Who’s Safety?…Your Safety

Self-Defense, Training Comments

Your Safety is Your Responsibility


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Classes Begin Again

Club News, Karate, Training Comments

After a 5 month break for surgery and a facility change we are back in action!

Classes start tomorrow at the Town Hall from 7:00-8:00/30 PM

Class will meet every Thursday evening through the summer.


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Self-Defense Tips & Advice

Self-Defense, Training Comments

Here is a collection of basic, common sense self-defense tips and advice. The information presented here provides some general tips on how to avoid dangerous situations outside your home. Remember, Common Sense is the rule. The most common statement of someone that has put themselves in harms way is “I have as much right to … as anyone else” or another favorite macho statement is “You can’t let fear run your life!”. While these statements are true it is also true that we must, each of us, pay the consequences of our own actions and decisions. Think about that. It is not meant to blame the victim but remind us that most situations can be avoided if we make self-defense and self-preservation part of our lives.

Even if we make self-defense a part of lives it is not always enough. Sometimes trouble has a way of hunting you down (no pun intended). The following list should provide some basic information to get you started thinking and living in a self-defense mode. You will notice that much of the content focuses on avoiding violence altogether, this is after all the most effective form of self-defense.

Most violent situations start with or after a verbal altercation. This is especially true in domestic violence cases. If at all possible try to “cool down” the situation before it gets out of hand, if that isn’t possible attempt to safely remove yourself from the situation.


  • If you see or sense problems in your path, change your route and – prepare to defensively leave or defend yourself
  • Do not wear conspicuous jewelry when you are walking on the streets
  • Do not hitchhike, use buses or taxis
  • Do not act or look like an easy target – look and act confident!
  • Most “fights” are won before they start, and aggressors will back down if you maintain eye contact and are not intimidated by them.

Using Public Transport:

  • Remember, there is usually safety in numbers. Wait in a coffee shop or in a well lit area for the public transport to arrive
  • Do not choose the window seat as you may be “blocked in” by a potential assailant; always choose an aisle seat for quick exit
  • After peak hours, always choose the train compartment carrying the most passengers or the compartment directly behind the train driver
  • On buses, sit behind the driver or next to the door for quick exit.

Motor vehicles:

  • Danger areas are stepping out of your car either at home or in isolated areas, and also walking to your car
  • Always approach your vehicle with keys in-hand
  • Windows should be up and doors locked even when driving to avoid unwanted passengers at intersections.
  • Always check your car before getting in
  • Never leave your car unlocked, even for a few minutes to “quickly” run in (example: ATM, video store, etc.) Attackers have been known to lie in wait for such an opportunity.
  • Never get into a car even if someone is pointing a knife or a handgun at you from inside. Run (screaming) in the opposite direction the car is headed. If you get shot or stabbed your chances of survival are greater then if you go to a location of your attackers choosing.
  • Never pull your car over from a quiet road even if someone drives alongside your car pointing at the tires. Always continue driving to a well-lit and crowded area before exiting your car.
  • Always be alert in parking lots, specially when it’s dark. If you are afraid, don’t be too shy to ask someone to escort you to your car. Most stores have personnel or security staff that will assist you. Between cars and inside cars, it’s easy for someone to hide and wait until an unalert person comes along.


  • Always check the identification of the driver (usually located near the visor) and ensure that it matches the driver
  • Be wary of cars with central locking
  • Don’t sit behind the driver as it may be easy for the driver to lock the rear passenger door – always choose the adjacent seat
  • Whenever possible call for a taxis so that the driver can be traced
  • Avoid flagging taxis from the street

Walkers / joggers:

  • If you have car trouble and are walking to look for help, always walk against the traffic so that you can see what is coming
  • If shadowed by a car, run back in the direction from which you came. If you continue in the same direction, you will make it easy for the shadowing to continue
  • Don’t use an mp3 player or personal music device when walking in isolated areas at any time
  • Regularly change your routines
  • Mark out houses at intervals on each route you take that may be used as “safe houses” in the event of attack such as shops or houses that you know to be occupied by a friend or acquaintance. Try to incorporate these houses every time you vary your route
  • Be alert at all times
  • Don’t presume that because your area has been “safe” thus far, that it will continue to be so.

