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Sensei Robert Heale Mason, Chief Instructor at the University Karate Center, has been teaching continuously in Plantation since February 1980. During that time over fifty students have achieved the rank of Black Belt. Twelve students currently hold the rank of Nidan (Second Degree Black Belt), four students have achieved Sandan (Third Degree Black Belt) and Sensei Charles Lewis, Mason’s Senior Student and the Head Instructor in the school, holds the rank of Yondan (Fourth Degree Black Belt).

Although Sensei Mason does not require students to compete in tournaments, many have done so very successfully. Over the years the school has trained many State and National Champions. Sensei Mason’s interests have always been more in the field of Martial

Arts for Personal Growth, than for competition, though throughout the years he has discovered that the most competitive students often make the most progress in all aspects of their Martial Arts training.

In England Mr. Mason was first a student of History and English Literature at Medway College. He went on to train at the University of Sussex in Brighton as a Developmental Psychologist, with Post Graduate training in Clinical Psychology at St. Francis Hospital and Collwood School, and academic experience as a lecturer in Advanced Level Psychology and Statistics at Eastbourne College. Arriving in Florida in 1979 Mr. Mason first worked as a guitar instructor and salesman at the Broward Music Center, moving on in February of 1980 to a double role as a therapist at the South County Mental Health Center in Delray Beach, and as an instructor of the Martial Arts in Plantation. By 1982 Sensei Mason had a sufficiently well established following to make the University Karate Center his full time job.

With over forty classes a week on the schedule, including beginner, intermediate and advanced classes in Karate, Jiu Jutsu, Self Defense, Kickboxing and Tai Chi, his plate would seem pretty full. He still finds time however to promote a tournament, the Florida Gold Coast Classic, on the National Tour. This year it will be on May 6th at BCC in Davie. He also still appears on TV from time to time on the ISKA Karate and "Strikeforce" Kickboxing shows on ESPN2. For several years now he has served as the International Commissioner for Kickboxing and he is the Chairman of the Board of the International Sport Karate Association (ISKA is the worldwide governing body for Sport Karate and Kickboxing).

Plans are under way for an open house celebration at the University Karate Center on Saturday February 19th. For details ask at the Front Desk. February is referral month at UKC. We appreciate it when you recommend our program.

Rock-Solid Workout Tips:

Working those Abs

Keeping Steady

If you’ve ever been on a roller coaster, you know that going over top of a crest will cause your stomach muscles to automatically tense up. That’s because whenever the ground beneath us is unstable, the stomach muscles reflexively tighten to stabilize the body.

Body stability is an essential aspect of Martial Arts training. If you’re off balance, there are fewer choices available to you. As your stance weakens, your vulnerability increases. Strong abdominal muscles allow for better balance and quicker responses. A firm mid-section gives you the versatility to react to your opponent’s every move.

It’s not as hard as you think!

Developing strong stomach muscles takes effort, but it doesn’t have to be grueling every step of the way. One of the easiest methods for developing good abdominal muscles is to pay attention to your breathing. Notice the way your waistline moves as you inhale and exhale. Firm your stomach and take care to maintain smooth control of each breath. You will soon notice that by simply paying attention your stomach will grow stronger.

Training Tips

Here are just a couple of basic exercises for developing rock-solid abdominals:

Leg raises. Lie on your back, keep your knees slightly bent, and raise your heels about 18 inches off the ground. Be sure to keep your back flat on the floor. Hold the position for as long as you can, and then lower your legs slowly to the ground.

2. Leg thrusts. Lie on your back and lift your legs to about a 90 degree angle off the floor. Keeping your hands at your side and your back flat against the ground, push your pelvis and legs straight up a couple of inches, and slowly lower yourself back to the ground. Repeat

These are just two of many exercises that develop the abdominal muscles. Ask your Sensei for more tips on how to handle this part of your exercise program.

The abdomen is at the center

Paying attention to the stomach muscles leads to good muscle "tone." Tone refers to the subtle but constant tension that lends support to surrounding joins and keeps the body in a ready state at all times. Remember that the stomach is at the center of your body: the power for your moves radiates from that point. Strong arms and legs are only as effective as the central zone of strength that supports them. Remember that every minute you spend developing your abs will make you a stronger martial artist. Put some abdominal exercise in your training – and keep up the good work!