Self-Defense Classes

Today, a teen karate student and I will promote a free self-defense class to take place Saturday. We’ll host a table at the Gilbert Public Schools Employee Benefits Fair to announce this special offer for employees and their family members who are teens or adults. These types of classes are one way that our dojo…

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Chibi Mascots in Japan

As we drove through Okinawa, I noticed cute little caricatures everywhere. These chibi little guys were on the backs of cars and on buildings. I even saw a telephone one on a warning sign on a power pole: With their bright colors and simple cartoonish lines, they got my attention. But why? Why were they…

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Affirmations for Positive Thinking

As had become my custom, I played my favorite audio of positive affirmations while I did my daily computer work. This took most of the morning. But the rare occurrence was that Kaicho happened to be in the next room doing his insurance work. Mostly, I listened to these phrases to keep my positive attitude…

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Goya Bitter Melon: Eat and Enjoy

Their traditional diet contributes to the Okinawan elders’ robust health. And goya is a superstar ingredient in their traditional diet. Goya, also known as bitter melon, has many health benefits. It is definitely bitter and said to be an acquired taste. But some of us easily acquire it. Especially when prepared in a delicious chanpuru…

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Karate Youth Learn: Top 5 Lessons

Traditional Okinawan karate can be life changing for people of all ages. But it has great power when it’s a consistent part of the life of our karate youth. As they grow, children form their values, habits and ideals. Traditional martial arts can positively impact those things and allow them to improve their lives for…

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4 Lymph Exercises for Immune Health

The wondrous human body works non-stop to heal and thrive. The lymph system is important for fighting off diseases and infections. It transports white blood cells and is constantly at work, basically cleansing your body. As this helpful video illustrates, the lymphatic system works with valves and a little bit of smooth muscle to move…

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Karate Title Changes

Changing karate titles are a natural part of our dojo’s martial arts culture. In Japan, people have changed their names: when they became the head of a household or a company; to demonstrate allegiance; and when their social status evolved, among other reasons. They have even changed their names to shed bad luck. And artists…

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Name Changes: A Japanese Tradition

Over the years, I have noticed that Okinawan and Japanese people historically change their names – a lot. Usually their last name or surname evolves. But there are also nicknames bestowed that seem to take the place of given names. About 60 percent down on this Wikipedia listing, under “Historical Names” and “Professional Names” you…

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Martial Arts in Movies vs. Real Life

Many people are first introduced to martial arts in movies. For me, Hollywood played a part in sparking my interest when I started karate. On-screen stories often successfully portray karate’s traditional values like perseverance in The Last Samurai. In addition, many stories of respect, good moral character, even honesty and restraint come out of martial…

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3 Tips on Japanese for English-Speakers

In traditional Okinawan karate, we promote the culture that created our art. Language is an influential part of culture. The Japanese language remains the most enduringly difficult part of my martial arts training. Like a thorn in my side, it occasionally causes agonizing discomfort. Yet it’s survivable. And I don’t even notice it or think…

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