HANSHI WILLIAM H. DUESSEL, 10th DAN

Hanshi Duessel demonstrating bo techniquesAge 87, of Ross Township, on Friday, August 15, 2014, surrounded by family and friends. Beloved husband of the late Mary (Karr) Duessel; cherished father of Richard A., Gary T., Barbara L. Emminger, P. Scott (Cynthia), Patricia A. Ewing (Raymond), and the late Deborah L. Ryberg; loving grandfather to eight grandchildren and four great- grandchildren; beloved uncle to numerous nieces and nephews. Bill was a proud member of Insulator Local #2, and served as pension trustee and executive board member throughout his career. His lifelong love and dedication to karate lead him to achieve the rank of 10th degree Black Belt in the style of Isshinryu Karate. He, along with Charles A. Wallace, co-founded the Academy of Isshinryu Karate, which was located in downtown Pittsburgh. He loved to golf and often shot a round lower than his age. He served in the U.S. Marine Corps at the end of WWII. He will be greatly missed by all who knew him.

Whisper

 

And if I go,

While you’re still here . . .

Know that I live on,

Vibrating to a different measure

Behind a veil you can not see through.

 

 

You will not see me,

So you must have faith.

I wait for the time when we can soar

together again,

Both aware of each other.

 

FEBRUARY NEWSLETTER

February 2014

A JOURNEY WITHIN

 The study of karate is a journey in martial art’s training and within one’s being.  The greatest success is experienced not over an opponent, but internally as we begin to understand ourselves.  Karate builds one’s body, mind and inner spirit.  Karate teaches lessons of life, starting in the dojo and then following each individual into his or her daily life.  Attitudes and feelings developed and expressed in the dojo tell everything about one’s behavior.  In the long history of martial arts, practitioners have used their physical skills as a means of building mental, emotional and physical skills. The art is primarily a path towards personal fulfilment rather than a primary means of self-defense and self-satisfaction.  Karate and its martial arts forerunners are historically linked with Zen philosophies where people achieve enlightenment through everyday activities. By experiencing every moment for itself and leaving the mind open to all experiences, inner peace is found. The cornerstone of these philosophies is being in-tune (mushin) with the world around the individual.

 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.

 In solitary practice, karatekas must learn to concentrate on their own movements, letting everything else go. This is a powerful form of meditation. In fighting competitions, karatekas need to react quickly to any action by their opponent. This quickly teaches the karateka to be open and attentive to whatever he or she may encounter.  Training individually and in the dojo during class enhances our ability to think, develop positive thoughts and capabilities.  As training is started, the student is often hesitant because what is being taught is foreign and new.  Fundamental skills are taught and practiced in each class.  This repetition of foundation skills is not unique to traditional karate training but it is been lost in dojos where the emphasis is placed on being fast without much emphasis on proper technique. With the proper foundation, the advancement through higher skills is found to be less stressful and combination of skills is also understood with better insight.  We must first learn the movements and the proper direction in which the kata and sparring drill is performed. Timing is also heightened so the moves in kata may be used in kumite and self-defence applications.  Next breathing correctly, inhaling while in transition and exhaling while blocking or attacking, is necessary for power to be developed.  Then an added component to breathing is the kiai and methods to tighten the body, adding strength and power to the techniques and focus of power at the appropriate times.  Beyond this one must strive over time to perfect the form, combining form, speed and power.  In time the student should understand the possible meanings for each move (bunkai) and combination of moves. 

During individual or group training there is difference between inspired action and activity. Activity comes from the brain-mind and is rooted in disbelief and lack of focus – we are taking action to “make” a desire thing 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. (Excerpt from “The Secret”)     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 happen when we want it.  Students, regardless of age, need outside help at times from the sensei to refocus our commitment when personal desires or doubts interfere with the nature of self-development.  Life is not always easy and full of fun.  Most people engage in the belief that compensation should be immediately following any effort.  Superior students believe every effort yields some form of accomplishment at some point. When a goal is set, they are expecting to work toward achieving success.  This willingness to delay reward makes them valuable.  This lesson is one that is learned through the study of the martial arts.  Instant gratification generally is not a part of the training.  Achieving a promotion is something worked for, something that is earned in time.  Practitioners realize their possibilities and potentials are limitless.  If they pay the price, they can accomplish any goal or dream.  There is a razor’s edge between the average competitor and the champion.  The question is not one of possibility of success, but of demonstrating the will to succeed.  Most people will not rise to the challenge. If they do, it is an emotional and mental movement from one’s comfort zone.  Those who stay the course have a superior belief in the SELF and a solid mental foundation.  For these outstanding individuals, once decision is made that is it and success will follow. 

