Current Newsletter Articles
How is my Child Progressing?
Often parents ask me how their child is doing in class. It is natural to want an update from time to time. Apart from asking a Sensei, parents, legal guardians, grandparents and other relatives, can always ask the young student to show you their attendance card, which has an ongoing Progress Report on the back. Ask at the Front Desk if you need help understanding what it means.
Since many parents do not have any background in the martial arts they sometimes do not have any reliable way to judge their child's progress; hence, watching a class through the window does not always give them a sense of what is really going on inside. Also, appearances can sometimes be deceiving, since everyone learns in different ways. The Sensei will often present material to be learned by first demonstrating the technique (or asking a student to demonstrate), thus presenting the technique visually. They may then verbally describe the details pertaining to the technique. This would normally be followed with actual practice by the students in order to appreciate the movements involved, and allowing the Sensei to correct them.
Martial arts instruction involves quite a lot of repetition, something that most children are not that familiar with these days, given the high tech world that they have grown up in. “Short Attention Span Theater” and 30 second sound bites are the order of the day, but our MuDoKai students do develop their attention quite quickly with training, so that they can learn the curriculum material thoroughly as we present it to them, and work their way up through the ranks to Black Belt and beyond.
There are many schools that have come and gone in the South Florida area in the last thirty two years since I have been teaching here. What I notice most of all is how minimal the requirements are for Black Belt at many of these places. Often the belt is given after just one or two years of training, with no objective standard required. One school was even called the “Black Belt Factory”. Another one had the slogan “two years, $2,000- guaranteed Black Belt”. It sounded like a rip-off to me. I have met some of the products of these programs. When I visited one such facility years ago with one of my advanced Junior Brown Belts, who was ten years old at the time (having trained for six years in our Dojo), the "Grandmaster" of the other style remarked that, with my student's long training record, she would be “teaching classes” at his school as a Black Belt if she trained with him. Subsequently this particular MuDoKai student trained another four years, receiving her Junior Black Belt at age fourteen. It’s OK to set goals and strive to achieve them; and then to one day earn your Black Belt. You’ll appreciate it fully when you know that you worked for it diligently, and learned a thorough and complete skill-set along the way. We never want to hold anybody back; however, it does take time to achieve Black Belt, and so it should!
© 2012 Shihan Robert H. Mason
The Junior Black Belt Team
Four new Junior Black Belts were promoted on May 16th with an average training time of seven years. In a world in which faster is often considered better, this accomplishment is laudable for several reasons. Of course, the young men involved trained hard and often to achieve this level of expertise. After all, the standard of excellence at UKC is top of the line, as is evidenced by the surfeit of trophies on display, won by students over the years who competed in Open Tournaments where all styles were welcome. Additionally, there are schools in the local area which award Black Belts based on just one or two years of training. When a young student trains at our Dojo the parents are part of “the team” that helps them become proficient enough in the program to be ready to eventually test for their Junior Black Belt. The Instructors play a very important role; however, it is the parents who must arrange for the student to be brought consistently to class over the years. This is a real commitment, and the parents who have fulfilled it are to be commended. In our busy world it is all too easy to just not make the effort; however, this karate program has been specifically created to develop physical, emotional, and psychological balance in the students, and as such is an essential tool for future success in any area of life, encompassing as it does, the direct acquisition of life skills.
© 2012 Shihan Robert H. Mason
Joseph (black shirt) Spars Alex (white gi) 4 students Rohit, Joseph, Alex and Jesse with their Junior Black Belts and Shihan Mason
The Value of Understanding the Curriculum
A Black Belt recently returned to class after taking a work-related sabbatical. Knowing that he had not trained for several months, he put himself in a Beginner class, asking the Instructor for recommendations on appropriate material to practice. The Instructor recommended Gold, Orange, and Blue Belt material which the student then worked on, demonstrating a deep understanding of MuDoKai training principles.
In the academic world, students follow a prescribed course of study for each subject - a curriculum. Likewise, in MuDoKai, specific material is studied at each belt level through the use of a written curriculum. This vital booklet, which organizes in sequence all material learned, is a “treasure house” for students of MuDoKai. Most martial arts schools do not have a written curriculum, this unique course outline is a priceless tool which can help the student look back on what has been learned, and look forward to what is to be learned next.
Due to the complexity and challenge of our program, students sometimes forget earlier belt material when they move on to higher belts. Hence, the Sempai (assistant) program, for Purple Belts and above, exists to bridge the gap between beginner, intermediate, and advanced knowledge. By assisting regularly with lower belt classes, the Sempai may reconfigure his or her own understanding of previously learned material in the curriculum, developing knowledge on a higher level by approaching the material from this new direction.
Since learning is progressive and gradual, all attempts to reinforce it are valuable. Repetition is an essential element in the process of turning information into knowledge. This is why assisting in lower belt classes and following the recommendations of the Sensei are all ways to capitalize on this idea.
A little known fact is that the University Karate Center curriculum states that “at any Graduation, a student may be asked to perform any technique up to and including material for the current belt being tested for.” When a student is recommended for Black Belt, they must prepare for that test with the understanding that they will be expected to perform, without hesitation and without coaching, all material learned from White Belt through advanced level Brown Belt. One way to insure successfully reaching the goal of Black Belt is to persistently practice, not only what is needed for one’s current Kyu (belt), but also the material that went before. For all levels of practice , from beginner to Black Belt, DVDs are available for practice at home.
Shihan Robert H. Mason © 2012
In fifth grade I went to a Jewish day school. Since Mr. Valentine, whose day we celebrate on the fourteenth of this month was a Christian saint, Valentine’s Day was not an observed holiday at my school. In an explanation as to why we weren’t allowed to exchange candy or cards, one of my teachers said, “It shouldn’t have to say February 14 on the calendar for my husband to bring me flowers.”
Even though this didn’t mean much to me at the time, she had a good point. Men should bring their wives flowers all the time. No, seriously, she was talking about needlessly reserving a human showing of affection. As members of a community, we should be able to tell our friends and families how we feel whenever the mood strikes us, and not have to wait for a special day. The special day is a great reminder, personally one of my favorite holidays, but if communities function as they should, we shouldn’t really need it.
Imagine if no one ever expressed gratitude except on Thanksgiving. How would we know we were appreciated? Love is one of the basic human emotional needs. It has been proven that infants who are untouched for their first few days of life either die or develop horrible social problems. A part of their brain is missing, and there’s no way to make up for that lack of affection.
