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Fall 2012

Martial Arts Grandmasters International 速





Martial Arts Grandmasters International 速


8 I The Greatest Karate Fighter Ever

The Passing of the Champ, Joe Lewis

12 I One More Round


Joe Corley reflects on Joe Lewis

16 I An Intangible Cultural Asset

Honoring Soke Takayoshi Nagamine and his legacy.

22 I What is a “Real” Black Belt?

Part Two of Hanshi Dan Tosh’s article on the black belt.

27 I Karate Kids Korner


A family affair!

28 I Wisdom from a Grandmaster

Helping Your Brain with Pushups?

30 I MAGI® Benefits Expanding

Why you should be a member of MAGI®.

32 I Favorite Fighting Techniques from the Masters



Fighting techniques from William Shelton.

34 I Western Wrapup


Emil Farkas’s shares things about Joe Lewis that you might not have known.

35 I American Samurai


WRITERS WANTED: We want well-written articles on topics of interest to a traditional karate audience. Stories on respected historical figures in the martial arts, advanced how-to articles (not “how to do a front kick”), and articles on educational philosophies or technical aspects, are all welcome. We reserve the right to edit articles to fit and, of course, we will only accept articles that we believe will be of interest to our audience. For writer’s guidelines, send your email address and writing experience/bio to: 4


Gary Lee on the Bokken Master

36 I Kung Fu Korner Sifu Karen Schlachter on meditation TM

38 I Real Life Ted Gambordella recounts the story of a TM

MMA champion who had the courage to stand up in Real Life!


Fall 2012

40 I Cyberspace Comments Should Children be Allowed to Make Black Belt? TM

44 I The Self-Defense Series


GM Jim McMurray on Knife Defense

46 I James Mather’s Karate Life


Who Writes our Martial Arts History?

48 I Nutritional Self Defense Dr. Craig Rubenstein on the Dangers of AntiTM


Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)

50 I Martial Marketplace



Dr. Andrew Linick tells you how to get great PR.



Be sure to “Like” us at

OK R EAD B O NUSER’S Look f or th bu

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Martial Arts Grandmasters International ®


Fall 2012


Official Karate Magazine™ the “official” publication of Martial Arts Grandmasters International® is a 21st Century version of the original Official Karate that was published 1969–1995 by Al Weiss and Charlton Publications. We publish quarterly in digital format with a printed “annual” issue. We seek to secure permission for photographs but if you see a photo that is yours please let us know so we can give you attribution. MAGI® is a dynamic association of traditional and modern martial arts practitioners. Since 1994, we have strived to fulfill our mission to recognize and register students, black belts, and grandmasters of various martial arts styles organizations, Asian and Western self-defense systems, and fighting arts. Editor and Publisher: Andrew S. Linick, Ph.D. Managing Editor /Creative Director: Keith D. Yates Editorial Consultant: David Weiss Contributors: Cezar Borkowski, Joe Corley, Des Chaskelson, Reese Cummings, Emil Farkas, Ted Gambordella, Gary Lee, Terry Maccarrone, James Mather, James McMurray, Dr. Craig Rubenstein, Karen Schlachter, William Shelton, Dr. Dan Tosh. MAGI® Member Benefits Membership in MAGI® will afford you the opportunity to have an affiliation with the first-generation pioneers who sit on our Board of Advisors. Of course you can share in their wisdom in the pages of Official Karate magazine (a subscription is included in your membership) but you can also take advantage of a direct dialogue with these Grandmasters through our websites and Facebook pages. You can proudly display the impressive MAGI® membership certificates, colorful uniform patches, and even attention-getting trademark protected four color window decals that proclaim you are an “affiliated” professional MAGI® school. (It’s considered the ‘BBB’ in the MA industry) You will receive big discounts on high-quality Asian weapons, books, videos & DVD’s, e-books, t-shirts, equipment bags, and even professional custom framing for MAGI™ certificates and for your own school certificates. We are adding new features and benefits all the time so click on and “LIKE” us at You can also go to



Sound Off! Thanks for the wonderful tributes to the great Master Joe Lewis in this issue. I consider it an honor to have known him and participated in many of his seminars in the 1980s. I witnessed the deep friendship and respect that Bill Wallace, Jeff Smith and Master Lewis had for each other and spent many hours laughing with them and working to learn their techniques. Some of my fondest memories are the times I spent with my daughters and my students at Karate College with these fine men. It is a blessing to have a fine magazine like Official Karate tell the stories of the legends that will always be an important part of our lineage. You provide a dignified forum for many great teachers to share their stories and their wisdom. The old ways will remain alive and available to a new generation of instructors. Oss and Amen —Sifu Karen Schlachter As executive director of the non-profit, Museum of Sport Karate, I am thrilled that there are old timers who want to share our martial arts history and preserve the “old ways.” Hanshi Andrew Linick has a rich, deep history—in 1972 he was named the U.S. Ambassador of Karate™ and in the August 1969, issue of OK magazine he was chosen as the first Karateka of the Month™ by the former publisher, Al Weiss. Add in Keith Yates who has been with GM Allen Steen since he was a kid and is now his right-hand-man, a best-selling author and historian and his commitment to excellence and you have a dynamic team. They put together a group of first generation pioneers/columnists to bring back the “Voice of Karate” in print and online—breathing new exciting martial arts coverage into this classic magazine. Great men, great martial artists, great writers, great minds, great history—Osu! Aloha!” —Professor Gary Lee

EDITORIAL OK Mag is Recognizing our History


ith the passing of several of the icons of karate over the last months we reflect on individuals who have made karate a recognized art and sport over the last sixty years or so. Prior to World War II practically no one in the western world had heard of the martial arts, let alone karate. Grandmasters Oyata, Nagamine, Lewis and many others remind us of our heritage and legacy. But while there are the instantly recognizable names, there are also many unsung pioneers and heroes who deserve to be honored for their contributions to the growth and popularity of the martial arts. As you know, MAGI® (Martial Arts Grandmasters International®) sponsors the Karate Masters Hall of Fame® inductions which started in 1972 and is perhaps the oldest HOF for original karate masters. But we also want to give due credit to the many who have contributed in perhaps less visible ways (at least to a world-wide audience). So Official Karate Magazine™ is proud to present Golden Shuto™ Awards, which will honor and recognize the special contributions made by individual martial artists in areas including, but not limited to, competition, instruction, kata, weapons, self-defense, systems (with authentic lineage) and much more. We plan to present these awards regularly not to just deserving karateka and martial artists in North America but around the world. So naturally we need your help, loyal readers. If you know of some outstanding contributions made by certain individuals (your teachers, senior instructors, etc.) to the spreading of karate (and other martial arts), then we want to know about them. Please nominate deserving people or have them go to our Official Karate Golden Shuto™ Nomination Form on our website at

We’ll feature accepted “Honorees” on our website AND in our OK Annual Issue to be physically printed in the first quarter of each year (as you know, our other three issues are digital). We cannot, of course, even begin to honor every man and woman who has made karate and other self-defense arts into a world-wide phenomenon, but we can give some needed recognition to the unsung heroes (and some whose praises may have already been sung) of the martial arts. Oh, and if you have suggestions on other award categories we’d like to hear them. Perhaps we can present Golden Shutos™ for outstanding achievement in specific systems such as Goju-Ryu, Shotokan, etc. Maybe we can honor those who have written a ground-breaking book or produced a best-selling video. The possibilities are endless (although we will NOT be like those awards and “halls” that give out hundreds of the same award every year. And incidentally, there will be no charge for being presented with a Golden Shuto™. We HAVE negotiated with a custom-framing company to provide some really great deals on attractive, oneof-a- kind, custom-matted frames (sent gallery-ready for hanging) so they can be displayed with pride in a dojo, office or home. Visit GoldenShuto. Please note that the Golden Shuto™ Awards are separate honors from the Karate Masters Hall of Fame® and thus honorees will still be eligible for consideration for the prestigious induction into the KMHOF®. Go to our website and click “subscribe” and we’ll notify you when the OK Annual for 2013 is released with the Golden Shuto™ honorees. Yours in Budo, —Hanshi Andrew S. Linick, Publisher —Grandmaster Keith D. Yates, Managing Editor Martial Arts Grandmasters International ®


Profile of a Champion™

The Greatest Karate fighte The Passing of a True Legend


lmost everyone involved in the sport of karate has acknowledged Joe Lewis as the greatest karate fighter to ever step into a ring. He won the grand championship at one time or other at practically every major point-karate competition in the 1960s and he was considered the first national champion in the sport of kickboxing, later also called full-contact karate. One of the first super-stars of karate he appeared on the covers of all the major martial arts publications, including, of course, Official Karate, numerous times. Joseph Henry (Joe) Lewis was born on March 7, 1944, in Knightdale, North Carolina. He was the fourth of five brothers and his father supposedly moved the family to a farm because the five of them were so wild (Joe was 10). He joined the United States Marine Corps in 1962. He became one of the first U.S. Marines deployed to Vietnam with the Eight Marine Brigade. He was later stationed in Okinawa and began studying Shorin-ryu Karate with Eizo Shimabukuro, John Korab, Chinsaku Kinjo and Seiyu Oyata. In spite of the fact that Americans were viewed with suspicion by many Asian karate instructors he won their respect and earned his black belt in just seven months. He became one of the first to teach Asian martial arts techniques to the U.S. military. He returned to the states and began a winning tournament career that would be unsurpassed. In fact he won his first black belt grand championship at Jhoon Rhee’s 1966 U.S. Nationals in Washington D.C. after only 22 months of karate training. His wins included Ed Parker’s International Karate Championships and Joe Corley’s Battle of Atlanta. But perhaps his real impact was felt in the world of kickboxing, the precursor to today’s mixed martial arts craze. In the late 1960s Lewis often trained with Jeet Kune Do founder Bruce Lee and they discussed the effectiveness of full-contact training as opposed to the popular point-karate competitions. In 1968 Jim Harrison of Kansas City hosted the first “World Professional Karate Championships.” Lewis beat well-known fighters David Moon and Fred Wren to become the tournament’s first champion. Lewis also won the first kickboxing, “to the knockout,” contest in January of 1970 by beating Greg Baines in Los



Joe Lewis

st ter ever Angeles. Later that year he defended his U.S. Kickboxing Association title by knocking out “Big Ed” Daniel in the second round in Dallas. He went on to defeat seven more contenders, all with knockouts earning a 10-0 record in the USKA with with 10 knockouts. In 1974, promoter Mike Anderson introduced the PKA with what was called “fullcontact” karate. In front of a national TV audience on ABC’s Wide World of Sports, Joe Lewis became the first national heavyweight champion of the PKA. The other winners of that event were Jeff Smith (light heavy) and Bill Wallace (middleweight). Lewis, Smith and Wallace would become the most recognized “faces” of sport karate. Lewis, in fact, was the first karate fighter to appear in both The Ring magazine and in Sports Illustrated. Lewis’s impressive physique and good looks helped him land acting roles in the 1978 film, Jaguar Lives and in 1981’s Force Five. He turned down a role in Bruce Lee’s movie Way of Dragon, which eventually went to Chuck Norris. Although he never made it big in Hollywood he did become a popular private-instructor with the well-healed of Southern California and he honed his teaching skills eventually becoming a storehouse of intricate fighting strategies and techniques. His seminar schedule took him all over the world as he trained tens of thousands of karate fighters, boxers and mixed martial artists. Lewis was inducted into practically every contined

As a U.S. Marine

With Bruce Lee Against Chuck Norris

Martial Arts Grandmasters International ®


above: Against Allen Steen in 1966

above & below: Against Bill Wallace

Photos submitted to us and also taken from various sources across the internet (we do seek to determine who took them). Above images of Lewis and Wallace by Mary Townsley. Photo at left from Joe Corley. Photo at far right (page 11) from Master Lewis’s publicity director. 10


above: Against Greg Baines in 1970 Hall of Fame and named “Man of the Year,” “Fighter of the Year,” etc. by every major martial arts publication. He won numerous civic awards for his efforts in crime prevention and self-defense and his books and videos are viewed all over the planet. In a 2004 interview, Chuck Norris said, “In my mind, Joe was the greatest fighter the tournament scene has ever had. And he is the greatest to this day, as far as I’m concerned.” Radford University professor Jerry Beasley, a martial arts historian and student of Lewis said, “He was the missing link. When martial arts were first brought here there was always an Asian instructor in charge. Americans were taught they could never be as good. Joe Lewis came along and beat them in competition. He’s the guy Americans looked to and said, ‘If Joe can do it, we can too!’” In July 2011, he was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor. Doctors gave him only weeks to live. After a valiant struggle the champ passed away one year and forty-five days later, on the morning of August 31, 2012. He was 68 years old. He is survived by his son, J. Cameron, his daughter Kristina, and his former wife, Kimberly. Joe Lewis was truly one of the most respected karate men in the world and his legacy will live on for generations to come.

above: With Bruce Lee & Ed Parker

above: Aaron Banks raises Lewis’s glove in victory with referee Peter Urban looking on.

