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old man karateI often tell people that martial arts are a lifelong activity. By that I mean it is an activity that one can engage in at anytime in their life and for their whole life. Its not something you have to start when you are young, wait till you’re an adult, or give up on when you reach a certain age.

My journey started at the age of seven at a time when children learning the arts was not even a thought of being a boon for the industry. In fact, the presence of women in the arts was a rarity then. My journey has continued for over 40 years now and yes, I took some time off from actively practicing now and then, but my mind was always training.

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On Saturday, October 7th, students and instructors attended the 27th American International Karate Championships at the RIT Inn & Conference Center. Congratulations to Nicholas, Brendan, Sempai Hannah, Sempai Paul, Sempai MaryLou, and Sempai Rich on their performances in kata, weapons, and semi contact fighting. They all did well and brought home several trophies and medals. Shihan Chris, Sensei Matt, Sensei Mike, and Sensei Chuck served as officials for kata, weapons, and breaking.

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We all want to grow in the martial arts by improving our skill and our abilities to protect ourselves and others.  However, there is much more to growth in the martial arts than just your skill level...

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One of the most common questions instructors get asked by students relates to increasing kicking height.  While flexibility of the kicking muscles is important, there is so much more to be concerned with.

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Technique is important; in most respects this is the foundation of hte training that martial arts entails.  Without technique, everything can quickly fall apart.

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The martial arts are an excellent activity that all people can enjoy, assuming that they find both a training system or style and instructor that they can associate with.  The fact that these activities can be enjoyed by countless people worldwide is evidenced by the large number of schools, tournaments, systems, styles, and practitioners.  However, there is something to be said about the lifestyle of martial arts versus the business side of martial arts.

 

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This article continues to explore the question “What does a ‘Dan’ REALLY Mean?”.  While from style to style there is no one easy answer, and even in same schools within the same martial arts system this fact persists, individual small systems may be analyzed in regards to this fact.  This article aims to explore the meaning behind Dan ranks 6-10 in the Nemuru system of karate.

 

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Sometimes, it is he or she that we do not expect that will bring something to mind and make us truly think.  The example here is a reflection on a specific point that was brought up at last night's class in relation to the word of the week - perseverance.

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aveldman replied the topic: #19 10 months 3 weeks ago
Perseverance (Nintai) certainly does require strength!

And karate requires perseverance! One simply will not get very far without it. Waking up with sore muscles after an intense training session once may be okay... counting the bruises from sparring could be a “battle story” to share with friends at first... but eventually the novelty wears off and reality says this is what it’s all about. Having that inner strength to persevere allows us to continue to learn, to continue to train, to reach the next level despite those sore muscles and bruises.

But before you can persevere, you must want to reach that next level. It has to be a goal that you set for yourself deep inside; no one else can set it for you. Then, when you have practiced for months (or years), and you still walk away from class feeling like you had the stuffing beat out of you, wanting to reach that next level will feed the strength, and perseverance will allow you to return to class the next time to train harder.

Without perseverance (and that goal), walking away is easy. That’s not what karate is about.

Whether you refer to them as Dans, Degrees, Ranks, or some other term, most systems of martial arts, whether Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Indonesian, English, or any other nationality, contain ranks beyond black belt or its stylistic equivalent.  However, what do these really mean in the grand scheme of things?  This artcile will explore that first 5 Dans of the Nemuru karate system.

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