Valentine’s Day is a time to show how much we appreciate each other. But this year, make it a resolution (yes, resolutions can be made on days other than January first) to show appreciation as a habit. Use Karate as a basic starting point. In Karate, we show appreciation for each other all the time. Think about it: We bow to our Sensei, to the class, and to the Dojo twice per lesson. We bow to our sparring and pairs partners. And we try to avoid hurting each other in most cases. In a grappling match, no one leaves a submission hold on once their partner has tapped out. It would be completely unacceptable and very dangerous, but it would have another result that’s rarely mentioned. It would be a blow to that person’s esteem. It would make them feel uncared for as a partner, as a companion, and as a person. It’s not just a matter of respect and consideration—it’s a matter of showing someone you care, even on a rather impersonal level.
So let’s cut the mushy stuff and get straight to the crux of it all: Love in all its forms is one of the most important emotions that we as human beings can feel. We show our love by respecting others, and watching out for each other. We don’t reserve love for Valentine’s Day. If we did, the world would not function properly. Celebrate your love for your family and friends every day, even in a quiet way, and never keep your love bottled up for one occasion. Happy Valentine’s Day
Sensei Emily Snyder © 2012
The Benefits of the MuDoKai Lifestyle
In his book “Emotional Intelligence” Daniel Goleman outlines the most significant beneficial abilities for a person to acquire and practice. The first of these is the ability to motivate ourselves. Self motivation is a lifelong challenge for many of us, but when we are trained over time to build our personal skills, physically, emotionally and mentally, the natural reinforcement that is intrinsic to this process sets up a momentum that we can then maintain. Just as a body in motion tends to stay in motion, while a body at rest tends to stay at rest; by moving our bodies in developing our MuDoKai skills we gain the momentum essential for acquiring a self motivated lifestyle that grows to include everything that we do. The MuDoKai discipline is initially externally motivated by our Sensei, but quickly internalizes as students experience the development of their skills from within.
Goleman’s second recommendation involves the development of persistence against frustration. Martial Arts practice can often be frustrating, but through persistent practice the students will acquire the new skills that they seek. The goal however is not just skills acquisition, but the ability to be persistent, even when we feel frustrated. This persistence will then serve us well in all of our endeavors. It is also important for the parents of our young students to help reinforce this trait.
The third quality on Goleman’s list is the ability to delay gratification. This is especially tough for children to learn, but essential if they are to achieve anything worthwhile in life. All of the students learn, with practice, to train hard, even when a red stripe or higher belt is some way off. The path is the process, and when the achievements are realized the gratification is that much greater for having been delayed. Parents of young students can help in this regard by supporting the Sensei.
Goleman’s next quality involves the ability to regulate moods. Through the breathing that we teach to all of the students in every class, balancing emotions, and thus regulating our moods, is an essential part of the training. Again, positive reinforcement is offered through our instruction process, while at the same time we quickly correct students if their emotions threaten to overwhelm them.
I hope that with a new day, a new week or a new year we can gain fresh insights to help us achieve new goals. Goleman points out the importance of an optimistic, hopeful outlook. He also points out the importance of empathy, the feeling that comes from working with our Sensei, fellow students and those junior to us on the path of Martial Arts, in a cooperative way. We gain no benefit from competing against each other or striving with each other for dominance. There will always be a dominance hierarchy, which we should respect, and there will always be those who are behind us. Empathy allows us to most efficiently gain benefit from all of the energy available in any situation, so that the most benefit can be gained for everyone involved.
Goleman’s final point is to emphasize the importance of impulse control. Given the intensity involved in many aspects of MuDoKai training, it is clear that if we do not control our impulses our practice can become dangerous. Once we achieve a high level of impulse control we can be trusted by the Sensei to practice vigorously without being a threat to our training partners.
All of these beneficial abilities are developed through our MuDoKai program. This is the main reason that I teach and the main reason why everyone should train. It is in the acquisition and development of these abilities that MuDoKai training will benefit every aspect of a person’s life.
© Shihan Robert H. Mason, 2012
Achieving the Lifestyle you want for 2012
Here’s a little exercise that can be useful for all adults and many older children, that can provide a map to chart your progress from last year to next year, not just as a Martial Artist, or parent of one, but in every respect.
Begin by developing your “Victory and Gratitude List”. First make a note of any “wins” you experienced in 2011. What were the “magic moments” for you. Allow yourself to feel grateful to everyone who helped you in these achievements.
Next make a note of more gradual improvements you made over the year, whether in school, at work, in Martial Arts training or in other hobbies, sports or endeavors.
Next specifically make a note of how 2011 was for you financially. Whether the year was good, bad or average, it is important to take stock of where you stand as a result.
What about relationships? Take a moment to consider how your relationships, personal and professional, may have adjusted last year. What can you feel grateful for?
How was your personal development in 2011. In what ways do you feel you grew as a person. How did you take advantage of opportunities that came your way to more deeply understand yourself?
The next step is your “Wish list for 2012”. Make a list of the five things you would most like to achieve in 2012. Be sure to include goals that you can pursue in several different important areas of your life, that are specific, measurable and deadline driven. For each goal make a note of three reasons why you want to achieve it and five specific actions you will take, along with target dates, for completion.
The final step is to take action over the next 100 days to begin this process of personal achievement. This will be your “Massive Action Plan”, your MAP for the first quarter of 2012.
“In it’s simplest terms, successful, happy, healthy, prosperous people
are those that have discovered the laws that govern our lives and have
designed their lives so that they are in harmony with those laws.
As a result, they experience far more joy and satisfaction, and accomplish
far more in a few years than the average person does in a lifetime.”
Gary Ryan Blair
For support materials from Gary Ryan Blair to help you to define your goals
and monitor your progress, paste this link into your browser:
© 2012 Shihan Robert H. Mason
Sometimes the next step involves a leap of faith
but it does not have to be a leap in the dark.
Unleash your potential in 2012
Way of Harmony
Amidst the volatility inherent in much of everyday life, we must seek to find harmony, first, within ourselves. Once we are in tune with ourselves we can aspire to conduct our activities in a civilized and non-predatory way for the highest good of all concerned. To discover the harmony that is inherent in your nature train assiduously in MuDoKai and learn how to tune this instrument you were born into.
Consistent Exercise Produces Results
Even though I am the Chief Instructor and my job is to teach others how to exercise properly through the medium of the martial arts, I still discover new ways to keep myself fit. Part of my daily regimen, over and above my Martial Arts training, includes sit ups and push ups. Upon completing my morning routine recently I reflected on how it is the “consistent exercise that produces results.” This may seem obvious to some; however, putting this idea into practice is what makes it all work. If you already train regularly in the Martial Arts you don’t need to do a lot of additional exercise, but it is good to include some resistance training to build additional strength, to go along with the balance, coordination, flexibility, reflexive speed, agility and stamina that Martial arts specifically develops.
