Tuesday, December 01, 2009

4 Years of Training

Four Years of Tallahassee Karate Club!

December marks the 4th year of Tallahassee Karate Club at North Florida School of Aikido. It's been amazing so far!

I would like to extend a warm thanks to our Aikido brothers and sisters who have shared their wonderful dojo with us these years. It's an awesome dojo and I am very humbled and grateful for the welcome you have extended to us.

I would like to thank our karate students who are so patient with my teaching style, and dedicated enough to come back to training week after week and year after year. You rock!

Also, thanks to all of my training partners, mentors and friends in Kishaba Juku.

And finally, a very special thanks to my teachers: Paris Janos Sensei and Steve Harless Sensei, and their teachers; Kishaba Chokei Sensei, Kishaba Chogi Sensei, and Shinzato Katsuhiko Sensei. Without their efforts, there would be nothing for me to teach, and therefore, no Tallahassee Karate Club.

Domo Arigato Gozaimasu!!!

Here's to many, many, many more years of training!!!


Bill Lucas
Head Instructor
Tallahassee Karate Club

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Asian Festival 2009

We recently participated in the Asian Festival by performing a demonstration of karate and kobudo.

This picture is of the whole class demonstrating Fukyugata Ichi.

We spent the majority of four classes preparing for the demo, and I think it went good and was well received.

I really do not have much interest in performing demos for audiences. It is hard to convey the essence of karate to an audience of non-martial artists. Fortunately, the Asian festival has a number of other martial arts demonstrations and there were many martial artists in the audience.

Some of the other martial arts demonstrations included Chinese Gung Fu, Filipino Kali, and Japanese Naginata.

I enjoyed watching the other forms and seeing the differences and similarities in technique and principles.

Overall, it was an enjoyable experience and I think we will participate again next year.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Cleaning my Garage

My Garage was my Dojo for many years.

Through the years, I trained alone and with others in my garage in the sweltering heat of North Florida Summer and the damp cold of Winter. I worked hard to always keep it clean enough to train in despite the ever increasing number of things I accumulated over the years. I added mirrors, got interlocking mats so I didn't have to train directly on the floor, and added other training devices. It was my haven for daily karate training.

Since I started Tallahassee Karate Club at North Florida Aikido, my garage Dojo has gone largely unused and the junk has accumulated more than ever.

As I approach my 47th birthday, I believe it's time to get my garage Dojo ready for personal training once again.

Making room for personal karate training requires discipline, time, effort, and perseverence, but what worthwhile things in life don't?

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Special Training June 6, 2009

Originally uploaded by The Mad Dance Dad.

We had a great special training and promotion demo today! We worked on kata, stick kumite with padded sticks of various lengths, sai kata, and Chinto. We concluded the afternoon with promotion demos and dinner at a local Japanese Hibachi restaurant.

Click to see the pictures

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Avoid Injury when Practicing Kobudo

Training with Okinawan weapons can be dangerous to the practitioner, others in the dojo, and the dojo itself. Therefore, special care must be taken whenever the student practices with weapons.

The student should start out slow when practicing weapons and make sure they are far enough away from their training partners and their surroundings so as to not hit anyone or anything as they practice.

It's easy to hurt yourself with when training with weapons.  

One story that's kind of funny is that I made my own nunchaku as a teenager when I first started out in Karate.  I was very excited to try to learn to use 2 sets of Nunchaku at the same time.  I was in my front yard practicing one day when I decided to try swinging the nunchaku in opposite directions: one high and one low.  I was sucessful a couple times but on the third try, I hit myself in the head with one and in the knee with the other, simultaneously.  In my moment of pain, I heard someone laughing and looked up to see the paper boy having a good laugh at my expense. Looking back, I probably should have done something to pad the nunchaku before trying this stunt. Nowadays, you can buy padded nunchaku.  They are a good investment :)  The other thing I should have done was practice somewhere out of site to save myself from humiliation.

I have seen or heard stories of many people hurting themselves with Sai or coming close to hurting others while practicing.  One such story involved someone letting go of a sai during a test and the sai whizzed past someone's head and stuck in the wall.  It's very easy for beginners to drop sai while trying to flip them.  Can you imagine a sai through the top of your foot?  Ouch!  Sai also have a tendency to get stuck in the sleaves of your Gi top.  It's good to practice sai in a t-shirt for this reason.

