Thought of the Week #60

When you face your fear, most of the time you will discover that it was not really such a big threat after all. We all need some form of deeply rooted, powerful motivation – it empowers us to overcome obstacles so we can live our dreams.
Author: Les Brown Speaker and Author

Thought of the Week #59

Nurture your mind with great thoughts, for you will never go any higher than you think.
Author: Benjamin Disraeli 1804-1881, British Statesman and Prime Minister

Inspired Action or Just Activity?

The upcoming overnight ( AUGUST 13TH & 14TH ) is an important part of one’s karate training, as is each class during the week. As said by Mr. Gugler, each experience is a chance to test one’s self and work beyond existing limits, mentally and physically. During the outside setting the ground is not even; there are rocks, roots and unseen obstacles (especially when in the river). No student is expected to do more than he or she is capable. Each black belt is ready, willing and able to help when needed. Training what is known in a different setting during day and night sessions is only going to help one improve. Expanding the preset limits will help us in future challenges in and out of the dojo. REGISTER ASAP.

3rd Friday Training Sessions


As you should know the 3rd Friday of each month a special training session is held at the dojo. Training specific to improve and advance abilities in Kata, Kumite and Weapons are conducted.


  • 6:00 P.M. to 6:55 P.M. – Junior Students
  • 6:59 to 8:30 – Adult Brown Belts & Above

There will be no August sessions as we will be at the house for the overnight. Starting September I must know by the 2nd Tuesday of each month if you will be attending so I may plan the session. If you do not let me know, you may not attend.


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

  • Junior Yellow Belt – Sophia DeLisi, Abigail Brown Junior Orange Belt – Zachary DeStefano, Vlad Kuz
  • Junior Green Belt #2 – Sujit Patel

2010 IWKA Championships

In less than one year (June 23 to 25, 2011) the Isshin-ryu World Karate Association World Championships and Seminars will be held in Indianapolis, Indiana. Hotel reservation information and registration materials are available on their website The Indianapolis Marriot East is the place where the seminars and championships will be held.

We have hosted two world championship events. Each event is a unique experience to train with people from across the world and there are many categories for kata and sparring so each person will be competing in the appropriate category for age and rank.


The American Isshinryu tournament will be Saturday, September 25, 2010 at Marist High School. See Kyoshi to pre-register. The flyer is on the information center.


This past weekend I was given the opportunity to test my mental and physical limits. With the help of a truly extraordinary group of people, I was taken beyond my limits and shown that boundaries are self-imposed.

He is able who thinks he is able. – Buddha

Inspired Action or Activity?

Be aware of the big difference between inspired action and activity. Activity comes from the brain-mind and is rooted in disbelief and lack of faith – you are taking action to “make” your desire happen. Inspired action is allowing the law (where anything one wants and desires will become reality) to work through you and to move you. Activity feels hard. Inspired action feels wonderful.

In the dojo it is evident when a student is training with activity or inspired action. Whether it is a junior or senior student, everyone has good and not so good days. Each of us has questioned our involvement in an exercise program or training in the dojo. These times are often when progress or improvement is going to be made. These challenging times occur because of the repetitive nature involved in exercise programs and in traditional karate programs. Progress, advancement or growth may not be seen or happen when we want it. The parents of junior students often talk to their children to help them continue practice or the parents bring the times of struggle to the attention of the black belts and we can also help the parents and students. Life is not always easy and full of fun. School, work and other obligations demand that the individual commit to self-improvement and commitment to one’s self and other outside obligations.

During the summer camp in Maine, I had the opportunity to talk to four individuals that were to be promoted to second-degree black belt at the end of the sessions, if they completed necessary elements. Each of them, Hanshi and I mentioned that we have worked through these times of doubt or stress. Each realized that growth is slow at times testing the desire to grow inwardly as well as outwardly.

The intrinsic nature of karate shows much about the development of an individual. Unlike many activities where the awards come frequently, traditional training rewards inward growth as well as progress through the ranks. There are health benefits to continued study. By mastering ourselves in our training, we can learn to master other aspects of our lives. Personal, financial, or professional success is not beyond the capabilities of a disciplined martial artist. These benefits may be seen and touched. The unseen and intangible benefits of philosophical study nourish the individual’s spirit and are even more meaningful. Understanding aesthetics (what is beautiful), ethics (what is good), metaphysics (what is being), and epistemology (what is knowledge) can provide the karate student the ability to understand what is true and beautiful and can deliver the wisdom and the strength to know what is just and what is right.

Look for the little successes that create a smile or a sense of inner happiness. Work toward improving skills and abilities knowing that these elements will make us succeed at whatever we put our minds to. Be happy with what can be done and strive to take steps toward advancement and improvement and inspired action will become natural.

The weekend of July 16th and 17th I traveled to Maine to be a part of Shihan Pushard’s training camp with Hanshi Duessel and in excess of 100 students and black belts. It was good to see all the students participating in a number of activities and sharing and revisiting good times. Shihan and Sensei Rebecca Pushard are to be commended for the work they did for this weekend activity and for what they do to promote their dojo and Isshin-ryu Karate.

Thought of the Week #56

When one door closes, another opens. But we often look so regretfully upon the closed door that we don’t see the one that has opened for us.
Author: Alexander Graham Bell

July 2010: Thoughts on Sho-Dan. Get ready for karate camp.