Martial Arts Grandmasters International ®


One More Round One Warrior Down


GM Joe Corley

write this column with part of my psyche exploded for now. I will get it back. It will not be easy for me. Having just returned from the funeral and memorial service week-end for our great warrior / pioneer Joe Lewis, I have wept, and I have seen the toughest men on this planet weep. We cried for the loss of a man who was bigger than life and who meant so much to the lives we have chosen. His intensity was without equal, and it connected with other men in a truly unique way I have yet to fully understand. My dad, who taught me to box and play baseball, died when I was 10—lung cancer. The father of my professional PKA life has died from brain cancer. My mind searches for meaning, divine dots to connect. So many things scrambling my conscious mind….so many psychic explorations. In the past 3 years I have come to believe that our lives are parts of a BIG PLAN—a PLAN that has many options. What many see routinely as coincidence, I have been directed by my most trusted mentors to experience as messages and clues in the BIG PLAN. These BIG PLANS are the coalescence of the positive energy of one or more of us who believe fervently in the outcome of a worthy dream. Those familiar Rhonda Byrne’s THE SECRET and who subscribe to the Joel Osteen philosophy that our creator seeks success for all of us will understand this belief. Consider but one of the clues: Joe Lewis is laid to rest on Saturday, September 8. On the same day that we laid Joe Lewis to rest on the East Coast, veteran star Rick “the Jet” Roufus and new heavyweight star from the Dale Cook camp, Randy “Boom Boom” Blake, fought in the very same building on the West Coast where Joe Lewis, Jeff Smith and Bill Wallace were crowned as the original world champions,

just 6 days shy of 38 years ago. Roufus (46) was but 8 years old when they won their titles; Boom Boom, of course, was not yet born. I sent Rick Roufus and Dale Cook / Randy Blake notes during the day to let them know they had been passed on this day the virtual baton to carry our dream forward. The Jet and Boom Boom both won their K-I fights on this night, utilizing the kind of smart techniques their real martial arts / kickboxing champion predecessors and pioneers had used. I knew it was their day. Not an ending. A New Beginning. It all ties back to Joe Lewis. My friend Mitchell Bobrow put it in interesting perspective at the service. “Think about how many things Lewis affected—the perception of the first Battle of Atlanta, the first PKA World Championship, the impact on someone like me (Bobrow), just (hanging with but) losing to him at the first Battle of Atlanta and Jhoon Rhee Nationals and what that did to my reputation, the Jhoon Rhee Nationals, Ed Parker’s Internationals….it’s amazing his impact….” For me, it is all true. I actually started writing a book in 1999 and by 2010 I had completed only 3 paragraphs. Then in 2010 I went to Jhoon Rhee’s 80th birthday celebration at the Capitol Rotunda in Washington DC, and Lewis came in for the prestigious gathering. When we all found our way to the DC Hyatt later, the casual musings from Lewis that night broke my writer’s block and by the next morning, my book was ready to write. The same Joe Lewis, whose brainchild was the PKA and whose participation at our Battle of Atlanta jumpstarted a now 44 year old tradition, caused my synapses to fire once again. These were not coincidences.

I have seen the toughest men on the planet weep.




That was the last time I would see him, He smiled, he radiated charm, he sparred and he though we communicated by phone and email knew he was loved. and through Jeff Smith. No man could have had a But the brutal assault on his brain better friend than Jeff Smith. continued unabated. Doctors confided it seemed The working title of the book is PKA the aggressive type cancer borne of agent orange, Reflection. My Master J is Pat Johnson my Master O which had taken so many Vietnam vets. The VA who was there for Kwai Chaing Kane in Kung Fu: hospital in Philly became home. Pain medication The excerpt of the events of the Joe Lewis his diet. The brain turned negative, and at times Memorial Services: the champ felt forgotten.  “Now I will remember this night in DC Everyone around him understood his depression with the maestro Joe Lewis forever. For it was on and managed the outpouring of love coming in this night and exactly because he was Joe Lewis, from around the world. They continued their that our PKA  story found its voice.  support for the one who had stirred their souls. “Providential”, I thought, “that the man Still they prayed for miracles.  whose brainchild became PKA would The champ’s brain told him no be the stimulus to unblock the telling one cared. The DC Bomber told the of the story I had started 10 years champ and his brain that multitudes earlier.”  cared. The champ would sleep 22 I would write, though at drugged hours daily and wake undisciplined intervals of inspiration, up angry and depressed. When and I would work on raising the he awoke he would see cards and money needed to combat the mindless letters from all over the world UFC explosion. The PKA saga would adorning his hospital room, thanks bring all the kings men together again. to the DC Bomber. Joe Lewis would be front and center— “The Lord empowered Jeff the man who started it all. Smith to channel the world’s love to Kristina & Joe Then one fast year later the bad Lewis, and there was no one better news hit. The invincible champion, the genesis of for that job”, our story, was struck with brain cancer. Miracles I thought. have saved countless others, and surely, such a Chuck Norris chartered a plane and miracle would save our champion.  brought Roy Kurban, Skipper Mullins, Ed Daniels, I prayed. Tens of thousands around the Pat Burleson and Allen Steen (all Texans who had world sought divine intervention. Miracles shared the arena of life with the champ). Wallace happen. The indefatigable champ surely would joined them there, and the champ’s spirits were beat off this dread attack.  renewed. The Texans all knew how good they had The universe had a different plan. He made Lewis feel, and it made them feel good-would fight hard, but he would lose. Three of his albeit sad. Chuck was there for his friend. favorite warriors would join him in his valiant, On Friday, August 31, some 13 months post-surgery struggle. Light heavy champ following the diagnosis, the champ gave up the Jeff Smith and Superfoot Wallace would take fight. Jeff Smith and Bill Wallace had spent 5 of his him on award winning trips to England and last 7 days on earth, and he was comforted.  Switzerland where long-time adoring fans and Millions of martial artists around the globe felt a new generations alike would marvel at his unique huge sense of loss.  charisma.  Writers would call it the passing of an He looked and felt stronger on these jaunts era. I rather saw it as the beginning of a new time. following the series of invasive surgical and An opportunity for the 2nd generation warriors daunting radiation assaults. He was with friends Lewis, Smith and Wallace had influenced to bring and loved ones through these insipid battles.  continued Martial Arts Grandmasters International ®


back to their great sport the glory the Golden Boy had started. Jeff Smith, Bill Wallace and I joined hundreds of Joe Lewis mourners for the celebration of his life and to honor him on a hot and humid week-end in the technology triangle that is Raleigh NC. In this burgeoning vista for the future, the police would stop traffic and salute the passing funeral procession as unknowing drivers would wait patiently for the throng of cars to pass, as they have in rural areas forever. I had learned much more about the champ in those 2 days than I had ever known. The eulogy by lifelong friend Walter Anderson (“Andy” as he was known in their Marine Corps days)  traced the adult life of Joe from Vietnam to his final day. I was comforted by the knowledge that Joe Lewis had been so fortunate to have been blessed by the friendship of one as giving and caring as Andy. Some of the toughest men on the planet wept at the gravesite. A full military service, 21 gun salute and tightly folded flag presented to the family at graveside tugged my heart almost outside my body as 5+ decade old memories of my own dad’s service rushed to the front of my mind.  I had to retreat from the site, visibly shaken, and some of the strong men jumped to make sure I was ok. I was moved by their gestures of kindness as they struggled to fight back tears I could not contain. Master J, why do I feel so empty and powerless and so sad? Master J: My son, we mortals are powerless in the bigger scheme of the universe, but as individuals and groups, we combine our spirits for strength. Our minds cannot comprehend or explain adequately the passing of our loved ones and the peace they will feel in the after-life. That is what our faith brings to us. Faith, my son, is your friend and your comfort. Our creator has given us this gift of faith, and though it will be hard, you will embrace this loss as a necessary part of the process. You feel there is another piece of the plan you cannot make right, but have faith, my son. It will be made right. With time, I know I will put it all in its right place. We all will, and some of the wiser 14


ones among us already have. But still today, I am more than a little empty. As with all explorations into self awareness, the journey is ever-changing. For now, more questions than answers for me. But I tried to wrap the week-end’s feelings into a Facebook post, penned on the flight home from Raleigh Durham, to share with those who could not be there, as follows: A quick post to say how powerful was the week-end with my best friends in the world and with the best friends in the incredible world of Joe Lewis. I learned so much more about him than I have ever known, and it gives me even greater respect than ever. He brought his fierce everything as a marine to everyone and every activity he touched, he attracted the positive energies of all he met, and he changed our world. Mitchell Bobrow put it all in perspective--”without Joe Lewis, so many things never would have or could have happened”. My special thanks go to Jeff Smith and Bill Wallace for all I know they meant to and did for Joe Lewis and to Mike Allen, Dennis Nackord and all the others who made Joe Lewis feel so loved during his one year struggle. Their tributes to Joe make me tear up again, even as I type. And to Walter Anderson, editor emeritus of Parade Magazine and Joe’s lifelong Marine, fox-hole and bunk mate who so eloquently gave us insights into Joe the Man and Marine, I can only wish that we could all have friendships like the two of you shared. So very powerful. I am so glad I was there. Thanks to the all in the Joe Lewis Fighting Systems Black Belt Association for your hospitality for all who joined in your grieving and celebration. Thanks Joe Lewis—for who you were and what you did for our martial arts world. We all knew how special you were. We will miss you for a long-long time. 9th dan black belt Joe Corley is founder of the Battle of Atlanta and an inductee into the Karate Masters Hall of Fame®. You can reach him at

Martial Arts Grandmasters International 速


Profile of a Grandmaster™

Leaving a legacy

By Des Chaskelson and Reece Dummings

Honoring Soke Takayoshi Nagamine


he birthplace of modern day karate is Okinawa, which was once an independent country called “Ryukyu Kingdom.” There was an indigenous martial art called “Te,” meaning hand in the Okinawan dialect. The art of “Te” had many Asian influences, especially from China, but finally became Shuri-Te, Tomari-Te and Naha-Te in Naha City, Okinawa. These three were the origin of present day Karate. Takayoshi Nagamine was born in Naha City, Okinawa on August 12, 1945, the son of the late founder of the Matsubayashi-ryu style of Okinawan Shorin-ryu Karate-do, Osensei Shoshin Nagamine. Osensei Nagamine was in a generation that had been schooled by many of the great martial arts masters with his most influential teachers being Ankichi Arakaki, Chotoku Kyan and Choki Motobu. Before Osensei Nagamine’s passing away in 1997, he was named a “living intangible cultural asset” by Japan. Sensei Takayoshi Nagamine was the Soke (inheritor of the style) of the Matsubayashi-ryu system, and the headmaster of the World Matsubayashi-ryu (Shorin-ryu) Karatedo Association (WMKA) in Okinawa, Japan. On April 25, 2012 Soke Nagamine unexpectedly passed away at the relatively young age of 66, leaving many who respected and knew him well with a void in their heart. He will be sorely missed, but his teachings and his budo spirit will



live on, as does his legacy. Soke Nagamine established a strong world-wide organisation, which has a bright future ahead of it according to the new Association President, Kaicho Yoshitaka Taira, Hanshi 10th Dan. In an interview with Mr. Mike Clarke, author of over 300 articles for international martial arts magazines, and author of five books, Soke spoke about his early years in Karate. Mike Clarke (MC): When did you start training in Karate? Takayoshi Nagamine (TN): I began training with my father when I was seven years old, now I am fifty-nine years old [in 2004], so I have trained in karate for almost all my life. MC: Was your training any different from the other students in the dojo?