While watching their child participate in sparring (strategy) class recently, a parent commented that when this student had begun Martial Arts training several years ago, they were shy and retiring; yet now were able to able to fully and confidently participate in, what some consider, a very challenging class. This young student trained consistently over a period of time and; therefore, developed sufficient skill to take on their opponents as required in this class. They were able to be appropriately assertive and score points, with control, while effectively judging the timing and distancing essential to sparring practice. It was their regular attendance that allowed this consistent exercise (class attendance/training) to produces results.
It can be difficult to sustain a regular training schedule; people are busy; yet actual skill takes time to develop; there is no short cut. As we approach the holiday season there are many demands on us all; however, it is imperative to keep at least a minimum schedule of twice a week to maintain your skills and keep your continuity of practice. The karate school has a very flexible class schedule with over forty classes a week. Our Dojo is also open seven days a week. This is very unusual. Nearly all other Martial Arts schools are closed on Sunday, and many are closed on Friday or Saturday as well. This leaves a student with no alternative if they happen to miss a class.
The recent Shiai included several standout performances. In sparring Brown Belt winner Juan Carlos had his work cut out for him to stay ahead of Orange Belt winner Lauren. Somer and Thomas also sparred very well. In Kata Brown Belt Joseph won by just one hundredth of a point over Jesse, while Christian, Juan Z and Orange Belt Rachel also turned in excellent scores. Joseph took the Grand Championship in weapons, once again beating Jesse by the narrowest of margins. It was a great day of fun competition and I was very proud of all the participants. As Jim Rohn once said, “Part of success is preparation on purpose” and the students were all well prepared for the purpose at hand.
© 2011 Shihan Robert H. Mason
To Be Fluent In the Martial Arts…
Let’s stay away from Karate “Gibberish”
MuDoKai literally means “void way association” and is extrapolated from Mugendo which means “unlimited way”. As the name implies, our system enjoys a freedom of technical development far beyond most other Martial Arts styles. This freedom, however, falls within a discipline that follows a strict set of basic principles. Freedom without principles constitutes chaos and is the antithesis of our purpose in the Martial Arts.
In order to clarify the point being made, let me offer an analogy. Languages are sometimes very primitive consisting of only a limited number of words and expressions. Languages may also be extremely sophisticated permitting the communication of intricate concepts and the expression of subtle emotional feelings. Most people would agree that a sophisticated language allows greater freedom of expression than the primitive grunts of a prehistoric cave dweller. If you were to study a foreign language, you would not feel entitled to invent new words or to make up your own style of conjugating verbs. If you did this, either you would not be understood or you would be laughed at by those who already know the language. Your home- made language just would not work.
For very much the same reasons, when students of MuDoKai play at Karate by making up their own kata, that doesn’t work either. It could be called Karate “gibberish”. It is only when people are fluent in a language that they may exercise that freedom of expression, perhaps using what is called “poetic license”, in order to give their prose or poetry a special power of communication, or a unique perspective.
Similarly, it is only after the achievement of Black Belt that a student would have sufficient grasp of the basic tools of MuDoKai to allow meaningful expression of their talents through innovation. In fact, it is not usually until after the attainment of the Third Degree Black Belt that such talents can be uniquely expressed, in a balanced and harmonious manner, consistent with the principles underlying the practice of MuDoKai.
I have been asked by parents of six-years-old students why their children are not allowed to add this or that move to the Kata, or why they are not allowed to invent their own form. “After all,” parents say, “our child is so talented.” Kata in Karate are like poems in literature; they communicate subtleties within a sophisticated mode of expression. Just as you can’t take two lines from an ode by Keats, run them into the middle of a sonnet by Shakespeare and finish up with a lyric from the latest hit by Lady Gaga, so Kata cannot be cobbled together from bits and pieces of unrelated technique and still be expected to have any meaning. The internal integrity of MuDoKai, and the practice of Mugendo, are my responsibility as the Chief Instructor. I hope that all students, parents and others who support our program, will understand the importance of discipline and integrity in Karate practice; and will appreciate the development of patience and loyalty necessary to bring such practice to a point of fruition.
Since I began my Martial Arts training many years ago, I have found that it is through discipline, patience, and perseverance that character can be developed. The “hot shot” approach of talented, but shallow personalities does not lead to the attainment of goals that I seek to instill in those I teach. I wish all students to have the opportunity to learn and to develop themselves through Martial Arts training as I have done over the years. For that reason I am forever turning back to remember the lessons of my teachers, and forever looking forward in applying what knowledge I have absorbed, to every aspect of my life. In this way I am in touch with the reality of each moment, and I am connected with that knowledge within myself. Herein lies the freedom within the “unlimited way” of the MuDoKai.
© 2011Shihan Robert H Mason
Shiai a Success for All
The 2011 Shiai (in-school tournament) took place on Saturday November 19th. Many students competed in Basics, Weapons, Forms, and Fighting. Beautiful recycled trophies were won by participants including some six footers! Many thanks to our excellent judges: Sensei FungSang, Winn, Gordon, and Misciasci for their assistance and to Greg and Monika who filled in as scorekeeper and timekeeper.
Mixed Martial Arts versus Mixed- up Martial Arts :
What's the difference?
So I’m driving around a few weeks ago and I come across a Dojo I have not seen before. I get out of my car to take a look at what they have to offer. The core program seems to be Taekwondo, the Korean system that stresses high kicks and breaking boards, but there's more. They offer a couple of classes a week in Krav Maga, the system touted as Israeli Army self defense. Like all military systems, they would have to adjust it to teach the public, after all, if your Colonel tells you to show up for class at 8:00 am every day this week, you say “yes sir” and show up. Civilians cannot be expected to do this, particularly if the previous class was very tough, and they feel a bit sore today. This Dojo also offered XMA, the extreme Martial Arts system founded by my friend Mike Chaturantabut. When Mike came to our Dojo as a Guest Instructor a few years ago he ran a great seminar; we teach many of the same skills and techniques that he promotes in XMA, I have just never felt the need to teach them separately from our curriculum training.
Within our MuDoKai curriculum, we teach a full and thorough range of Martial Arts skills that include kicks identified with Taekwondo, punches that look like Boxing, sweeps and throws from Judo, projections and joint locks that are from Jiu Jitsu and Aikido. Our fighting stance is based in kickboxing and the knee strikes and elbow strikes come from Muay Thai. Our hand trapping and evasive moves draw on Kung Fu techniques, along with one of our forms, which is from the WuShu style of Chinese Boxing. Many of our self- defense techniques look similar to Krav Maga, because they drew their skills from one of the same systems of fighting that I studied. We do include our Kobudo (Weapons) curriculum as a slightly separate program for ranking, because students may start it at different stages in their training. Training in Kobudo is permitted from the rank of Gold Belt for Adults, and Blue Belt for Juniors; it is mandatory at Black Belt level. We even include principles from the Ninjutsu style of Hatsumi Sensei and the Fung Lung Loo of Mr. G; good luck finding out much about that style, even on Google.
