A Sad But Avoidable Story…

Sensei Posted in News, Profiles
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From Hastings, New Zealand… A 47 year old Black Belt dies during sparring match with a 10 year old Girl…

Around 100 friends and acquaintances of Hastings security guard Tony Caldwell turned out for his funeral last week. But one of his biggest admirers was not there to bid farewell to him. The 10-year-old girl, a student in his karate classes, was kept home by her father.

Mr Caldwell, 47, died last week after a sparring session with the girl, who was being graded for a black belt in kyokushin, a form of karate. Although coroner Peter Dennehy ruled that the martial arts instructor died of a heart attack, the girl’s father says she is still deeply traumatised by the death. “She had no sleep at all that night; nightmares all the next night and a few every night since then,” the girl’s father said. “When she was punching him and then he went down like that, clutching his chest … she’s connected it.” She had wanted to go to Mr Caldwell’s funeral last Wednesday, but her father thought the sight of an open casket would have been too upsetting. He said his daughter had gone to stay with her grandmother and had been off school for a few days. He wasn’t sure whether she would now return to the sport she loved. “She’s now getting private counselling because she’s really not dealing with it,” he said, adding the family was trying to keep her mind occupied with other things. The girl’s father said that although Mr Caldwell had looked very tired during the sparring session, the instructor had urged the girl: “hit me harder, hit me harder”. “That’s when he sort of … as he went down he was grabbing his chest with one arm. [My daughter] started freaking out.” The father bundled the shocked juniors from the room as two nurses and three first aid-trained corrections officers tried in vain to resuscitate Mr Caldwell.

Mr Caldwell’s friends say he had dangerously high blood pressure and cholesterol levels and flushed so badly when exercising that he was nicknamed “Pinky”. His best friend, fellow kyokushin fighter Tom Kupa, had encouraged him to resume instructing a few months ago. Mr Caldwell began training in his late teens at the Hastings International Kyokushin Karate Club. He won two national titles and was a member of the “thin white line” of kyokushin fighters who, in the 1980s, fought the best in New Zealand. He ran his own karate club in Hastings until five years ago, when he retired to concentrate on his job as a store security guard. His death was attributed to a heart attack. The coroner said Mr Caldwell had been “a fool to himself” for continuing to fight. “We didn’t have a post-mortem because he had a medical history [high blood pressure and cholesterol],” said Mr Dennehy. He had wanted to sit the girl down and explain that her punches did not kill her instructor. She was not to blame, “apart from forcing the fellow to do the exercise. He entered the fight. He was basically the author of his own misfortune”. On the day of his death, Mr Caldwell fought about 20 90-second bouts against black belts. Overseer Solomon Purcell said he had been knocked down a few times, but performed with “competency and professionalism”.

Mr Caldwell spent the past 13 years as a security guard at Hastings Pak’N Save but had never told his bosses about his medical problems. “He used to eat a jumbo sausage every day for breakfast, tomato sauce, everything – that was his ritual,” said store owner David Smith. “If I’d known he had health problems I would have had him up about it.” Mr Smith had never seen Mr Caldwell use his martial arts skills but said having him around made staff feel safe.

The funeral was packed, with Pak’N Save staff dressed in green-and-gold on one side and karate club members in black-and-gold on the other. Mr Caldwell was cremated last Wednesday, and sisters Glenis and Kerry buried his ashes in Hastings Cemetery last Friday, alongside their parents and another sister. “We’re struggling a bit,” Kerry said. “We’re trying to put the family back together.” The sisters said they had given Mr Caldwell’s newly-earned Yondan (fourth-degree black belt) and certificate to the Kupa International Martial Arts Club, to hang on the wall in the TV room they had dedicated to him.

To anyone who knows Mr. Caldwell, please post a comment here in his memory…
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A Sad Day…

Sensei Posted in Profiles
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Pat Morita a.k.a. Mr. Miyagi

Actor Pat Morita, most famous for his role as “Mr Miyagi” in the Karate Kid movies has passed away. His wife, Evelyn, says Morita died Thanksgiving Day of natural causes at his home in Las Vegas. Morita first rose to fame with a role on “Happy Days” in the 1970s. He appeared in dozens of T-V shows and movies, including “Honeymoon in Vegas” and “The Center of the World.” But it was his role in the 1984 blockbuster, “The Karate Kid,” that would define his career and spawn three sequels. The son of migrant fruit pickers, Morita was born in northern California in 1932. He spent much of World War Two in a Japanese-American internment camp. Morita will be buried at Palm Green Valley Mortuary and Cemetery in Nevada. He is survived by his wife and three daughters from a previous marriage.