Soke Takayoshi Nagamine, August 12, 1945–April 25, 2012

His father was Shosin Nagamine, who founded Matsubayashiryu Shorin Ryu in 1947.

TN: No, not really. In the dojo everyone was treated the same, me included. But afterwards, in our home life away from public classes, I received a lot of discipline from my father. For example, if students did one hundred punches, then I would have to do four or five hundred punches, the same with all the basic techniques. MC: Because of who your father was, were you expected to train in karate? TN: No. He never told me I had to do it. But watching him when I was a boy, really made me want to do it. In fact, he always demanded I did my homework and any jobs I had to do first before I was allowed to practice. At the direction of his father, and in order to help the development of Matsubayashi-ryu Karate-do on an international scale, Soke Takayoshi Nagamine went to the United States at the young age of 20 in the late 1960s and opened his first dojo in Cincinnatti, Ohio. Outside of his personal dojo, Soke Nagamine regularly travelled around the United States to teach clinics and seminars until he returned to Continued on next page Martial Arts Grandmasters International ÂŽ


Okinawa in 1979. He returned to assist his father, Osensei Shoshin Nagamine, with the World Honbu (Headquarters) Dojo and the World Matsubayashi-ryu (Shorin-ryu) Karate-do Association (WMKA). In 1991, Osensei retired and in a speech passed the leadership on to his son. In 1992, Soke Takayoshi Nagamine called together senior instructors in Okinawa and the US and formed what is now known as the World Matsubayashi-ryu (Shorin-ryu) Karate-do Association. In the United States, the late Sensei Nick Racanelli, Hanshi 8th Dan and Sensei Fred Christian, Kyoshi 8th Dan attended the meeting and were the first US members of the WMKA. In 1997, after the passing of Osensei Nagamine, Soke Takayoshi Nagamine took the position as the second Soke (head) of Matsubayashi-ryu Karate-do. In 2008, he was promoted to Hanshisei 10th Dan in Matsubayashi-ryu. Soke Nagamine helped to establish and teach at dojo throughout the world, including in Australia, Canada, United States, and Europe. Soke Nagamine was a great ambassador and spent much of his life around the world teaching seminars and clinics. He would regularly host international seminars, with the most recent being held in Naha City, Okinawa in November 2010 to celebrate the 75th Anniversary Festival of Matsubayashi-ryu and to commemorate the 13th Anniversary Tribute to Osensei Shoshin Nagamine’s passing. The event was attended by over 250 members of the WMKA. Soke Nagamine was dedicated to perpetuating the true, traditional art of Okinawan Matsubayashi-ryu Karate-do in eighteen kata and seven yakusoku kumite. Soke’s ideology can be seen in his

discussion with Mike Clarke when speaking about karate in olden times, and whether Soke thinks it has changed since then. He said “well, inside [a person’s mind] I think it’s all the same, but, there might be some changes in the way some people interpret karate today, even from as recently as forty years ago. This has to do with people’s cultural background, I think. Even on Okinawa now, there are many who just see karate as a kind of sport instead of a martial art.” He continued, “sometimes I am asked ‘what is the difference?’ It’s true some sports are tough like boxing or professional kickboxing, they’re very tough. But no matter what, all sports share the same definition. They have tournaments and the participants are trying to improve their record or previous result.” “Karate is not like this, it is the study of death and being alive. Yes, death and being alive. If a person opens a karate dojo it is important to understand this philosophy. Martial arts cannot compete with sports because they have a different philosophy. In sport you compete against someone else, or perhaps your own record, but in martial arts you only compete against your ‘self’.” It is interesting to note Soke’s response to Mr. Clarke’s question about whether he thought that Westerners (nonOkinawan karate practitioners) understood the meaning of Karate-do. “Yes they do, some people anyway. Many western people have been training a long time, and they understand things better than some people here [Okinawa]. It all depends on the person and if they are open to such ways of thinking. Even physically, western people can be better at karate due to their bigger bodies and greater strength. It all depends on the philosophy in their soul.” “Sometimes countries [outside of

Karate is not a sport…it is the study of death and being alive.



Okinawa] have less discipline in their education programs and in their traditions, “ said Soke. “But in Japanese culture they have a discipline culture, they have a history in tradition,” he said, indicating what benefits Karate-do could have to practitioners in the West, or other places that may lack that discipline culture from other means. Soke continued, “Sensei will teach students good discipline in the class and this way the children known how to respect their parents and seniors. By teaching discipline programs, you get healthier and you help other people. Also in Okinawa and Japan, crime is very much less committed by the karate people and martial arts people. This is because they teach you how to respect others.”

In an interview in 2011, Soke Nagamine explained the five basic fundamentals of Matsubayashi-ryu Karate-do: ‘We have this five fundamentals philosophy. This philosophy was from my father and his teacher, and it’s very, very old – up to 700 years. Basically, the five philosophies are contributing to our understanding, to our essence of the mind’. These philosophies included: 1. You have to live in accordance with the principles of nature. You have to respect your parents and respect your philosophy. 2. We are studying movement. Once you study movement, you have to know how to function with your body to be able to use these moves. To become functional, you have to be conscious of every move you make. Continued on next page

Continued on next page Martial Arts Grandmasters International ®


3. You have to learn very well from your experiences and from other people’s experiences – experiences that will teach you something valuable. Not only in education, but in experience. 4. You have to strive for a sense of history and culture. 5. Know what you can do, and what you can learn from the art of Karate. Don’t obtain any techniques by your imagination. You have to prove what you can by doing—action, not imagination. Soke Nagamine also explained the importance of humility in martial arts saying, “the more knowledge you have, the more humble you are going to be. You’re going to be a very dedicated person, not overconfident. That’s what martial arts teaches you as a philosophy: to be humble is very important.” 20


Soke further elaborated by talking about what his father, Osensei Shoshin Nagamine, had said to him: “Well you know we human beings are not perfect, not at all. I believe my father was a very fair and honest man, and he would often say to his students, me included, ‘rectify your mind, and always look to your feet.’ What he meant was that we should always be ready to do karate. He was talking about our mind, our attitude. Always remember what it was like to wear a white belt. ‘Sho-shin’, have a beginners mind. We must never think we have become something big in karate. No matter what, every day when we practice we realize there is something more to learn.” Sensei Des Chaskelson, 5th Dan, WMKA, Cocoa Beach, Florida, USA. Sensei Reece Cummings, 3rd Dan, WMKA , Canberra, Australia

To read a longer version of this article, go to

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Martial Arts Grandmasters International 速



voice of tradition


What is a “real” black belt?

Hanshi Dan Tosh

Part Two

ridiculous opinion that the belt should never be Origins of the Black Belt washed, the idea being that by so doing that one The systematic use of colored belts to denote a would “wash away the knowledge” or “wash martial arts student’s rank, or position in class, your Ki away.” Admittedly there could be risk was first started by Kano Jigoro, the founder of of the dye running or the stuffing of a cheap judo. He first devised the colored belt system polyester belt coming apart in a hot machine, using an obi (belt) and awarded the first black belts to denote a dan rank (degree) in the 1880s. but simply wash a dirty belt in cool soapy water and allow it to air dry. Initially a wide obi was used as practitioners trained in kimono. The only colors were white How Long Should it Take? (students) and black (teachers). It was not until In some schools, a black belt is expected in as the early 1900s, after the introduction of the little as three years. In others ten years may judogi, that an expanded colored belt be more common. Unfortunately there system was created. is no universal standard. Testing for Other martial arts (notably black belt is, however, usually Gichin Funakoshi’s Shotokan more rigorous than for lower system) soon adopted the ranks. It is a common practice (using colored belief that belts are sashes) to denote rank, Not all black belts handed out more including several arts are the same. loosely or quickly in the that traditionally did West than in Asia. However, in Japan rank often not have a formalized rank structure. Although this custom is most prevalent in combat systems comes, more or less automatically, with time in that claim a far eastern origin, it is used in some training and the black belt has little to do with that “expert” level that non-martial artists often other styles, for example in the U.S. Marine assume about a black belt. Corps Martial Arts Program. The black belt only indicates the wearer is competent in a style’s basic technique and Misconceptions principles. Since in many styles a black belt One common myth concerning the black belt takes approximately three to six years of suggests that early martial artists began their training to achieve, a good intuitive analogy training with a white belt which eventually would be a bachelor’s degree. The student has became stained “black” from years of sweat, a good understanding of concepts and ability to dirt, and dried blood. Not true. use them but has not yet perfected their skills. In some schools there is the equally



Using this analogy a master’s degree and a doctorate would represent advancement past the first degree. Another way to understand this is to use the terms from Japanese arts. Shodan (for a first degree black belt), means literally the first or beginning step. The following grades, nidan for example means second step and so on. Thus the shodan black belt is not the end of training but rather as the beginning to advanced learning. The individual now “knows how to walk,” as some instructors say, and may thus begin the “journey.” As a black belt is commonly viewed as conferring some status, achieving one has been used as a marketing gimmick, for example a guarantee of being awarded one within a specific period or if a specific amount is paid. Some schools place profit ahead of ability when using these tactics and are often referred to as McDojos. In some Japanese schools, after obtaining a black belt the student also begins to instruct, and may be referred to as a senpai (senior student) or sensei (teacher). In others, a black belt student should not be called sensei until they are sandan (third degree black belt), as this denotes a greater degree of experience and a sensei must have this and grasp of what is involved in teaching a martial art. Korean Arts Many Korean schools use embroidered stripes on their black belts to denote the different dan ranks. The Korean martial arts didn’t use a dangrading system until the Japanese occupation (1910–1945) during which a variety of Japanese martial arts were introduced into Korea, most notably judo and kendo, which used the dan system. After World War II ended newly emerging martial arts like taekwondo, soo bahk do and hapkido continued using the dan and gup (underbelt) ranks.

