May 2003 Newsletter



Parents, students, their friends and families are invited to attend the annual karate school tournament on May 9th and 10th. The Gold Coast Classic is an opportunity for all UKC students yellow belts and up to compete, if they wish, and experience karate in a more intense and competitive atmosphere. Just as the Grading is a more “stepped- up” situation in which students find themselves under pressure to perform, so the school tournament is also a way to practice doing what you know in front of other people who will assess your performance. The value of voluntarily placing yourself in a competitive atmosphere is multi- fold, although not immediately obvious. Competition helps a student to develop very sharp focus, to overcome fear of failure, to improve techniques while in the company of well-versed opponents, and to handle the adrenalin rush that occurs in an unknown arena. Many of our best karate students have improved their martial arts by going to tournaments.

If you set out to be successful, then you already are.

~Katherine Dunham

Volunteers are a vital part of the success of our tournament. We encourage anyone who is interested in helping out to consider spending a portion of whatever time you have available Friday night, Saturday and/or Saturday night at the tournament. Jobs are simple that we need you to do and your assistance will be much appreciated plus you will be able to see the action up close and personal as they say. We have “Helper Forms” available to fill out. Just ask!

Experience the electric atmosphere of ten rings of martial arts happening at one time throughout the day on May 10 from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.! Students of all ages, belt ranks and styles will travel from all over the United States to gather at Broward Community College Gymnasium in Davie on Saturday to compete in Weapons, Forms and Fighting as well as additional “events” listed on the website at Just watching all of this martial arts on display as a spectator is quite a treat; many families will spend all or part of the day viewing the best competitors out there.

We ask that all parents and students support this important event as a spectator, a competitor, or as a volunteer. Check with the Front Desk for details.

Sempai of the Month

Tisha Gittens

Tisha Gittens is a 3rd Kyu brown belt who has been training since May 2001. She was awarded her brown belt in March and is attending classes regularly, as her goal is to achieve her Black Belt. Her motto is, “I don’t intend to quit.”

She feels that karate has made her more confident and has built her strength. When asked how she would persuade others to take karate, she answered, “I would tell them that it teaches you to defend yourself in a situation, and give you a lot of confidence.

An 8th-grader at Seminole Middle School in Plantation, Tisha’s favorite subject is Math. When she is not in karate she can be found skateboarding or hanging out at the mall with her friends Ash and Paige, who also attend the karate school. She likes rock, rap and hip-hop music, comedy movies and loves to eat chicken. Her favorite color is blue, and she likes dolphins.

As a Sempai, Tisha works with many of the new students. As the instructors know, it is often difficult to work with students who are beginners in the Martial Arts, and Tisha faces this challenge readily and without complaint. She continually challenges herself by attending not only the classes required for grading, but also the weekly weapons class.

“Tisha is a joy to have in class,” says Sensei Kendra Smith, one of the instructors who observes Tisha in class often. “She is very focused and determined, and endlessly patient with the younger students. I feel she will be a wonderful teacher.”

Tisha told us that the most difficult techniques in her opinion are the kicks, particularly the jump-spin hook kick. She knows how important it is to master a technique before attempting to teach it to others. Tisha is an excellent role model who leads by example. We will be watching her progress as she works toward her Black Belt.

© Sensei Kendra Smith 2003


One that can be looked up to - One who is more skilled and experienced

One who can set an example of excellence - A Senior Student


Excerpt From

“Safer, Smarter Kids: 10 Ways to Raise

a Street Smart Child”

Developed by Mike Storms

Give Kids Permission to Say No to Adults

This gives the program its strong foundation. It is important for children to have the support of their parents and to realize they have ownership of their bodies and minds. There should be no forced affection. Let them know that they have rights just like adults.

Remember what it felt like to have to kiss people you did not want to? It’s fake! If a child learns from their parents that they should kiss someone they do not want to kiss, then they begin to get confused about the proper limits of affection. If the situation arises when another adult tells the child to kiss or touch them, it makes it harder for a child to say no.

In your own life, make sure you honor kids. Ask them if you can have a hug or a kiss, rather than telling them or just physically grabbing them. Make it their choice—their decision. The better that they get at making decisions, the better chance that they will make the right one when Mom and Dad are not around and they are responsible for themselves.

No Shortcuts

Any time a child takes a different route home, he or she is running the risk of being grabbed with no witnesses. The techniques that we teach for children to defend themselves against adults mainly focus upon denying abductors privacy, drawing public attention to the situation, and deriving help from other adults.

Make sure kids know that if they are ever grabbed, they must yell and scream “Help, you are not my mom!” or “You are not my dad!” This will elicit a much more powerful response than just a call for help. Therefore, kids shouldn’t take shortcuts through the woods, backyards or side streets where abductions could occur with no witnesses. Encourage kids to take the same route home each day. This will help friends or parents find them if they are late. And develop safe zones with neighbors. A community needs to protect its children.

May Essay Contest

Students: Write a short essay (one page or less) about how Karate has affected you positively through your training, and how you think your life would be different if you hadn’t trained in Karate. The winner will receive a $15.00 credit toward UKC merchandise or a half hour private lesson with Sensei Smith, and their winning essay will be published in the following newsletter. All participants will be mentioned. The last day to hand in your essay will be Friday, May 23rd.