This is a sad day for the Martial Arts world. Despite the fact that Pat Morita was never involved in the martial arts he did much to promote the prominence it enjoys today. In the first Karate Kid, Pat Morita captured the true spirit of Karate Training, for that I personally will always be grateful. It is with a sad heart for his families loss that I make these statements.

True Martial Arts Spirit!

Sensei Posted in News, Profiles
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Srikanth, a boy from Coimbatore, India has become the first person from India to be registered in the Guinness book for Karate! How did he do it? Srikanth performed kata for 24 hours straight! To insure the record remains his he is planning on a 36 hour performance in the near future! Now that’s the martial spirit. The boy (whose age isn’t mentioned) was encouraged by his coach and onlookers alike. It was only through his will that he lasted the full 24 hours since many onlookers reported feeling tired just watching him.

Srikanth, the young Karate master, while participating at various school, district, State and national-level competitions, has so far won more than 56 medals. Srikanth and his coach had chosen 30 katas in shitoryu style to perform imaginary fighting in a free form. Srikanth’s coach, Karthik says , “He was just like any other normal child. After joining karate school he practiced rigorously and won various medals at inter-school, national , state level competitions. He participated in the World Karate Championship held at Phillippines where he couldn’t win a medal but the defeat made him move forward. By observing his determination and hard work we further groomed him. Now, being a World record holder, he plans to cross the 24 hours level.” Expressing gratitude to his coach, Srikanth says, “My coach helped me a lot. He guided me with more techniques and encouraged me to set the record. By the month of May I started practice in full swing.”

Devraj, the technical director of Alan Tilak Karate School, says, “ Srikanth has been practicing for past six years. It is the first time we are recording Karate. It’s an imaginary fight, you need to practice really hard. It’s called an imaginative movement and it is based on Yogas and Sadas. It is an art, not something for a street fight.” Srikanth, started Karate when he was studying in a primary class. He developed a deep interest in this art, which involves defensive and attacking techniques, and then onwards he could never keep himself away from this sport. Karate means “empty hand”. It is an effective means of self-defense, but it is also an intense, full body exercise; a philosophy of life; and for millions of people around the world, an exciting competitive sport.
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10 Year old Instructor…Local Karate Kid!

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Sycamore,IL,USA

Dana HienbucherDana Hienbucher is not the average 10 year old girl, however she is the first to receive certification as a Junior Martial Arts Instructor at the Karate Institute in DeKalb, IL, USA. The program began a year and a half ago with ten eligible students, Dana is the first certified. While not the same as becoming a certified sensei the program is described as “stringent”. Junior Instructors do not have their own classes but does help with teaching lower belt rank students. To become certified as a junior instructor, Dana had to reach the level of brown belt, spend a year assisting with lower-belt classes and training first-time tournament competitors, and provide letters of recommendation from her parents and teachers. She also had to join the Professional Karate Commission, one of three professional groups she’s involved in. Dana who began practicing Karate three years ago also has 49 trophies to her credit.

Wow! While I think this is great I have my reservations, perhaps because of the title “Junior Instructor”. Before I open pandora’s box let me say this…Kids do great in the martial arts, it is good for their development into confident and compassionate human beings with the correct instructors and environment (home life). But from my perspective I have never put merit in the “Junior” rankings/belts and now certifications. Why? They are false. What? False, because they instill a sense of false reality for the child. Children because of a lack of experience and maturity often do not realize the differences in their abilities and those of an unknown adult. I say unknown because hopefully they have matched their skills against other adults in their club. This localized experience however does not spill over to non-club members because the child doesn’t judge a stranger as a fellow martial artist or is simply over confident. This is demonstrated by Dana’s own words…she said. “And you never know, someday some bully or bad guy might try to hurt you, and you need to know how to defend yourself.”…Some bad guy. While I agree that she and every child should know how to defend themselves, we as a martial arts community must be careful not to create a false reality around our youth so that they will not place themselves in a dangerous situation. Think of it this way, of you raised you child to swim in the bathtub and told them every day what an awesome swimmer they are, do you think they would have the appropriate level of caution when they encounter their first pool? And what if they are alone or with their peers at the time?
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Reaching for the Stars in England

