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karatepastor
White Belt
White Belt

Joined: 16 Oct 2021
Posts: 15
Location: Naples, FL
Styles: Karate, Jui Jitsu

PostPosted: Mon Oct 18, 2021 9:15 am    Post subject: Winding Karate Journey Reply with quote

Greetings!

I have a question as to advice for resources. I'm also curious how unique my Karate journey actually is. Can others relate?

I began in the martial arts as a USABF Amateur Boxer in middle and highschool. I had 20 Amateur fights, won some lost some, was nationally competitive by the end of my "career." Joined the Marine Corps right out of high school. I continued to train boxing but, after starting to train with a higher level coach in Southern California, decided I didn't want to get punched in the face any more!

I did various Martial Arts training during 8 years USMC. (LINE / MCMAP) Trained with friends from various arts on the side. Then I spent two years in the Army National Guard. I trained Aikido on and off during that time. Loved the Aikido lifestyle but didn't go very far in it. Questioned its efficacy as a self-defense art.

Always had a heavy bag and used boxing training for exercise. Then about 6 years ago my sons wanted to do Karate. They had a year of Tae Kwon Do. I had thought about training with them in TKD but frankly their instructor was arrogant and didn't want to interact with him any more than needed.

When they started Karate 6 years ago, Tang Soo Do, the teacher, had amassed a really large class from the homeschool community we were a part of then. He asked me to stay for classes and help him teach. I told him I had some martial arts background not specifically Karate. So, I joined the class. We spent a year with him. A legit 7th Dan in TSD and ranked in Judo and other arts. Older man. I also did a bunch of privates with him and he advanced through several belts.

I helped him with the class. Then, I parted ways with him after, and I'll never comprehend why he did this, he started implying he had been a Navy SEAL and embellishing fight stories to me. I checked him out, he had not been a SEAL. I called him on it and he played the victim, although tacitly admitting to his lies. He disbanded that class. I was left as the guy who ruined the homeschool Karate program.... ughhhhh. As a Marine, I just couldn't ignore his stolen valor talk.

So, I decided I'd create a program. I'm a Pastor. I considered creating a self-defense system with a heavy emphasis on character development. In researching ideas for curriculum, I found a man who had done just that. So, I did some zoom privates and had several conversations with him and he taught me the fundamentals of his system and he gave me full access to his curriculum and a 1st Dan in it. I gathered many of those kids and we had a great class for another year or so.

I relocated to another church and spend a few years teaching the same program with a new group of kids. All the while I've brought my 3 sons (9, 13,16) along the journey with me. We train together. We read and watch videos together. The older boys help with classes.

COVID affected us pretty strongly. I relocated a few months ago to SW Florida. My sons and I are training BJJ 4-5 times a week at a local academy with a great professor. I want to add grappling to our system.

We train 1 day a week "tightening up" our curriculum. The Christian Karate system I was using was a blend of Karate styles from the background of its creator. We're using curriculum and Kata from Shito-Ryu as we prepare to relaunch our Karate school at my church here next summer.

I've joined and accredited my 1st Dan with a reputable organization that can award future belts and offers annual seminars and connection with highly respected martial artists. We'll be attending next year's annual seminar and I'll be going through their instructor course at the annual meeting.

Moving forward, I feel like we're on a good path. Questions:

1. Am I unique in this winding journey? Do others here have similar or at least comparable stories?

2. I'm using a lot of videos and practice with my sons to tighten up our curriculum. LOTS of resources for Shito-Ryu Kata, for example, on YouTube, I own DVD curriculum like that from Fumio Demura, several books like "From Beginner to Black" belt to judge our technique against and make adjustments.

3. Based on this, any recommendations or thoughts?

Thanks in advance.
_________________
A kata is not fixed or immoveable. Like water, it's ever changing and fits itself to the shape of the vessel containing it. However, kata are not some kind of beautiful competitive dance, but a grand martial art of self-defense - which determines life and death.

Kenwa Mabuni
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tatsujin
Member of the Month
Member of the Month

Joined: 12 Oct 2021
Posts: 53

Styles: Ryusei-ha Ryukyu Kempo Karate-jutsu

PostPosted: Mon Oct 18, 2021 10:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pastor:

First of all, I congratulate you for taking on such a [potentially] difficult task of having martial arts in a religious environment!

