Thought of the week #33

The history of the world is full of men who rose to leadership, by sheer force of self-confidence, bravery and tenacity.
Author: Mahatma Gandhi


Success in sight....
Creative Commons License photo credit: seeveeaar

Sterling W. Sill said: “Our future success will be determined by what we presently think.  Physically we become what we eat, but mentally, spiritually, socially, and morally, we become what we think.  Napoleon Hill wrote a great book, ‘Think and Grow Rich’; we can also think and grow wise.  We can think and grow faithful.  Being a great thinker does not require us to think only original thoughts.  All of the greatest thoughts about love, beauty, faith, kindness, and success have already been thought again and again.  As we rerun them through our own minds, they will produce an increasing rate of return.”

The thoughts that pass through the mind are responsible for everything that happens in life.   As the thoughts are, so is one’s life.  To make changes in life it is necessary to change old thinking and replace it by positive thought and insight.  Using the power of thoughts effectively can be termed “practical daydreaming”.  The power of thought is creative. It is possible to train and strengthen it.  Visualize a perfect scene of whatever you want to accomplish.  Put as much detail and imagery into the mental image.  Revisit these mental images often and accept the positive outcome and they will come true because the mind does not know what is imaginary or real.  It only knows what we think and believe.  Thoughts that pass through the subconscious mind influence actions in accordance with these thoughts.

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 has been lost in many dojos, schools and the work place because the emphasis today is placed on being fast without much emphasis on proper technique; getting the product done to make money is more important.  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 or sparring drill is done.  Then breathing correctly, inhaling while in transition and exhaling while blocking or attacking, is necessary for power to eventually be developed.  Next 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.  As understanding of the possible meanings for each move (bunkai) and combination of moves is developed, timing is also heightened so the moves in kata may be used in kumite and self defense applications.

As is evident in this brief thought, proper traditional karate training may last a lifetime and still be challenging and exciting.  If one strives to understand each aspect of the art, individual successes will be experienced.  These successes will also transfer into daily life, which is an added benefit to proper training.

February, 2010: Seminar and Tournament Announcements

HANSHI’S AFFILIATION SEMINAR – hosted by the Carmona’s this year in Mt Arlington – – Thursday, June 24, Friday, June 25 and Saturday, June 26 for adult Brown and Black Belts in his Affiliation.


The date for the 2011 IWKA Isshinryu World Karate Championships is Saturday June 25, 2011.  Seminars will be conducted the 23rd and 24th.

At the request of O’Sensei Kichiro Shimabuku the 2011 tournament will be held in Indianapolis Indiana and honor the late Sensei John C. Lennox.
The tournament information website is this site links through our homepage at

FRIDAY PURPLE, BROWN AND BLACK BELT TRAINING DATES:  FEBRUARY 19, MARCH 19, APRIL 16, MAY 21 – – Check you calendars and plan to attend   The cost is only $5.00.  Let Kyoshi know if you will be attending.


People who joined the AOKA, Inc. Organization prior to November your renewals are due as per the following.

Membership will end on March 31, 2010. We have 19 Dojo members that will also have to renew. If you are one of them please send in your donation ($10.00).   The way we would like for you to do it, is to have them to fill out a piece of paper with your/their name and membership number and mail it with their renewal donation to the following address.  American Isshinryu Inc. C/O Tom Lloyd 518 Red Crest Lane Rancher Branchburg, NJ 08876

Any student may join this organization.  Its intention is to help unify Isshin-ryu Karate regardless of the organization with which the sensei or dojo is affiliated.

The AOKA, Inc 2nd “Day With The Master’s Seminar” is scheduled for Saturday, March 20th   or 27th (adults only).   This is a series of seminars conducted by Masters of Isshin-ryu Karate.  The first series of seminars lasted about 5 hours and was reasonably priced.  The information related was extremely beneficial.  More information will follow.

Let Kyoshi know when you renew or if you wish to join.

Read this month’s article, THOUGHT, SUCCESS, & REALITY.