Sensei Posted in News, Profiles
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10-year old Amy Robinson taking on the world with her High Kick, or she will be thanks to her brothers. The Bankwood Primary School pupil has been chosen to represent Great Britain against some of the best karate competitors in the world. Her three brothers Mark, aged 24, Andrew, 21 and Lee, 19, are helping her by buying her competition kit. Amy, a brown belt, is a member of the Sheffield Dragons KTBF team which trains under martial arts master Terry Johnson in Woodhouse. Every weekend she travels round the country to competitions doing so well she’s been selected to represent Britain in a competition in France next month. Her family are looking for sponsorship to help Amy make the trip and have arranged events including a fashion show to raise cash. Family friends have chipped in. Because the Robinsons don’t drive, the family rely on neighbour Sally Hurst, who takes Amy from her home in Gleadless to train in Woodhouse three times a week. Amy’s mum Pam said: “It’s Amy’s ambition to one day be the best in the world. We’re all trying to do our bit to help her.” “Her three brothers have been really good and I can’t thank Sally enough but we still have a long way to go.” The fashion show is at Woodhouse West End Club on November 22. Offers of sponsorship to Sheffield Dragon College of Martial Arts, 34-38 Market Square, Woodhouse, Sheffield.
[SOURCE]

Othodox Priest Teaches Karate?!

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That’s right; a Siberian orthodox priest teaches karate to paratrooper and schoolchildren!!
In Ishim, Siberia Father Petr Lysenko, a Russian Orthodox priest and rector of the Church of the Protecting Veil of the Mother of God, teaches karate at the local airborne unit and the local children’s sports school in Ishim near Tymen (Siberia). ‘What I am doing is a martial art with an age-long tradition. I teach the Oriental martial art, but put Orthodoxy in the basis of my teaching’, Father Petr said in an interview published in Trud daily on Saturday. His lessons differ from the traditional Eastern school in that during coaching he does not concentrates his energy but rather reads an Orthodox prayer asking God for strength. He teaches his charges to do the same. Father Petr believes his lessons in the army unit and at the children’s sport school to be very important because today’s youth, in his view, have grown feeble.

Wow, what a great story! Many people are wary of the getting involved in the Martial Arts due to misconceptions about its ties with eastern religions. Here is a great example of the Martial Arts taught with a different perspective. However, the most interesting observation Father Petr made was that today’s youth have grown feeble! You can argue if you want but he is correct. Especially in the Martial Arts many do not receive the same intensity/type of instruction as previous generations since by today’s standards we consider many of those ways cruel, mean and abusive. I speak primarily for the United Sates here but see Father Petr is seeing similar situations even in the harsh environment of Siberia.
[SOURCE]

Martial Arts Save Kids

Sensei Posted in For Kids, News, Profiles
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We’ve heard it a million times, practicing the Martial Arts can turn around troubled kids and make them model citizens. The mantra goes on without end, but how many stories do you have first handle knowledge of? I’m sure all you instructors have your hands up! But what about everyone else? Well here is a story that documents such an relationship.

The MacArthur Fellows Program, now in its 25th year, awards $500,000 with no strings attached to encourage people who have shown great potential in a wide variety of fields, from the sciences to the arts. That’s a lot of money! Yes but it goes with a lot of hard work and accomplishment to attain! Our focus is Dr. Sue Goldie, an associate professor at the Harvard School of Public Health. One of two New England winners, she uses computers to devise more effective strategies for fighting diseases. SO what does this have to do with Martial Arts training and troubled kids?! Read on…

For Goldie, an early, life-shaping experience came with her discovery of tae kwon  do at age 11. Goldie said she had a lonely, difficult childhood and was moved from one foster home to another, and tae kwon do became a foundation for her life. She recalled often being kicked out of math class for being disruptive, but then using her time in the hallway to pore through the textbook so she could earn a 100 on the next test — her way of proving something to the world.

So with the proper foundation and of course selfless encouragement perhaps one of your students or a student you know will be the next recipient of the MacArthur Fellows Program!

Source: 25 geniuses get their day in the sun

In Geelong Kyokushin Rules!

Sensei Posted in News, Profiles
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This article is part news part interview with Gary Viccars chief of the Victorian Kyokushin Branch. The article focuses on the number of medals the local Kyokushin students brought home to Geelong, AU. An interesting, brief read.

Martial Arts Skater!

Sensei Posted in Competition, Profiles
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Dylan Moscovitch loves sports! Currently he practices kung-fu daily in addition to being a competitive skater who has won numerous medals in Canada and International Men’s and Pairs Skating competitions. It would be interesting to hear from Dylan if skating helps his martial arts training or if his martial arts training helps his skating! Just another example of a successful martial artist.