By far, the worst stories of self injury come from Kama.  The kama we use are very sharp and can easily do much self damage.  This is why I will only teach Kama to black belts.  I remember one student, years ago, who stuck a kama in his leg just above the knee.  Another, cut the end of his finger off.  The worst, was when someone layed their tricep muscle open and had to have 30+ stitches.  Kama are very dangerous.  They should not be practiced alone and they should not be practiced by beginners.

Bo can be dangerous when practicing in a group because of their range.  It's hard for beginners to judge the length of the bo.  For this reason, students should space themselves as far apart as possible when they are  first learning.  It's harder to hurt yourself with a bo, but not impossible.

The student also needs to be careful not to damage the dojo when practicing weapons.  In our dojo, for instance, we practice on modern vinyl tatami mats.  A Sai point or the end of a bo could easy ruin a perfectly good tatamai mat.  Also, a bo through the wall  or window would be an issue.  For this reason, beginners should start out slow.

Learning kobudo as a traditional martial art is a great supplement to karate training, but be careful, and always learn under an experienced instructor.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Keeping the Dojo Clean

Helping to keep the dojo clean is an activity that all students should actively pursue regardless of their rank.

Here are some tips:
  • Dust mop the floor before class
  • Help get out and put away dojo equipment such as focus pads, mirror, sign-in book, etc
  • Line up shoes neatly in the dressing room
  • Wash the floor after class
  • Dust 
  • Clean mirrors
  • Make sure other articles are put back away
  • Make sure the bathroom and dressing room are clean
  • Take out the trash

Koshi Ideas

When I say "Koshi Ideas" I'm really talking about things that we stress in our Karate to help impart concepts about the way we use our bodies to make power and enable natural movement in our Karate.

If you are a martial artist who does not practice Kishaba Juku shorin ryu, you may think about twisting the hips if I say "Koshi".   But, twisting the hips to produce a powerful technique is only one koshi idea. Really great technique is a product of more than just hip twisting.

Here are some words to describe some of the "koshi ideas" we talk about regularly in class:

  • Tuck and Compress
  • Connection
  • Arches
  • Single Hip Twist
  • Hanmi
  • Multi Hip Twist
  • Big Arm Motions
  • Big Koshi Motion
  • Hikite
  • Rising and Dropping Power
  • Gyroscopic Koshi
  • Circle Point Theory
  • Whip
  • Bounce into the next technique
  • Make power in 2 directions
  • Ability to move in any direction
  • Make power on one foot
  • Natural movement
  • Naihanchi Points
  • Leaning Body 
  • Floating Koshi
  • Smaller Koshi Motions
Each of these ideas could be the topic of a separate blog post, so I won't go into the details of them at this time. 

Some of these words or phrases are/were used by my teachers and their teachers.  Some are of my own device. Koshi ideas don't easily translate to written form so many of these words won't make sense to the reader unless they have trained in Kishaba Juku shorin ryu.

Learning to use koshi to make your karate better is a stepwise effort that can be equated to japanese calligraphy.  Beginner koshi is like block printing (Kaisho), intermediate koshi is like semi-cursif style (Gyosho) and advanced koshi is like cursif (artistic/Sosho) style. (See article by George Donahue on

Learning to incorporate koshi ideas into our karate is a lifetime endeavor that helps keep our karate ever evolving.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Unfinished Posts

I currently have 19 draft posts!  Some of them are over a year old!  I'm terrible at this blogging thing.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Blog Posts I want to write this year

There are many...will I get to them?

- beginners karate
- how a bo can teach you empty hand techniques
- keeping the dojo clean
- koshi hojo undo series
- grown up karate vs. kid karate
- teachers vs. masters
- how many kata is enough
- koshi 101
- many more

Thursday, January 01, 2009

New Years Day Training 2009

Originally uploaded by The Mad Dance Dad.

Every year I try to train on New Year's Day to get the year started off right. We had a training this morning from 9-12 and even though most people went to bed late last night, they still came out to train this morning.

"The Naihanchi 500" was kind of a joke. We really didn't do Naihanchi 500 times, but it did get some people wondering or at least curious!

It was a good training. We started out with some Tai Chi to get the chi flowing and the brains centered for karate practice. Then we did lots of basic cross-deck techniques focusing on hip twisting koshi to get nice and loosened up.

Naihanchi was next, followed by some stick self defense and sparring, followed by regular kata practice and concluding with watching a video of Shinzato Sensei discussing Kata and Calligraphy.

All in all, a great start to the new year!

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