Public phone boxes:

  • When you are calling from a telephone box, after dialing the numbers always turn around so that you have your back to the phone and may see what is coming. You will then be able to tell the person to whom you are speaking that you may be in trouble and you may be able to use the weight of the phone as a weapon.


  • Think about your clothing – where will it be worn? Will you be going out after work? Get into the habit of leaving restrictive clothing and shoes for those occasions when you are certain that you have no reason to anticipate danger, such as large crowds, being picked up after work or going out and so forth.
  • Choose a wardrobe which maximizes freedom of movement. The best self defense techniques will not help you if you cannot run away because of tight skirts or shoes with straps and high heels. In these situations, it will be necessary to disable your attacker to ensure you are not followed unless you have some means of a quick exit such as a motor vehicle. This places additional, unnecessary pressure on you to be successful. Further, if you focus too much attention on disabling you opponent, you may not be sufficiently aware of an additional threat to yourself
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The Meaning of OSU!!

Karate, Training Comments

“Osu” a simple word, yet it is the essence of Kyokushin Karate, the nature and spirit of life. Like the Hawaiian word, “Aloha”, “OSU” embraces a multitude of meanings, anywhere from hello, goobye, yes, good, excuse me, thank you, etc.

Yet all in the Kyokushin family realize the more deeper and meaningful power of “OSU”.

From the my first introduction to Oyama anf Kyokushin Karate, I learned that “OSU” is to persevere, to persist, to endure… the very same life skills that I (continue) need to face and conquer our daily challenges.

In Kyokushin, as in life, there is rhyme and reason for everything. Even the simplest of warm-up exercises has a meaning to it. For example, the twisting and stretching one’s wrists using a circular movement is actually the practice of wrist blocking.

It is because of life-long lessons and challenges of Kyokushin, that I continue to practice, learn and preach of its infinite qualities. There has never been a time that I felt that I have learned all there is Kyokushinkai. Such is it in my personal life, and this is how both my personal and Kyokushin lives have intertwined, merged and thus benefited all aspects of my life.

Kyokushin physical and mental traits include perseverance, discipline, responsibility, respect, fortitude, resilience, strength, tenacity, tolerance, vigour, willpower, enthusiasm, and spirit. These and so much more are experienced and attained as we live our lives in the most positive manner possible.

As we have now met the new millennium, may we continue to seek and strive for the “Ultimate Truth”

Long Live Kyokushin Karate!

Source unknown – references appreciated

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KATA, what is it?

Karate, Training Comments

Kata is a formal karate exercise.  The sequence of movements of a Kata consist of logical combinations of the three fundamental movements (blocks, hand strikes and kicks). The Kata represents an imaginary battle with invisible foes. Katas are designed to help the student perfect their techniques while strengthening their timing, coordination and rhythm. Katas also offer a demonstration to the student of the use of each technique they learn. Every movement of the body, hands and feet have a meaning and function. The uniting of several singular defensive and offensive moves that form the Kata are often described as ‘dance-like’. When performed properly, a Kata represents the beauty and self-discipline of karate and its practitioners.Katas date back to the origin of karate itself, developed and perfected over the years by the masters. Katas are used to build strength, speed, accuracy and most importantly knowledge. Katas can be practiced individually, anywhere making them a perfect training tool. There are many Katas well over fifty among the different styles. Many styles share or have similar Katas.

In order to perfect Kata the student must first perfect the techniques it uses. Once this is done the student must perfect the mental attitude necessary to become a part of the Kata and have it become part of him. Most Katas begin with a ceremonial bow. This announces the beginning of the Kata and serves to center the karateka. The ceremonial bow is performed at the end of the Kata. The ceremonial bow is a very important part of all karate training but has a special significance in the Kata. A perfect Kata with imperfect ceremonial bows either beginning, ending or both soils the Kata performance by showing disrespect, lack of discipline and understanding. The body of the Kata should be performed with focus, power and understanding. A perfectly executed Kata ALWAYS returns the karateka to the EXACT same spot as they began. If the karateka does not return to the same spot they either performed incorrectly OR their stance and stride were not consistent.

