Our annual school tournament, Sensei Mason’s nineteenth Florida Gold Coast Classic Martial Arts Event, takes place on Saturday May 14th (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 one’s skills. Just look at other sports. The famous on-court rivalry between tennis stars Chris Evert and Martina Navratanova helped both become better players.


Revised Curriculum: an improvement based on 25 years of research

Since the goal for all “underbelt” students should be to attain their Black Belt,

Sensei Mason has recently made some changes to adjust the curriculum and help them to achieve that goal. The adjustments particularly apply to Blue Belt and Brown Belt students, though small changes have been made to other ranks. Most of the changes have been made to streamline the material while maintaining the integrity of the system and of the standard required for each rank.

  Old New
9th Kyu #7 Teisho Tobikomizuki
8th Kyu #7 Shuto Uraken
6th Kyu #7 Tobikomizuki Shuto
5th Kyu Pinan Sandan Delete
4th Kyu #7 Nagashi Haito Teisho
  Pinan Yodan Delete
3rd Kyu #7 Uraken Nagashi Haito
1st Kyu 1-12 Te Tao Waza 1-6 Te Tao Waza
  1-12 Keri Tao Waza 1-6 Keri Tao Waza
  Nai Hanchi Pinan Sandan
  7-12 Kihon Kumite Delete
  No Guard Defense Guard Defense 1- 4

The changes in basics are to #7 natural stance techniques where the order has been switched. Blue and Green Belts will now be able to concentrate on one Kata for their Grading. Pinan Sandan will replace Nai Hanchi for 2nd Kyu students Grading for 1st Kyu. Please make these changes to your curriculum book by crossing through the old technique and writing in the new one.

Many significant changes have also been made to the Black Belt curriculum. Black Belt students seeking further advancement in the Dan ranks should request a copy of the new requirements from the Front Desk or from Sensei Mason. The goal of the new curriculum is to maintain standards while making the higher Dan Ranks available for qualified students. As a result of the adjustments several students have already been able to qualify for promotion in recognition of their dedication to the Dojo and the Mudokai program.