Bethea's Karate Studio

119 West Sycamore Street
Kokomo, IN 46901


 Bethea's Karate Studio

Sensei Speaks

Volume 1, Issue 1      October 2017


Sensei Speaks—What’s Happening

First, I want to thank all of you for your support in all of the activities  in which we have been involved. Our trip to Okinawa was a very good one and I wish all of you could have been on the trip with me. As it was, the trip included Mr. Michael, Kara Boruff and me. All of us arrived within a half hour of each other. That was perfect timing if I should say so myself. As we have traveled in larger groups it is always so different and more difficult making connections.

Arrived on Friday night and got checked in. Got some sleep and got up for breakfast. Contacted Chibana in order to get the meeting scheduled with Sensei.  Our first venture was to make the trip down to Shureido. Of course Mr. Michael and Kara were up and moving before I got started. Of course I had only exchanged a small amount of money when I arrived in Tokyo. Banks are not open on Saturday and Sunday. Anyway, I got to Shureido and did what needed to be done.

Moving ahead I had the meeting with Sensei and Mr. Michael accompanied me for that. Sensei was in very pleasant and social mood. His wife. Prepared more food than the four of us could eat and it was really good. We spent about three hours with Sensei and talked about quite a few things. Sensei has become very comfortable in his position as head of Shorinkan and is a firm leader. Certainly he still misses his father and you can hear it when he talks about him.

Finally training began on Monday afternoon and a very good session. Hanshi Genka and Kyoshi Asato were excited to see us and right away they were ready to take care of us. Immediately after class they took us to a restaurant to eat. That was only the beginning. 




Dojo Coverage

This is a special thanks to Mr. Sylvester who covered classes while I was on Okinawa. He is first to ask if I will need help while I’m away. I realize that he already has a full plate but he is ready to take on the extra challenge.

Mr. Sylvester is also currently enrolled in his Doctorate’s Program and that is a real challenge alone. I am proud to have him as a student and will always encourage him in his pursuits. He may not always be able to assist with classes, so I will ask others to fill in when possible.

I must also thank Ms. Cole because she is always here working. She continues to always be available when there are questions that have to be answered and she knows the business operation very well. Thanks!




Karate Terminology You Should Know

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

Dojo—way hall/karate gym
Uke—to receive/block
Rei—to bow
Seiza no kamae—kneeling poature
Gyaku zuki—reverse punch
Seiken zuki—forefist punch
Mae Geri—front kick
Yoko Geri—sidekick
Mawashi Geri—roundhouse kick
Jodan—upper level
Chudan—middle level
Gedan—lower level
Domo arigato—thank you
Do Itashi Mas Te—you’re welcome
Konban wa—good evening
Konichi wa—good afternoon
Sumi mas sen—excuse me




What Kata Is

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

Now, 49 years later I have learned that I was the dunce in the Dojo. Learning the movements in the kata is simple. There is very little time required for learning the movements in the kata. The inner workings of the kata requires some intense study. It is extremely difficult to go into the kata and extract the defenses.

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




Student Of The Month

The Student Of The Month selection has come a little easier than usual this time. Normally I labor a little trying to determine who it will be but not this time.

Our S.O.M. for this month is from our Li’L Dragons class. He is the only one in the class but he is there for every class and always eager to train with his Sensei. That student is Mr. Elias Duke. This young student is very impressive in all that he does. Not only is he impressive in his training, he is a very smart little boy. At age five he recites the Dojo Training Ethics without my leadership. Often I have to slow him down. He is very progressive in learning all material that I have taught him and he wants more. If it wasn’t for him being so young I would move him to the bigger kids classes.

He is currently an orange belt and preparing to test for his blue belt. I am confident that he will become a Black Belt and be a standout in Shorin Ryu Shorinkan Karate.  Congratulations Mr. Duke. I’m proud of you! 




Congratulations To Our Graduates

It is good to note that we do our graduations on a bi-monthly basis. This came about two years ago after some deep thought in the manner in which we were measuring progress of students. The results have been very good and the students are far more prepared. The measuring process is similar to what takes place at school.

September’s graduation was quite a bit smaller than I had anticipated butI must say that I was well pleased with the results of the testing. There were only two students for Karate testing and none for Kobudo  testing.

Drew Hall-Fisher—Shichi-Kyu –Karate
Delaney Arroyo—Shichi-Kyu—Karate

I must say that I am well pleased with the progress of  these individuals. They showed their true spirit in training.

My special congratulations to these graduates and I encourage you set your goal and go for it. The sky is the limit.

Those who have gone before you have blazed the trail and left footprints that will be hard for many to fill. It is not that they have been anymore than you are because they have not. What they have done is been passionate about their goals and their goals were not necessarily karate. That is what we mean by focus.  Remember courage, courtesy, integrity, humility, and self control.




Glad You’re Home Mr. Earl!

We have had someone missing from the dojo and some may not know or noticed that he has been gone. It is one of our parents and he has been gone for a while with some medical conditions. I am talking about none other than Mr. Tony Earl.

This man is a loving husband, a tremendous father , and a man of great faith. I have truly missed him because he does everything to maintain his family, supports the dojo, and been very involved in supporting PKC Region II LLC. Just knowing him as I have I can imagine that his work mates would express themselves saying much of what I have said.

Mr. Earl has been away enduring some very severe medical conditions. Recently he has returned home and it is unimaginable how happy the family is to have him home. I can  imagine that it will be a little while yet before he completely back on his feet. So, I will continue my prayers for his complete recovery and ask all of you to do the same. As family we must always support and uplift each other. We miss you Mr. Earl.




On Okinawa

If you have not been to Okinawa you will have some difficulty trying to imagine what the trip is really like. For as many times as I have been there it is difficult for me to try to tell you what it is like. As said before I arrived on Friday night just shortly after Mr. Michael and Kara. Training in the dojo is exciting and hot. Sensei continuously gives breaks to ensure that you don’t get too hot. Monday, Wednesday for karate ; Tuesday, Thursday for kobudo.

We have not missed a trip to The Shuri Castle and as previously Genka and Asato takes us to many of the attractions on Okinawa, We have been to many sites and there are still many to see. Saijo took us for a tour of some other islands during one of our trips. Asato takes us to his home and his wife lays out a tremendous spread of food. There has been nothing that they won’t do for us including getting us to the airport for our early flights. They do it all including spending yen.




Karate History—Nakazato, Shugoro Sensei

Although we have been to Okinawa once this year already, it is so exciting to be here at this time. It was just a year and two weeks since Sensei passed. That just came to me as I began doing this newsletter. As I met with Minoru Sensei and we talked there were so many memories. It was very much like the last time I visited Sensei when I left Okinawa when my first tour of duty ended. Some of the things he said then just popped into my head. That was a funny feeling but very refreshing.

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

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

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



Printable Version

File NameDescription / Comment