Karate Tournaments for Karate Excellence

Parents often wonder whether or not it is necessary to compete in Martial Arts Tournaments to progress in karate. The 2002 tournament season will begin on January 19th and some students are looking forward to building on the gains that they made last year. Others will start competing for the first time. All will have the opportunity to gain valuable experience.

Florida enjoys a very high standard in Martial Arts, and competitions often attract the best practitioners from the schools around the state. Most events are well-run and most officials do a good job of judging. Generally competition is well-controlled and the events run smoothly. In addition to the positive attention that results from tournament success, the sport aspect of Martial Arts also serves to inspire some students in their training. Sometimes the goal of entering a competition in Forms or Sparring encourages a student to train harder and more frequently, with the result that their practice improves. Motivation is a major factor in the training regimen of most students, since tournament performance inspires good training habits, it is obviously a plus. The UKC students who compete generally do very well The training that we do for Self-Defense (pairs) is now included as a tournament division, as is Tag Team Sparring.

Tournaments can offer the Gold Belt or advanced student goal-setting opportunities and effective motivational encouragement. Additionally, by choosing to test themselves in Kata, Weapons, Self Defense or Sparring competition, the students improve their ability to deal with the natural stress, nervousness and adrenaline rush that often occurs when faced with an opponent. Practice of this kind is of huge value should any student ever have to apply their skills in a real self-defense situation. See the Front Desk for info on Team 2002.

Sensei Robert Heale Mason (c 2001)

What we can learn from 9-11: Carpe diem!

It’s that question that everyone always asks: where were you: when Roosevelt made his announcement of the attack on Pearl Harbor, when the networks announced that Kennedy was shot, when you heard that the planes hit the Twin Towers? In all those instances the world, as we knew it changed completely.

The continental United States had not been attacked before, at least in our lifetime, and so the idea that we could be attacked was far from our thoughts. Other countries have had to deal with invasion or the threat of invasion; but America appeared to be untouchable, and then it wasn’t.

Since 9-11 many people in this country have reevaluated their lives and moved on, while some have succumbed to Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, living in anxiety 24/7, much like some victims of other disasters. Most people would agree that 9-11 was a day that will remain unforgettable in our memory. What we choose to do with that image is up to us. For some that day brought thoughts of revenge, for others clarity of purpose.

Carpe Diem…seize the day. Live in the moment. Do the right thing. A new year brings with it the possibility of a new commitment. Traditionally people make resolutions that they know will be difficult to keep, and then, when the going gets tough, they bail.

This year, the second of the New Millennium, is an ideal opportunity for everyone to make a decision to do better for themselves and for others. Training offers students a way to do better. By applying the FIT formula that martial artist Steve Anderson advocates, there is a practical way to accomplish those New Year’s resolutions:

F stands for frequency. Set a schedule and stick to it. Beginners should schedule two classes a week; Intermediate students three times a week, and Advanced Students four times a week if possible.I means intensity. When in class, exhale strongly with each technique. Do it like you mean it. Think of how committed those people were that took down the terrorists on that Pennsylvania flight.

T stands for time. As your mother, or someone significant, probably said to you, “everything takes time”. So enjoy the process and let the belts take care of themselves.

We can all learn something valuable from this national tragedy. As Oprah Winfrey said after the event; “The best way to honor those who lost their lives is to live your best life, now.”

If you have friends, relatives or acquaintances who have realized that they could benefit from training in Martial Arts, please invite them to come and visit, try a lesson or take an introductory course at the Dojo. Since the 9-11 event many people have realized that the need for personal security cannot be addressed by purchasing guns or other weapons, as there are too many places you cannot take them. Expecting other people, like the Police or Air Marshals, to protect you won’t work either. Accepting responsibility for your own self–defense is an important step to take. It is also important to accept that Martial Arts skills take time and commitment to develop. With your help, we can build confidence, self-esteem and fitness into the bodies and minds of those you refer to us, along with the competence to deal with the occasional gangster or terrorist. It’s 2002, let’s “seize the moment” on a daily basis.

© 2002 Sensei Robert H. Mason

The news in pictures

On a recent trip Sensei Mason had the opportunity to meet the Minister for Sport for Trinidad and Tobago, who found time to treat Sensei to lunch at a local Chinese restaurant

Several years ago Mr. Bud Prescott worked for Sensei Mason in the Office at the Dojo He moved back to Minneapolis so that he and his wife Arlis could enjoy being closer to their family. Their grandson Max, pictured on the right, is seven years old and has begun training in the Martial Arts.

Some of the new Black Belt students with Sensei Mason

Left to Right: Thomas DeGraaf, David FungSang, and Cathy DeTamble

Congratulations to all of our newly promoted Black Belts.