Our Mugendo system of Mixed Martial Arts is taught as a structured curriculum, so that we don’t have “mixed–up” Martial Arts students. My MuDoKai style of Mugendo may draw from all Martial Arts, but it has the integrity and harmony intrinsic to a thoroughly integrated system, that incorporates the physical, emotional and psychological skills essential to a complete training regimen. Certainly we are nothing like a “just go at it” MMA club. Most of those tend to be very short lived “fight club” type deals, where concussion will blur the learning experience, and trips to the hospital will deter long term participation.
Shihan Robert H. Mason © 2011
A Few Good Words
Be who you are and say what you feel. Those who matter don’t mind and those who mind don’t matter
Most of us will never do great things, but we can do small things in a great way
The most important product that America has been able to produce is not the automobile or television or the computer. It is hope - hope not only for ourselves but for the world.
Occasional failure is the price of improvement.
What has gone on before, what they (our ancestors) were able to do with nothing, that means that the possibilities for our lives today,
and the lives of our children, is really boundless.
Problems are only opportunities in work clothes
The real test of a person comes after adversity has struck
and he overcomes and conquers it.
You must do the things you think
you cannot do.
One is not necessarily born with courage,
but one is born with potential
Without courage, we cannot practice
any other virtue with consistency.
The spirit, the will to win, and
the will to excel are the things that endure.
These qualities are so much more important
than the events that occur.
Visit from Sensei Young
We were pleased to have a surprise visit recently from one of our “early” Sensei, Mr. Chris Young, who trained in our previous dojo, which was located in Regency Park South, next to Toys R Us on West Broward Blvd. Sensei Young is in town for a month working on one of his many projects, Back to Giving.
What’s next after you Grade?
When a student passes each belt test, their success is a real achievement, bringing with it a sense of accomplishment and pride; however, some find the prospect of learning new material an unwelcome challenge. Feeling intimidated, they may suddenly decide that they no longer want to come to class. To them it seems as if they are having to “start all over again”. To help students overcome this we offer DVDs for each belt level as a supplement to class training.
Only $39.99 for 9th (new White Belt) through 4th kyu (Purple Belt material) and $49.99 for 3rd (Brown) through Shodan (Black).
Each tape features a detailed demonstration of all material taught in class. These DVDs can be a wonderful resource for a student who wants to practice at home, as well as in class.
Educating the Whole Person: Exercise and Your Brain
As the school year begins a new schedule will begin to take effect for many of our students. Much of this schedule will be dictated by the demands of homework, which has its place. We sincerely hope that karate classes will continue to have a place as well. As in so many other areas of life, it is always important to have balance.
As Judy Molland writes in her book ‘Get Out-150 Ways for Kids and Grown-ups to get into Nature’, “The reality is that children need that oxygen in their brains to get thinking! And there’s a growing body of research that finds that even a 15-minute break enhances a child’s ability to learn. Ironically, while the push for less recess is often driven by the need to drill kids for standardized tests, the truth is that those students will do better on their tests if they are allowed to take a break, and run around a little.”
Several years ago the Broward County School Board provided homework guidelines which included 10 minutes of homework per grade level beginning with First Grade. Hence, a student in Second Grade would have 20 minutes total of homework per night, and so forth. This kind of work schedule allows the child to have time for other things that are also important, such as karate.
Many years ago one of our parents, who was an attorney and managing partner of a major law firm in Fort Lauderdale, began chatting with a staff member when he visited the karate school for his son’s belt graduations. Gradually over time the parent admitted that he had always wanted to take martial arts, but that he was just too busy. The staff member suggested that he take a Beginner Course and just write-in the karate classes in his appointment book at work. This parent became one of the most dedicated students, attending class four times a week, sometimes taking private lessons, and achieved the rank of Purple Belt, only stopping when he moved out of the area. His job was so high pressured that he welcomed the opportunity, once he had committed to the training by scheduling the time in his daily reminder diary, to de-stress and refresh by taking a karate class.
One of the many benefits of martial arts training is the endorphins that are produced through the exertion required in class. Endorphins are the “happy hormones” that give a feeling of well-being and calm; thus, an ideal reason to take a break from the hectic schedule that kids and adults are often on.
So, to be at your best, remember to schedule- in karate class at least twice a week.
Shihan Robert H. Mason © 2011
Developing Discipline In Young Students
Through Goal Setting And The Resultant Acquisition Of Values
A recent report on the state of education in the U.S.A defined three major problems among contemporary high school students:
1) An absence of goals.
2) A lack of discipline
3) An overall impression of misplaced values among the young people represented in the study.
At the University Karate Center, we have the opportunity to address these issues in a direct manner that can lead to the internalization of new insights, habits, and perspectives, which in turn, can generalize into all aspects of a student’s life at any age.
For karate students at UKC goals are made very concrete through the use of the belt system. The attainment of Black Belt can be set as a long-term goal with the achievement of each colored belt set as an intermediate goal. The attainment of stripes between ranks offers concrete reinforcement on the way to achieving the proficiency required by the next belt test.
In order to succeed at meeting our goals, we must discipline ourselves. When we are enjoying what we do and are having fun, our activities reward us by the natural pleasure, joy, or comfort that they bring us. At these times, our endeavors do not require an external reward as the intrinsic reinforcement is quite sufficient. However, when we are struggling to learn a new skill, or trying very hard to cope with a disappointment or loss, our efforts are not being immediately rewarded. At these times, maintaining our perspective by reflecting on our goals, and the reward we will feel when we attain them, can provide the reinforcement that we need to keep our motivation up.
This process leads to the attainment of a disciplined attitude and the development of qualities like patience, endurance, perseverance and integrity. In many ways it is in making the effort to learn lessons that are difficult for us that we can experience the greatest growth. Through this process we can attain an understanding of the true value of achievement that comes as a consequence of hard work and improved competence. Over time we develop self-discipline because we have the power to suspend our need for an immediate reward now. We know that as we attain competence, as the result of correct practice for a period of time, we will achieve an even greater reward when our next goal is reached.
© 2011 Shihan Robert H. Mason
Training your Mind for Success
When the best Martial Arts students are training their hardest, they need flexibility, strength, and endurance, not only in the use of their bodies, but also their minds. They need mind fitness.
What does the mind have to do with it? Webster’s dictionary defines the mind as “the part of a person that feels, perceives, thinks, wills and reasons.” In other words, the mind has a lot of important work to do. Some people describe it as the “steering wheel” of the body. Because it has such a vital job, you must prepare your mind as energetically as you prepare your body.
