January, 2011: Great Achievers

Let me share something I read from the book: 8 ATTRIBUTES of GREAT ACHIEVERS, by Cameron C. Taylor.

”The world bestows its big prizes, both in money and honors, for but one thing.  And that is INITIATIVE!  What is initiative?  I’ll tell you:  it is doing the right thing without being told.  But next to doing the thing without being told is to do it when you are told once.  Next, there are those who never do a thing until they are told twice: such get no honors and small pay.  Next, there are those who do the right thing only when necessity kicks them from behind and these get indifference instead of honors, and a pittance for pay. Then, still lower down in the scale than this, we have the fellow who will not do the right thing even when someone goes along to show him how and stays to see that he does it: he is always out of a job.  To which class do you belong?”


”Life is like trying to go up a downward escalator in that if you’re not stepping up (putting forth effort), you’re going down.  Life is not like a stairway upon which you can reach a certain step and then stop and maintain our position.  Just as a tree is either growing or decaying, so we are either progressing or regressing.  In life, you cannot be at a standstill.

Congratulations to the people who earned promotions since our last newsletter. Junior Yellow Belt – Alexis D’Ambly, Nicholas Puma, Sarah Irizarry, Jonathan Condon, Michael Condon

GOLDEN RULE KARATE TOURNAMENT – Warren Hills High School – Washington, NJ. SUNDAY, February 13, 2011 – – – This is close, well run event. Plan to attend. See Kyoshi to Pre-register.

Segments of Gerard Eatman’s, a friend for a number of years, thoughts about training.
Throughout my fifty years in the martial arts, nearly forty in law enforcement, and twenty years in the military the topic of training has been discussed and debated.  From a cop’s view we can’t get enough, but it cost money and time.  Many of our city fathers or county commissioners don’t want to provide the requisite funds.  They don’t understand its importance.  Add to this their lack of knowledge regarding an attitude of deliberate indifference to the importance of training, and you have the makings for a great civil lawsuit.  When we do train we spend the lion’s share on the firing range.  Yet when we have to use force the majority of the time it’s in a physical nonlethal nature.  Those officers who understand the importance of hand-to-hand training (self-defense and come-along tactics) seek instruction outside their departments at their own expense.  They are to be commended.  Sadly they are the exception rather than the rule.  The vast majority of their colleagues maintain the mindset; “if they want me to train they can provide the time and money for me to do it.”  That attitude does not serve them well when the chips are down.  Officers cannot afford this kind of attitude.  They must realize their survival is no one else’s responsibility but theirs.

For the purposes of this article I’ll focus on my experiences in order to illustrate my point. In the martial artists community many focus on sport competition.  Of the three areas we emphasize (the sport, the art and self-defense) in our training; the sport aspect is the least important.  The fault in this lies with the instructors who run the schools.  Many of them are more interested in trophies and awards, and less concerned with their student’s ability of self-defense in the event of an attack.  This requires these students to practice defenses against a variety of attacks regularly and redundantly in order for their abilities to become conditioned.  Once they have arrived at this conditioned state their reactions will be instantaneous in an attack.  Likewise their self-confidence and competence will also improve.  If all they do is practice sport type sparring in preparation for competition they will not be prepared for the streets. 

To be prepared for street survival you must first know there are no rules.  There are no issues over excessive contact or illegal techniques.  You train to stay alive.  The more you train and the longer you prepare the better you are at applying a varied response.  By this I mean knowing what level of force to use.  If a drunk friend is being obnoxious and pushy you don’t want to break his arm; the use of minimal force is sufficient.  On the other hand if the person is unknown to you, but unarmed, your response can be more debilitating without breaking something or being lethal.

I teach my students a three-pronged approach that incorporates light, moderate and hard responses.  The nature of the response is dictated by the threat.  It is in this area each person must learn to judge for himself or herself.  What might not be considered as a serious threat by me might be to a young lady of smaller stature. 

