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Hot Summer

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Well, being in the midst of summer is certainly a blessing. The higher humidity and warm temperatures add to the efficiency of the time spent in training…resulting in more perspiration, more exercise, and basically, more bang for each moment spent in training. Also, for some reason, there seems to be less rubbish to sweep up at the beginning of training. Being able to train in an open environment gives each of us the opportunity to better appreciate the changing seasons of the year, albeit with Hawaiian subtleties. This is a part of what I’m so grateful for and give thanks for whenever we open in prayer. Today, we practiced certain alternative hand/fist techniques that are useful for specific applications and targets. The ippon ken fist, the tiger’s claw, the ridgehand, the mawashi-zuki, and the shuto-uchi are just some of the twenty-odd hand position/strike delivery options that are a part of the more exotic Shotokan pantheon of techniques. These are fun and interesting to learn and can be very effective in real-life application…however, as with everything else, these are only truly useful when supported by a strong foundation of basics. Strong legs, hip rotation and thrust, and coordination/timing…are key and gradually [...]

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Heart of a Black Belt

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Last year, I did the first black belt level (dan) promotion in our ministry, when I advanced Trisha to the second dan…twelve years after she achieved her first dan. On Saturday, I gave out a second promotion, this time to sempai James N., to a first dan…many years after he had originally received multiple dan rankings in both karate-do and in aikido. I believe that both sempai Trish and sempai James exemplify two very important aspects of what a dan rank means in our ministry: 1) It is a measure of heart…in consistency, in effort, in sharing and mentoring others, and in the ongoing journey of transforming oneself into a better person. 2) It is a measure of humility combined with self-confidence and quiet strength that emanates from within. I feel that these traits are shared by all of you in the ministry, though we certainly should always be striving to reach the potential that He has designed each of us to fulfill. Each of us has a responsibility to be good examples of these values at whatever kyu or dan ranking we hold at any given point in time, anywhere, at whatever we do. Through His grace, our ministry [...]