What is mind fitness? The words flexibility, strength, and endurance can also describe the way we use our minds. These qualities can mean the difference between feeling tense and nervous and feeling confident and relaxed. Martial Artists need to be calm and sure of themselves to be successful in their sport.
How do you gain mind fitness? Once again, the steps are similar to those that help with physical Martial Arts training: you need lots of practice. Here is a guide to some of the basics:
Visualize. Understanding yourself and the way you think is a big part of mind fitness. Every few days, find a quiet time to be alone with your thoughts. Meditation coach Jon Kabat-Zinn suggests that you try “seeing your own life...as a journey and an adventure. Where are you going? What are you seeking? Where are you now?” He emphasizes that the “journey” belongs to you alone; you are in charge of the direction it takes, so think about what makes you happy. Visualize your successes. Exercising or practicing your kata are excellent ways to get ready to meditate.
Challenge yourself with new experiences. Make a point of finding someone or something new to learn about or experience. It can be as simple as an unfamiliar food or as exciting as a new language. Pay attention to the feelings you have as you do new things. How do you feel? How do you behave? What do you learn about yourself?
After achieving her Black Belt in 2008 Sensei Laraine Winston challenged herself to become a competitor. By the end of 2010 she had accumulated enough wins, including 1st Place at the ISKA World Championships, to become the NASKA World Champion.
Read! The great Martial Artist Bruce Lee had an extensive library and a deep desire to know things, and he used what he learned in his readings to help him grow into a better man and a better Martial Artist. Find out more about the things your Sensei shares in your Martial Arts classes; use the library, the bookstore, the Internet; ask questions.
Why Train in Martial Arts?
Often we feel powerless. By showing us how to dramatically increase physical power through conditioning and proper body mechanics, Martial Arts makes us feel empowered.
Often we feel out of balance. By learning proper stances, efficient movement and kicking and striking skills, Martial Arts helps us to know what it feels like to be balanced. Physical balance is directly related to emotional control. “Concentrate on your balance, lose your upset. Concentrate on your upset, lose your balance.” We can learn and practice emotional and psychological balance by understanding their relationship to physical balance.
Adapted from Sensei Dave Kovar
How to get a stripe by Sensei Matt Bergstresser
1. Walk into the Karate School in a civilized manner and get your card. Put your card in the box and your shoes neatly in the rack. Sit quietly on the bench .
2. Enter the Dojo respectfully and follow the directions given to you by Sensei or the Sempai.
3. Try your absolute best the entire class, from warm-ups to bow-out.
4. Learn the material you need to know and practice hard to do it well.
Remember, you never need to ask for a stripe. The Sensei are always looking to reward your progress when you are ready.
Take a Breath: some ideas on breathing
Learning to breathe correctly is an important part of Martial Arts practice. The breathing method that is taught in Mudokai Karate is based upon principles passed down by my instructors and upon my own research and experience. Correct breathing in class is essential to gaining the full benefit every session. We use the breath in Karate to focus our mind, balance our feelings, time our technique, reinforce our center, focus our intent and empower our strikes. Under certain circumstances we use it to control our mind so that we can be temporarily invulnerable to pain, and able to achieve complete coordination of our bodies with our consciousness.
When we begin to stretch at the start of each class we must focus on breathing away from the pain that we feel as the muscles stretch. This pain should be in the muscles and the tendons, and is perhaps better described as a “stretching feeling”, as the word pain has some negative connotations. The idea is to stretch further than is normally comfortable. If any pain is felt in the joints, like the hip, knee or shoulder for example, we should stop and change our position so as to isolate the stretch correctly. We don’t want to injure ourselves trying to get fit. Provided that we are feeling the stretch in the correct place, it is essential to correctly extend into the stretch so that our flexibility will increase. By using the breath as a point of focus we can stretch a little further every time that we exhale, and relax into the stretch a little more every time that we inhale. If all of our mind is on the breath there will be no mind left for the pain. During the warm-ups the breathing should be long, smooth and steady. We emphasize abdominal breathing so the abdomen must fill with air as we inhale. Chest breathing is always to be avoided.
Once we begin to train on our punches, blocks and kicks we must exhale strongly and quickly with each of these techniques. By breathing out very hard as we strike we stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system which will tend to lower the heart rate and decrease our blood pressure. This allows us to feel relaxed and poised even while working out with a high level of intensity. We also use our exhalation to add focus to every strike by exhaling right at the moment of impact or full extension of each strike. Ideally we will experience a moment of complete simultaneity with every strike. This will involve the strike landing at the same time as our foot lands or our hip twists, and at the same time as we tense our stomach. This simultaneous, coordinated effort allows us to achieve the highest level of focus, permitting all of our available power to be brought to bear on our target at the moment we strike.
In order to learn to breathe from the abdomen, rather than merely from the chest, students can practice breathing at home. It can be a kind of meditation. Begin by sitting comfortably on a cushion or a chair with a nice straight back. Place one hand upon the stomach. Imagine that you are being held up by a string attached to the back of your head. As you breathe in through your nose you should feel your stomach fill with air. As you breathe completely out you should feel the stomach deflate. Wherever possible all breathing should be through the nose. This will prevent the loss of water vapor which occurs when you exhale through the mouth. A loss of water vapor upsets the salt balance in the body and leads to early fatigue. Inhaling through the mouth tends to dry up the throat. It also makes the jaw vulnerable to a strike if you are sparring or defending yourself. Keep the lips lightly touching and the breath smooth and connected. To be sure that your breath is smooth listen to the sound it makes as it goes in and out. If you hum quietly on the exhalation the note should stay the same. If you were able to hum on the inhalation that note would also be the same. To be sure that your breath is connected make sure that at the top of the inhalation there is no holding of the breath. Similarly the breath must not be held at the bottom of the exhalation. Allow the transition from inhalation to exhalation to be smooth and connected.
If you want to improve your basic breathing place a timepiece in front of you where you can easily see the second hand. Exhale for five seconds and smoothly transition into the inhale for five seconds. If you are comfortable you can work up to ten seconds in and ten seconds out. If you feel dizzy or suffer other discomfort relax and breath normally for a while. It means that you are overdoing the exercise and trying too hard. Keep your practice smooth, full, even and connected. It’s not a competition. Eventually you may be able to work up to taking thirty seconds on the inhalation and thirty seconds on the exhalation for thirty minutes. That is just thirty complete breaths in half an hour.
If you are working on Seishan Kata the breathing emphasizes a very slow strong exhalation, accompanied by tensing the stomach muscles strongly as you extend the tail bone downward. This is followed by a very quick inhalation as you suck as much air as possible into the abdomen in about one second. You can practice the breathing sitting down as you visualize the Kata. Again, be sure to pay attention to any warning signals like dizziness, headache or other signs of discomfort that would indicate that you are practicing incorrectly.