At a very young age (thanks to my step-mother), I was raised as a Southern Baptist. To them, pretty much everything I did was anathema to them. Bowing into class and out of class was considered "praying" to dead people. They automatically assumed that I/we were being taught a non-Christ centered religion, etc. They felt that meditation opened the mind to the influences of evil, etc. Ignorance no matter how well intentioned can make life very difficult.

My path of being involved in the martial arts is rapidly approaching 50 years. In that course of time, it has been a long and often winding road. Different than yours overall, but still being a part of a school or organization and then leaving that school or organization...sometimes in situations that "were not good" and sometimes situations where it was. Or the leader/founder dies and then the organization splits due to the power vacuum left behind, and the personalities of the people that wanted the power, etc.

It sounds, to me, that you are on the right path. You recognize where you are deficient and are taking steps to work on those areas. It seems like your ego is in check and you are not trying to become the Sho-dai Soke of "whatever you want to call what you are doing", etc. Bravo!

Demura Sensei has some good stuff out there (empty handed and kobudo). So, you could do much worse! LOL! Along those lines, have you look at Hayashi-ha Shito-ryu? They have quite an extensive set of kata that you might be interested in.

Enjoy the path that you find yourself on! I would be willing to bet that the path you are on will be more valuable to your children than you!

If you ever run into the religious based "hater" (again, they will probably be well intentioned), don't hesitate to reach out to me privately if you'd like. As I said, I have been there and done that (and got the t-shirt!) a few times. I may be of help to you in explaining martial arts in terms that they will understand.

Keep us updated as to how things progress!
_________________
For me bujutsu is not a set of techniques, but a state of the body. Once the principles are integrated, the techniques surge spontaneously because the body is capable of adapting instantaneously.
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karatepastor
White Belt
White Belt

Joined: 16 Oct 2021
Posts: 15
Location: Naples, FL
Styles: Karate, Jui Jitsu

PostPosted: Mon Oct 18, 2021 11:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

tatsujin wrote:
Pastor:


Enjoy the path that you find yourself on! I would be willing to bet that the path you are on will be more valuable to your children than you!

Keep us updated as to how things progress!


Will do! And thank you. I have run into a few people who don't comprehend the connection. However, most church members over the years have seen my approach as unique and welcome as it brings kids through the doors in ways they otherwise wouldn't have come through. I also use the martial arts (as the Apostle did...) as a metaphor for spiritual warfare and the difficulty of life on occasion in sermons. It sort of opens people's minds a bit and mostly they seem to appreciate it.

I'll take a look at your recommendation for sure. I reached out to Fumio Demura directly today as well. Though associating with an organization I've gained access to some really high level Grand Masters with completely legit credentials. Something I really wanted. I'm going to start registering for seminars, Demura is guest speaker at one later this month that I found on his website that I'm thinking about dong through zoom. (its in California and I'm in Florida!)

Our Brazilian Jui Jitsu Professor locally is a top level guy with a great down to earth attitude. He's a real God send.

Yeah, for sure my kids are getting so much character development and confidence out of our training. It is something we do together and its a great thing for our family. With our relocation to Florida and new affiliation I let them help me rename our Karate school and choose the Kata and Technique curriculum to focus our training upon. I bring a lot of boxing training as well but it meshes right into Karate.

Thanks again!
_________________
A kata is not fixed or immoveable. Like water, it's ever changing and fits itself to the shape of the vessel containing it. However, kata are not some kind of beautiful competitive dance, but a grand martial art of self-defense - which determines life and death.

Kenwa Mabuni
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karatepastor
White Belt
White Belt

Joined: 16 Oct 2021
Posts: 15
Location: Naples, FL
Styles: Karate, Jui Jitsu

PostPosted: Mon Oct 18, 2021 11:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Another closely related question: As an independent Karate school, where do I find or connect with Kumite competitions? My oldest son (16) wants to try his hand at competition. I'm uncertain what organizations, circuits, meet up exist where he could do so. He's curious how our training would stack up in competition. We both plan to compete in BJJ next spring but I'm uncertain where to begin to find the right options for him in Karate.
_________________
A kata is not fixed or immoveable. Like water, it's ever changing and fits itself to the shape of the vessel containing it. However, kata are not some kind of beautiful competitive dance, but a grand martial art of self-defense - which determines life and death.