In some Korean schools, most notably in Kukkiwon (WTF) taekwondo, there is also a “poom” system for “junior” black belts. Students who have not yet reached the age of 16 yet cannot test for an adult dan rank so they can test through four poom grades. Their poom grade can be changed to the corresponding dan grade when they reach 16. Some schools require the student to take a new exam. In Kukkiwon taekwondo one can test for poom-grades until the age of 18. Usually, the belt worn by poom holders is a black belt with a red stripe running all the way around it. In both the World Taekwondo Federation and the International Taekwondo Federation (ITF), the dan ranks do not go past ninth dan, although on some occasions a tenth dan has been issued. According to the Official Kukkiwon Instructors Manual, they have only issued five, 10th dan ranks. One was issued to a living person, Un Yong Kim, and the others to deceased grandmasters who were considered to have made a great contribution. The number nine is a special number in Asian culture, much like the number seven is considered lucky in many western cultures. Traditionally, a graduate must remain at first degree black belt for one year before testing for second degree black belt and must remain there for two more years before testing for third degree black belt, and so on. So it requires at least 36 years to achieve 9th dan so most taekwondo practitioners at this level are at least 50 years old. Leaders of other organizations, like the American Taekwondo Association and the Jhoon Rhee system, have recognized their founder as 10th dan. Martial arts instructors in Korea (4th dan and above) are called Sabom-nim ( ). In America it is not uncommon for lower level black belts to teach so the title sabom-nim may be used by some instructors under 4th dan.

continued Martial Arts Grandmasters International ®


The Korean term kwan jang-nim ( ) is used for the owner of a martial arts school. In the USA a black belt might not necessarily be a master but still might be the kwan jang-nim, or owner of the school. The head of several schools is the chong kwan jang ( ). To Each His Own Each art or style may have differing ways of indicating a black belt rank. Yūdansha (roughly translating from Japanese to “person who holds a dan grade”) is often used to describe those who hold a black belt rank. In some arts, very senior grades will wear different colored belts. In judo and some forms of karate a sixth dan may wear a red and white belt, although the red/white belt is often reserved only for ceremonial occasions, while a black belt is still worn during training. At 9th or 10th dan the belt becomes solid red (confusingly, some Korean arts put red belt BELOW the black belt rank). In some schools of Jujutsu, the “shihan” rank and higher wear dark purple belts even though they are still collectively referred to as black belts. And in Korean Tang Soo Do the black belt is actually a deep navy blue. Some Japanese schools only have six degrees of black belt but traditional Okinawa karate recognizes 10 degrees of black belt. Most styles have a single 10th dan that is the senior practitioner of the style. Asian arts traditionally use simple terms that usually translate to “teacher.” The use of “master” was a really a Western invention derived from 1950s as US war veterans returned home with stories of the incredible martial feats of certain individuals and groups. In Asian countries, such titles are more commonly reserved for religious leaders. So the modern use of “master” and “grandmaster” is usually assigned by a governing body and some don’t like to use them at all because of their religious

connotations. Arts with Japanese roots commonly use sensei (先生) meaning “teacher” or literally translated “one who has gone before.” Thus a sensei is a person who has knowledge and is willing to pass that knowledge along to another. A sensei assists students in ken shiki “the pursuit of knowledge.” Some organizations, such as the Bujinkan, Kodokan (Judo), and Shodokan Aikido, use the term “shihan” for high-ranking or highly distinguished instructors. Sōke (宗家), means “the head of a family or household,” and is sometimes used to refer to “founder of a style,” although that is not a true translation. A sōke is considered the ultimate authority within their art and has the authority to issue a “menkyo kaiden” certificate indicating that someone has mastered all aspects of the style.

It is necessary to have the Conclusion the end of the day, it is ability that At necessary to have the ability that along with any title imposed goes along with goes or granted to you by any group. I still like to be called “Shihan,” any title. since it is my nickname after



having been called that for over 17 years. My rank and title has changed but I understand it is only for continuity and direction of the style that I study and teach. I personally don’t want to be “given” respect, I want to earn it. Most of the men and women passing on knowledge from the past feel that they are walking in the footsteps of the ancients and in so doing are humble and honored to do so. There are a few that have never trained properly and make a mockery of the very soul of our beloved arts. Shame on them and God help them if they ever need to actually protect themselves or a loved one. Dan Tosh is on the Board of Advisors of Martial Arts Grandmasters International® as well as the Karate Masters Hall of Fame®. He has been training in Shorin-ryu karate-do since 1958. You can contact him at

Martial Arts Milestones™


AGITM is proud to be participating in the collection of some of the most important MILESTONES in the martial arts. Not only will this eventually be a collector’s edition book, the individuals setting the Milestones will receive an impressive looking certificate and have their accomplishments listed in the Martial Arts Milestones Facebook Page ( It’s important we pass on these significant facts, milestones, and deeds in spreading the teachings of the MA to future generations who want to know about their history, style, roots, lineage, Asian customs and American traditions. Post your contribution on the Facebook page or send in your documentation to the editors at Official Karate magazine. All we ask is for you, or people you know, who qualify for this honor to provide us with supporting photos, documentation—anything else, to add to these wonderful stories, events, milestones, firsts. We ask for documentation because we want to present a credible and legitimate history of the MA (nothing like “I was the first to teach Kung Fu in my kitchen in Schenectady”). Instead we seek individuals who are documented to be responsible for first teaching the martial arts in public schools, colleges, camps, religious schools, or VIPs. Who was the first to demonstrate in a specific impressive venue, first to produce videos, write a best-selling book, appear in magazines (especially on covers), newspapers, radio, TV, etc. Were you first to win such and such, the first to receive a specific award or honor? How about the first to be inducted into a group or HOF? You get the picture. If you or your teachers have made MA history in any area we’d like to know about it. Preserving the knowledge of each noteworthy first event or Milestone is what this book is all about. We welcome any other facts you can share with us. The ones we choose to include in this new book will be eligible to receive a one-of-a-kind, custom-designed Achievement Certificate honoring your “Martial Arts Milestone.” By the way, this book has nothing to do with egos, bragging rights or boasting about one’s accomplishments—it’s a fact that many have contributed to the growth of traditional martial arts as well as sport karate in North America and throughout the world. Who did what, when, where and how is of great interest to most avid practitioners, fans and enthusiasts worldwide. Unless we share YOUR stories, the past will be forgotten. We must preserve the “old ways,” and historic Milestones for all future generations—lest they are forgotten. GM Peter Urban said, “If you don’t write down the past then it never happened.” Many students and teachers want to preserve the lineage of their arts and historic photos, events, traditions, and milestones should be remembered and passed on. This is one more way that MAGI™ is recording history and uniting many associations under our banner.

These Milestones have not been approved for inclusion, they are representative samples only.

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Record your milestones

or they will be lost forever to future generations searching for their roots! Martial Arts Grandmasters International ®




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karate Kids Korner TM

Why We LIke Karate

The Hager family, Michael Sr., Matthew, Jack and Michael Jr.


like karate because it teaches me knowledge in the mind, honesty in the heart, and strength in the body (a saying our instructor has us repeat at the end of every class). Karate has taught me to protect myself without violence unless needed. Karate has also helped me to improve in sports like baseball. When I pitch I lift my knee up like in a sidekick. Karate has helped me in life, and I can’t wait for my Saturday classes! — Michael


like karate because it gives me the agility I need for soccer, the knowledge I need for school, and the strength to defend myself. It helps me to get my kicks higher for soccer. It teaches discipline and self-control. It helps me to make new friends. It is a great place for you to become a better person, because it made me a better person. — Matthew


like karate because it helps me defend myself and it gives me self-confidence when making new friends in school. It has taught me to always try to be a better person. It helps me focus on my schoolwork, and it helps me to be flexible. It helps me to be a team player, and it helps me to do things on my own. — Jack

Martial Arts Grandmasters International ®


Wisdom from a grand master Keith D. Yates



Helping your B TM

BDNF stands for “brain-derived neurotrophic factor,” a chemical in the brain that can help boost its efficiency in several ways. Lab rats, for example, have been found to have greater abilities to navigate mazes if they higher BDNF levels. “So what?,” you’re asking. Well, it turns out that exercise can boost this brain chemical. Physical exertion in your arms and legs actually helps the cells in your brain to reinforce connections between neurons and to even forge new connections. A denser neuron network is better able to process and store information. Exercise makes your brain “thicker.” Studies in humans have also borne this out. Older people, for example, who are physically active have a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease and their brains are able to function at a higher level. While it is not true that your brain shrinks in size as you age, it does loose some capacities (especially “memory” capabilities). Studies have demonstrated that athletic older adults had denser brains than their inactive counterparts. This leads to scoring better on cognitive tests as well as the ability to “focus.” Some scientists think that it is an improved blood flow to the brain which partly responsible, or that exercise actually stimulates the release of chemicals (like BDNF) that influence brain cell growth and activity. Other recent studies have shown that, in addition to increasing levels of BDNF, exercise benefits the brain “plasticity.” The word “plastic” come from a Greek word meaning “molded” or “formed.” So brain plasticity is a fancy way of expressing the brain’s abilities to “shape” itself according to outside stimulus—everything from a conversation to a math class to a dojo workout. Mental and physical stimulation improves brain function and actually protects against cognitive decline. I remember my ju-jutsu instructor would have us go home after class and brush our teeth with our non-dominant hand. He said this helped us develop coordination with that side. This same exercise is now being used in hospitals with brain-injury patients who are attempting to retrain their brains in everyday functions.

r Brain with Pushups? A study at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation discovered that muscles can be strengthened just by just “thinking” about exercising. Participants merely imagined exercising the muscle of their little finger. After 12 weeks they increased their “pinky” strength by as much as 30% over the control group who did no imaginary exercises. Not only that, but brain scans showed greater and more focused activity in the prefrontal cortex of their brains than before the experiment. These results indicated that the strength gains were due to improvements in the participant’s brains’ abilities to signal their muscles. Scientists have discovered that even moderate exercise such as walking can be good for your brain, because it increases blood circulation and thus the oxygen and glucose that reach your brain. As you walk, you are, in essence, “oxygenating” your brain. More than one study of senior citizens who take regular walks has revealed significant improvement in memory skills and in cognitive abilities compared to sedentary older people.

A Duke University study followed 156 patients between the ages of 50 and 77 who had been previously diagnosed with major depression. They were randomly assigned to one of three groups: 1) exercise, 2) medication, or 3) a combination of medication and exercise. After 16 weeks results showed that all three groups showed statistically significant and almost identical improvement in standard measurements of depression. This indicates that exercise was just as effective as medication in treating major depression. So exercise can not only get your body into better shape, it will get your brain into better condition as well. You can fight depression, Alzheimer’s disease, and just plain ol’ lack of focus with even moderate exercise. Who knew?

Scientists have discovered that even moderate exercise can be good for your brain because it increases blood circulation... in essence “oxygenating” your brain.

Besides being a grandmaster instructor and the managing editor of Official Karate Magazine, Keith D. Yates was an adjunct professor of Phycial Education at Southern Methodist University for a number of years. You can contact him at

Martial Arts Grandmasters International ®



Worth it at twice the price!


ince 1994 Martial Arts Grandmasters International® (MAGI®) has strived to fulfill their mission to recognize and register students, instructors, and grandmasters of various martial arts styles and associations. They are recognized as a legitimate governing authority by several other international organizations. MAGI® is also the sanctioning body for the prestigious Karate Masters Hall of Fame®. But what does this mean to you? Membership in MAGI® will afford you the opportunity to have an affiliation with many of the firstgeneration pioneers. Members can take advantage of a direct dialogue with the grandmasters through the MAGI® website and facebook page. But it isn’t all long distance. You can join seminars and clinics with some of the best instructors in the world. You can proudly display the impressive MAGI® membership certificates, colorful uniform patches, and even window decals that proclaim you are an “accredited” MAGI® school. You’ll receive discounts on high-quality Asian weapons, books and videos, ebooks, t-shirts, equipment bags, and even professional custom framing for MAGI® certificates and for your own school certificates. We have arrangements with industry printers meaning you will receive wholesale prices on your brochures and flyers as well as embroidered patches. And, of course, a subscription to the new Official Karate magazine is included (we’ll mail the printed, “Annual” issue directly to you—the other three of the quarterly issues are available online). We are adding new features and benefits all the time. Our Board of Advisors are not only martial arts experts but also leaders in the business world. They can help you promote and grow your school through professional marketing techniques and even the latest in social media. And, of course, because we sanction the Karate Masters Hall of Fame®, MAGI® members 30


are eligible for induction into what is perhaps the first and most prestigious Hall for traditional Karate Masters in the world. And did we mention that with our unique “rebate” program you will receive back a portion of the membership fees from all of your student and instructor members? In fact, with as few as two instructors and 20 students you’ll totally cover the cost of your school or organizational affiliation with MAGI®. With additional students or instructors you will actually MAKE money from your affiliation with us. This is on top of all the other benefits and discounts you receive. By the way, we won’t tell you how to teach, what to teach, or how to run your school. We’re only here to help you do better in all these areas by providing resources (via ebooks, videos and even personal seminars). Your affiliation with us will help you network with a much larger martial arts community than you ever could on your own.