Look for the successes that create a smile or a sense of inner happiness.  Work toward improving skills and abilities knowing that these elements will help us succeed at whatever we put our minds to.  Be happy with what is done and strive to take steps toward improvement and inspired action will become natural.  Superior individuals have a never-ending desire to learn more. Superior students do not limit their achievements to their own scope of knowledge and experience. They seek those who have the advanced abilities to educate and challenge to them to advance to higher levels. They delay their gratification as long as necessary working diligently in order to appreciate their achievements and dreams.  Each of us has the ability to establish goals and to live those dreams. What makes this powerful is that we have also been given the ability to pursue those dreams with the cognitive ability to actually create a plan and strategies (setting goals) to achieve those dreams. Be daring and desire to never be satisfied with a static existence.  The training received through karate with the direction and motivation of each sensei, we have the abilities to move forward in a purposeful and meaningful way.

Congratulations to Jesse Micari who earned the rank of Senior Brown Belt #3.

Mark your calendars to attend the Golden Rule Karate Tournament at Warren Hills High School on Sunday, February 9th.  Doors open at 9 a.m. and the event begins at 11 a.m.  Arrive early to get a closer parking spot.

Black belts please check the web site and check your bio under the instructor heading.  If it needs to be updated please meet with Kyoshi. 

Parents and students – check the dojo web site for information about the dojo, etc. – – www.isshin-ryu.com   

 Friday, January 24th, Shihan Downs and Mr. Glenn Kulesza traveled from Hamburg, NY (near Buffalo) to train with our black belts and socialize.  Mr. Downs was promoted to 6th Dan during our summer camp in 2008.  It is our desire to train together to continue to produce quality traditional Isshin-ryu Karate as it was originally taught and as Hanshi Duessel shares with us.  This is accomplished during these visits and also when I travel to his dojo.  Feel free to look at his dojo web page from t he link on our dojo web site, as well as the MIKA site, which is another karate school in Maine whose students I am also training.

VISUALIZATION – MAKE PRACTICE REAL

Visualization – Make Practice Real

By Thinking, Being and Doing

Kyoshi John E. Hughes

8th Degree Black Belt

 

          Initial reasons to study karate range from desires to learn to fight, protect one’s self or family, to the need to advance capabilities in fitness, strength, coordination and flexibility.  With time and dedication, heightened insights into self-image, discipline, confidence and enhanced develop.  Karate is a physical, mental and emotional endeavor that helps students learn and grow in areas that are not emphasized today in our schools. Through karate’s discipline, each student develops abilities to THINK and react, BE positively in each moment and DO with precision what must be done. 

            Karate training begins to give young students and adults the ability to achieve positive successes in a supportive atmosphere.  Foundation skills become memorized forms, and are used for self-defense and fighting skills. It is imperative for students to practice skills learned to retain material, develop needed abilities and insights and to prepare to learn new and advanced skills. From the first day at the dojo students are asked to follow certain procedures as they enter the dojo. Gis are kept clean and obis are to be tied a particular way. These basic activities prepare students to take care of the “little things”.  Every element in training is crucial for proper discipline and mental development. Each student learns that there is one way to make a proper Isshin-ryu fist, to place feet a certain way to establish the proper stances, and to move arms and legs in a certain way to punch, block or kick effectively. Beyond these areas, proper posture is needed to enhance balance and efficient movement. Appropriate breath control is also needed to develop and enhance wellness and power. Developing strength of character to do what is right is another factor that instructors emphasize. Each student faces accountability because he must learn and demonstrate abilities in kata, self-defense and kumite prior to earning advancement.  Furthermore, these qualities and life skills assist the student to become a positive and successful force in school and community.   Challenges and stresses students encounter and overcome in the dojo aid the individual beyond the dojo. 

          The intention of traditional karate is to end conflict, psychologically, placing the focus on perfecting the physical body. This is achieved by performing strengthening drills and using the repetition of drills to improve one’s health and the creating the ability to perform effective techniques. The technique is the basis for perfection, because as one works to perfect the form of the technique, the physical, intellectual and psychological sides of the student must work together to become a cohesive unit.  As the individual technique is improved, it is joined with other techniques, adding form, timing, rhythm, speed and focus of power when the student performs kata, kumite and kobudo. 