This article is written by: Mitchell Saba, WKC senior member and instructor.

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Is Karate for Kids, a good idea?

Karate, Training Comments

It is estimated that 50 percent of karate practitioners are children. So at what age should a parent think about getting their child involved in karate? According to sports-medicine guidelines, it is not recommended that children under the age of (8) eight engage in a sport that involves contact or collision between participants.  Even more recent research suggests that children under 14 years of age should not be involved in contact sports, as they lack the cognitive ability to anticipate, react and protect themselves from injury.

While karate training does not initially involve “contact or collisions” this doesn’t mean there isn’t the possibility.  Even if you choose to ignore the physical development issues of the child (shame on you) there are still cognitive issues. Honestly, children under the age of eight, generally speaking, do not have the discipline or attention span necessary to learn and practice karate. Yes, I understand the parents are just looking for someone give to tire the kids out and give them a break before taking their children home!  However, Children that are involved in karate (martial arts) training before the age of eight have little concept of the core concepts karate teaches, respect, self-esteem, control, focus and body-awareness.  Before eight years old, the children should be learning these concepts from their parents, because if they are not, then no amount of Karate instruction will substitute a good home life!  That being said and regardless of all these facts; ultimately the decision lies with the child’s parent.

Despite all of the negative statements just made; karate is great for kids!  With one catch. The catch is this; one of the parents must participate with the child. You heard right. Oh yes, you will find a thousand karate schools and clubs more then willing to take your child without you. They want your money. We understand that the vast majority of parents will send their children elsewhere before they will participate, good! You are confused, this is understandable, but there is a very good reason for this position. Karate is more then a physical activity of punching, kicking and yelling, much more. Karate is about the self, self-respect, self-esteem, self-control.  Unfortunately we must learn respect for others before we can respect ourselves. Have esteem for another before we have our own. See someone with self-control before we learn self-control. These lessons are not easily learned. These are lessons that take time and mentoring. The mentors role is paramount to the successful development of the child’s self. There are questions to answer, lessons to explain and reinforcement to be given. These are not things that a stranger should provide. If they do, that is who the child will look to, will respect, will obey. That person should be the child’s parent, only they truly have the child’s best interest at heart. Only by example of their parents can children attain these lessons.

Hopefully you now see the light. Karate is a great activity for children. They learn about body movements and body mechanics two important concepts that help children gain an awareness of their body and learn how to coordinate movement. Karate uses a lot of energy in a positive, controlled, constructive way. Karate is a competition with yourself.  This is especially important for children that shy from the pressures of group activities.  This is not say that karate is not competitive, it can be, but the extent of that competitiveness is controlled by the individual, the child.  You must learn to compete with yourself before facing an opponent.  The physical aspects of karate or any activity have a positive impact on the child’s growing body and mind.  There is a certain clarity that comes from demanding physical activity.  Karate teaches children how to listen, learn, socialize, win and lose with dignity, skills they will keep forever.  Of course, everything mentioned hinges on having the right instructor, the right club, the Willington Karate Club!

See you at the Gym!

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7 Reasons Everyone Should Practice Karate

Karate, Training Comments

There are a million ways to answer this question. And it is a question that gets asked a lot! When people (young and old) think of karate or more generally the martial arts they picture a violent sport filled with conflict and aggression. Nothing could be further from the truth, at least for true karate. It is for this reason I write this article. If you have a remote interest in karate or have to periodically answer the above question, read this article.

There are seven reasons why everyone should practice karate or at least why they do practice karate!

  1. Self-Defense
  2. Fitness
  3. Confidence
  4. Coordination
  5. Focus
  6. Discipline
  7. Something Different

Self Defense

Regardless of age, this is the number one reason people are drawn to karate. Feeling safe is important to everyone, no one likes to feel unsafe. Feeling safe is equivalent with feeling empowered. While it is dangerous to feel invincible the confidence that comes with knowing how to defend yourself and your family is empowering. Learning self defense is the equivalent with saying…No More! No more will I be a victim, pushed around because I feel I have no choice. No more will I rush to my destination with my head down, a sinking feeling in my stomach. These are some of the descriptions I have heard over the years.

