Author Archives: Bill Viola

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

wako
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, college age, etc.

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 Greater Pittsburgh Area

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.

ShinGiTai

Shin Gi Tai

We have all met them.

Those unique Karate teachers that make everything feel like instant enlightenment.

Those sensei who have a seemingly magical ability to repeatedly find critical points of improvement in an art that we’ve been practising for years. Those sensei who always make you feel safe and happy in the dojo, yet somehow manage to push your limits above and beyond what you thought was even possible (often without you even noticing!).

Those sensei who, not unlike a burning candle, consume themselves to light the way for others.

(If you haven’t met a sensei like this, don’t worry. You were probably just too busy to notice.)

But how do they do it?

How do these inspiring individuals find ways to constantly improve and encourage their students to become the best they can be? There has to be a secret recipe!

Well, I’ve had this theory on my mind for some time now…

And I think I’ve found the answer:

I call it the “Shin-Gi-Tai of Teaching”.

That’s right.

  • Shin.
  • Gi.
  • Tai.

Also known in English as the mind (shin/kokoro), technique (gi/waza) and body (tai/karada), the three famous theoretical pillars of a “perfect” Karate practitioner.

And, in this case, of a “perfect” Karate teacher.

See, it has often been said that if you are to achieve ultimate balance in your Karate practise, you need to keep your body, mind and technique in perfect synchronization. Having too much of one thing, or too little of another, will disturb the equilibrium and make you a one-sided practitioner.

We need to be harmonious.

And that goes not only for how we choose to practise Karate with ourselves, but for how we express it to other people too.

So let me briefly break down what I believe are the three main styles of teaching, why they suck, and how to finally become the ultimate teacher by combining them all.

#1. Shin – The Preacher

If you are too heavily leaning into the shin (mind/spirit) aspect of Karate’s shin-gi-tai trinity, you are what I would call a Preacher.

That is; somebody who likes to “talk the talk”, but doesn’t really “walk the walk”.

(Or, he/she might have “walked the walk” a long time ago – say, twenty years and 110 pounds ago!)

A Preacher loves talking to his/her students about “how one should practise this”, “why one should practise that”, “who’s good”, “who’s bad”, and so on. A Preacher loves pouring out his/her “knowledge” onto anybody that cares enough to listen, and surprisingly often he/she comes through as a very intelligent and caring person.

However, the actual preaching often consists of little more than esoteric mumbo-jumbo, pseudo-taoistic Steven Seagal crap and loads of unconfirmed rumors about secret old-school Okinawan family-Karate experts.

And you will probably swallow it all…

That’s what happens when people get too caught up in the concept ofshin – our mysterious mind.

Be aware of a Preacher disguised as a sensei.

#2. Gi – The Technician

Next we have the Technician

A Technician is somebody obsessed with the concept of technique (gi) and its constant practise. Pounding away at teaching new skills and techniques, night after night, caught up in teaching the finer details of the most uninteresting techniques you can ever imagine (with a relatively small amount of time dedicated to theory or principles for better understanding the practical usage of the actual techniques), a Technician would rather slide down a barbed wire banister into a bucket of alcohol rather than see somebody make the slightest technical error in their dojo.

Way too often, as in the case of the Preacher, a Technician will come off as quite smart and savvy since he/she can easily detect the slightest “mistake” from across a crowded dojo.

The ugly truth though, is that behind this technical façade hides a substantial lack of comprehension in any other aspects of Karate.

Although the Technician can impress with a meticulous care for tiny details, his/her students will rarely, if ever, have any power behind their punches, snap behind their strikes, weight behind their kicks or spirit behind their kiai.

They will just be drones – stuck in a beehive of meaningless details.

Be aware of a Technician disguised as a sensei.

#3: Tai – The Coach

Lastly, we have the Coach.

A Coach is, as the name implies, somebody who’s main interest is the physical (tai, body) development of his/her students and associated training culture.

Needless to say, peeking into the dojo of a Coach is quite the adventure; if will be filled to the brim with people doing all kinds of hardening exercises, sit-ups, push-ups, jumping jacks, stretching, weight training, grunting and being generally masculine (in a primitive kind of way, not the metrosexual way).

For some reason, a lot of Goju-ryu, Kyokushinkai and Uechi-ryu dojo spring to mind, but I digress…

A Coach sincerely believes that purely by developing the body – through strengthening it, stretching it, hardening it, occasionally hurting it – is the ultimate way to achieve enlightenment when it comes to Karate. That, and yelling like crazy.

And, just like when it comes to the Preacher and the Technician, the Coach almost always comes of as a bona fide expert in his field (indeed, his subscription to Muscle & Fitness Magazine is probably older than you are) as he tosses around the latest training terms like a friggin fruit salad.

But, as we know by now, it’s all just smoke and mirrors.

The truth is, under the surface of physical training, there is not a whole lot of understanding going on when it comes to the deeper aspects of Karate.

But that is, I guess what make a Coach a Coach.

Be aware of a Coach disguised as a sensei.

______________________________

So, what’s the conclusion then?

How can we, by having briefly examined the three aspects of shin-gi-tai(mind-technique-body) from a teaching perspective understand the actual role of a true sensei better?

Well, it’s pretty obvious, isn’t it?

The answer is the same no matter what your role is – teacher or student.

You need to have them all.

And, perhaps more importantly, they need to be well-balanced.

To me, that’s a real sensei.

A Preacher, Technician and Coach – all in one.

Which, in the end – as everyone who’s met that special sensei can testify – truly proves there really is such a thing as “a whole greater than the sum of its parts”.

The parts you already know.

The whole?

That’s a sensei.

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