Kenwa Mabuni
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tatsujin
Member of the Month
Member of the Month

Joined: 12 Oct 2021
Posts: 53

Styles: Ryusei-ha Ryukyu Kempo Karate-jutsu

PostPosted: Mon Oct 18, 2021 12:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

karatepastor wrote:
Another closely related question: As an independent Karate school, where do I find or connect with Kumite competitions? My oldest son (16) wants to try his hand at competition. I'm uncertain what organizations, circuits, meet up exist where he could do so. He's curious how our training would stack up in competition. We both plan to compete in BJJ next spring but I'm uncertain where to begin to find the right options for him in Karate.


Well...define how you are using the term kumite please...

Do you mean open style karate tournaments where all different types of styles compete (usually "fighting" or "sparring" for points, weapons kata and empty handed katas) or more traditional "fighting".

Normally, if you are speaking of open style tournaments, then they are typically state or regional based. For instance, when I lived in TX, the big "organization" then was the AOK or Amatuer Organization of Karate.

I would reach out to some local or semi-local martial arts schools and supply stores (physical supply stores). The latter, in particular, usually has flyer information on all sorts of tournaments. You should be able to lock something like that up.

By the same token, if you are looking for a more traditional type of kumite, do a web search for your style or similar ones and give them a call. I am sure most of them would love to be able to pass along any information.

Lastly, I would look to asking these similar schools if they would be interested in creating a more informal type of inter-school competition. This was something that we were able to do fairly successful in TX. Meaning, your school meets with another to compete against one another in a rules based and FRIENDLY (sometimes this has to be explained, re-explained and then explained again! LOL) competition.

Have some fun with it and good luck!
_________________
For me bujutsu is not a set of techniques, but a state of the body. Once the principles are integrated, the techniques surge spontaneously because the body is capable of adapting instantaneously.
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tatsujin
Member of the Month
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Joined: 12 Oct 2021
Posts: 53

Styles: Ryusei-ha Ryukyu Kempo Karate-jutsu

PostPosted: Mon Oct 18, 2021 12:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I'll take a look at your recommendation for sure. I reached out to Fumio Demura directly today as well. Though associating with an organization I've gained access to some really high level Grand Masters with completely legit credentials. Something I really wanted. I'm going to start registering for seminars, Demura is guest speaker at one later this month that I found on his website that I'm thinking about dong through zoom. (its in California and I'm in Florida!)


Demura Sensei is a good instructor. Unfortunately, he has been going through alot of health issues over the last few years.

I ment to mention something you may have already seen. It is a documentary called (I think) "The Real Miyagi". Either Netflix or Amazon Prime has it if I remember correctly. It is a nicely done documentary on Demura Sensei and his history. Would be of special interest to you and your boys and good general viewing for anyone interested in the martial arts.
_________________
For me bujutsu is not a set of techniques, but a state of the body. Once the principles are integrated, the techniques surge spontaneously because the body is capable of adapting instantaneously.
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karatepastor
White Belt
White Belt

Joined: 16 Oct 2021
Posts: 15
Location: Naples, FL
Styles: Karate, Jui Jitsu

PostPosted: Mon Oct 18, 2021 12:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

tatsujin wrote:
karatepastor wrote:
Another closely related question: As an independent Karate school, where do I find or connect with Kumite competitions? My oldest son (16) wants to try his hand at competition. I'm uncertain what organizations, circuits, meet up exist where he could do so. He's curious how our training would stack up in competition. We both plan to compete in BJJ next spring but I'm uncertain where to begin to find the right options for him in Karate.


Well...define how you are using the term kumite please...

Do you mean open style karate tournaments where all different types of styles compete (usually "fighting" or "sparring" for points, weapons kata and empty handed katas) or more traditional "fighting".