Self Defense is a broad term used to describe any situation when we are attacked by an agressor and choose to react with defensive measures. Guns, mace, pepper spray, screach alarms, 911, pens, fists, anything that is handy can be refered to as a self defense tool. Many find comfort in carrying some or all of these self defense tools. We must be mindful that these are only self defense tools and as such require two things. First they must be in-hand, having a can of pepper spray in your pocket when you are attacked will have no effect on your attacker if you can not use it. The second requirement, understanding and experience. Without an understanding of how the self defense tool works and some experience using it the tool is as useless as a level to someone who knows nothing about carpentry. It is important that people understand these two requirements, many self defense programs advocate the use of these tools without making these facts clear. Unless you plan on carrying your self defense tool in your hand at all times it will be of little use, since most attackers do not announce their intensions.

Enter karate. Karate is the only self defense tool that is always in hand, why because the only tools in karate are your hands and your feet. Since it is doubtful you will leave home without these you will always have them ready! That answers the first requirement of a self defense tool. What about the second requirement? The answer, Training. Anyone who takes a short self defense course and does not practice and take an occational refresher course is defensless, worse they typically don’t know it.

Self defense is a martial art. This is why karate is a good for self defense. Bear in mind there is a significant difference between a karate and self defense course. A self defense course is a crash course in basic techniques that if practiced regularly with periodic refresher courses is an excellent self defense tool. Karate is much more. A karate class provides a long term class structure designed so the student can all of the components of self defense and martial arts, theory, body mechanics, blocks, defenses, vulerabilities and mental control. A karate class is much more because the student learns the material through much repetition and practice. Karate once learned can not be forgotten, it becomes a part of who you are.

Notice in the above passage when listing the components of a karate class the use of the word defenses, not attacks. Your attention is drawn to this because self defense, karate, the martial arts are not meant for agression. To use any of these for agression is to corrupt their intended use and weaken yourself. A true karate-ka never initiates a conflict, physically, verbally, or mentally, they should and normally do however finish them. This mindset is important for true self defense.


Fitness is the second most frequent reason for practicing karate. Karate training can be intense however the beauty is that easch student can advance at their own pace. While karate is not considered an aerobic exercise (Types of Exercise) since by definition this means raising your heart rate to 70-80% capacity for 20 minutes or more, it is intense. It is a rare case that you leave the Dojo with drenching your gee. Sparring is very aerobic and many of the warm-up exercises are considered aerobic also. Most karate students augment their training with aerobic exercises like jumping rope, running and swimming. Karate is similar to swimming in that it exercises your entire body allowing you to find muscles you didn’t know you had.

Karate training will improve your stamina, strength, speed and flexibility. Because of the intensity of the training karate will improve your overall fitness and body awareness. Karate training will strengthen and develop almost every muscle in your body. Through proper dedicated training you can expect to reduce your resting heart rate and feel healthier. The question always comes up, how long will it take to…? The answer is the same regardless of the topic, it depends on how much time you put into it. Everyones motivations and needs are different, this is true for your training program too. One thing is certain, karate will get you physically fit and feeling great about yourself.


The typical student that begins karate training is somewhat subdued, quiet, and often timid. These are not the traits of confidence. This is normal for most because they are trying something new and unknown. There are new people, strange clothing, and uncomfortable exercises that make them feel foolish when they attempt them. Every student progresses at a different pace Over confidence in a new student can be dangerous as they may lack the respect of what they are learning. Many traits get mistaken for confidence it is important to understand that being outgoing is not the same as being confident.

Confidence: “the quality or state of being certain”. Karate instills confidence by teaching each of us our limitations. Karate instills confidence by helping us overcome fear. Karate instills confidence by improving our image of ourselves. Karate instills confidence by placing you in control of your body for the first time in your life. This confidence spills into every aspect of your life, making you a stronger, better person. The confidence karate instills is humble and hard won, it is free of ego. This is the secret of true confidence, knowing without having to say it.