Breathing accompanied by positive visualization can be very productive as a practice format for Martial Arts, or any other skill development. Over time you must establish abdominal breathing as your default breathing style, and train your reflexes to respond to any stressor, surprise or shock with a strong and immediate exhalation. In a crisis this will bring you to an immediate state of focused concentrated readiness. You will be centered in your belly, your body will be poised but relaxed and emotionally balanced. You will be in the optimum condition to deal with whatever is happening, having used your breath to bring you to a state of “oneness”: a condition where you are physically, emotionally and mentally focused in the present right here and now. This inherently spiritual condition is a collected state that will allow you to optimize all of your potential to handle whatever challenges life happens to bring your way.
Shihan Robert H. Mason ©2011
Training for Competition and Combat
What is the relationship between self-defense and sparring in the Dojo or in competition? Some have argued that tournament competition (specifically sparring) has little if any value in preparing one for survival in the street. Others counter that, while sparring is not the same as actual combat, it is the best way you can test your skills, without actually looking for fights (something less than desirable). What is often missed by both sides is that there is a measure of truth in both of their respective positions.
Sparring in the Dojo can be a very useful training tool. From it one can learn several lessons, including distancing and timing. Without these skill you cannot control the moment of engagement with an opponent. These skills can only develop in a sparring format when an attack can be launched spontaneously, rather than in a prearranged format like a partner practice routine. Typical self-defense techniques won't give you everything you need here. For example, most self-defense techniques are taught something like... "You're standing here and someone does this" or "You're in this situation, when suddenly..." Normally, you avoid those things which may inflame the situation i.e. you aren't in a fighting stance with your guard up. But what do you do when you've been blindsided? Certainly there's little doubt that this is a fight. No need to worry about escalating a tense cold war into a hot one, it's already past that stage. Self-defense techniques are, for the most part, reactive in nature. That is, they are designed to allow you to react to someone else's action. That is fine, as far as it goes; but what if you face more than one opponent? How then, are you going to have the skills to counter your attackers? How are you going to react or respond to their further attacks? Not everything can be handled from a stationary position with a simple block and counter. How you close and control distance in attack and defense becomes critical here, and it is in precisely this area that sparring benefits the martial artist the most.
Sparring can be a great confidence builder as it can provide the student with some means of self-defense in a relatively short amount of time. Normally, competency in any system of self-defense requires years of training. Sparring techniques, however, being relatively simple and fewer in number, require much less time to achieve a minimal level of competence. This sort of superficial level of mastery could serve as a stop-gap or temporary method of defense until the student becomes more firmly grounded in their training.
Beyond sparring in the Dojo, tournament competition offers the opportunity to face opponents whose techniques and tactics may be unfamiliar and different from those that you have experienced at the Dojo. This places you in a situation which will reveal what spontaneous responses and reactions you have developed. It tests your reflexive skills in a way that is analogous to an actual combat situation. A real fight.
For all its benefits, however, sparring (especially competitive fighting) is not without its problems. For one thing, many competitors and spectators alike see tournament fighting as the end, the ultimate demonstration of an individual's martial skill. Nothing, however, could be further from the truth. I am not addressing the "spiritual' benefits of martial arts study and training here, but from the standpoint of martial arts study for self-defense, viewing fighting competition as anything other than a means to an end, is at best myopic.
Competitors sometimes look down upon non-competitors because they feel the non-competitor lacks either the skill or the courage to compete. Their argument is that the intensity and stress of fighting competition brings one closer to that of actual combat than any other form of training. Granted, competitive fighting does raise the intensity and stress factors for the fighter, but what in competition does that? First of all, the intensity for many comes from the glory, the desire to win a prize (trophy, money, whatever). Second, and this may be the one that produces the most stress, is the fact that one is also performing in front of his friends, juniors, peers and even betters. Without a doubt this certainly takes courage, but there is a great difference between fighting in a “controlled” environment, or in front of others for glory, and fighting for one's life. Sparring in the Dojo or the tournament ring, for all its benefits and glory, is still only a game of tag. At least that is what it is supposed to be. As such, one's participation and subsequent performance in competition should not be considered the only measure of an individual's skill or courage in a fight. Even competition in Full Contact matches or MMA require that rules be followed. Real fights have no rules. When it comes to competition, there are those who simply are not motivated to risk a bloody nose, sore ribs or jammed toes for a mere contest, but would willingly risk all, fighting like one possessed, when the safety of their loved ones or themselves is at stake.
Sparring, and specifically competition, is neither good nor bad in and of itself. It is only useful when seen and used as one tool among many. You cannot build a house thinking a hammer is the only tool you will need. Neither can you build a house without one. In this respect it becomes clear that learning to spar in the Dojo, followed by venturing out to competition, offers a path of personal development that will hone a students fighting skills. Short of actual combat there really is no better way to develop real combat experience and courage. Here, sparring, including competitive fighting, can benefit the martial artist for it comes the closest in a relatively safe and controlled environment to simulating actual combat. You are facing a moving target that is trying to score on you, as you try to score on them. For the competitor, what must be avoided is the tendency to view non-competitors as inferior, unskilled or lacking courage. The non-competitor, on the other hand, must come to see sparring, in the Dojo or at a tournament, for what it was intended to be, namely a tool, a means to an end. It offers a way to test your martial arts skills in a controlled format, against skilled opponents who are trying to beat you. Along with your other training, sparring and competition fighting will contribute to your development as a well-rounded complete martial artist.
This article was adapted by Shihan Mason from an original essay by R.A. Orlando
Not All Martial Arts Schools are the Same
A while ago I was sitting at the Front desk at my Dojo when a gentleman came through the door with his son. He told me the boy was six years old and had just been given his Black Belt in Taekwondo and now the Dad was thinking about having him join my Dojo to learn Karate. The next question was “can he keep his belt”. I told the father “of course he can keep his belt, but he must keep it at home”. Some schools believe that they should award a Black Belt after two years of study, regardless of the students level of skill or achievement. I am not of this mind. I see no reason to award a rank until a required degree of proficiency can be demonstrated. Consequently, the students in my Dojo have to train long and hard to achieve promotion through the ranks to Black Belt and beyond.
