APRIL 2003 Newsletter

Florida Gold Coast Classic

Tournaments are an opportunity for students who are yellow belt and up to practice their skills in a more realistic environment, without having to actually go to war or get in a street fight. It is obvious to everyone that being able to take care of yourself is a major priority. While tournament competition is never required of our students, it is strongly recommended for several reasons, not the least of which is that regardless of the outcome, competition is a life lesson that everyone needs to master, whether they are in the martial arts or not. Being able to hold your own in a threatening and unpredictable situation is a necessary skill which is not usually taught in the school system, in the home, or in other educational environments. You may enter a chess tournament or be on a debate team, but that will not give you the same opportunity to deal with adrenaline shock as a martial arts competition. After all, no one in a chess match or a debate is trying to hit you. Even contact sports like football do not offer the same opportunity as one on one fighting competition at a karate event.

When seen as an extension of our weekly sparring practice, tournament fighting is a real opportunity to upgrade your skills. In class we spar cooperatively, while the competitive nature of tournaments make the action more lively. The tournament we host as a karate school is scheduled for May 9th and 10th. Flyers are available at the Front Desk, as are sign-up sheets for volunteers. I hope that many of our members from all of the color belt ranks will enter for weapons kata, traditional kata, self-defense or sparring. We may even be able to organize some tag teams if there is an interest. With two hundred divisions of competition there should be something for everyone.

© Sensei Robert H Mason 2003


Thoughts on Training:

for parents and students

As soon as you step into the dojo you must instantly clear all thoughts from your mind, especially any that are negative. For the next 45-60 minutes

TOTALLY FOCUS on the class. In this way you can fully focus your physical and mental power, working to achieve excellence in every move as the Sensei guides you. It is just you and the technique you are trying to master. This awareness acts like a vent; all your frustrations will disappear as the momentum of the class and force of your techniques carries you along. You will begin to feel good as you get better. The clear mind that comes with training is like a peaceful brook with the water flowing down stream over rocks. With practice you can feel yourself enter this state as you enter the Dojo.

There are not too many Dojos that can inspire and motivate students to train hard in class. Mr. Mason’s Dojo is one of those which can. Use the power of the techniques to increase your level of intensity; the more the better. Build up this intensity and release all the frustrations of everyday life.

What this will do for you or your child is allow any anger to pass out of your body in the form of “full power kicks” or “punches.” This is very satisfying, knowing that the power you feel can conquer any challenge in your life. At the same time it is very important to understand that once you learn these techniques, they are NEVER to be used except in self-defense.

This all spills into every aspect of everyday life; the training you receive will allow you to do things you never thought possible. Why? When as students we are faced with a difficult technique and we master it, we know that there was only US and the technique. Because the technique was mastered, a building block of confidence was achieved; so when we are out in everyday life we know that any obstacle can be overcome in the same way.

You have both the physical and mental capacity to achieve. Why this is not taught in schools I’ll never understand. It’s a shame that there are no college scholarships available for Martial Arts.

Go for the A’s on your karate report card. Mr. Mason has training tapes that show how a technique should be performed. It seems to me that everyone is in a rush for the stripe. The stripe is an excellent confidence builder; but is not an end in itself. Most parents do not know what a technique is supposed to look like, and you are not expected to; however, if you would like to help your child develop get the tape and have them practice with it. By watching their practice you will be able to see their improvement towards the next belt test.

The Belt. The ultimate confidence builder. This really shows progress; it’s exciting. You must ask yourself “Am I really ready for this level? Do my techniques look like those on the tape?”

In closing there is so much more to Martial Arts than I talked about. I hope this small passage will inspire you or your child to be the best you or they can be. My thanks to Mr. Mason and his staff, especially Miss Jackie for so much help over my many years of continued learning.

Bob Brigida, UKC Brown Belt and parent


Karate Crossword

Win a UKC T-shirt!

Students: Let’s see just how much you really know about Karate! Here’s a hint: Use your curriculum book for several of the answers. Everyone who turns in a correct, finished crossword by Thursday, April 17th will be entered in a drawing for a UKC T-shirt or a ‘Kung Fu Dancing Hamster.’ Good Luck!