So how does karate do ALL these things? The answer is simple, practice. Practicing karate is a demanding activity and when completed successfully leaves the student with a feeling of accomplishment. Practice helps the student learn to control their physical, emotional, and mental self, thus increasing their confidence level in any given situation. Practicing karate (training) is an individual AND a group activity. Why is this important to building confidence? There are different dynamics involved with individual and group activities that boost our confidence. Even when practicing as an individual in the Dojo there is the watchful eye of others. This scruteny forces you to become at ease in the presence of others regardless of your activity, to be confident. Group activities build your ability to communicate with others and work in a team unit. As students advance they begin to instruct new students under the supervision of ranking members. This activity forces self-confidence since the new student believes in your abilities. Confidence is built in everything we do in the martial arts, for uncertainty in one’s self will lead to defeat in every aspect of our life.


This is not one that we hear stated specifically very often, yet it deserves its own bullet. Karate training develops the students awareness of their body, how it functions and how to control it. This process leads to improving the coordination of the student. So why is this so important in the grand scheme of things? Good coordination helps to build confidence and enhance your karate performance.


Parent’s often raise this reason for beginning their children in karate. Learning karate requires that the student focus on the instructor, themselves and their surroundings. When we say focus we do not mean pay attention like in a classroom. We mean focus your consciousness, mind and body on a single task. To do this requires the student to learn to block out distractions. This does not mean the student is unaware of their surroundings, simply that they learn to only register what is important to their current focus. While sparring it is not important to know who is coming in and out of the dojo. This is not to say that you should be ignorant to your surroundings, however that information should not distract you.

Karate is a demanding discipline, only with proper focus can you master yourself and the requirements of your training. For some people focus comes easily, for others it is a hard fought battle of self control. Because of the demanding nature of karate students must focus on many minute details and technical aspects of their training in order to perfect one simple move. These demands build focus, focus calms your mind and a calm mind is more confident. Through karate training you will learn to focus and this is a powerful tool in all arenas of your life.


If karate is one thing it is structured. The structue of karate is hierarchical, their is one head instructor (Sensei) and the students exist at various levels in the heirarchy. You can not maintain structure without discipline. In karate this discipline is maintained through the respect for the head instructor. Like a military leader there can be no question of orders given. When training there will be times when you are instructed to do something that does not seem to be right. If you falter or question (before) you derespect this discipline and structure. The disipline and respect form trust and to falter or question is to break this equation. I often refer to the movie “The Karate Kid”, the student does not understand the demands of his teacher but follows. Only when the teach see it is time does he reveal the wisdom of his actions to the student…”Wax-on, Wax-off!”.

Like this movie there is no room for disobedience in karate training. Because of this the instructor is strict when dealing with such actions. He must be to preserve the discipline of the dojo, rules are not meant to be broken! The foundations of discipline in karate stem from the fact that it is a martial art. Only through discipline can we surpass our limitations. Only through discipline, trust, respect and structure can we learn to apply these same principles to our lives as self-discipline, confidence, self-respect, and control over ourselves. This is the importance of discipline.

Something Different

Something different. This is the reason the searchers give for wanting to learn karate. The searchers is a term I use to describe those who have not found something they like and can stick with yet. Curiosity is sometimes another descriptor given describing the desire to try karate. It’s all good. The reason for wanting to try karate does not matter. What is important is that you stay the course and learn karate. If for no other reason then to be able to point to one thing in your life that YOU accomplished. One thing you did that was fun, rewarding and challenging. For some karate is to hard, to time consuming or to introspective. Karate takes time, but so does anything that is worthwhile.

Thank you for your interest in our club and karate. I hope to see you in class soon!

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The Importance of Breathing

Training Comments

Breath for Life

How much do you know about breathing? You do it every moment of every day. You’ve done it since you were born. We all know that we must breath in order to live. It is so necessary we do not even need to think about breathing for it to occur. Think of how inconvenient it would be to have to remember to breath! In this article I will discuss the correct way,yes there is an incorrect way. Before we proceed I need you to take a moment and observe how you breath. This will be difficult, but here are some example questions you can ask yourself.

  • Do I breath in through my mouth or nose?
  • Do I exhale through my mouth or nose?
  • Do I hold my breath between breaths?
  • Do I inhale and exhale in a consistent cycle?
  • Does my chest rise and fall?
  • How quickly do I inhale/exhale?