          Karate is not mystical but demands concentration, effort, focused intention and dedication. With black belt supervision and instruction the process to understand the depths of karate within the dojo is enhanced. This instruction using the proven step-by-step methods is essential. Each student must permit guidance through the knowledge into “the way”, and not become concerned with how fast one learns but how well one learns.  Hard work in class must be done but each student must take what is learned home and practice.   Procedures learned in the dojo must become the process for training when on one’s own. “Just going through the movements” is not going to help a person improve. In fact haphazard practice does more harm than good. It has been said that it takes twenty-one days to create a habit. If a person trains improperly, what is being learned is that is “OK” to do things improperly. This will carry over into the dojo, a student’s schoolwork and an adult’s job performance. HOWEVER, anyone may work to attain a goal and succeed if the proper mindset and effort are applied. 

          No two students at any rank are the same in ability, intelligence, maturity and time in Isshin-ryu Karate.  In karate, as in life, one often thinks of gaining something. How far has one progressed and how far it is to obtain a higher rank? The student and parent ask how long is it going to take to become a certain rank and how often do students gain promotion?  If the student concentrates on promotion and gain, a conflict occurs between karate’s intrinsic ideal and the reality of one’s ability.  The conflict enters the karate world when one creates a picture of what one wants, what one expects, establishing his or her own time line for attaining the goal.  Being concerned with how quickly one learns will create anxiety, which will inhibit learning. Each student must maintain “the beginner’s mind” and be open to constructive comments.  At times it is not easy to accept constructive criticism, however, each comment is an attempt to help the student improve. 

            Karate training may become a life-long journey.  To keep practice and progress ‘alive’ one must develop ways to keep the beginner’s spirit in the time devoted to training.  A conscious effort to improve through disciplined training is necessary without desires to change the style. Attention to detail will add emphasis to each element of one’s progress.  It is necessary to practice under a wide variety of conditions and circumstances to add realistic elements to enhance training and value of the efforts applied to one’s study.  This enhances understanding of technique and also helps to promote enthusiasm and keep boredom and lethargy to a minimum.  Another key element is the use of visualization.  At a high level of ability, one sees internally the perfect technique and strives to make that technique the one uses.  Beyond seeing the perfect technique, one should concentrate on how the mental image feels rather than stressing about the actual mental picture.  The ability to mentally see the opponent within the situation and the way one reacts and feels within the situation is at the peak of understanding.  This ability enhances training and ultimately the application of techniques if needed in real necessity.  Training now is able to use previous experience to enhance what is learned today and also what the future may hold.

            The mind is the center and originator of thoughts and activity. Countless minute details must be calculated in the performance of a single technique applied within a short distance in an exceedingly short period of time and with maximum speed.  Complex movements require the mind to perform numerous calculations in the amount of time that lasts no longer than a few seconds for each combination of techniques. To learn effectively the student must learn to release stress and relax.  The calm mind is clear of outside influence.  The goal during training, competition and application of what is learned is to focus one’s concentration on the elements of the form, breath control and proper tension of muscles with instantaneous relaxation after delivery to create the devastating power within each technique.   The student becomes able to experience and deal with stress and solve the problems either during the imagery session or afterward.  With practice the ability to perform at the level desired is achieved when imagery has trained the mind for proper behavior, response, and execution.   As a result of this repeated training the student develops and improves concentration, mental focus, personal performance and also self-confidence.  Consciousness is enhanced, as is the unity of the mind and body. To attain abilities in mental imagery to positively affect personal training, as many senses as possible should be involved to create a realistic image of the situation.  Images should be optimistic and positive to achieve the desired results.  Daily practice during a relaxed state in an atmosphere that will not affect concentration is necessary to increase effectiveness.  To become a well-rounded karateka all aspects of the art must be practiced.  To objectively evaluate personal performance of kihon, kata, kumite, kobudo and other necessary elements while in the dojo or at home, keep a training journal to make sure that no aspect is overlooked.  Using a video of the training session is helpful for the student to accurately determine if perceived abilities are actually being performed. 

