with a chest block (although I have no muscle memory of what happens next, so I'm pretty sure the next move is I get hit in the head).

That isn't to say I wasn't exposed to at least ten times that many concepts, or managed to practice somewhat more, but that's what stuck. Some were practiced on my own (falling), some with my peers (responsiveness) , and some with the black-belts that filled at least half the dojo. I don't know if it benefitted them, but while I might not have learned what was being taught, the one-on-one time we spent practicing helped identify, and work on, my bad habits. (I lean forward ALL the time. And I did, in fact, get hit in the head. Lightly. They knew what they were doing, even if I didn't.)

I think that as humans we all fear public humiliation; at being labeled the worst, at being singled out. But before I ever walked into the dojo for the seminar, my belt already proclaimed that. I think because of that, because of the freedom from false expectations, and because of the genuine love of karate - including the obligation to teach and pass on - shown by all of higher rank, the willingness to show up and try was the only true prerequisite.

I feared being laughed at and I feared getting hurt. Neither happened, unless you count waking up feeling like I'd overused muscles I didn't know I had Sunday morning, and that was resolved by more practice on Sunday. I'm so pleased that I overcame these worries and came, in no small part because at the end of the seminar I watched as my own teacher - Sensei Marissa - receive her first promotion in a decade.

Sensei Jayne's Visit to Wyoming Dojo

by Heather Best, White Belt, Wyoming Karate Club

I want to give a special thank you to Sensei Jayne Butram for coming all the way out to Jackson, Wyoming the first weekend in October, and for sharing her knowledge and wisdom with the Wyoming Karate Club. She is a truly amazing and gifted teacher and we are so lucky to have had the opportunity to work with her.

It was a bit intimidating at first... being the only beginner/no belt in a room of purple belts and higher, but I soon settled into a groove with a "Bring it On" type attitude and still have the bruises to prove it. I realize that it can be scary at first, but there is something about Sensei Jayne's demeanor that can put you right to ease from the get go. I never felt out of place or not advanced enough. She brought important details of the basics to the table. Everything that was taught was fundamentals that could be used in the dojo or throughout everyday life. The way you stand; what you observe; how you react...

I was and am still excited that I ended the clinic testing for my white belt. I am taking away many great points that Sensei Jayne brought to the table and I will continue to train and focus on my technique until it becomes muscle memory and I am aware of the energy flowing.

Treuo Chinen Sensei has passed away at the age of 74

A huge loss to the martial arts world and the Goju Ryu community as Treuo Chinen Sensei has passed away at the age of 74. He had been one of the last surviving students who had learned directly from Chojun Miyagi and founded his own karate organization called Jundokan International. He is considered the best Okinawan Goju Ryu teacher outside Japan and is admired and respected throughout the martial arts world. He will be sadly missed.

Ohio State University to name residence hall
in honor of alumni John Hideo Houston

John Hideo Huston was a Captain in the US Marine corps and a trained helicopter pilot however he was also a martial artist training at Ohio State back in the late 60's and early 70's, with many of Beisho's luminaries, who remember him fondly. He was a serious student and even vowed to wear a rope belt until he received his black belt. Sadly during a 1984 training mission in Korea his helicopter crashed and all were killed. He was just 34 years old. It is great news the hear Ohio State will honor him by naming a residence hall in his name. Read about his life below.

How to Be the Black Belt You Were Meant to Be

by Jesse Enkamp

Interesting article about being a better black belt,

My Boston Trip

by Jan Hansen

Editors Note: Mike Pepe sensei recently hosted Jan Hansen sensei (3rd Dan) and Mike Poole sensei (2nd Dan) at his home for a weekend of in-depth training. Jan Hansen sensei shares with you her experience.

It all started in January when I received an alert from Southwest Airlines. Akron, Ohio to Boston, Mass for $70 each way! I called Mike Poole (Earth and Cup Dojo) excitedly, "We can go to Boston and workout for 140 dollars!" Mike, of course, was all in. The dates were set with a few complications. Rapid changes were made and we were off at 3:00am Monday Morning on April 13th.

We arrived in Boston at 8:00am and Sensei Pepe was there to pick us up by 8:15. We grabbed a bite to eat and we were off and running. If you have ever spent time with Sensei Pepe you know that we never stopped. I apparently couldn't get changed fast enough, so when I came downstairs they were already working out!