Normally, if you are speaking of open style tournaments, then they are typically state or regional based. For instance, when I lived in TX, the big "organization" then was the AOK or Amatuer Organization of Karate.

I would reach out to some local or semi-local martial arts schools and supply stores (physical supply stores). The latter, in particular, usually has flyer information on all sorts of tournaments. You should be able to lock something like that up.

By the same token, if you are looking for a more traditional type of kumite, do a web search for your style or similar ones and give them a call. I am sure most of them would love to be able to pass along any information.

Lastly, I would look to asking these similar schools if they would be interested in creating a more informal type of inter-school competition. This was something that we were able to do fairly successful in TX. Meaning, your school meets with another to compete against one another in a rules based and FRIENDLY (sometimes this has to be explained, re-explained and then explained again! LOL) competition.

Have some fun with it and good luck!


Yes Sir. Point tournaments is exactly what I was referring to. Ill do exactly as youve suggested. I found one school that had an annual meet up not terribly far away but they put it on hold for Covid. Ill reach out to some others as you suggested.
_________________
A kata is not fixed or immoveable. Like water, it's ever changing and fits itself to the shape of the vessel containing it. However, kata are not some kind of beautiful competitive dance, but a grand martial art of self-defense - which determines life and death.

Kenwa Mabuni
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karatepastor
White Belt
White Belt

Joined: 16 Oct 2021
Posts: 15
Location: Naples, FL
Styles: Karate, Jui Jitsu

PostPosted: Mon Oct 18, 2021 12:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

tatsujin wrote:
Quote:
I'll take a look at your recommendation for sure. I reached out to Fumio Demura directly today as well. Though associating with an organization I've gained access to some really high level Grand Masters with completely legit credentials. Something I really wanted. I'm going to start registering for seminars, Demura is guest speaker at one later this month that I found on his website that I'm thinking about dong through zoom. (its in California and I'm in Florida!)


Demura Sensei is a good instructor. Unfortunately, he has been going through alot of health issues over the last few years.

I ment to mention something you may have already seen. It is a documentary called (I think) "The Real Miyagi". Either Netflix or Amazon Prime has it if I remember correctly. It is a nicely done documentary on Demura Sensei and his history. Would be of special interest to you and your boys and good general viewing for anyone interested in the martial arts.


Weve watched it! In fact, weve watched everything we could find on him in the process of choosing a curriculum to emphasize in our school and personal karate training. I just contacted his organization to register through zoom for a seminar with him and some other masters later this month.
_________________
A kata is not fixed or immoveable. Like water, it's ever changing and fits itself to the shape of the vessel containing it. However, kata are not some kind of beautiful competitive dance, but a grand martial art of self-defense - which determines life and death.

Kenwa Mabuni
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GS718Trek
Yellow Belt
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Joined: 08 Oct 2014
Posts: 74


PostPosted: Mon Oct 18, 2021 1:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good to hear that you have a faith based style. I reckon there are a few faith based karate orgs nationwide. I definitely view that self defense has biblical scripture backing to it. You should check out Pastor Jeff Durbins view on self defense https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8a49iXKYtjM
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Zaine
Black Belt
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Joined: 31 Aug 2005
Posts: 1817
Location: Dallas, TX
Styles: Matsumura-Seito, Shobayashi-Ryu, Shudokan, Long Fist, American Street Karate, Southern Mantis, HEMA

PostPosted: Tue Oct 19, 2021 9:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

GS718Trek wrote:
Good to hear that you have a faith based style. I reckon there are a few faith based karate orgs nationwide. I definitely view that self defense has biblical scripture backing to it. You should check out Pastor Jeff Durbins view on self defense https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8a49iXKYtjM
I don't know if this is just my perception because of where I live, but it feels like most of the ones I encounter are faith-based in some form. When I was looking for a new dojo earlier this year, 3 of the 4 that I considered where faith-based. I ended up choosing the one that wasn't because it had the most similarities with what I already knew. I think more-and-more faith-driven people are realizing the similarities in the discipline that is typically called for in both martial arts and having faith and are therefore coming to martial arts with the goal of incorporating that devotion into their lives.
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Martial arts training is 30% classroom training, 70% solo training.
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