            STRIVING FOR PERFECTION IS A NEVER ENDING PROCESS.  Karate training is ageless; we can grow old with it and never exhaust its dimensions.  In this way the mirror will always need polishing.  The beauty of Isshin-ryu Karate is that it is a very basic style where one develops directness of power that may be generated through direct application of proper techniques. The simplicity challenges each of us to improve form and to be able to execute the kata, kobudo and kumite skills effortlessly.  The challenge is to strive to understand the many levels of learning and interpretation.  The purpose of karate is to find peace, not from fighting, but from the inner confidence we gain as we work to perfect the system created by Tatsuo Shimabuku. The new student brings enthusiasm to the dojo. The advanced student understands (in time) he or she is not at the top of the mountain but somewhere along the side of the mountain.  Although promotion is not the focus of training, each new rank is a challenge that must be accepted.  Then as one “grows into the rank” it becomes the reward of Thinking deeply about what one is doing is crucial for proper growth.  Being alive and a conscious part of every action is necessary to maintain a positive mental attitude if there is to be longevity in one’s training.  Doing the needed repetitions to develop form added with speed to create the power of Isshin-ryu Karate is what makes the performance of each technique dynamic and effective.

A CHRISTMAS STORY WITH A MESSAGE . . .

WHITE ENVELOPE

It’s just a small, white envelope stuck among the branches of our Christmas tree. No name, no identification, no inscription. It has peeked through the branches of our tree for the past 10 years or so.

It all began because my husband Mike hated Christmas. Oh, not the true meaning of Christmas, but the commercial aspects of it, overspending, the frantic running around at the last minute to get a tie for Uncle Harry and the dusting powder for Grandma, the gifts given in desperation because you couldn’t think of anything else.

Knowing he felt this way, I decided one year to bypass the usual shirts, sweaters, ties and so forth. I reached for something special just for Mike. The inspiration came in an unusual way.

Our son, Kevin, who was 12 that year was wrestling at the junior level at the school he attended, and shortly before Christmas, there was a non-league match against a team sponsored by an inner-city church.

These youngsters, dressed in sneakers so ragged that shoestrings seemed to be the only thing holding them together, presented a sharp contrast to our boys in the spiffy blue and gold uniforms and sparkling new wrestling shoes.

As the match began I was alarmed to see that the other team was wrestling without headgear, a kind of light helmet designed to protect a wrestler’s ears. It was a luxury the ragtag team obviously could not afford.

Well, we ended up walloping them. We took every weight class. And as each of their boys got up from the mat, he swaggered around in his tatters with false bravado, a kind of street pride that couldn’t acknowledge defeat. Mike, seated beside me, shook his head sadly, “I wish one of them could have won,” he said. “They have a lot of potential, but losing like this could take the heart right out of them.” Mike loved kids, all kids, and he knew them, having coached little league football, baseball and lacrosse.

That’s when the idea of his present came. That afternoon, I went to a local sporting goods store and bought an assortment of wrestling headgear and shoes and sent them anonymously to the inner-city church.

On Christmas Eve, I placed the envelope on the tree, the note inside telling Mike what I had done and that this was his gift from me. His smile was the brightest thing about Christmas that year and in succeeding years.

For each Christmas, I followed the tradition, one year sending a group of mentally handicapped youngsters to a hockey game, another year a check to a pair of elderly brothers whose home had burned to the ground the week before Christmas, and on and on.

The envelope became the highlight of our Christmas. It was always the last thing opened on Christmas morning and our children, ignoring their new toys, would stand with wide-eyed anticipation as their dad lifted the envelope from the tree to reveal its contents.

As the children grew, the toys gave way to more practical presents, but the envelope never lost its allure. The story doesn’t end there.

You see we lost Mike last year due to dreaded cancer. When Christmas rolled around, I was still so wrapped in grief that I barely got the tree up. But Christmas Eve found me placing an envelope on the tree, and in the morning, it was joined by three more.

Each of our children, unbeknownst to the others, had placed an envelope on the tree for their dad.

The tradition has grown and someday will expand even further with our grandchildren standing around the tree with wide-eyed anticipation watching as their fathers take down the envelope.

Mike’s spirit, like the Christmas spirit, will always be with us.

Author Unknown

MARCH IN MAINE

A tremendous visit to Maine Isshinryu Karate Academy sharing time with friends who become family.  Good sessions, energy and focus on improving and advancing the teachings of Hanshi Duessel, as he was taught by Tatuso Shimabuku and his son Kichiro.  Time also was shared with Shihan Downs from Hamburg, NY.  Think about the ideas shared during seminars and World Team Practice to focus on continuing to improve form by enhancing improved focus on technique and heightened concentration and visualization of perfect form.  Thanks again for your continued support and friendship Shihans Pushard and Downs and Renshis Pushard and Buck!