A free subscription to the new Official Karate Magazine is a part of your membership, which includes the printed “Annual” issue mailed directly to you! Membership is open to all serious martial artists with a desire to learn and grow in both the arts and in life. But simply stating such and sending in membership dues is not enough. The world, even the martial arts world, is full of people who would misrepresent their qualifications for financial (or other) gain. So we have set up an application process that requires verification of martial experience and skill as well as character references. We are committed to being an organization you’ll be proud to be affiliated with. So what are you waiting for? Contact us for more information now.

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Martial Arts Grandmasters International ®


Favorite fighting techniques from the



William Shelton’s favorite fighting techniques. 1




1. Master Shelton squares off with Kickboxing champ Ishmael Robles. 2–3. He blocks a quick right–left attack. 4. He counters with a backfist to his attacker’s face (note his covering hand).



Go to to see more Favorite Fighting Techniques from the MastersTM.



5. Shelton follows up with a right reverse punch before his opponent can react. 6. Finally he spins into a tight turning back kick.

William Shelton was born in 1962 in Seoul, South Korea. He has trained in Chinese, Korean, Japanese and Okniawan systems. He is a nationally known kata champion, winning grand championship titles across the United States in empty-handed traditional forms as well as weapons kata. His demonstrations of bo, sai, and kama have established him as one of the leading Okinawan Kobudo masters. But as OK magazine readers know, winning world titles in kata means you are also a master of fighting techniques because traditional forms teach you the best and most effective combat moves. Master Shelton holds an 8th degree black belt in American-style Karate and teaches in the Dallasâ&#x20AC;&#x201C;Ft. Worth area. He can be reached at:

Martial Arts Grandmasters International ÂŽ


western Wrapup TM

Sensei Emil Farkas

My Memories of Joe Lewis


he Martial Arts world lost one of its great practitioners when the “Father of American Kickboxing” Joe Lewis succumbed to brain cancer on August 31. Lewis, who is considered by many to be the greatest fighter in American karate history, began his training while stationed in Okinawa with the U.S. Marine Corps. Once he returned to the U.S. in the mid 1960s, he began a competitive career that catapulted him to championship status in a short while. Using his pulverizing sidekick and aggressive back knuckle strike, Lewis put terror into many of his opponents. Within a few years, he became one of the best known and most famous American karate champions. He later revolutionized the sport by introducing full contact karate and becoming its first World Heavyweight Champion in 1974.

about a half a dozen students working out. What caught my eye instantly was one of the black belts, who was a magnificent specimen of the male species. I had no idea who he was, but he was movie star handsome and a terrific technician. Even in his gi, I could tell he was strong and muscular. I remember thinking that I wouldn’t want to be kicked or punched by this man. A few months later some visiting black belts from a nearby karate school came to work out with us. They were from the Okinawa-Te dojo I had visited a few months earlier. Among them was the handsome black belt whose name I now learned – Joe Lewis. Since I was a Shotokan stylist, I watched with fascination as Lewis faced his opponents Joe Lewis in the movie FORCE FIVE first saw Joe Lewis in action, not in the in a wide horse stance, instead of the front tournament ring, but on the dojo floor. In stance used by Shotokan fighters. Lewis 1966 I was training in Shotokan karate at was amazingly powerful and quick and the Tokyo Karate Federation in Hollywood, his sidekicks were incredible. I was sure I and after class would often drive downtown was watching a future champion. With his to Chinatown. Usually, I took the freeway, but looks and skill he was in the right place – one night I decided to take the world famous Hollywood. Sunset Boulevard which snaked through I was correct, because soon after Joe interesting neighborhoods to downtown. Lewis began conquering the karate world. To my surprise, I spotted a karate school I did not talk to him again for a while until and decided to take a look. I entered a small one day while attending the Long Beach dojo, which later I learned was run by sensei Internationals, I spotted him and introduced Gordon Doversola, an Okinawa-Te stylist. myself. He remembered visiting my dojo. I I was fascinated by the school’s logo, spoke to him periodically at tournaments and which portrayed two snakes wrapped around often remember hearing him spout off about an open-handed arm. There was a class of the unfairness of losing a match to someone



continued pn page 39 OFFICIALKARATEMAG.COM Fall 2012

An American Samurai ™

Gary Lee

The Bokken-Master


have many fond memories of martial arts events from my childhood in Hawaii, like watching the Kyokushin-Kai class training in the ocean under the moonlight, practicing kata and Seichan breathing while the waves crash against their bodies. I was a eleven-year-old with adventure as my middle name which led me to Toshirio. He was a fisherman who made his living throwing nets early in the morning and again in the early evening when the fish came to life again after the heat of the day. He was very precise with his fishing nets, working the fine loose nylon threads, swaying back and forth, getting the net exactly where he wanted it. Watching him was mesmerizing, but his talents were not limited to fishing. When he was through with his morning fishing, and before he was drawn back to his evening work at the ocean’s edge, he would hand-make Bokken. At first I thought he was just whittling a big stick, but he was actually carving the piece of wood. He was a true artist and I wanted to hang out with him whenever I could. Little by little I became a friend of the Bokken-Master, the name the islanders gave him. I simply called him Toshiro. The first time he invited me to his house I saw many sticks in his yard. I wondered why? I soon learned! He would work on white pine or red oak or driftwood from the sea, ahh, but before he would do the first knife cut on any piece of wood, he would place it in his yard and watch it for a week. He believed he could feel the spirit of each piece of wood he was going to work on. I shared about my new friend with Sensei Kishi and he thought the relationship would be a good experience for me. He laughed when I told him how I had met him. Sensei said, “Normally he scares anyone to heck and back when they get caught watching him, lucky for you he liked you!”

In the summers of the ‘60s I learned his craft of making Bokken. A wooden Bokken is the symbol of a live sword. It is extremely hard, depending on the wood chosen, and it must be hand-sanded and carved into a weapon with great skill. The handle had to be gripped tightly by the warrior and some even wrapped the handle. Toshiro never wrapped, and was against it. He felt it took away from the purity of the weapon. The goal was to form a blade of wood that was dangerous and perfect for practice, or a duel, and it must have a very practical point. The night before my black belt test, Toshiro invited me over to his little hut and gave me my first Bokken. It was white pine and battered from practicing against a live sword. I could feel the battles this Bokken had experienced. Toshiro handed me a pineapple and said “Gary-san, hold it up here, pointing at my chest, and don’t breathe!” He then speared the pineapple though with a thrusting motion, smooth, accurate and deadly, stopping just at my skin! Without emotion, he pulled the wooden sword out of the pineapple, cleaned it and said “This piece of wood has saved my life more than once.” As he gave the Bokken back to me, he told me that the hard scale on the outside of the pineapple is important to pierce first, the meat of the pineapple symbolizes the bones and odd stuff inside the body, but the important part is to stop before you penetrate the holder, Oss! I could not take my cherished Bokken on the plane with me to the Mainland, so I gave it to Sensei Kishi and he cherished it until his death, and yes, I put it in his coffin when I came back to the Islands to bury him. I looked for Toshiro when I was back, but rumors were he had returned to Japan, to his little fishing village, to retire near his family and friends. Today, whenever I see a Bokken, I think of Toshiro carving away with his knife. Gary Lee is the producer of “The Gathering.” You can contact him at Martial Arts Grandmasters International ®



Sifu Karen Schlachter

Remember Who You Are Everyday


hese days everyone is talking about meditation and chanting as a new method of stress reduction and, ( this is great) manifesting what you want in life. Just chant something you don’t understand for 15 minutes and sit for an hour without moving and you will receive your Mercedes or winning lottery number within a month. Please! When will we learn that there is no quick trip to fitness, wealth or inner peace? My favorite mantra is “ you gotta do the work!” If you have studied Yoga, Qigong or Tai Chi Chuan you know that stillness training is the foundation of the practice. You probably know the story of the roots of all martial arts begins with the Bodhidharma arriving in China and teaching the monks of the Shaolin Temple the basics of Qigong. He is known as the Father of Martial Arts. The legend has many different versions but what we need to learn in this tale is that the Bodhidharma saw that the monks needed to build their strength in order to work all day and meditate in the evening. This amazing Indian Prince was skilled in Yoga and Buddhism and knew that breathing and movement would provide the necessary spine, muscles, tendon and ligament endurance needed to practice the Buddhist lifestyle. His work with the monks led them to go on and train in the fighting and healing work needed to maintain their temple in safety and service to the villages around them.

Meditation practice in the martial arts is necessary to build internal power and energy. It is often a misunderstood and misused portion of training that needs to be reintroduced to every system. It takes time to meditate and it’s just not suited to the modern class schedule. Sitting for 5 minutes with a group class just isn’t what stillness training is all about. We vow to start a meditation practice at home but fail to get up earlier or make time during the day for 10 minutes to get quiet and practice stillness. You can start working toward a daily meditation by getting quiet and counting your breath in and out. Try inhaling for a count of 5 and exhaling for a count of 5. Do 9 of these and then sit quietly for a few minutes. It is a great start to developing and deepening your practice. Hopefully you will begin to make changes in your body and your life very quickly. If you really want to start to feel a shift in your attitude and your health start to practice the Qigong Stillness Meditation for a week. I cannot promise you financial gain or all of your stress will go away but I can promise that your reaction to stress will change and your happiness will turn into joy of living in a very short time. Remember, you are infinite possibilities, your body has everything it needs to heal and rebuild itself if you just realize your potential. Begin to walk and train like you know that your life is a miracle. It is. You are a very necessary part of the Earth School and its time you started to realize it!

Your reaction to stress will change.



Stillness training will help you drop your tension and the chanting will help your brain clear out negative thinking. The process allows the Chi energy help you recover and balance your entire body. Stand still for as long as you can everyday and you will soon be look forward to this time with your body, the earth and the stars. This is a great daily meditation that can be done first thing in the morning, last thing at night or anytime in the course of the day. It is also a wonderful meditation to do while standing in the pool or lake or calm ocean. After a little practice you will slip into a deep silence and feel the relaxation and peace settle in. There’s no set time to stay in the standing posture, no rules about moving or keeping your eyes open or shut all the time. Just flow into the meditation and let it be a different experience each time. Let the joy of practicing qigong stillness teach you a new and different lesson when you tune into the energies of the earth, sky and water. Be blessed, be at peace, be good to your self. Watch for your world to change slowly and subtly as you become more grounded in the earth, free in the sky and stars and soft as flowing water.

When you are ready to begin stand naturally, feet about 12” apart, knees unlocked and shoulders relaxed. Hold your head in a neutral position holding a soft gaze straight ahead. Feel free to close your eyes at any time during the meditation. You want to be comfortable and loose so that your body and mind can sink into a meditative state. Take a few deep breaths and exhale freely. Rotate your ankles to loosen the joints and wiggle your toes. If they “crack” that’s a good thing! Now flex and crack your knees and hips. Rotate your hips and loosen your lower back until the tension is relieved. Move your shoulders and flex your elbows back to loosen your spine and neck. Be gentle on your neck, don’t force any pops or grinding. Flex your elbows, wrists and fingers. Stand still. Breathe softly and chant the word “Tula” It is pronounced tooooo-lah. It means “I am balanced” in the sacred language of Sanskrit. Say it as you breathe in and out. Breathe in “Tooooo” exhale “lahhhhhh” thinking “I am balanced” Do this several times as you relax into a soft stance. Tula, tula, I am balanced, tula, tula........ keep breathing and sinking your breath. Slowly send your energy down to your feet. This is done by simple thinking of them. Breathe in and relax the feet and close your eyes. Say to yourself “I am humble, I am made of earth” Breathe it and think it a few times -” I am humble , I am made of earth, inhale.....exhale....I am humble, I am made of earth, inhale...exhale... seeing yourself sending energy roots deep into the earth to ground you to the Yin energies. I am humble,

Meditation practice in the martial arts is necessary to build internal power and energy.

