Author Archives: Bill Viola

Mokuso #Focus

Mokuso 黙想

To Focus and Clear One’s Mind

mokuso
Gabby Viola in “Mokuso” a position of focus performed in Seiza where students clear their minds and prepare to train.

At Allegheny Shotokan “Viola Karate” we teach our kids much more than punches and kicks.  We are martial wayists (budoka) or those who practice the martial way.  We prepare them for the real battles–Mental.  Mokuso is the Japanese term for meditation and we have adopted this practice to help clear our minds before we train. For our Norwin Ninjas we refer to this practice as “5-seconds of Shizuka” a Sensei Says skill.  Loosely translated it means, “5-seconds of silence” and helps calm the children down after a fun drill. Either way, Mokuso is practiced to help relieve stress, sharpen our minds, and channel energy.

Mokuso 黙想 is an opportunity to eliminate all the stress weighing you down and enter a state of peace.  This does not have any religious significance at our dojo, it is purely an exercise for controlling our emotions and concentration.

  • 黙 (mo/dama) Silent

  •   (so) Thoughts

While in your “silent thoughts” you should practice correct breathing.  This will help relive tension (stress).  It should be from your 腹 “hara” aka belly (not your stomach but more of a metaphysical area).  Why?  Your center is where your energy is stored.  If you observe a new born, or even animals you will notice the abdominal breathing. As adults, we tend to breath more from our chest.

Your tanden 丹田 (field) is a few inches below your navel (deep within the hara). Samurai believed that this is where your spirit lived.  It is essentially the body’s center of gravity.  The tanden acts as a reservoir of vital energy 気 (Ki Energy) and through correct breathing you can charge🔌 these batteries 🔋 so to speak.

FYI:  We typically perform Mokuso in 正座 “Seiza” which literally means proper/correct sitting in Japanese. (Kneeling on the floor and folding legs under the thighs and 尻 “shiri” (your butt 😂)  The tops of the feet are flat and big toes cross.

  • 丹 (tan) medicine (medical substance)

  • 田 (den) field

Physiologically the diaphragm controls the breathing.  So one should Inhale through the nose (slowly from deep within the center) and slowly exhale through your mouth.

mushin
Sensei Viola Sr. and Jack Sensei Bodell

This training also prepares you the concept of mushin 無心 (no mind).

  • 無 (mu) not or without

  • 心 (shin) heart-mind

Mushin is having a mind “not” fixed or occupied by thought or emotion…thus the mind is open to everything.In this state you can be to everything. Mushin is free from anger, fear, or ego during combat. In terms of Kumite, I like empathize this mindset as “no fear.”  You feel no pain, you are unstoppable.

I believe you can exhibit Mushin in all areas of training:  Calisthenics, Kihon, Kumite etc.

colin madden, xander eddy, ethan gaudi
Mushin (Free From Pain)

Mushin (No Fear) Shihan Viola #kumite in the 1960s 

In moments of silence, it is said we can discover a pure side of ourselves. Some call it living in the moment. This “void” is a difficult concept to grasp. In Japan there is an expression, “mizu no kokoro” which means “mind like water.” The idea is to “become one” with your attacker in order to make an “instant” reactions (just like still water reacts when its touched).

So practice emptying your cup…

bruce lee kumite

 

“Empty your mind, be formless shapeless — like water. If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle and it become the bottle. You put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now, water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.” -Bruce Lee

 

 

mokuso

PIND Kick A Thon 5k

pind kick a thon

2018 PIND 5K, 1 Mile Fun Walk & Kick-a-thon

WHO is PIND?  Pittsburgh Institute for Neurodegenerative Diseases (Parkinson’s Disease, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), Huntington’s Disease, Stroke, and Alzheimer’s Disease).

WHAT:  Community service is an important part of building character.  Our dojo is supporting the Annual PIND walk/run by establishing a kick-a-thon fundraiser throughout August.  Students will kick in 1-mile kick-a-thon and parents are welcome to sign up and walk along side them.

WHY:  PIND is an organization that Sensei Bill and all of the Norwin Ninjas and Allegheny Shotokan supports.  He lost his Grandmother and Uncle to complications caused by Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.  It is a cause near and dear to his heart.

WHEN:  July-August raise money. Collect sponsors to support you kicking for 1-mile.  Labor Day Monday September 3rd 8AM is the Kick-A-Thon.  Students will kick for 1-mile. It’s a challenge!  Get ready to sweat!!!!!! Actual Kick-A-Thon is Labor Day.