 

Article for American Isshinryu Inc.

Visualization – Make Practice Real

By Thinking, Being and Doing

Kyoshi John E. Hughes

8th Degree Black Belt

 

     Initial reasons to study karate range from desires to learn to fight, protect one’s self or family, to the need to advance capabilities in fitness, strength, coordination and flexibility.  With time and dedication, heightened insights into self-image, discipline, confidence and enhanced develop.  Karate is a physical, mental and emotional endeavor that helps students learn and grow in areas that are not emphasized today in our schools. Through karate’s discipline, each student develops abilities to THINK and react, BE positively in each moment and DO with precision what must be done. 

            Karate training begins to give young students and adults the ability to achieve positive successes in a supportive atmosphere.  Foundation skills become memorized forms, and are used for self-defense and fighting skills. It is imperative for students to practice skills learned to retain material, develop needed abilities and insights and to prepare to learn new and advanced skills. From the first day at the dojo students are asked to follow certain procedures as they enter the dojo. Gis are kept clean and obis are to be tied a particular way. These basic activities prepare students to take care of the “little things”.  Every element in training is crucial for proper discipline and mental development. Each student learns that there is one way to make a proper Isshin-ryu fist, to place feet a certain way to establish the proper stances, and to move arms and legs in a certain way to punch, block or kick effectively. Beyond these areas, proper posture is needed to enhance balance and efficient movement. Appropriate breath control is also needed to develop and enhance wellness and power. Developing strength of character to do what is right is another factor that instructors emphasize. Each student faces accountability because he must learn and demonstrate abilities in kata, self-defense and kumite prior to earning advancement.  Furthermore, these qualities and life skills assist the student to become a positive and successful force in school and community.   Challenges and stresses students encounter and overcome in the dojo aid the individual beyond the dojo. 

     The intention of traditional karate is to end conflict, psychologically, placing the focus on perfecting the physical body. This is achieved by performing strengthening drills and using the repetition of drills to improve one’s health and the creating the ability to perform effective techniques. The technique is the basis for perfection, because as one works to perfect the form of the technique, the physical, intellectual and psychological sides of the student must work together to become a cohesive unit.  As the individual technique is improved, it is joined with other techniques, adding form, timing, rhythm, speed and focus of power when the student performs kata, kumite and kobudo. 

Karate is not mystical but demands concentration, effort, focused intention and dedication. With black belt supervision and instruction the process to understand the depths of karate within the dojo is enhanced. This instruction using the proven step-by-step methods is essential. Each student must permit guidance through the knowledge into “the way”, and not become concerned with how fast one learns but how well one learns.  Hard work in class must be done but each student must take what is learned home and practice.   Procedures learned in the dojo must become the process for training when on one’s own. “Just going through the movements” is not going to help a person improve. In fact haphazard practice does more harm than good. It has been said that it takes twenty-one days to create a habit. If a person trains improperly, what is being learned is that is “OK” to do things improperly. This will carry over into the dojo, a student’s schoolwork and an adult’s job performance. HOWEVER, anyone may work to attain a goal and succeed if the proper mindset and effort are applied. 

          No two students at any rank are the same in ability, intelligence, maturity and time in Isshin-ryu Karate.  In karate, as in life, one often thinks of gaining something. How far has one progressed and how far it is to obtain a higher rank? The student and parent ask how long is it going to take to become a certain rank and how often do students gain promotion?  If the student concentrates on promotion and gain, a conflict occurs between karate’s intrinsic ideal and the reality of one’s ability.  The conflict enters the karate world when one creates a picture of what one wants, what one expects, establishing his or her own time line for attaining the goal.  Being concerned with how quickly one learns will create anxiety, which will inhibit learning. Each student must maintain “the beginner’s mind” and be open to constructive comments.  At times it is not easy to accept constructive criticism, however, each comment is an attempt to help the student improve. 