Be Humble, for you are made from Earth, Be Noble, for you are made from Stars. Serbian Proverb Be water my friend, be water. Bruce Lee Find a quiet spot and ask your family or friends to allow you to be alone and undisturbed for awhile. You decide how long you have to devote to this meditation.

continued pn page 43 Martial Arts Grandmasters International TM


Real life ™

Dr. Ted Gambordella

The courage to make a difference… MMA champ stops knife attacker!


was inspired when I heard the interview on the radio. Then I looked at the photos of Guy Mezger’s hand where his thumb had been almost cut off—due to a miss by an attacker, who had actually wanted to cut his head off! Mezger had stepped up to protect a young woman who was being abused at a shopping mall by her ‘boyfriend.’ Now, Mr. Mezger is a former UFC Champion, Pancreas Champion and World Kickboxing Champion and one of the greatest MMA teachers in America. He could have easily killed the attacker, after the man attempted to murder him, but he restrained himself, protected the lady and almost paid with his life. He showed true fearlessness and bravery and could be considered a hero, but he does not feel that way. He only feels that he did what was right and what other people should have done. The thing that Mr. Mezger kept stressing in his interview was that over 10 people were watching the attack of the lady by the man and no one was doing anything about it. Guy was the only person who stepped up, first by calling the police, then by talking calmly to the man and then by protecting the lady and himself from the attempted murder. He was a true hero, but being the gentleman and great martial artist

he is, he downplays this and keeps referring to the fact that no one else had stepped up to help and that he would like to think that other people would have the courage to help. He could not understand why others would not. Mezger turned the tables and asked his radio interviewer, a 300 pound former MMA fighter and black belt himself, if he would have stepped up. The man truthfully said he was not sure. He probably would have, but he was not sure. Would you have stepped up? In reality there are very very few people who would have stepped up, even 300 pound MMA fighters and the list of reasons goes on and on but the facts never change. Someone needed help and other people did nothing about it. It was up to the fearlessness of Master Guy Mezger that saved the day and protected the lady. And you have to ask yourself… would YOU have stepped up…especially if you knew the man had a knife…which Guy did not know? Do you feel confident that wouldn’t have mattered? Well, Guy stepped up, protected the lady and could have lost his life in the battle, and he is a true hero—but that is not the point of this article. My point is not that you should learn martial arts so you would feel confident to step up and help protect the live of a young

Would you have stepped up if you knew the man had a knife?



lady in distress. The point is that in your everyday life there are times, dozens of times, that you could step up and make a difference and you don’t. Everyday you could do something that could save a life, like donate blood…not everyday, but you get the point. Everyday you could help someone who can’t help themselves… feed the homeless. Everyday you could do something that could make a difference in the lives of those less fortunate that you…teach a child to read, go to a nursing home, donate some time to a worthy charity. Everyday you could do something to help make America great again, you can make a difference in someone’s life…all it takes is courage. Courage of your convictions and faith in your commitment to follow through on what you start. Step up and do something within your power to make a difference. We can not all be warriors like Guy Mezger and help save a life. Most people are not that brave (thank God for American soldiers). But we can all be good people who stand up for what is right and are willing to risk things to make a difference. Don’t expect to be thanked for your service, your hard work and sacrifice to make this difference, but do expect to feel better about yourself, your country and your life. You can step up today and make a difference in someone’s life, you can save a life today, change a life today… all you need is the courage to make a difference. Grandmaster Ted Gambordella’s video blog features this story. See

MEMORIES OF JOE LEWIS continued from page 34 whom he believed could never defeat him in a real fight. He often said that fighters should wear gloves and be allowed to make full contact and then it would be an entirely different ball game. During the late 1960s, when I was frequently working on Hollywood movies and television shows, I remember asking Joe why he wasn’t a movie star. He laughed and said, “You’re right. I should be one.” A few years later, he surprised me by showing up at my dojo, which I had opened near Beverly Hills, and telling me he was now pursuing an acting career. Joe knew I had a lot of Hollywood clients and left me his photo and resume. Unfortunately, my focus at the time was building my dojo and I had little time left for Hollywood. A few years later, when the dojo was doing well, I began writing books and screenplays and in the late 1970s, I got lucky. I saw the “Magnificent Seven” one evening on TV and suddenly it hit me: Why not a martial arts ensemble movie in which the greatest martial artists are together in one movie? I formulated a plot and as I began to write I could see Joe Lewis in the lead. Since the first time I had seen him, I felt he could be a star. So I wrote “Force Five” using Joe’s real name instead of Jim Martin, which eventually was the lead’s name. The screenplay was purchased by American Cinema and, to my delight, they gave Joe the lead. The film was made and released in 1981. Although Force Five wasn’t a blockbuster, Joe looked great. Lewis, like many others, was soon disillusioned by Hollywood and moved away to pursue a martial arts teaching career. Over the ensuing years, I only saw Joe infrequently, but I kept up with his career. Although he decided not to chase Hollywood stardom, he left one of the greatest martial arts legacies – an unequalled champion, an exceptional innovator and a revered teacher. Rest in Peace, Joe Lewis.

Master Emil Farkas was one of the original columnists for Official Karate magazine. You can reach him at Martial Arts Grandmasters International ®


cyberspace comments From our web presence. (The United Martial Arts Community)

Comments have been edited in some cases.

Should children be allowed to make a black belt? shodan to teach adults. n Of course a child should be able to receive I liken this standard to a military their black belt. Hear me out for a second. If anomaly (sic). If you would not put an assault we say a black belt should be such and such rifle in the hands of a 12 year old and put level of expertise and ability then we are him in the line of fire on the battlefield, why able to replicate that quality and make sure would you put an adult black belt on him it is produced everytime that is one thing. or her? Our art is a martial art and as such But I know for a fact, not every student will should be viewed with this be the same. So everyone has Anyone who gives, distinction. their ability. We don’t promote students based on age, we base tests or promotes Junior Shodan in my dojo is it on education and dedication a child to black nanything under 16 years of age. and performance. So if you get belt must not have Those ages 16 and 17 have to a student who is 14 and they are amazing, why shouldn’t they be much to teach. exemplify adult standards to wear full Shodan. All students, a black belt. Also, why would regardless of age, will go through the adult you hold someone back and say, this person black belt exam. If they fail, they fail. There is not ready due to their age. I have some is no split standard. I have very few children amazing young teen black belts around 17 that made Junior Black Belt because my and 18 years old, that make my adult black standards are super high. belts look silly. Why do some instructors give black belts away in 2 years? This is n Anyone who gives, tests or promotes a their prerogative. Maybe they don’t have child (less that 16) to black belt must not the same system or martial art style. Why have much to teach. Just because the kid can is it a chiropractor can get a doctor’s degree do acrobatics and execute cute, karate-like when they are not prescribing medicine or doing what a surgeon does? Simple - they are kicks and punches does not qualify him/her for the rank. It teaches a false confidence. different type of doctor. What is the level of understanding in a child? Psychologically, mentally? Being a super n I do not recognize children black belts if sport physically doesn’t cut it. Are you going their belts are displayed as an adult rank. to let your child sign contracts, enter legal I will promote a junior black belt under agreements, smoke cigarette, drink alcohol? exemplary conditions and if only that child There are reasons why these issues are age is greater than 12 years of age. The belt will have a white stripe running the length. When prohibitive. Go figure... It is only political stroking of parents feelings, money and other the student reaches 16 years of age, he or she social interests that motivate someone to will convert to brown belt [and] then test for adult black belt. I will never promote a junior promote a child to an adult rank. beyond shodan. I also do not allow junior 40


n Let us not forget that there are plenty of children black belts in Okinawa, Japan, China and Korea...the birthplace of the martial arts. That should be a perspective one considers as well. It doesn’t change my perspective on junior black belt vs full Shodan but it is a fact they promote them as young as 10 over there.

deal with pushy parents [by asking] “would you want a doctor treating your family if he had been given his quals (sic) without doing the full study and being well tested?”

n I think it’s more the sport side of it, if you have a sport karate school, which many in the U.S. do, then you have to have a way to separate kids by rank and experience. I’ve n I never used to care what others did seen 8 year old kids run kata better than 50 UNTIL I began seeing kids running around year old adults. Also in the sport do you think Walmart wearing a black belt, kids running it’s fair for a 14 year old kid that’s a brown around bragging about being a black belt, belt who started studying at 4 to compete kids who absolutely SUCK wearing a black against a 14 year old brown belt who stared belt...I never used to care until that began studying at 11 or 12? If you’ve been in martial it is worse. It is clear who arts long enough you know these kids aren’t puts money before before martial arts and adults when it comes to real that is just sad. Let’s not forget like life fighting but again I think it’s there are plenty of all about sport. n Why not? In Thailand 16 yr olds are in the middle of their children black belts Martial arts saved me. If I pro career. in Okinawa, Japan, ndidn’t have it when I was younger China and Korea. I don’t know where I would be. I n 16 is just barely able to defend themselves. My school is 90% soldiers, got my black belt at 11 and started teaching throw a 16 year old in there and they might as at age 12 and haven’t stopped since. Granted, I knew all the techniques and could perform well be 5. them and teach them—but the more in depth aspect of martial arts didn’t happen ‘til I was n Hate to be wishy washy, but it just about 19 years old. And I have seen some depends. As far as 16 goes, 16 is not an adults who should never be black belts—just adult. In America you are a legal adult at because someone is older doesn’t mean they 18. On the other hand why is there an age are better or have a better understanding. requirement? The number of years someone has been alive can be a very poor indicator n I have seen some very talented kids of maturity. I have a 35 year old student who developmentally is only 13, a 10 year old who (12–13) Black belts. The problem I have with them is that they do not understand the reads at a high school level. The only thing principles or philosophies of their art. They for which I use age anymore is to divide my know the moves, but cannot explain them. classes (and I’m rethinking that). That said, I I guess if I ever meet a child black belt that still have not made any decision either way. not only knows the moves, but can explain n I don’t have a problem with the concept in the priciples behind them, I wouldn’t have a problem with it. principle, but the practice is often abused. At our school, The youngest you would I have a junior or child syllabus to be able to reach Black Belt rank (if you could study and a lower limit of 10 years old for test every testing) would be 10 years old. Shodan. At 13 years old all students start on the adult syllabus. There is no junior Nidan. I That is if you started at 4, tested every time, continued on next page Martial Arts Grandmasters International ®


and had the knowledge to go along with the moves and the wisdom to know how to apply that knowledge.

soldiers and partly because they didn’t trust us and wanted us to drop out. The masters would laugh at our current arguments over children black belts. Of course, kids can be black belts (practitioners) they would say. They just cannot be teachers (sensei).

