There is an Isshin-ryu tournament in Allentown, NJ August 20th. Some seminars will be conducted Friday evening, August 19th. Information is at the dojo. See Hanshi if you are interested.

                A sign-up sheet is available for Brown and Black Belts to help cover the dojo while Linda and I are on vacation. See Hanshi at your convenience.

There will be NO Brown and Black Belt session the 3rd Friday of July.

There will be NO Tuesday morning classes until September.

I read parts of a short book, “The Pebble in the Shoe”, “What Is Your Pebble?” by Jim Fannin.

Each of us has had a pebble in his or her shoe. It’s the small, nagging thoughts that at different times in life that eventually weigh us down. Some pebbles have been hidden, undetected for years. Others push, prod, and make their presence felt every day. Each pebble intrudes into the lives of the unsuspecting. Although they are small and mostly undetected, they represent many unresolved thoughts. Some pebbles have been hidden, undetected for years. Others push, prod, and make their presence felt every day. At different times in life the pebbles arrive. Although they are small and mostly undetected, they represent many unresolved thoughts, images and experiences. Some are pebbles of doubt. They form from a single thought that occurred years, months or weeks before. Some reside in your house slippers that you tuck under your bed. Some pebbles find their way into your golf shoes while others form in the shoes worn while you parent. Unfortunately, some pebbles travel in all your shoes regardless of where you walk or run. Some pebbles are of fear. Others are created from guilt, rejection or shame. Maybe not today, but they eventually arrive unannounced and usually at the most inappropriate time. What challenges do they present?

To run the marathon race of life at your most efficient speed, you must be free of embarrassment, overeating and gaining unhealthy weight. They destroy families and alienate friends. They thwart the potential of our children and physically snuff extra years from our life. These are the pebbles in the shoe.

The pebble can cause you to quit or perform with complete indifference. It can help instigate a fight or add disrespectful silence to an otherwise dynamic relationship. Even the desire for fame, fortune or power can turn into a pebble in your shoe if left undetected. Most pebbles stir up the past, cloud the future and keep the present to a blink of the eye. Like a garden that’s been freshly tilled, a pebble can reappear without warning or detection. Prevention and removal are your only options for simplicity, balance and abundance.


                There was always someone bigger, faster and stronger, but each individual must push forward to succeed. Succeeding in many cases is united with achieving and winning. Winning means something different to us all, but winning is not a moment but an attitude. Despite our hardships, we can all be winners in life so long as we try. Giving up or not trying at all: those are the times we fail. Isshin-ryu Karate teaches us this and much more. How many people work through the hard physical, mental and emotional trials found within traditional training. We do not promote with countless stripes and numerous belt colors every 4 to 6 weeks. Students who earn promotions often work for months and years to deserve the advancement in rank. We all have moments where we want to give up. The odds are against us, the task seems impossible, and we can’t summon the strength to go on. However, it’s not the desire to quit that defines us, it’s how we respond to it. In the face of adversity, do we throw up our hands and say, “never mind, it’s too hard?” Or do we steel ourselves and forge ahead? The person with true character and heart will press on – knowing that improvement is will happen as long as we – ‘keep on keepin’ on’.

                I am proud of each student that has taken the challenge to succeed and thus win . . . knowing everyone does not get an award until it is earned. No two people are the same and thus each person is evaluated based upon his or her physical, mental and emotional abilities. The ones who succeed credit daily discipline and appreciation for what they achieve. The true success or the ability to win is found in the desire to do more and then ask, “What’s else may or should be done?”

                A Japanese saying relates – if you are knocked down 7 times get up 8. The calligraphy for this statement hangs on the dojo wall.   Don’t make the mistake of giving up too easily. Change and improvement often come from those moments when we question our thoughts and abilities. 1 out of 100 students becomes a black belt. We have promoted more than 76 black belts during the history of our dojo. Currently, there are 27 active black belts within our dojo. Of that number 10 have been training in excess of 20 years. At times some of these take a short break because of family, work or other responsibilities, but they return with energy to continue training. There are 42 inactive first degree black belts and 7 inactive second degree black belts. What seems to be found within these numbers is that the higher the rank one attains, the less likely it is that the person will stop training.

            A number of years ago I attended a seminar conducted by Bob Proctor a famous motivational speaker and success coach. He stated, every morning, time gives us 86,400 seconds to use for whatever purpose chosen, with an average of 60,000 thoughts during that day . . . one at a time.

Within the presentation he stated: 1. Nobody can manage time. But you can manage those things that take up your time. 2. Time is expensive. As a matter of fact, 80 percent of our day is spent on those things or those people that only bring us two percent of our results. 3. Time is perishable and irreplaceable. It cannot be saved for later use. 4. Time is measurable. Everybody has the same amount of time. 5. Time is a priority. You have enough time for anything that you wish to do, so long as it ranks high enough among your priorities.

People tend to order their lives according to “conventional wisdom,” a generally accepted set of principles that may include centuries-old folk sayings or that may have arisen from contemporary experience. These sayings and beliefs have become so ingrained in the public mind that they are often referred to as “common sense,” which is usually the “safe” approach. Common sense is needed in our lives but, the people who make a remarkable difference in the world are typically those who examine conventional wisdom with a critical eye, using “uncommon sense.” In education during high school and college, teachers challenge students to have a critical mind and to think critically. This type of thought is not negative but one that challenges what is being related in the classroom and within textbooks. Many of the things that were taught years ago are not current today. I ask my students to find material that is peer-edited by knowledgeable individuals. It must also be Timely, Accurate, Truthful and Unbiased.               How do each of the key thoughts in this month’s newsletter relate to those reading them? Whether it is at work, school or the dojo each of us is confronted by Unresolved Thoughts, Doubt about our abilities and we all at times must Handle the Desire to Quit something. True success or the ability to win is found in the desire to do more and then ask, “What’s else may or should be done?” Time will either be our friend or enemy. Prioritize what must be accomplished daily, weekly and monthly if possible. Revisit the list regularly, because sometimes priorities change because of the influences of ‘life’ and time. Use learned knowledge and common sense but do not be afraid to develop Uncommon Sense and Think Outside the Box.

Isshin-ryu Karate was developed from two much older styles, Goju-ryu and Shorin-ryu. Tatsuo Shimabuku, a leading student of both styles, took the best elements of each to create his style, “The One Heart Way.” He developed the non-twisting punch, which is faster and stronger than the original punch. He made the style more direct and useful for real life defense situations. He balanced the use of both hands and feet, with close natural stances that are more applicable to athletic activities beyond the dojo.

Posted in Dojo Newsletter.