            Karate training may become a life-long journey.  To keep practice and progress ‘alive’ one must develop ways to keep the beginner’s spirit in the time devoted to training.  A conscious effort to improve through disciplined training is necessary without desires to change the style. Attention to detail will add emphasis to each element of one’s progress.  It is necessary to practice under a wide variety of conditions and circumstances to add realistic elements to enhance training and value of the efforts applied to one’s study.  This enhances understanding of technique and also helps to promote enthusiasm and keep boredom and lethargy to a minimum.  Another key element is the use of visualization.  At a high level of ability, one sees internally the perfect technique and strives to make that technique the one uses.  Beyond seeing the perfect technique, one should concentrate on how the mental image feels rather than stressing about the actual mental picture.  The ability to mentally see the opponent within the situation and the way one reacts and feels within the situation is at the peak of understanding.  This ability enhances training and ultimately the application of techniques if needed in real necessity.  Training now is able to use previous experience to enhance what is learned today and also what the future may hold.

          The mind is the center and originator of thoughts and activity. Countless minute details must be calculated in the performance of a single technique applied within a short distance in an exceedingly short period of time and with maximum speed.  Complex movements require the mind to perform numerous calculations in the amount of time that lasts no longer than a few seconds for each combination of techniques. To learn effectively the student must learn to release stress and relax.  The calm mind is clear of outside influence.  The goal during training, competition and application of what is learned is to focus one’s concentration on the elements of the form, breath control and proper tension of muscles with instantaneous relaxation after delivery to create the devastating power within each technique.   The student becomes able to experience and deal with stress and solve the problems either during the imagery session or afterward.  With practice the ability to perform at the level desired is achieved when imagery has trained the mind for proper behavior, response, and execution.   As a result of this repeated training the student develops and improves concentration, mental focus, personal performance and also self-confidence.  Consciousness is enhanced, as is the unity of the mind and body. To attain abilities in mental imagery to positively affect personal training, as many senses as possible should be involved to create a realistic image of the situation.  Images should be optimistic and positive to achieve the desired results.  Daily practice during a relaxed state in an atmosphere that will not affect concentration is necessary to increase effectiveness.  To become a well-rounded karateka all aspects of the art must be practiced.  To objectively evaluate personal performance of kihon, kata, kumite, kobudo and other necessary elements while in the dojo or at home, keep a training journal to make sure that no aspect is overlooked.  Using a video of the training session is helpful for the student to accurately determine if perceived abilities are actually being performed. 

            STRIVING FOR PERFECTION IS A NEVER ENDING PROCESS.  Karate training is ageless; we can grow old with it and never exhaust its dimensions.  In this way the mirror will always need polishing.  The beauty of Isshin-ryu Karate is that it is a very basic style where one develops directness of power that may be generated through direct application of proper techniques. The simplicity challenges each of us to improve form and to be able to execute the kata, kobudo and kumite skills effortlessly.  The challenge is to strive to understand the many levels of learning and interpretation.  The purpose of karate is to find peace, not from fighting, but from the inner confidence we gain as we work to perfect the system created by Tatsuo Shimabuku. The new student brings enthusiasm to the dojo. The advanced student understands (in time) he or she is not at the top of the mountain but somewhere along the side of the mountain.  Although promotion is not the focus of training, each new rank is a challenge that must be accepted.  Then as one “grows into the rank” it becomes the reward of Thinking deeply about what one is doing is crucial for proper growth.  Being alive and a conscious part of every action is necessary to maintain a positive mental attitude if there is to be longevity in one’s training.  Doing the needed repetitions to develop form added with speed to create the power of Isshin-ryu Karate is what makes the performance of each technique dynamic and effective.

AMERICAN ISSHINRYU SEMINAR

Seventh Degree Black Belt, Master Thomas Flagg, conducted a series of self-defense seminars Saturday, August 11th, at the Isshin-ryu School of Karate – 232 Route 46, Vienna, NJ.  Participants from four local karate schools enjoyed the presentations and learned a great deal from Master Flagg. 

Master Flagg began his study of the Martial Arts as a teenager in Ohio. His uncle, a police detective and Ju Jitsu instructor, got him started on what would become a lifelong avocation.  He has trained in GoJu under Master Aaron Banks, earning his first-degree black belt.  He later studied Go Shin Do Kempo under Master Bob Long, rising to first-degree brown belt.  Tom also trained briefly with Master Don Nagle, but his acting career began to take him out of town quite frequently.  During those years of almost constant travel, Tom trained in Shorin Ryu, Jeet Koon Do, Krav Maga (Israeli Martial Arts), and Asian weapons like the Sai, Bo, and Nunchaku. When he returned to New York and a series of Broadway shows, Tom began studying Isshin Ryu Karate again, with Shihan Robert Mansfield. During the twenty-two years of constant study, Tom rose through the ranks and on August 4th, 2002, Mr. Flagg was promoted, to his current rank of 7th Degree Black Belt.