n It depends on what your definition of black belt is. If it is the ability to perform all the physical requirements to a high level of proficiency then children should be able to n I came across an 8 year old nidan a few earn a black belt because we have all seen years ago. He must have started training as plenty of kids who can outperform adults an embryo! Needless to say, he couldn’t do (note I didn’t say could beat up an adult). anything. He tried to kick my arm but the If, however, you think a black belt technique was so bad it was truly sad. It is should an example of exemplary character my belief that you cause more problems for and an example to lower belts through their a child if they get black belt at that age. They teaching abilities then an immature child get a false sense of security and then they get probably isn’t going to qualify. themselves hurt. Junior black belt Back in the ‘60s we used I came across an with no black belt privileges and to think that a black belt had black belt at age 16. 8 year old nidan… to be able to beat up everyone he must have in the entire school and do n I believe it’s a case of whether all it without stopping. Only started training as or not that student is ready. I an unusually tough physical gained my black belt after 8 years an embryo! specimen could pass the test. of study. I was treated the same But then we started having women and as every adult and I earned my respect and youngsters in the class. Oh, and people older rank. It didn’t matter that I was 13. I could than 29. If you couldn’t do a reverse punch have been any age (within reason) and still through five boards—did that mean you made the cut because of my character and couldn’t be a black belt? What if you had a knowledge. Why award me a “junior” black bum knee or a bad back that prevented you belt when I can break kata down into useful from doing those high flying side kicks— techniques and effectively get myself out of sorry, black belt is out of the question for you! most situations. I am far from perfect but No, we adjusted our expectations I was good at what I did. People should because we weren’t training 19 year old men be graded [based] upon themselves. There for combat anymore. Now I still have high should be no “rules” because that generalizes performance requirements for a shodan, people into one large group. You would but they can be as young as thirteen (with a award an 80 year old man a black belt but he “junior” designation) as long as they have may be less capable of defending himself than trained for at least five years. Remember that 13 year old who has been training for 8 the saying that a first degree black belt has years. only “mastered the basics?” In Asia there are plenty of first dan children. Did the Japanese n I don’t care. If a parent wants their child to and Koreans suddenly become soft? No, we be promoted to black belt at 8 or 10 years old, Americans misinterpreted what a first degree they can take them somewhere else, like a belt is all about. mill. I won’t lower my standards to equate to In the beginning the Asians were hard theater and fantasy. When a 60 pound child on the Americans who trained with them after can take out, take down or even throw a 200 the war, partly because they were combat plus pound adult, please let me know. 42


n In my opinion the belt does not really matter. There are plenty of people out there claiming rank, but at the end its about the development of self. Over 100 years ago there was no belt system, we [Westerners] don’t own karate and if it improves a child’s self esteem to award them a junior black belt than why not? n What is rank if the person doesn’t practice and apply. I kicked a 10th dan’s ass to the ground a few times. He/she who practices will win the fight regardless of what a piece of paper says or how many stripes are on a belt. n Concerning the gentleman who defeated a Judan (10TH degree) in sparring—in the advanced ranks a master is a master because of what he knows and what he has contributed not because of his [current] fighting ability. [If he has been] involved in the martial arts for over fifty years I doubt that he’ll be in contention for a world kickboxing championship. A younger black belt beating a senior master would be like [a young] Mohammad Ali beating up on Angelo Dundeee. He didn’t train with Mr. Dundee because Dundee could contest with him in the ring but to tap his extensive knowledge. I’ve been involved in the martial arts for fifty-five years and I have trained fighters that I couldn’t beat in the ring. Some of them I probably never could have. One more thing to you young bucks out there who think you’re dangerous— being able to beat a master in kumite doesn’t necessarily translate into being able to defeat him in an actual altercation. I would hazard to guess that in a combative situation I would be hard to deal with regardless of how young an adversary was. I may be no good in a long, drawn-out fight but real fights don’t last fifteen or twenty minutes.

REMEMBER WHO YOU ARE continued from page 37 I am made of earth, rooted and grounded and growing stronger every day. Inhale and exhale slowly. Stay there as long as you feel like it. When you are ready lift up your head, spread your arms wide apart, palms up, and send your energy straight up to the sky. Lean back and feel the yang energy of the sky on your face. Say “I am NOBLE! I am made from the stars!” Breathe it several times “ I am noble, I am made of the stars! Deep inhale...exhale... I am noble. I am made from the stars! inhale...exhale...Now gently allow your head to drop back to the neutral position and think of the sacred bond you have created by grounding your energy deeply in the earth and sending it up to the heavens. You have combined heaven and earth within you and realized your place in the vast Universe. Breathe in and chant “Tula” as long as you feel the power of your energy and your world. Now spend as much time as possible doing as little as possible. Imagine you are the rain, the rivers, the oceans and the morning dew flowing eternally between heaven and earth and traveling all over the world. Be at peace, be water, flow through the Universe as you become still and strong through your breath. When you return to your presence take a moment for gratitude and bless the earth, sky and waters. Walk back to your day refreshed and elevated. Be at peace. OM Shanti Shanti Shanti.

Sifu Karen Schlachter has studied many arts including Kodokan Judo, Okinawan Shorin Ryu, Aikido, Sun Moon Fist Chinese Boxing and Yang Tai Chi Chuan and Qigong. She teaches Tai Chi Chuan and Qigong for Tranquil Seas Retreats, and is the Master Instructor at The Sun Moon Tao Institute. She is a Master Instructor in Karuna and Usui Reiki and An De Divine Healing. You can contact her at

See more comments at Martial Arts Grandmasters International ®


The Self-Defense Series™

Defenses Against a Knife Attack

by GM James McMurray

Whether you are a combat veteran, police officer, martial art master, or a seasoned street fighter... I feel it’s safe to say we all will agree that a knife blade held to the throat is indeed one of the most dangerous situations one can encounter. As a Special Forces Vietnam Veteran, I’ve had the opportunity to train in hand-to-hand tactics with many elite units around the world, each specializing in silent-sentry takeout techniques. Along the way, many skilled knife fighters have shared their awesome techniques with me. Throughout the years, as I studied and learned these many different knife techniques, I brought them back home and incorporated them into my system of Moo Hap Sool Hapkido. Basically, a knife to the front of the throat really comes down to six (6) angles and four (4) hand grips in which an attacker in a “realitybased” situation (combat or street) could effectively hold a knife. SIX ANGLES: (Assuming the knife in assailant’s right hand)

maxillary. Knife Tip with blade facing Blade facing to the left Blade tip facing to the left against the sub- against the carotid artery. to the left straight across the throat.

maxillary. Knife Tip with blade Blade facing to the facing to the right right against the against the sub-

carotid artery. Blade tip facing to the right straight across the throat. FOUR GRIPS: 1. Hammer 2. Grip Ice Pick Grip 3. Fencer Grip 4. Reverse Grip



I have personally had two confrontations with a knife during separate robbery attempts:

once while serving in Vietnam and another on the streets of Wiesbaden, Germany. In the scenario below I detail the defensive techniques I used to thwart each of my attackers and to give you some “food for thought” that I hope will help you along your learning path. First of all, if the attacker doesn’t slit your throat right away then it usually means they want something from you, which means you have a little time to act. I suggest that you comply with the attackers demands as much as possible. In the Special Forces we were taught to bide our time before we made our escape, to look for advantages in the enemy’s offense, and then to commit 100% to our chosen course of action. Most attacks only take about 5-6 seconds and there is much that goes into surviving these kinds of attack. Survival and defense techniques will vary dramatically depending on the position you are in when attacked; for example, defensive techniques will be different if you have your back to a wall, or if you are in a seated position, in a prone position, or if held by a second person. So, for this scenario, let’s assume that the assailant has gripped you with his left hand, the knife in the Fencer’s Grip with the blade facing to the left and the tip pressed against the sub-maxillary.

The assailant has a knife to your throat. The average person’s first action is actually a reflex... your hands will come up to the attackers knife arm, or hand, and try to pull the blade away from your throat. The knife holder will resist by tensing up his hand and arm. We call this “freezing the joints”. The attacker might engage with words... “take you hands away!... “Stop fighting!.. or words to that effect. He is expecting waiting for you to comply... at that moment, with both hands still on the knife hand and arm, gently turn your head and chin to your right, this will free the blade tip from your neck. Then step to your left while quickly moving his knife hand across your body to your right and down. The knife blade should then sever the inside of the assailant’s forearm. Do not let go of the knife hand. Continuing the circle motion downward, the knife blade is now facing the attacker. Shove it forward into his upper inner thigh. In closing, please remember that a knife blade can do more bodily damage than a single gunshot and it is harder to control. When dealing with a knife blade it is very important to remember the Four Rules of Selfdefense: 1. Clear the Body of the Weapon 2. Control the Weapon 3. Take Away their Option to Use the Weapon 4. Use the Weapon to Stop Further Aggression As with all martial arts techniques, proper training under a highly skilled instructor is the best way to achieve a true understanding of the technique’s mechanics. Once you understand the mechanics, then it becomes important to perfect by practicing the technique over and over until the mind, body, and spirit become one. 9th Degree Black Belt James McMurray is the founder and director of the House of Discipline Martial Arts Group in Harker Heights, Texas. GM McMurray is a former Special Forces U.S. Army Ranger Combat instructor. You can contact him at Martial Arts Grandmasters International ®


jim mather’s Karate life ™

Jim Mather

Who Writes Our Martial Arts History?


hile a graduate student at Stanford, we were taught how to evaluate all sorts of written material – books, dissertations, newspapers, research results, etc. The university expected us to one day publish our own books and articles and to perform and publish our own research. So we had to know how to do these properly and present valid conclusions. Many, if not most, research projects are flawed to some degree. Sometimes the experiment was structured or setup improperly. Sometimes there were flaws in their math. And sometimes their conclusions weren’t valid. For example, someone found that children who could walk balance beams were better readers than those who were poor at it. From that, they concluded that you could improve reading scores by teaching students to walk a beam. So schools all across the country ran out and bought balance beams and required their students to walk them on a daily basis. Reading scores didn’t change. They had erroneously assumed that since those who could walk balance beams were better readers that not just a relationship but a causal relationship existed between the two, that walking beams made people better readers.

No such relationship existed. When someone asked me about it, I told them I had a theory about how to defeat cancer. Everyone who came down with cancer wore underwear. So if you didn’t want to contract cancer, you should stop wearing underwear. There was a relationship (everyone who had cancer wore underwear) but not a causal one (wearing them didn’t cause cancer). Non-research material – magazine and newspaper articles, non-academic books, etc. – are always suspect as literally anyone could write one of these. When checking such publications, we knew to be very careful about using their data, quotes, or results in any serious study. I once read a book entitled Mind Over Matter. In it, the author gave accounts of several instances in which people‘s minds had been verified to have overcome matter. One such proof was a martial artist who supposedly beat a world champion arm wrestler using only his thumb or one finger (I forget which). It had, according to the author, been verified by Black Belt Magazine. Since I had every issue of Black Belt from the first, I tracked down the article because I knew the martial artist involved and doubted the claim. In the article, the martial artist himself claimed he had beaten the world champion arm wrestler, not

Magazine and newspaper articles, nonacademic books are always suspect.



some independent and objective observer. It may have been true but was, like “hearsay” evidence in court, not useful in any serious study. Magazine and newspaper articles are full of errors, misquotes, and outright lies. Some of these are intentional but most are not. The writer is honestly trying to do a good job but lacks the skill or sufficient knowledge of the subject to do it justice. I tell people that if you don’t want to be misquoted, don’t let anyone do an article on you. If you do, it’s pretty much a given. I’ve had many articles done on me and never had one that didn’t have something – a quote or explanation – that didn’t make me cringe a bit. The writer will hear what they want to hear, mishear what you said, etc. A local journalist did an article on me several years ago. She quoted me as saying that the nunchaku was developed to beat the husk off of corn. I don’t remember seeing a lot of corn when I was in Okinawa as it was a new world product. But then, I had never said anything about corn. I had said it was used to beat the husk off of rice. But I took some kidding about it for a while nonetheless. The following was written in a 1987 Karate-Kung Fu Illustrated Magazine article. It was about me and my thoughts on the subject of ikken hissatsu, the so-called one strike kill. “The Japanese call it the one-punch kill,” wrote the writer of the article, based on information I supplied her. “It’s a blow that brings all fighting elements together with perfect timing to immobilize your opponent with one sudden burst of power.” Close enough. “The one-punch kill is tough to teach, since many students believe they can do it naturally without any thought put into the

correct power-producing dynamics.” Have no idea where she got that. “Some instructors won’t even bother to teach the one-punch kill to women, because they think women don’t have enough power to punch. Then when a female student learns it incorrectly, she proves them right. However, women can actually learn the technique faster than many men because they have no pre-conceived notions about how it’s done.” This was a mixture of things I had told her, but about a different topic. (Female students often learn how to punch correctly faster than their new male counterparts as they have no bad-habits to unlearn so they improve from day one.) It had nothing to do with ikken hissatsu. “If the one-punch kill is more difficult than meets the eye, who can teach it correctly? In Japan instructors of the one-punch kill are commonplace. However, in North America, they’re rare. But Jim Mather, who owns and runs the California Karate Academy in San Jose, California, is an American who has put a lot of thought into the dynamics of punching.” What??? It was true I had given it a lot of thought but so had many others in this hemisphere. Anyway, just a bit more food for thought to bear in mind when you read a history or article on the martial arts – or someone proposes to write an article on you. This column is taken from Jim Mather’s Karate Life Blog. Mr. Mather is a well known traditional karate master and historian. His blog traces his over 55 years in the arts including friendships with many icons and celebrities. He is working on a new novel titled Arrow Catcher. He is on the Board of MAGI® and the Karate Masters Hall of Fame® You can contact him at

