|Great Karate Club
A year ago, my 8-year old daughter expressed interest in learning karate. A
friend of mine told me about the “Shinkyudo Karate Club” that meets at the
Cedar Falls Recreation Center twice weekly.
The club offers a complimentary lesson to those considering joining. My
daughter decided to join and has loved it ever since. I can’t say enough
about the wonderful skills a student can gain. Not only does this club promote
self defense, but it also is great exercise, builds strength and endurance, and
focuses on discipline and self-confidence. As adults and children ages 6 and
up work together to improve their skills, there is also a great team concept in
The instructors are always, very knowledgeable, and care that all their
students are benefiting from the class. There is something for everyone to
gain from the classes.
This is such a great activity for any child or adult to be involved in, and class
times are convenient.
Shinkyudo Karate Club has been a great experience for young Allison and
has gained her many great abilities. I feel that she is part of a great
Our oldest son, Daniel, was the first student when Shinkyudo karate opened at the YMCA. He
was 7 years old, he is now 30. Our younger son, Aaron, and daughter, Chelsey, also started at
the age of 7. They all achieved black belt & beyond - the boys are 4th degree, Chelsey is a 3rd
degree. All 3 became senseis & taught at the dojo. Daniel started a satellite school at ISU with
the permission of the founders of Shinkyudo. One of the students he taught in Ames is now a
sensei at the school in Cedar Falls. All 3 will tell you they learned even more as a teacher of
their art. We found it to be a wonderful experience for the entire family. They learned respect
for their elders, for the martial arts, for their dojo, and for other students. They learned to
establish goals for themselves in order to accomplish the objectives for the next belt. They
learned to focus, concentrate, and be responsible for achieving their goals. They learned to try
and try again. This affected every aspect of their lives, and I believe it still does and always will.
Teachers commented on it, other parents commented on it. The physical fitness is a plus and
the relationships they developed continue on to this day with their senseis and other dojo
members, but the spiritual and mental aspects are equally important! Shinkyudo karate is
another avenue of good people who are interested in your children & want them to succeed.
They become friends and mentors!
Martial arts is so much more than "fighting" as you will learn if your child or young person
becomes part of this wonderful group of people. In fact, it's not about "fighting" at all, though
they will learn to protect themselves if required to do so. Martial arts is about confidence in
yourself, knowing you can physically handle yourself with the training you receive and the mental
and spiritual paths you will take. Participating in tournaments is not mandatory, however, it is an
experience we highly recommend and from which our children learned much. They, and we, are
still part of this organization and proud to know all of these people.
|Thank You from SMART.
Thank you again for the workshop today. You did a wonderful job, and I know all the girls really
enjoyed it. I look forward to working with you in the future.
My son, Quentin, started the program here in Waverly over three
years ago. He has learned many skills not just karate. It helped
improve his self-esteem and he met new people. It has been a
great experience for him and I would recommend it to anyone. The
sensei is great with the kids. They also learn respect for others
and also have fun while doing it! There are opportunities to go to
tournaments and let the children show the skills they have
learned, and also watch and learn from others. Quentin has really
enjoyed his time spent in the dojo, what a great learning
experience for children of all ages!
Students respond to the question,
"How has the training of karate impacted your life and well being?"
For me the main benefits of Karate are mental. What appeals to me most is my mental state when I’m refining the various
specific moves, techniques, and katas into increasing levels of subtlety. Since I’m analytical by nature, it’s this process
that gives me the most satisfaction in Karate. I view this process as an iterative refinement that leads to a new vantage
point, from which new vistas can be observed. In the ideal circumstance (rarely achieved for me), this is a zen-like mental
state that is very appealing. This is a state that I want in everything that I do. But it’s a journey.
Secondarily, I look at Karate as something that I can continue to do physically into old age. I guess I can’t ignore that I’m
beginning that phase of my life. I hope this gives you some insight into my motivations in Karate.