Training regardless of the reason provides us with an increased confidence in our ability to function at a specific level of competence.  Martial artists and police personnel must train towards a similar level of confidence and competence.  One day while traveling with my family shortly after having retired from the Air Force, we came upon a traffic accident on the expressway.  I pulled our car into the medium and ran over to the car that had been struck by the axle of one traveling the opposite direction.  I checked the occupants to see if they required medical attention.  Once satisfied they were not seriously injured I ran over to a lady holding a cell phone. I ask her if she was calling 911 to which she stated she was.  I identified myself and got her permission to take over the call.  Once the operator answered I told her who I was and described the nature of the accident.  Because the car that was struck was partially on the inside lane on the downhill side of a bridge I was concerned they would be struck by oncoming traffic as they came flying over the bridge at 70 miles per hour.  When the first marked police unit arrived on the scene I instructed them to go to the other side of the bridge and begin directing traffic to the outside lane.  As other officers arrived I briefed the senior patrolman and rejoined my family.  As we were driving away my older daughter asks me how I knew what to do.   I merely told her it was a combination of training and experience.  Some years later that same daughter went into a panic when her eighteen month old little boy began having a seizure.  Later, after tending to my grandson, I explained to her she should get training as a first responder or even as a basic EMT.  She had panicked because she felt helpless.  She didn’t know what was happening or how she could help her son.  Had she received the kind of training EMT’s undergo she would have been better prepared for such an experience. 

Training is something that cannot be over emphasized.  We need it initially to develop the basic skill sets and attitude that allow us to function in a given situation.  Intermediate and advance training enhances these skills sets and allows us to function at a higher level.  None of this will happen unless we train on a regular basis.  Training helps us develop the necessary conditioned reflexes to immediately deal with a problem as it happens.  It also prepares us for a variety of possibilities.  An example of this is when you find yourself walking down a hallway.  As you come to the corner a person comes from the other direction in a rather abrupt manner.  A non-trained person would jump and probably let out a startled scream.  The trained (prepared) person would take a quick step back while simultaneously raising his hands.  The raised hands might be perceived by another as a gesture of surprise.  The trained eye would see it as the person stepping back into a guard stance.
People who train seriously to defend themselves practice defensive and offensive responses to a myriad of attack scenarios.  By doing this they not only enhance the ability to react instantly, they also develop a keener awareness of what to look for in the assailant’s body language before they launch their attack.  As a street cop having this edge provides added reaction time, especially when there may be more than one subject to be prepared for.  In the gym (dojo) I tell my students they should practice their skills as realistically as possible.  A few bumps and bruises here will lessen the chances you bleed on the street – or worse. 

Throughout my years of training and teaching I have always maintained the philosophy of preparing to fight, in the hope of never having too.  This is the same philosophy true warriors in all walks of life follow.  Without training to defend themselves and their families, or to provide emergency medical care until help can arrive, they will panic and scream at the walls.  The helplessness that will grip them defies description.  With training and preparation it can be avoided.

Goal Setting and Success

  • Be honest about what you really want. The first rule of goal setting is to make sure you are truly passionate about achieving the goals you’re setting
  • Don’t be afraid to think big. One of the biggest mistakes young professionals make is not dreaming big enough
  • Mark dates on your calendar. As you’re goal setting, start to think through the small tasks that add up to achieving your biggest dreams.
  • Get some help. Use friends as a support group and there are some great, inexpensive books and tools to help you with goal setting large and small. Two resources are Your Best Year Yet: Ten Questions for Making the Next Twelve Months Your Most Successful Ever and an app called Things.

A very special thank you.
I am so appreciative of all the support I’ve received from all of you following the death of my Mother in December. Your timely hugs, sincere thoughts and prayers, food, tissues discretely handed when needed, cards expressing condolences and your understanding has made this time much easier for me. For your support and friendship, I will be forever thankful. Renshi Hughes

November 2010: What is your purpose?


Congratulations to the people who earned promotions since our last newsletter.

  • Junior Yellow Belt – Mikey Donica, Frankie Iannone
  • Junior Orange Belt – Aidan Johnson
  • Junior Green Belt #2 Shayne Davies
  • Senior Yellow Belt – Scott Conroy, Shirley K. Zavala

Allamuchy Harvest Festival & Demonstration


Weather Reminder

As we approach the winter season, listen to WRNJ Radio 1510 if the weather is questionable. I will make class cancellations by 4 pm on days when weather conditions may not be safe.

Annual St. Jude Kick-a-Thon

Our annual kick-a-thon for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital will be November 8 to 13. Children kick for 5 minutes and Adults kick for 10 minutes. Everyone kicks in each class attended that week (or classes when they return after the official event). Help us help St Jude’s work by raising funds. I know I have been asked by every fireman and other organization in this area to help them . . . let’s return the favor to them. Again, the hospital and kids are the recipients of our winning efforts.