We spent the next three days training in Kendo, Iaido, Jiu-jitsu, Karate and Tai ji. My head was spinning. In between workouts we talked about bunkai, bunkai and more bunkai! We watched videos on everything from the Okinawan Masters to me as a yellow belt. We really went deep into Gojushiho and Tensho!

Sensei True invited us to work out Tuesday night and Wednesday afternoon. Actually he invited us Monday night too, but plans were confused (sorry Steve Tulimeri)! Sensei True asked us what we wanted to work on and I jumped in with "Tensho" and dynamics. He gave us way more than we could have asked for. Also, we got to train with some of his students. Mike Poole scored a red sox hat (Thanks Norm)! We continued this workout on Wednesday afternoon when Sensei True worked out with us privately and we explored more Taiji and dynamics. Thank you, Sensei True for taking the time to fit us in! Later Wednesday, Sensei Pepe asked us what we wanted to work on now.

Let me step back a moment, before the workout with Sensei True we went to Chinatown and explored Boston with Sensei Pepe. If you have never toured with Sensei Pepe, it's similar to running a 5K! So, when he asked what we want to work on now, because we had an hour before getting ready to catch our flight, we both looked at him with eyes glazed over. Nothing Sensei! Really, we are good for about a year! At which time, he goes to the closet and gives Mike Poole a Scully cap! I just want to add that I didn't get a hat, not that it matters, but ok!

Sensei Pepe, Kristen, Morgan and Nick were the perfect hosts! We loved Kristen's cooking, Nick's guitar performance, Morgan's humor and Sensei Pepe providing coffee every morning. Thanks again Sensei Pepe, it was beyond kind of you to take this time for us.


Meet Li Tianjin: Jack Ma's bodyguard and a master of Tai Chi

by Lucy Liu

A couple of weeks ago, it was reported that Alibaba founder Jack Ma, with a net worth of 28.3 billon USD, replaced Li Ka-shing as Asia's richest person. This week, however, the media have taken special interest in Ma's bodyguard, a coach at a Tai Chi temple in Hangzhou.
See pictorial article here:

Finding an Old Comrade 70 Years Later

by Papa Chris Clarke

When my Dad passed away in 1981, he left with me a little box about 5"x4"x2" in size that contained several dozen enameled pins. It took me almost 20 years to get around to investigating them, but when I did, I found that they were World War U.S. Army Distinctive Unit Insignia (DUI), special pins that were authorized for wear by members of battalions, regiments, brigades, divisions, corps, and armies. (See photo.) In the box were also two personal identification badges, one of a member of the Royal Canadian Air Force and the other belonging to Thomas P. Standridge, U.S.A.

My Dad came to own these DUI because between about 1940 and 1943, he was in charge of all entertainment programs at Fort Benning, GA, the facility through which almost all soldiers headed to the European Theater passed either for basic training or advanced training as paratroopers, Rangers, or other specialized troops. Almost none knew it, but many were being trained for D-Day. In early 1943, Dad enlisted (he had previously served in a civilian capacity), but continued to do "double duty," going through simultaneous "boot camp" and Ranger training during most of the day, then planning, rehearsing, directing, em-cee'ing, and occasionally performing late into the night in the entertainment programs for the troops, radio programs in the area, and War Bond raising appearances. (This double duty almost killed him. He collapsed from exhaustion and various related illnesses in July 1943 and was discharged medically from the Army. The unit with which he was training was sunk in the English Channel on the way to Europe.)

At most of the entertainment programs at Fort Benning, a representative of the unit or units in the audience would present my Dad with one of their DUI pins, and these were the ones I began to research almost two decades after his death, and more than 50 years after he had received them. I was able to identify most of the units, and it was sobering to think that many of the men who presented these pins to my Dad likely never came home from the War to marry or raise a family.

But that left the two personal identity tags. After desultory and unsuccessful efforts to locate either the original owners or their descendants-including contacting the Canadian Air Force-on Pearl Harbor Day 2014, I was finally able to track down the son of Thomas P. Standridge. After a phone call in which he was able to satisfy me that the pin actually belonged to his father, I am pleased and proud to announce that I am returning it to his son. It was a very poignant moment, especially on a day so replete with sad reminders of the cost of war, and will give both his family and mine a very Happy Holiday.

counter added August 17, 2011


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