Congratulations to the students who have earned promotions since our last newsletter.    Junior Yellow Belt – Amal & Anas Gondal, Zach DeStefano, Taryn Faccenda    Brown Belt #3 –  Kristyn Wheeler, Katherine Waldman, Trevor Silva   Brown Belt #2 – Joseph Reinbold

The first karate tournament of the year is at Warren Hills High School – – Sunday, February 14th.  I hope many of you will be able to attend.  I have pre-registration forms.
Sensei Doug King’s sparring tournament is Sunday, March 14, 2010 at Newton H.S.
Please check our dojo website for updates.  Mr. Masur does a great job keeping it updated and looking so GOOD.  There are many informational sites, our monthly newsletter (which will help us save trees) and the calendar of classes and events.  Share this with friends and family members (who probably are in your friend category anyway)

Thought of the week #31

If you don’t have confidence in yourself, get off your rear end and do anything that will make you feel better about yourself
Author: Wayne Dyer

January, 2010: Karate Speed Zones

Karate Speed Zones is a topic mentioned by Hanshi Duessel during his last visit in Hackettstown during our seminars. I had heard him talk about his concept previously on a number of occasions. After he returned to Pittsburgh, I decided to investigate this principle further (there is nothing like an idea who’s time has come). We must understand this critical concept, if we are going to advance in Isshin-ryu Karate. The same holds true in the way we learn as we progress from one grade in school to another (ranks white belt through green belt in the dojo), through high school (ranks purple belt through brown belt levels in the dojo), into college (ranks Sho Dan through San Dan in the dojo) and beyond (instructor’s and master’s titles awarded because of ability and dedication Renshi-go, Kyoshi-go & Hanshi-go).

We are aware of Hanshi’s quotation: “Speed+Form = Power”. As we think about it and the speed zones, why does one person learn more easily than another, progressing through the ranks more quickly and why does one person’s technique hit the target during sparring and another’s is blocked? One piece of the puzzle is speed. Another piece of the puzzle is timing. Yet other pieces are using the proper technique with the proper weapon to attack the appropriate target. Would a Pittsburgh Pirate baseball player try to hit a home run using the handle of a broom or a wiffle ball bat? The icing on the cake is developing the ability to use the proper training techniques at each rank, combined with the proper comprehension level and applying all of what has been mentioned with the appropriate speed and form. Trying to learn or advance too quickly generally slows one’s progress, rather than speeding it up.

As the sensei instructs the movements in kihon, kata, kobudo and kumite, remember how each movement and combination of movements is taught. That is the proper beginning learning speed. Do every part of each technique before beginning the next one. Resist the desire to move more quickly that the sensei instructs by trying to imitate the way the more advanced ranks perform the techniques you are learning. Make sure that each stance is set before the technique is delivered. With practice the individual techniques will join into combinations and movements will become more refined. Gradual progress, proper training and time will ultimately create simultaneous blocks and counters with speed, form, balance and focus. At higher levels the student will be able to “see” the opponent and the attack thus making his or her practice and performance “alive”.

Physical strength and conditioning are important as we develop into adulthood. As we condition our bodies, we remain healthy, strong and alert. A thought worth viewing is, what is physically strong for one person is weak for another. At this point in my life, I have not bench pressed 275 pounds in years but I now do more repetitions and sets than I did when I was younger. “Staying” strength is now more important than knowing that I can move a relatively heavy weight a moderately short distance. (But it was impressive, at least to me, then). Emphasize conditioning and flexibility because these qualities are the skills that will help us throughout our entire lives. With time our youth’s strength, speed and quickness refocuses on maturity’s enthusiasm, technique and timing to succeed. As is stated at the end of Tennyson’s poem “Ulysses”:

We are not now that strength which in the old days
Moved earth and heaven; that which we are, we are,
One equal-temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

At times illness and injury may limit our physical activity. If this happens we either take time off or we continue to train, doing what we can to advance the capabilities we are able to use. Working through injuries when appropriate, knowing no further injury will occur if we do what is reasonable, is a sign of maturity, dedication and discipline.

So, with all this being said, what must be understood if we are to use the proper speed zone? Strive to follow the direction of the sensei that knows how to best help each of us to improve. Practice daily demonstrating the proper way to do kihon, kata and kobudo and at the appropriate speed. When in the dojo, use the time efficiently; arrive early and be ready to start at the beginning of each training session. Practice what you have been taught and be open to improve when instructed. Lastly, have a beginners mind; be open to learn and review the skills you may feel that you know (perfectly). With this open and willing mind, each person will be able to learn more (happily) and become an exceptional karate student and person.

The first karate tournament of the year is at Warren Hills High School – – Sunday, February 14th.  I hope many of you will be able to attend.  I have pre-registration forms.

Please pay the beginning of each month

If paying monthly with more than one std. per family  – – additional student is a $10 reduction / month.

Those students that have paid for more than one month, the new rates will begin with the next payment.

December, 2009: Promotions

Congratulations to the students who have earned promotions since our last newsletter.

  • Junior Yellow Belt:  Vlad Kuz
  • Senior Green Belt:  Bridget Driscoll

Thought of the week #28

Self-confidence is either a petty pride in our own narrowness or the realization of our duty and privilege as God’s children.
Author: Phillips Brooks