Holiday Gift Ideas

Take advantage of our holiday gift to you and your family . . . for Oct-Dec, the dojo is offering a free month of lessons/classes to any parent or sibling of an established student (good for new students only) . . . Simply see Kyoshi or Renshi Hughes or call the dojo. Also, consider these ideas for the karate student in your family:

  • Sparring equipment
  • American Isshin-ryu Association Lifetime membership
  • IWKA Lifetime membership
  • A new gi or patches for the gi
  • Gift certificate(s) for a student(s) classes
  • Hanshi Duessel DVD’s – Posters and limited books


Panther Valley Village Square (mall)
1581 County Road 517 (off exit 19 on Route 80)
Hackettstown, NJ 07840

TIME: 1 pm to 3:30 pm (one hour seminars with a break)
COST: $20.00 for current AI members
$45.00 for non-members, which includes a lifetime membership

What is your life’s purpose?

It’s been said that there are two great moments in a person’s life.  The first is when you are born and the second is when you discover your life’s purpose. The great architect Frank Lloyd Wright said that:  “the thing always happens that you really believe in, and the belief in a thing makes it happen.” One of my favorite stories is the amazing Gold Medal Athlete Jessie Owens. In high school, he was just an ordinary scrawny black kid.  Until his school held an assembly featuring the great Charley Paddock.  At that time, Charley was the fastest human being alive!  During the assembly, Charley asked the student body “Do you know who you are?”  He asked this a couple of times.  “Who are you?”  Then answering himself:  “You are a child of God, you live in the United States of America and you can become anything that you truly want to!” 

When Jessie Owens heard these words, a burning desire was awakened inside him and he resolved then and there that he, Jessie Owens, would someday become that fastest human being in the world!  And he did go on to achieve a life of athletic and personal greatness. The belief in a thing does make it happen!

All of us have those moments in our lives where, if we believe and decide, we can change in wonderful new directions.  In any moment you can change your life just by changing your thoughts.
Decide to hold onto the higher ground you have claimed! This really does work but only if you keep a hold fast to your new thoughts and expressions.  It has also been shown that people who return to their former daily habits, going back to their same old associations, adopting the old habits and settling into the life that they had before, within a week or two, all of those new thought patterns – all of those new resolutions simply fade away.

Don’t go back!  Keep that flame of success alive.
Fill your mind with positive things.  

People are measured not by what they say but what they do.  Go out and do those new activities; see new people and success will accumulate.  All of those good thoughts will be reinforced by the new reality that you are creating.

Many important decisions were made by ordinary people who started taking Isshin-ryu karate for a number of reasons: to get in better physical condition, to be better prepared if one has to use self defense skills, to learn a art that is hundreds of years old, to advance physical activity in a way that is not like going to a gym and lifting weights or doing an aerobics’ class. Some of those people are still in the dojo more than 20 years later. Others have wanted to start but find a reason to not get started now. Make the decision to go beyond the ordinary. REMEMBER – the difference between ordinary and the extraordinary is that little EXTRA.

This is powerful stuff!

Thought of the Week #68

We lift ourselves by our thought. If you want to enlarge your life, you must first enlarge your thought of it and of yourself. Hold the ideal of yourself as you long to be, always everywhere.
Author: Orison Swett Marden

Thought of the Week #67

Defeat is a state of mind. No one is ever defeated until defeat has been accepted as reality. To me, defeat in anything is merely temporary, and its punishment is but an urge for me to greater effort to achieve my goal. Defeat simply tells me that something is wrong in my doing; it is a path leading to success and truth.
Author: Bruce Lee

Thought of the Week #65

If you have a positive thought your body actually goes into a positive vibration, you actually attract everything that resonates with that vibration.
Author: John Assaraf

Thought of the Week #64

Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds you plant.
Author: Robert Louis Stevenson, 1850-1895, Essayist, Poet and Novelist

Thought of the Week #63

My father used to say to me, “Whenever you get into a jam, whenever you get into a crisis or an emergency…become the calmest person in the room and you’ll be able to figure your way out of it.”

Author: Rudolph Giuliani

Thought of the Week #62

Our self image and our habits tend to go together. Change one and you will automatically change the other.
Author: Dr. Maxwell Maltz – 1899-1975, Author

Thought of the Week #61

People of mediocre ability sometimes achieve outstanding success because they don’t know when to quit. Most people succeed because they are determined to.
Author: George E. Allen 1832-1907, Publisher and Author