Have you answered these questions? Good, this will give you an objective point to start from. Reading the article and then answering the questions will be difficult as you probably have no preconceived idea of how you breath, having never thought about it before. This is typical for most things the Karate student experiences, they are learning about their bodies and how to control them.

Imagine you are a pilot in a futuristic airplane. The airplane is completely computerized and always fly on autopilot. This means you the pilot have sat in the pilots seat for your entire career but never actually flown the plane. You are just along for the ride. Now imagine that either the auto-pilot failed or out of curiosity and boredom you turned it off! Do you actually think you would be a competent pilot? If you answer anything but No you need a reality check! This is the way of the Karate student. While we think we are complete control of ourselves and our bodies the exact opposite is true. Only until we realize this and accept it can we take control and begin to learn to ‘pilot’ our own bodies.

Back to the lesson at hand. Now that you have an idea of how you breath let us examine the proper way. Very few people breath the correct way as adults. Everyone breaths the correct way as an infant. Yes, we actually forget how to breath correctly. I do not know the reason we forget but the majority of us do forget. So the moment of truth, the correct way to breath is through your diaphragm. The correct term for this is Diaphragmatic Breathing. This is not a guarded martial arts secret, however, I believe the discovery of it’s importance is founded in the martial arts.

To determine if you breath through your diaphragm refer to the questions you answered above. Does your chest rise and fall when you breath? Yes, then you do not breath through your diaphragm. When breathing through your diaphragm your stomach should rise and fall, not your chest. So why is this the Right way to breath, you ask? There are a number of reasons. One of the most important reasons is the increased amount of oxygen you get when breathing this way.

Your diaphragm is the muscle that runs across the base of your rib cage and separates your abdominal cavity (intestines) from your chest cavity. The diaphragm exerts pressure against the lower lobes of your lungs. To demonstrate the effect of this pressure, think of pressing a glass upside-down into a container of water. The glass is filled with air, as you push the glass into the water the glass fills with some water however can never completely fill with water. The only way to fill the glass in this position is to put a hole in the bottom of the glass so the air can escape. In the human case the only way to relieve the pressure is to extend your diaphragm.

Before we proceed I want to detail the benefits of learning to breath through your diaphragm. First and foremost, more oxygen. The increased capacity of your lungs increases the amount of power you can produce when practising Karate, especially when you Kei! Diaphragmic breathing massages your kidneys, increases blood flow, and purification of the blood. You expend less energy to breath. Your lungs retain less stale air that gets trapped in the upper lobes when breathing through your chest. The diaphragm is more efficient since it is an ‘internal muscle’ and does not need to work against the rib cage.

Given all of these benefits with NO negatives diaphragmic breathing is the only way to breath! So how do you learn to breath through your diaphragm again? One way is through practice and conscious effort. This is difficult and can take considerable time given that when you are not thinking about it you will probably revert. There is a simple ‘quicker’ way to train yourself to breath diaphragmically. This should also not be attempted alone in case you pass out or have other breathing difficulties. When you are home take a belt and tighten the belt around your rib cage just below your Pectoral Muscles. You want to make the belt tight enough to restrict breathing into the upper lobes of your lungs, but not so tight that your rib cage cannot expand at all. With the belt in place begin to consciously breath through your abdomen (diaphragm). You should find this is the only way you can get enough oxygen into your lungs without feeling you are running out of oxygen. DO NOT HOLD YOUR BREATH, keep your breathing smooth and rhythmic. Remember you are reprogramming your way of breathing so do it right. Keep the belt on for approximately an hour at a time. If you do this periodically and consciously try to only breath through your diaphragm you should be breathing diaphragmatic-ly  by the end of a week.

You are now on the road to increased power and stamina in your karate training. Your body is also on its way to being healthier and more productive. Check you progress periodically to make sure you are breathing the right way. Remember your breathing is the foundation of your power, clarity, and strength without it we are powerless to advance or control our lives.

The more you know the better you will do.

This article is written by: Mitchell Saba, WKC senior member and instructor.

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