WHERE:  Boyce Park, Monroeville

 

*Important information.  You must register online by August 20th to guarantee a t-shirt.  You do not have to walk, run or kick to make a donation.  We ask that all students try and raise at least the minimum of $25.  Kick-a-thon will follow the 1-mile walk.  Event begins @ 8AM Boyce Park, Monroeville.

pind 5k registration

 

 

 

Here are some photos of last year’s PIND Kick-a-thon:PIND (Pittsburgh Institute for Neurodegenerative Diseases) 5K walk/run/kick held annually Labor Day at Boyce Park in Monroeville.

PIND offers a unique twist to the traditional 5K by incorporating a “Kick-a-thon” portion where local martial artists literally kick for a mile non-stop alongside the walkers. It is a first of its kind in event in the region, possibly the country. The estimated amount of kicks thrown by each participant is 2000, collectively they hope to hit 200,000 kicks to raise awareness.

The “Kick” concept was developed former State Senator Sean Logan along with and Irwin native Bill Viola Jr. (owner of Norwin Ninjas and Allegheny Shotokan Karate). Logan was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in his mid-forties and Viola spent years caring for his Grandmother who passed away from neurodegenerative complications.

Viola said, “The cause is near and dear to my heart. I’ve been looking for a way to fight this epidemic, and having my school ‘Kick’ for a cure was a perfect fit. Building character is an important part of martial arts. My students exceeded my expectations by collecting donations.” Rayden Galley led the group of 50 kickers by donating nearly $500.  The karate students in total donated over $4500 to PIND bringing the 2017 efforts to over $100,000 for the entire project with aid from corporate sponsors and the surrounding communities.

PIND spearheads efforts to find a cure for Parkinson’s Disease, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), Huntington’s Disease, Stroke, and Alzheimer’s Disease. The kids have already made plans to “Kick Parksinsons” again next year. For more information please visit: PIND5K.org

US Open

us open karate

Viola Karate – Pittsburgh Area Karate Dojo Wins

US Open ISKA World Martial Arts Championships

The All-Star Team “Kumite” traveled to Orlando Florida for the 2018 The US Open held July 6-7 at Disney’s Coronado Springs Convention Center.  The tournament, broadcast live on ESPN2 and ESPN3, is recognized as the world’s largest sport martial arts competition with over 40 countries and 6 continents present. The two-day tournament showcased 200,000 square feet of competition that included karate and kickboxing.

 

Representing Pittsburgh were 10 members from the Viola Karate Dojo including Sensei Bill Viola Jr., (Head Coach), Sensei Cameron Klos (Player Coach), and Sensei Gary Klos (Assistant Coach). All members placed in the top two in their respective divisions.  The students were the only champions from the Western Pennsylvania region.

Results include: Luke Lokay:  Gold 14-15 black belt sparring, Silver Clash Contact Fighting, Stephen Jackowski:  Gold 12-13 Advanced Kata, Bronze Advanced Weapons, Nicolette Jackowski: Gold 14-15 Intermediate, Silver Kata, Lucy Lokay: Gold 12-13 Advanced Gold sparring,  Gabby Viola Gold 6-7 year old Advanced Sparring, Silver Kata, Taylor Provence: Silver 10-11, Silver Sparring and Xander Eddy 4x Gold 8-9 year Advanced.

Lokay and Eddy each earned a spot to represent the United States as members of the 2018 “Team USA” at the Pan American Kickboxing Championship in Cancun, Mexico October 24-28th.  Lokay will represent America in the 63- Kg division and Eddy secured the 30- Kg weight class. The selection process is limited to the current national champions officially recognized by their National Olympic Committees or Ministry of Sports.

Lokay, a Norwin High School student explains, “Representing my country is such huge honor. I am training every day to make my family and coaches proud. I know a lot of the kids at the dojo are counting on me.” Lokay and Eddy each have been training at Allegheny Shotokan “Viola” Karate in North Huntingdon since they were 4-years-old. Their Sensei, Bill Viola Jr. explains, “Luke and Xander set themselves apart with work ethic. They are both naturally talented, but it’s what you do with that talent that gets you to the next level. They have the determination and dedication to win.”

Eddy is one of the youngest members to make Team USA but has already amassed an impressive resume. In 2017, he earned the Open-Weight Grand Championship Title at North American Open in Las Vegas, Nevada. The event was part of UFC’s International Fight Week. Eddy proudly explains, “I only had one thing on my mind—win.” The victory put him on the radar of the coaching staff. Lokay and Eddy are the first US Team members to earn a team selection for The World Association of Kickboxing Organizations (WAKO) from Western Pennsylvania.