The training sessions at our home were very rewarding and productive. During Saturday’s sessions time was spent working on improving basics, self-defense, kata, kumite skills, conditioning and much more. Mr. Gugler, our newest Sho Dan, started his process at 6:59 PM Friday evening and earned is promotion to First Degree Black Belt at the end of the demonstration at 3:00 PM Saturday. Many black belts came to help him and the other students enjoy the time together and advance their abilities. THANKS TO EVERYONE WHO CAME, HELPING TO MAKE THE DAY REWARDING AND MEMORABLE.

Congratulations to the people who earned promotions at our June 19th training sessions at our home.

  • Junior Green Belt #1
    • Riley Kamm
  • Junior Green Belt #2
    • Arshdeep Singh
  • Senior Brown Belt # 3
    • Bridget Driscoll
    • Clairanne Arcaro
  • Senior Brown Belt #1
    • Anthony Curcuruto
  • Sho Dan (1st Degree Black Belt)
    • Lee Gugler

CONGRATULATIONS to Miss Natalie Montone for completing her first 50 Mile bike ride during the June 13th American Diabetes Association Tour de Cure in Basking Ridge.

Sho Dan, First Degree Black Belt, traditionally is the starting point in a person’s study of a martial art. This seems very strange to many people inside and outside the karate world. The Black belt is thought to be the top of the ranking scales. Growth must go beyond the physical and mental repetition of basics, drills, kata, self -defense, weapons and much more. Growth must become intrinsic and emotional, learning to combine the Body, Mind and Spirit.

Sho Dan is a beginning point, like schooling. Each grade must be earned. Each new experience brings new challenges, stresses and higher levels of learning and understanding. UNDERSTANDING is the key to the puzzle that most karate instructors do not take the time to look at – – because they are more interested in the number of black belts in their schools and the money they make off each promotion. Understanding TAKES TIME, EFFORT, MATURITY AND AGE. Most children (and some adults) cannot understand the responsibility, levels of application and abilities that must be accepted willingly with each promotion (especially with each of the levels of black belt). This is the major reason why from 1979 to today I have not promoted a child to this level.

To begin to grasp this understanding so more may be learned, one needs guidance, friendship, leadership, internal drive, a thick skin, heart and the willingness to know that there is more . . . THE BEGINNER’S MIND. There will not be something new every day or week or even every year. One must be able to keep friendships, loyalties and the duty to the arts separate. In the past 31 years as being a Sensei, I have had students stop training because:

  • they thought they had learned all they could
  • they thought they had learned all that was necessary
  • ego took over the ability to learn and grow.

Do you want to arrive at the first level? Look within and keep a beginner’s mind. Don’t abandon ship. Black Belts are the Ants of the Karate World – – If they truly live life to the fullest. If this is necessary for Sho Dan–what is necessary for higher levels?


REMEMBER THE TRAINING SESSIONS AT KYOSHI AND RENSHI HUGHES’ HOME – FRIDAY, August 13th and SATURDAY, August 14th. This overnight camping and training experience is open to all students. Those students, younger than 10, are encouraged to bring an adult for the overnight portion of the event.

You will need:

  • A tent (if you wish) (OR make plans to share)
  • Sleeping clothes
  • Sleeping bag or blanket
  • Flashlight
  • Clothes to change into after the workouts
  • Karate uniform
  • Toothbrush, insect repellent, etc
  • Gym bag to put items in when not being
  • Old sneakers & socks – mandatory for the river
  • Extra socks – t-shirts – sneakers


Parents are welcome to come and watch any portion of the event. Lawn chairs are recommended for the family gathering at the end of the session. We will be setting up tents, etc at 7pm Friday. Organized classes and experiences will be conducted both Friday and Saturday.

We will provide Friday snacks, Saturday breakfast, lunch, drinks, snacks and hot dogs and hamburgers, as well as turkey burgers for dinner. All cups, utensils, plates will be provided. Saturday at 3:00 P.M. demonstration and promotion ceremonies for those prepared will be followed by dinner. Please sign up with Kyoshi or Renshi Hughes to bring a cover dish for the dinner. Please put a name on dishes you want returned so we may get them back to you quickly . . . or take them before you leave. The permission slip and fees must be returned by August 10th so we may plan the meals etc for the two days. See Kyoshi for a permission slip.

Hanshi Duessel’s 2010 Summer Seminars

Seventy-seven Isshin-ryu enthusiasts attended seminars Saturday, June 26th, at the North Jersey Martial Arts Academy, which were hosted by Shihan Marvin Carmona (7th Dan) and his wife Kelly.  Black belts and Brown belts from New Jersey, Maine, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas and Ohio were in attendance.

The first seminar about developing the understanding of Centering, Balance, Posture and Power Development involved lecture and hands on practice.

The second seminar about Sai Basics, proper use of the Okinawan Weapon and the Short Sai Kata was very informative and well received.

Following lunch the group was educated about proper kumite judging and four rings were created at the host dojo so numerous black belts could advance their skills under the guidance and supervision of the advanced 7th and 8th Degree Black Belts in attendance, as well as Hanshi Duessel. Many positive results were expressed when the entire group got together before leaving for the social gathering that concluded the events.

The 2012 event is currently scheduled for Kent, Ohio with Sensei Heidi Gauntner.

Thought of the Week #54

There are only two options regarding commitment; you’re either in or you’re out. There’s no such thing as life in-between.
Author: Pat Riley