A parent recently told me that she had watched a karate class at another school and was impressed that the thrust punches they were doing seemed more powerful than the punches she saw her son performing in our classes. One of the challenges I face as the Chief Instructor is educating the parents and students on how our system works. The biggest problem with the classical Karate thrust punch is that it is easy to hyperextend the elbow and hurt the joint. This is especially true of children and beginners who may tend to execute the strike incorrectly, even following instruction and correction on the technique. My style of MuDoKai is based in a contemporary scientific approach to training, rather than a classical tradition. I pointed out to the parent in question that the power in any punch originates in the legs and is aligned through the torso. The arm is just the method of delivery and because of the risk of hyperextension in a punch or a kick, I insist that the students learn to execute their techniques with correct body use, appropriate head-neck alignment and correct breathing. My method is based upon my forty-eight years of martial arts training. During that time I’ve also drawn on my studies in the Alexander Technique for the attainment of poise. If you Google F.M. Alexander you can read about his revolutionary work in the field of correct body use. Our Karate Tigers and Little Dragons programs for preschool and kindergarten aged children draw on some of the work of Glen Doman, particularly his book on “How to Make your Baby Physically Superb”. If you Google Glenn Doman or The Institutes for the Achievement of Human Potential you will be able to see the massive contribution he has made to our understanding of how to teach both healthy children and those unfortunately afflicted with neurological damage.
MuDoKai is a scientifically based method of training so our practice does not always look like other schools. Unfortunately, many of the key principles and skills that we teach our students are not necessarily visible, and the results may not be immediately obvious. I was reminded recently of a story I was told by a parent regarding her son who fell off a swing in the park and broke his arm. I believe he was about eight years old at the time and had been training for about three years. He walked home from the park and informed his mom that they would need to go to the hospital because his arm was broken. Sure enough, after an X-Ray his arm was put in a cast by the doctor who asked him how come he didn't cry during the procedure, when he must have been in quite a bit of pain. He told the Doctor and his mom that he had just been “doing what Sensei said in class and breathing away from the pain. Scott went on to become a State Champion in both Forms and Sparring competition and a Gold Medalist at the Junior Olympics. As a twelve year old Brown Belt he beat all of the Black Belts in his age group to win the “Advanced Division” on the Florida Martial Arts Events tour (FAME) which at that time combined Brown and Black Belt ranks. What Scott learned in class that allowed him to excel in competitions and deal with a real world injury was based in lessons that were mostly invisible to his parents, or anyone watching him train. They were inner growth processes that taught him self control and perseverance, focus and confidence over time. This is very practical knowledge, but it cannot be acquired quickly and easily, and the process of acquisition may often not be obvious.
Last week I spoke to a young man who was visiting our Dojo while his friends trained in class. I heard the office manager ask him if he was interested in training himself. He said that he had trained before, for three years and achieved a Brown Belt in another school. He added that he had quit training because the Master Instructor was mean. When I asked him what he meant by that he said that the Master would yell at the students all the time and on one occasion had thrown him against a wall. I asked why he had stayed so long with an abusive teacher and he said that the school had an aftercare program that picked him up from school, so it was convenient for his parents. The truth is that Karate training, like life, is not always convenient, but it need not be mean and destructive. Not all Martial Arts schools are the same, so I hope that parents and students alike will strive to learn what makes our MuDoKai Martial Arts system here at the University Karate Center the best way to train for fitness, self-defense and competition.
Congratulations Brown Belt
Megan Jones was awarded her Brown Belt by Shihan Mason following six consecutive sparring matches on March 19th.
Do you still have a video player?
ISKA Match Videos on sale
Have you missed any of the ISKA TV shows on ESPN2? If you have, you don't know what you're missing. Get your copy today! $6.95 each plus tax.
These VHS tapes are from Shihan Mason’s TV show on ESPN2. They were selling online for $19.95 but the price is reduced for clearance while stocks last. For a complete listing check out www.iska.com then purchase the shows of your choice at the Front Desk.
Also available while stocks last, Funkicks Kickboxing videos, and other Cardio Kickboxing tapes.
Old Curriculum Kyu Videos
While stocks last all videotapes this month are $6.95. Some material has been adjusted, but generally these videos provide excellent information. Get details from the Front desk.
Sensei Fung Sang receives his Diploma for Yondan, 4th Degree Black Belt,
from Sensei Mason after many years of disciplined practice.
Sensei Ahearn graduates
Congratulations to Sensei Michael Ahearn on his recent graduation from the Police Academy. He is working as a Deputy in Pompano. Below Sensei Mason is pictured with Deputy Ahearn at the graduation ceremony.
Karate: A Life Saver
Marjorie Everdale called from Texas to say that her son Ken, who trained for many years at our dojo, called from Baghdad to say that his training under Sensei Mason saved his life recently.
Sensei Polsky: in the news and on the Tournament circuit
Sensei Brian Polsky has recently been featured in the news, including a Sun Sentinel article, and an appearance with Sensei Mason on Channel 10, with Frank Forte, both on an evening broadcast of ABC News and Sports Jam on Sunday night.
He has also been competing in both point and full contact events. In January he fought a Point Full Contact match at the Extreme Challenge in Coconut Creek with British Heavyweight James Collins where he won a close fight by split decision.
Traveling recently to Los Angeles for the Compete National Championships, Sensei Polsky won First Place in his division against other nationally ranked competitors. Sensei Polsky also teaches class here at UKC on Tuesday and Thursday nights.
"Two birds tied together, though they have four wings, they cannot fly"Bruce Lee
Archive of Past Articles
Articles since 2006
Karate and the Inner Game | How to Benefit the Most from Karate Training
Civility in Life and in Martial Arts
Conquering the Belt Graduation | Strength in Unity
The Development of Confidence with Competence
Consciousness, Courtesy, Manners and More
Why do People Take Karate Lessons?
What are Degrees of Black Belt?