Read more

 

 

WAKO Team USA

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WAKO Team USA Members

Congratulations to Xander Eddy and Luke Lokay for earning a spots on “Team USA” at the WAKO National Team Trials in Kansas City.  The two have been selected to represent America at the WAKO Team Trials in Kansas City and our official members of “Team USA” At the Pan-American Games (Mexico)and Jr. World Championships (Italy).  Austin Hladek won Bronze and an alternate position for the Pan-American Games.  Gavin Hladek made his debut in the black belt division placing as a finalist.

Jesolo Lido (VE), Italy, 15-23 September 2018:
WAKO Cadets and Juniors World Championships (All Disciplines)

Cancun, Mexico, 24-28 October 2018:
10th PanAmerican Kickboxing Championships (All Disciplines)

wako pan am

Today WAKO counts on 128 affiliated nations in the 5 continents, which are officially recognized by either National Olympic Committee or relevant National Government Sports Authority.

wako worlds

The World Association of Kickboxing Organizations or WAKO; is the largest international organization of kickboxing, and the governing body of Amateur kickboxing sport certified by SportAccord. It is formed of two organizations: WAKO for amateur sports and WAKO PRO for professional sports. Besides holding world championships, WAKO sanctions the champions of kickboxing in six rule styles.

WAKO holds a world championships every two years, with youth (18 and under) and adults (18–45) on separate years; only national teams are accepted. Each member country can present only one competitor in each weight class. Competitors are commonly the national champion of their weight class in that particular kickboxing style and many are also officially recognized by their National Olympic Committees or Ministry of Sports.

WAKO kickboxing was one of thirteen combat sports participating in the first ever World Combat Games which were held in Beijing, China under the patronage of the IOC and SportAccord in 2010. WAKO once again participated in the 2013 World Combat Games which were held in St. Petersburg Russia in October of 2013 under the patronage of the IOC and SportA  ccord. Three rule styles were involved at the Combat Games – Low Kick, Point Fighting, and Full Contact. 

wako

WAKO USA and WAKO PRO govern and sanction the sport of kickboxing in three rule styles that compete inside a boxing ring: Full Contact, Low Kick, and K-1.
WAKO USA governs and supports martial arts competition which takes place on a matted floor in four styles: Point Fighting, Light Contact, Kick-Light, and Musical Forms.
Every two years the WAKO World Championships brings together the best athletes from around the world to compete in each rule style. Each of WAKO’s 85 affiliated national federations can present only 1 competitor in each weight class and the WAKO World Championships determines who truly is the best of the best.

wako usa
Team USA Members Luke Lokay and Xander Eddy

Womens Self Defense 👊

womens self defense irwin pa

Schedule a Women’s Self Defense Workshop, Seminar, or Class for your group, club or business. We specialize in work parties (team building), girl scouts, women’s clubs, neighborhood groups, realtors, college age students, mom and daughter lessons, etc.#empower yourself with our self defense and self protection classes.

womens self defense class

Women’s Self-Defense Workshop serving the Greater Pittsburgh area (Irwin, North Huntingdon, Greensburg, Monroeville, North Versailles, White Oak, Penn Hills, Latrobe, etc.)

1-Hour clinic includes the basic skills of self-protection

  • Awareness
  • Self-Defense
  • Prevention
  • Personal Safety

Learning “self-defense” starts with you looking strong, alert, and confident.  Being prepared is always the first line of defense against a violent assault.

Allegheny Shotokan Karate has been serving the community since 1969 as the most established dojo in the region.  Learn from certified professional instructors with the most experience in their field.  To learn more about the award-winning curriculum, visit www.alleghenyshotokan.com (member of USA Karate Hall of Fame).

All instructors retain Clearances:  Criminal History (PA State Police) Child Abuse Clearance (Dept. of Human Services) FBI Federal Criminal History Clearance.

womens self defense

Location:  Allegheny Shotokan “Viola” karate (Norwin Ninjas) Greater Pittsburgh Area. #womens #selfdefense #selfprotection #seminar #workshop

12591 US Route 30 Irwin (North Huntingdon), PA 15642 (GDC Jewelry Plaza underneath)

Bassai Dai

Shihan’s favorite kata.  Bassai Dai.

Okinawan martial artists call it Passai while Japanese karate-ka refer to it as Bassai.  Master Funakoshi originally spelled the name of this form パッサイ (Passai) but changed it hold more Japanese connotation later.  In Korean the kata has several names: BassaheeBal SePal ChePalsekBal SaeBa Sa Hee, and Bal Sak.