I began Shinkyudo Karate as part of an after school program when I was in the 7th grade. I was always very active in sports, but
Karate gave me a unique form of stress relief and structure. It also taught me self discipline in a way that my other activities had
not. I loved it. But the after school program only lasted one year. Luckily I found my way back to Shinkyudo a year later when my
older brother began dating a Shinkyudo black belt. When I reached high school I quit all other sports to focus on my studies, but I
continued with karate as much as I could. I ended up going to college in an area where there are no karate schools. But I craved
the environment I had had with Shinkyudo Karate, so I began Taekwondo. By my senior year I was studying four martial arts, and
had dabbled in 3 more. I had many amazing and skilled instructors and studied many wonderful styles of martial arts, but I never
found a place that equaled Shinkyudo for me. When I graduated from college, I returned to Waterloo and resumed my training with
Shinkyudo. I would recommend Shinkyudo Karate to anyone. You'll never know how much you might gain from studying a martial
art until you've tried one.
I've made some outstanding friends because of the martial arts. One of them is a high-ranking black belt in the Shinkyudo
Karate Association. His name is Dan Gray.
Dan was a college student when I met him in the mid-90's. I was in my 40's and we met while competing against each other.
The first time we met, he seemed like a nice young guy and when we sparred, he kicked me with a surprising stop kick to
the solar plexus that had me gasping for air for a moment. He beat me in that match but we kept congratulating each other
when the other would score a point, slapping each other on the arm between points in a friendly way -- it was a very positive
The next time we competed against each other, we talked more and again, we fought for first place. In fact, we've probably
sparred a dozen or more times for first place in tournaments around the area.
Ken-Gullette-Dan-Gray-Fight2 By the third tournament, we started joking around and having a lot of fun. We were very
serious about our sparring, but we enjoyed each other just as much, and we began making the judges and the audience
laugh by taking "kung fu" poses as if we were in a bad Chinese movie.
I've posted four pictures here from a tournament about 10 years ago -- probably 2000 or 2001. In the first photo, I'm striking
a pose like in the Ken-Gullette-Dan-Gray-Fight3 Karate Kid movie as the center referee tells us to resume fighting.
In the next photo, Dan actually rolls across the mat like a kung-fu action hero. You can see me and the corner referee
smiling. He hopped up and we resumed sparring.
The third photo shows me getting him with a hook kick, and the final photo shows the hug at Ken-Gullette-Dan-Gray-Fight1
the end of the match. I had to show me scoring on him. After all, it's my blog. :))
I barely won that one, and it could have gone either way. Usually, it depends on what the judges are able to see as much or
more than the points that are actually scored. The fourth photo shows the end of the match -- no matter who wins, the
friendship is intact.
We went to a Chicago tournament together around 2000 and had a great time. We've competed against each other many
times since -- Ken-Gullette-Dan-Gray-Fight4 he would win one, I'd win one, and we'd go back and forth. His skill and speed,
and outstanding techniques, forced me to practice harder so I could compete as I entered my 50's. We has shown that it's
possible to be friends and have a lot of fun even during the heat of competition, and I believe it has been appreciated by
the judges and by the audience.
Earlier this year, after encountering serious health issues in 2009, I wasn't able to spar at John Morrow's tournament in May.
It was frustrating watching my friends spar and having to serve as a corner ref. I don't like the thought that I may never
again be able to step in the ring with Dan.
Dan is one of the people who make the martial arts a positive experience. His brother, Aaron Leisinger, sister Chelsea, and
others in the art, including Frank Martinez and Samantha Roach and Craig Schaul, are examples of the type of martial artist
everyone should know and aspire to be.
I don't respect the martial artist who wants to be a tough guy and wants the world to know it. I respect the martial artist who
is a tough guy and has the balance to also be a very nice, respectful person -- and who brings a sense of seriousness but
also fun to the arts.
I just wanted to use this post to salute the folks in the Shinkyuko Karate Association, and especially my friend Daniel Gray.
Photos from blog here
© 2012 Shinkyudo Karate Association of America - All Rights Reserved.