Martial Arts Grandmasters International ®


Nutritional self defense

™ Dr. Craig Rubenstein

Potentially Dangerous Anti-Inflammatory Drugs vs. Natural Medicines for Injuries and Inflammation


hy Dangerous? Did you know that people actually die from taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)? If you or someone you know is an NSAID-popper please take this information seriously! It has been reported that due to the complications from the overuse of NSAIDs that somewhere between 16,000 and than 20,000 people die in the United States every year. These statistics, which are considered conservative, have been reported in the most prestigious medical journals since the late 1990s and corroborated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Of-course this is due to “overuse.” Unfortunately, people take these NSAIDs such as ibuprofen and naproxen like they are candy. Although the biggest abusers may be those with crippling arthritis, many competitive athletes and weekend warriors are going overboard taking these meds multiple times a day, every day, for months at a time, and this is very dangerous. Often these same athletes are also consuming alcohol while taking these NSAIDs and according to the American College of Gastroenterology “NSAIDs and aspirin…they should not be taken with alcohol, as the combination can increase the risk of GI bleeding.” Let’s put this into perspective. “Every year, 6 times as many people die of NSAID-related GI (stomach and intestinal) bleeds than died on September 11, yet this gets very little media attention,” says Sunil Pai, MD, director of Sanjevani Integrative Medicine.’ Since the mid80s, more than 300,000 Americans have died of NSAID complications, and 1.7 million were hospitalized. It may or may not be obvious that short of dying from taking NSAIDs (that we think of as



harmless), there is damage other than bleeding going on in our bodies each time we take them. NSAIDs are some of the most commonly used drugs in the world, but they have the potential for other significant side effects affecting the liver, kidneys and the heart. NSAIDs are also one of the drugs on the National Institutes of Health’s web-site that can cause erectile dysfunction! Probably one of the more surprising side effects from NSAIDs is that they actually cause arthritis in the long run. Of course, you might ask, “Aren’t these medications given to help people with arthritis?” The answer is yes! Unfortunately, although these drugs can help significantly with the pain of arthritis they do lead to an increase of the arthritis itself. According to the recent article “The Acceleration of Articular Cartilage Degeneration in Osteoarthritis by Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs” by Ross A. Hauser, MD, published in the Journal of Prolotherapy, “It is clear from the scientific literature that NSAIDs from in vitro (in the lab) and in vivo (in the body) studies in both animals and humans have a significantly negative effect on cartilage matrix which causes an acceleration of the deterioration of articular cartilage…” OK, now we know how potentially bad these everyday medications are if they are taken too often and for too long. So, what can we do instead? This is where Nutritional Self Defense comes in. The scientific literature is full of studies showing the effectiveness of many herbal extracts and other supplements such as Omega 3s that can work as good as many NSAIDs but without the nasty side effects. Extracts of herbs like curcumin or turmeric, ginger, white willow bark, boswellia, and black

and cayenne pepper are proven to be effective and safe alternatives to NSAIDs for many injuries and acute and chronic inflammatory conditions. There are other non herbal antiinflammatory supplements that are also supported in the scientific literature, such as DMG (Dimethylglycine), kre-celazine, omega 3s, bromelain, and other proteolytic enzymes. If you or someone you know is an NSAID-popper or has chronic injuries or other inflammatory problems, it is your diet that should be the first place you look for help. Many of us are eating in a way that absolutely promotes inflammation: lots of conventionally raised red meats and dairy products (not from healthy free range “pastured” and “organically” raised cattle), and refined carbohydrates (white flour and sugar) with very few fruits and vegetables. Eating this way means you are consuming huge amounts of inflammation promoting omega-6 fatty acids, and very few of the amazing anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids. High levels of omega-6 fatty acids cause an over-production of substances called inflammatory prostaglandins and leukotrienes. In many of us, our ratio of “bad” (omega 6) to “good” (omega 3) fatty acids is as high as 30:1. This bad ratio makes us inflammation machines. This is a recipe for disaster, since a healthy ratio is about 2:1. Although taking fish oils is great, you must change your diet to reduce your omega 6 intake. The first step is to eat more fruits and vegetables and less conventionally raised animal proteins (“pastured, organically raised free range” animal products are fine), and increase your intake of omega-3s, primarily from wild caught fatty fish that swim in cold water such as salmon, fresh sardines, mackerel, tuna, and halibut. Omega 3s from high quality fish oils and to a lesser extent flax seed oil (due to its need to be converted in the body to an active form) that are validated for purity should be taken on a daily basis. Research shows that omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation. Omegas 3s are converted in the body into anti-inflammatory eicosanoids. Omega 3s also block the omega 6s from making

the inflammatory prostaglandins, and they also block other inflammatory substances such as certain cytokines and interleukins. On top of all this amazing anti-inflammatory chemistry, omega 3s may help lower the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and arthritis. Getting back to the herbal extracts and other anti-inflammatory supplements, there is strong evidence supporting their use in helping people with injuries and other inflammatory conditions. Here is a list of some of the most common and most well researched supplements available on the market today. We only have space to list

them here but go my Official Karate website page for more complete information on each of these.

Curcumin (Curcuma longa): Curcumin is one of the most well researched herbs, with over 5,000 published papers. Boswellia (Boswellia Serrata): Boswellia is also a heavily researched herb. It has antiinflammatory, anti-arthritic, and pain relieving effects. Ginger (Zingiber officinale) is a popular spice in many parts of the world, and has also been used in Indian and Chinese medicine for over 4,000 years. It affects numerous inflammatory pathways. Black Pepper (Piperine) and Cayenne Pepper (Capsicum Annum): Although these herbs have anti-inflammatory actions of their own, extracts of black and cayenne pepper are used in most herbal formulas primarily to improve the absorption of other herbs such as curcumin and boswellia. White Willow Bark (Salix Alba) which is traditionally used to treat pain. *Consult with your doctor before beginning to take any new supplement. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Craig Rubenstein was a team Chiropractor to the US Freestyle Ski Team in 1990. He is also a certified clinical nutritionist and a Fellow and Diplomate of the International Academy of Clinical Acupuncture. He operates his Park Avenue practice in NY and a satellite office in Suffolk County, Long Island. You can contact him at or at 631-696-2039. Martial Arts Grandmasters International ®


Get FREE Media Coverage for your Tournament, Event, School, Product or Yourself!

by Andrew S. Linick, Ph.D.

5 Tips to Ensure Your Media Release Gets Picked Up Weather you are a grandmastermaster, promoter, school owner, entrepreneur, or just a proud parent — you probably have a message you want the media to help you share with your friends, or targeted readers and listeners. You might be interested in contributing an article or column in a local newspaper or even a national magaaine. You may have a great story you’d like a reporter to tell, or you might have a product or service (think books, DVD or seminars) that can help readers, viewers and listeners solve their problems by offering new solutions. Media outlets are devoted to providing news and information to their audience. The press —newspapers, magazines, radio and TV stations and their online counterparts—want to help. But, too often, the people interested in getting print and broadcast coverage thwart their own efforts by making simple mistakes. So here are some important things to consider before sending your press release via email to your targeted media outlets: 1. Pay attention to deadlines: Newspapers are generally daily or weekly; magazines may publish weekly, monthly, quarterly or 50


annually. Both plan their feature content ahead of time. For papers that may be from a few days to two or three weeks ahead of publication. Magazines may be working on their May issue in February. So planning in advance is vital. If you’re hoping to time your story idea or article to coincide with a season or special event, tournament, weekend warrior camp —consider when you’d like to see it published and work backward from that date. It also helps to comb the publication’s website for information on deadlines and policies regarding unsolicited material. 2. Read the publication: Once you understand what sort of content the publication uses, in what format and in which sections, you can tailor and target your pitch. Say you, as the owner of a dojo, which offers after- school programs for children or want to provide back-to-school tips for preventing being bullied. You can A) Send an article full of tips to the main editor listed on the website, or B) Read a few issues of the newspaper or magazine/e-zine and find out if and when it publishes a parenting page or sports/after school local events page, and who the editor is. You can also see if it uses a question-andanswer format, bulleted tips, or longer articles with photos and photo captions.

3. Pay attention to the news: Knowing today’s issues, trends and breaking news can help you make your pitch timely and current. Most publications look for a “news hook” —a way to give a piece context because it relates to something happening right now. There have been lots of news features on the movie shootings, street violence, campus unrest for instance, and has local and regional news on topics A—Z which you can tie into. These current events give publications/stations/media in general, a reason to write about that news. Do’s and Don’ts, a how to guide, free tips and/or expert advice, and free classes are great news hooks. Does your school offer solutions for people to help beat stress, loss weight, get in shape, learn simple defense moves to escape most threatening situations? If it’s in the news (anti-bully rally, recent rape, robbery in a parking lot and you can speak to it, don’t hesitate to get your pitch together and send it off today. 4. Be concise: Often, a few sentences describing your story angle and how it relates to a timely topic is good enough. Avoid burying the important information in a long narrative or in glowing paragraphs about how wonderful your idea, product, book or school/event/ company is. Instead, present the information in a way that respects your contact’s time. Brief is best. 5. Make the important information easy to find: If editors have to search for dates, your contact information/url/email, or local relevance, they may give up—even if they’re initially interested in your pitch. Think of the information you would need if you were considering writing a story or publishing what has been provided. The vital information should be present, clearly visible and up front.

Even if you don’t make these common mistakes, catching the interest of an editor can be difficult. Remember to paste your pitch into the body of your email – don’t send it as an attachment, which may get it flagged as junk mail. You can attach a photo and place in your body copy the photo caption and offer to send more. Follow up with a polite phone call (“Just wanted to make sure you received my email/photos with caption regarding an article I can write for you”). Getting print and broadcast coverage is easy when you know how, so don’t give up! Finally, you can always hire a professional PR person on a freelance basis or go to http:// and for $5.00 < categories/online-marketing/article-submission-services> you can hire someone to write just about anything. You can call the Copywriters Council of America™ (25,000 members) and ask for Shane Clarke, give him a budget and what you’d like to have written and he can match you up with a creative freelance copywriter/graphic artist/webmaster who’ll help you achieve your goals. Need more sales, repeat orders, website traffic? We create Memorable Brand name sites writing direct response SEO selling copy. Do you need eye-catching graphic design pages that sell? Get online email promotions to brand, drive and covert traffic to buy your products/services and build attendance to your school/events. Want social media engagement marketing A—Z to position your school, tournament, event, book, DVD, seminar, webinar or business/services/products on the top 50 Social Media Networks? Call The Copyologist® and the social media/PR experts at 631.924.3888 for a FREE 15 min. consult based on availability. Visit: email: Martial Arts Grandmasters International ®


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Official Karate Fall 2012  

Official Karate Magazine Fall 2012 Issue

Official Karate Fall 2012  

Official Karate Magazine Fall 2012 Issue