The origin of “Bassai” remains obscure but some historians believe it dates back to ancient “leopard-lion” Chinese forms: various dialects called it   Baoshi, Pausai, or baasai in which had stomping action and similar movements.  Some hold it represents Wuxing Quan Kung Fu while others say it was part of Fukuen Crane style.  It’s a mystery.  Most scholars agree that the kata was brought to Okinawa by Sokon Matsumrua and budoka of his generation.

Passai (拔塞, katakana パッサイ), also Bassai (バッサイ), is one of the most recognizable “kata” in the world with countless Okinawan, Japanese and Korean variations.  Versions of the kata include Passai sho (拔塞小) or minor Passai and Passai dai (拔塞大) or major Passai.

拔(batsu) is “to pull out or to extract”

In chinese 拔(bá)” can mean “to seize or capture”

塞(sai/soku)” means a “place of strategic importance” or fort

Bassai (披塞 or 抜砦) in Japanese literally means to remove an obstruction. The Kanji (Japanese characters) 抜塞 are variants of the Chinese 拔塞 (bá sāi) so the meaning falls somewhere in between.

1973 translation of Karate-do Kyohan lists Funakoshi’s explanation of the form name as “Breaking through [penetrate] an enemy’s fortress.” This expresses more of the students attitude then the literal translation.

 

 

 

Shin

The Fives “Spirits” of Budo (martial way) are:

  • Shoshin: (初心) Beginners’ Mind
  • Zanshin: (残心) Remaining Mind
  • Mushin: (無心) No Mind
  • Fudoshin: (不動心) Immovable Mind
  • Senshin (先心) Purified spirit; Enlightened Attitude/Mind

Shoshin

The state of shoshin is that of a beginners mind.  It is a state of awareness the remains always fully conscious, aware, and prepared to see things for the first time.  The attitude of shoshin is essential to continued learning.  Great quote:  “Don’t expect me to teach you.  You must steal the techniques for yourselves.”
Zanshin
The spirit of zanshin is the state of the remaining.  It is often described as a sustained and heightened state of awareness.  In karate technique terms, true zanshin is a state of focus or concentration before, during, and after the execution of a move.  Zanshin is the state of mind that allows us to stay spiritually connected, not only to a single attacker, but to multiple attackers and even an entire context; a space, a time, an event.

 

Mushin
No mind, a mind without ego.  A mind like a mirror which reflects and dos not judge.”  The original term was “mushin no shin”, meaning, “mind of no mind.”  It is a state of mind without fear, anger, or anxiety.  Mushin is sometimes described by the phrase, “mizu no kokoro”, which means, “mind like water”.  The phrase is a metaphor describing the pond that clearly reflects it’s surroundings when calm, but whose images are obscured once a pebble is dropped into its waters.
Fudoshin
An unshakable mind and an immovable spirit is the state of fudoshin.  It is courage and stability displayed both mentally and physically.  Rather than indicating rigid, inflexibility, fudoshin describes a condition that is not easily upset by internal thoughts or external forces.  It is capable of receiving a strong attack while retaining composure and balance.  It receives and yields lightly, grounds to the earth, and reflects aggression back to the source.

 

Senshin
Senshin is a spirit that transcends the first four states of mind. Sen (as in sensei) means “before” and we know shin can mean mind, heart, soul spirit, truth etc.  It is a spirit that “harmonizes” the universe.  Senshin is a spirit of compassion that embraces and serves all humanity and whose function is to reconcile discord in the world.  It holds all life to be sacred.  Fully embracing senshin is essentially equivalent to becoming enlightened and may well exceed the scope of daily martiala rts training.

 

Shoshin can free a student from a frustrating plateau of learning, giving him the sight to see what he would not see before.  Zanshin can raise one’s total awareness enhancing randori and free-style training.  Mushin can release the student’s anxiety under pressure enabling better performance during testing.  Fudoshin, can provide the confidence to stand one’s ground in the face of overwhelming physical attacks.  The serious aikidoka should find ways of incorporating these budo spirits in his daily training.

Shoshin: This is like a little baby born into the World, eyes wide open trying to absorb as much information as they can.

Zanshin: Is a state of heightened awareness. Great example 2 vs 1 kumite.

Mushin: in like being in the “zone”. Body just takes over with no thought.  Michael Jordan used to get into the “zone” and everything just worked.

Fudoshin: Self-control and strong composure. Student must show patience and hold their ground waiting for the opponent to attack so they can catch them.

Senshin: The ultimate mindset.  One we all wish to obtain.

FYI:  Senshin is the name of the “Sophisticated Mind” brand of Sake.  This may be cheating, lol.

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