The Eighteenth annual Gold Coast Classic Martial Arts Tournament takes place on Saturday May 15th (see flyer). People from the continental United States, and foreign countries, will travel to South Florida to attend this prestigious event

Parents and students have sometimes asked why competition is useful. Like the grading tests, competitions give students the opportunity to perform, rather than just practice. Any student who is serious about developing self-defense skills and the confidence to perform them under the pressure of an attack should participate since it sharpens their skills and toughens their resolve as participants. It is highly recommended that all students compete at least once before they receive their Black Belt. Since the Gold Coast Classic is promoted by the University Karate Center it offers an ideal annual opportunity for our students.

Unlike a real fight, the sparring at a tournament is controlled and points are called. However, like a real fight, the competitors have to seriously contend for dominance using their martial arts skills. Tournament competition gives one the opportunity to face opponents whose techniques and tactics may be hitherto unfamiliar. This forces the student into a situation which will, hopefully, reveal what spontaneous responses and reactions (positive and negative) have been developed in training and give some measure of the likelihood that effective techniques will come out in an actual combat situation.

Weapons Forms and Empty Hand Forms (Kata) are also part of the tournament events in which a student may compete. Competition, when properly run, can improve all oneís skills. Just look at other sports. The famous on-court rivalry between tennis stars Chris Evert and Martina Navratanova helped both become better players.


Many martial arts films depict characters that fearlessly use their martial arts skills to solve problems and defeat enemies. They can seem to be the very definition of courage, they can be powerful, self-sufficient and confident in the face of frightening situations. In real life the most courageous acts of these same martial arts icons may have little to do with their ability to overpower others physically and much more to do with their inner strength. Courageous people are grown, not born, and the seeds of courage are in us all. Here are six everyday ways that all martial artists can develop their courageous spirit.

TAKE RISKS. The fear of risk can be powerful, but facing it can mean tremendous positive change in your life. Commit to taking a risk by weighing the consequences and preparing for them, then go for it!

ADMIT YOUR MISTAKES. With risks comes the possibility that you will make mistakes. Remember, however, that mistakes can teach better than many successes. Rather than beating yourself up about them, think about what you have learned, and use your energy to problem-solve and to decide on new strategies.

BE WILLING TO LEARN NEW THINGS. Lessons in life can come in unexpected packages. Every life experience can leave you more savvy and better prepared for future challenges and opportunities.

ALLOW YOURSELF TO CARE ABOUT OTHERS. Attachments to others can be painful at times. Takes the time to get to know the people in your life, and take a chance on caring. The rewards of being in a mutually supportive relationship, whether it is with family, friends or members of a community, are well with the gamble.

ALLOW OTHERS TO CARE FOR YOU. If caring for others is tough, letting others know you need to be cared for can be even more so. We all need physical contact, social interaction and love to be our best. Find someone in your life that you can trust enough to ask for help when you need to and try saying ďyesĒ when help is offered.

The Benefits of FUNKICKS Fitness Kickboxing

The music is thumping, the sweat is pouring, the walls of the Dojo are moving. Looking through the glass you see people punching and kicking their way to fitness with FUNKICKS, the best in fitness kickboxing.

These classes are offered in the Dojo three times a week with certified instructors. Martial arts students should take advantage of this wonderful program that will increase their ability to kick and punch with intensity, something that is needed when we are sparring, running basics or performing kata.

FUNKICKS classes are a fun way to get in shape, they help you burn fat and calories but most importantly, they enhance your martial arts training. It is not enough just to know the curriculum; you must be able to execute your techniques with power.

Have you ever noticed when sparring that you get short of breath a minute into your first fight? This comes from lack of cardio conditioning. When you do Funkicks classes on a regular basis you will build endurance by moving aerobically.

Kicking and punching the air while doing basics serves its purpose for developing form and balance. For these movements to be effective however, your muscles need strength, hitting pads develops this. We canít actually strike other students in class with full force but the pads canít complain, so you can feel free to hit them as hard as you want.

Donít be intimidated and feel that you have to be in great shape before you take a FUNKICKS class. These classes are good for any fitness level, you just have to work at your own pace when starting out and before you know it you will be in the best shape of your life.

© Nerissa Spannos and Sensei Rodrigo Navarrete 2004