HANSHI DUESSEL SEMINARS @ M.I.K.A. JULY 2012

Friday and Saturday, July 13 & 14, I had the pleasure to train, assist and spend time with my Sensei, Hanshi William H. Duessel and the friends and students at Manchester, Maine’s M.I.K.A. dojo.  Hearing the insights and wisdom of  Master Duessel, as well as  seeing the positive growth of the students was a tremendously rewarding experience. THANK YOU HANSHI DUESSEL for making the trip from Pittsburgh and SHIHAN AND RENSHI PUSHARD for sharing of your time, energy and faith.

Is QUITTING an option?

 

     As parents, we try to get our children involved and exposed to as many activities as possible. It’s good to have our children involved in traditional activities, which teach team spirit and helps them to have some form of a release for their pent up energy. In some sports a child will excel better than others, and in some sports a child will flat out want to quit. How many times has a child say “Mom & Dad I Want to QUIT?” This can happen whether it’s baseball, soccer, football, cheerleading, dance, and yes-even Martial Arts! We hear many parents tell us “my child tried this and that sport and always winds up quitting!” Even in Martial Arts, when a child reaches a certain belt level, he or she may go through the same scenario of wanting to quit.

     Here’s the dilemma that parents go through…

1. “I don’t want to force my child to do something he or she doesn’t want to do.”

2. “I don’t feel like arguing.”

3. “I remember when I was a kid and my parents made me stick to it.” (Which isn’t a bad idea at all!)

     The problem is not the child wanting to quit something, it’s parents allowing or teaching the child to quit.  At times this behavior is not done purposely. Sometimes it’s easier just to give in to the child when he or she is arguing or screaming and crying about quitting something or not getting his or her way. When at that state there is no reasoning or no perfectly logical answer that will inspire the individual to stick it out. Sometimes talking and trying to reason with the child or even to explain the logic about quitting does not work. After all, our children are our pride and joy, and how can we say no when the child uses those eyes with that puppy dog look. I’m sure it makes a parent feel terrible and causes us want to give in.

     Parents, children know you better than you know yourself at times. They are very smart and know what buttons to push when it comes to getting what is desired. As kids we did the same to our parents, we were master manipulators too. A young child does not understand the true value of what affect it will have on them when he or she learns to “QUIT” something. It will have a domino effect later in life.  I teach college courses and have done so for the past seven years.  Many students quit, even with decent passing grades, because the work required is difficult or as has been said, “class and studying is not fun now.”    There is a major psychological impact when a child learns that he or she can quit anything at any time. This behavior will follow through the critical years that form a child’s developing mind.  Once a trait is learned, it is a difficult concept to change.   Lessons learned, self confidence developed along with strength, balance and coordination are elements necessary if one wishes to mature as a healthy and productive adult. 

     For example:

1. Among their peers if they feel they are not winning a game, they simply just give up.

2. The moment they feel a challenge coming on or experience hard work, they quit.

3. Statistics show that more than 70% of students quit college before graduating.

     Parents should treat the Martial Arts like going to school.  Education is very important in America to be able succeed as a teenager and adult. The Martial Arts is a valuable tool to help children grow physically, mentally and emotionally.  Many children do not know the value of hard work or understand the importance of perseverance; it’s our job as Martial Arts Instructors and as parents to teach them.

     We are here to help and assist your child in learning the proper life skills. We understand it can be difficult at times but persevere –  DO NOT GIVE UP!  If concepts discussed in this article are entering your life, speak to us and let us know exactly what’s going on in your child’s mind and we can help.  Many of our instructors are parents.  Some have been coaches at the youth and high school levels.  We have experienced the stresses that at times to lead people to want to quit.  We dealt with many situations where a child wants to quit. It’s just a matter of reconnecting with them with some inspiration and motivation.

     It is quite obvious that I wouldn’t be the person I am today if it was not for the education, abilities and discipline that I have learned through my years of schooling and the Martial Arts.  Think about the responsibilities that are an important part of being a parent and commit to lead by example and help each child to accept the responsibilities that are going to help each one become the person you hope he or she will become- by taking the less traveled road into adulthood and beyond.