The Competitive Spirit | Revised Curriculum
2005 Tournament | Chopping Wood and Other Daily Pleasures
UKC Kicks off 25th Anniversary Year | Order and Harmony: in Martial Arts and in Life
The Karate School is a Special Space | Ten Teachings in Karate
Growing Up in Karate | A Framework for Thinking Ethically
Learning: the Gift that Keeps on Giving | Working Out After School | Soothing the Savage Beast
Superman Has Gone | Helping Kids Balance Responsibilities | Safety Tips for Kids and Parents
As Good as it Gets | Martial Arts Teaches Many Things | Dealing With Fear | Funkicks Headquarters
"You Are What You Eat:" Nutrition, Sports and Kids | Boost your Performance
One Year in the New School | The Benefits of Karate Training
The High Road to Black Belt for Children and Adults | How Parents Can Track Children's Progress
The Purpose of Free Sparring | Character Traits and Putting Kids to Work
The Competitive Spirit | Everyday Courage | The Benefits of Funkicks Kickboxing
Sensei Mason's 2004 Tournament | Student and Parent Creed | Welcome Back Sensei Lewis | Kids and the "I Don't Know" Syndrome
Dealing with Feelings, Grand Opening | Simple Rules of Self Defense | On being a Champion
New Year's Opportunities | Cooperation and Compliance
New Year: a Good Time to Work Towards Goals, Dehydration and Children
2003 and prior Articles:
Baseball and Winning in America, A message from Sensei Kendra Smith, New Dojo Artwork
Promotion from Karate Tigers to the Junior Program, "The Geese," Better Breathing
Sensei in the Spotlight: Rodrigo Navarette, Courtesy in the Karate School, The Karate Community
To Catch the Wind, The Philosophy Lesson, Encouraging Excellence
Women in the Martial Arts, What Makes Karate Kamp Great, The Secret to Excelling
Sempai of the Month, Turning Boredom into Achievement, June Word Search Contest
Gold Coast Classic, Sempai of the Month, Safer & Smarter Kids, May Contest
Florida Gold Coast Classic, Thoughts on Training, Karate Crossword
Sempai of the Month, Parent Code, Chocolate Moose, Striving to be Perfect
Sensei Polsky: Half the Man He Used To Be, Civility
Training Opportunities for Students, A Word About Warm-Ups, MARTIAL ARTS - East Meets West
Discovering the Joy of Training, Sempai of the Month, SOMEBODY IS ALWAYS WATCHING
How can the “spirit of play” be applied to Homework and Personal Growth?, Sempai of the Month, Dave Kopp: Brown Belt, Florida State Champion,Training in Karate: Lessons from the Sensei
The Value of Learning Real Skills: And finishing what you start, An Open Letter to Parents, Return of the Sensei, Sempai of the Month
Second Dan Achieved, Sempai of the Month, 9-11
Common Courtesy: How Common is it?, Patience is not only a Virtue, but a Necessity, Martial Arts Uniform Appearance, Sempai of the Month, Tournament Team Reforming
Making a Commitment to Train: A Guide for Parents, Sempai of the Month, The Secret to Excelling
Tournaments, Training and Toughness, Sempai of the Month, Martial Arts Makes You Better, KUDOS FOR THE KARATE SCHOOL
Our Annual School Tournament: Gold Coast Classic, The Power of a Common Cause, Sempai of the Month
Preparing for life in the 21st century Training for personal defense and personal growth, Red Stripes - Worth Their Weight in Sand?, A Sempai’s Perspective By Sensei Matt Bergstresser, Food for Thought
What is the difference between pleasure and enjoyment?, Perseverance, Parent Code, Practical Heroism: one of the benefits of 9-11, Chocolate Moose Music Café update, Ice Skating, The Olympics and America, Sensei Mason Honored in Atlantic City
The Value of Understanding the Curriculum, The New Student, Valentine's Day
Karate Tournaments for Karate Excellence, What We Can Learn From 9-11: Carpe diem!, The News In Pictures
The Real Purpose of Martial Arts: Learning How To Be Humble, To Be Fluent In The Martial Arts
Meeting The Challenges Of A Tough Curriculum, An Experience Of Kata
Training In Difficult Times
How Students Can Train Smarter, Self-Control
Developing Discipline In Young Students, Training Your Mind For Success, The Philosophy Lesson
The Dilemma of Sparring, Karate Kamp, Turning a Negative into a Positive
Better Breathing Brings Peak Performance, Karate And Everyday Life, Nature Wouldn't Steer Us Wrong
Why Competition Is Good For Students, Why Do Children Like To Participate In Sports, Respect
Kids Need More Kinetics, Back In Control, The Seven Blunders of the World That Lead To Violence, "Why do most people not stick with an exercise program?”, Proper Training the FIT Way, A Food Chart Relating to Diet and Health
“Take a breath: some ideas on breathing”, Benefit from a fitness routine and relieve stress, Martial Arts for Survival and for Life, Ten Tips to Kata Performance
Training with an Attitude - (A guide for students, parents and significant others), Real Learning versus “going through the motions”
Should the student chase the belt, or should the belt follow the student?, "Show Me Your Black Belt"
"Pick of the Month", Why Am I Dehydrated?
The Way of the Dojo, “Martial Arts and Courage”, Notes on the Junior Sparring Class
Problems at school?, A Brief History of the Nunchaku, Dominance and Martial Arts Philosophy
Training for Competition and Combat, Get flexible and stay fit, Support Your School and Sponsor a New Member, Parent / Sensei Meeting
Be Still and Know, Hold a Positive Image of Yourself, Common Problems when Performing Splits
Martial Arts For Self Discipline, Fashionably Fit For Class, All About Sensei Mason
What is Worth Fighting For?, To Be a Master of Yourself
Karate and Everyday Life, Frequency - Intensity - Time (F.I.T.)
Tournaments - Self Defense - Personal Growth, A Winner Never Quits
20th Anniversary, Rock-Solid Workout Tips: Working those Abs
"Pick of the Month", Respect
"Pick of the Month", Balancing Responsibilities, The Natural Harmony of Cooperation
"Pick of the Month", Visualization: Insight to Excellence, Building a Positive Self-image
"Pick of the Month", The 3 Qualities to Black Belt Excellence, A Meeting with a Remarkable Young Man
"Pick of the Month", Martial Arts Motivation, Karate and Everyday Life, What Does Martial Arts Teach?
"Pick of the Month", Delevelop a Winning Attitude, Martial Arts Style Focus: The Origins of the Shaolin Fist Arts
"Pick of the Month", Beyond Survival: Doing the right thing, Martial Arts Manners
"Pick of the Month", Being a Good Student
"Pick of the Month", Gold Coast Classic Success, Lead Don't Dictate
Pick of the Month, Six Steps toward Successful Black Belt Exams, The Artist
Turning Your Weaknesses Into Strengths: Martial Arts Develops the "Yes I Can!" Attitude, "Pick of the Month", 1998 Mudokai Karate Team, & Body Conditioning for Adults
Black Belts are Role Models, Connected with Your Inner-Self, How Good do you Want to Be?
Learning Through Cooperation and Competition, Mind-Body-Spirit & JiuJutsu
A Responsible Balance, The Importance of Understanding Friends, Beware of Over Training, & The Schools Within A School At UKC
Sensei Meyer moves from the University Karate Center to the University of Central Florida & Finding Joy in the Everyday
UKC supports Chuck Norris's Charity, The Freedom of Honesty & Principle Challenge
Help Chuck Norris Kick Drugs Out of America, GETTING ENGAGED By Raven Cohen & A Few Good Words - By Dr. Claudia Hoffman
Everyday Courage, Who's in Charge? & Stay Out of Your Own Way
A Tournament Perspective, Did you know?, Teachings in Karate & Kids Concept of the Month
Conquering the Belt Test, Strength in Unity, Wizard Seminars & "The Way of the Wizard" A Biography on Michael Chatarantabut
Showing Appreciation as a Martial Artist, Holiday Eating Made Healthy and Fun, A Word from the Wise & Visualization and Thinking
"How you do anything is how you do everything."