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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.

Viola Karate

viola karate

Check out our 2017 Logo.  Viola Karate since 1969.  Building Champions in Life…  A Pittsburgh, PA Legacy.viola karate

Allegheny Shotokan Karate aka “Viola Karate” founded in 1969, is an award winning Martial Arts School. The club was founded by Sensei William Viola II. The name “Allegheny” represented the school’s first location in Allegheny County (East Allegheny High School) in the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania area. “Shotokan,” is the base style of Japanese Karate taught. Since its establishment, the school has held classes in the suburbs of Pittsburgh including Turtle Creek, North Versailles, Paintertown, White Oak, Irwin, North Irwin. The school currently resides in Irwin / North Huntingdon, Pennsylvania.

The dojo was founded on the traditional principles of the Japanese Karate Association (JKA) and The All American Karate Federation and later became affiliated with the United States Karate Association and USA Karate Federation.

In the late 1960s Viola began teaching private lessons in the Brownsville, PA area. By 1969 Viola accepted a position at East Allegheny High School and established Allegheny Shotokan Karate in the school gymnasium. Among his earliest students was fellow teacher Keith Bertoluzzi, who was the Master of Ceremonies at the Holiday House, Monroeville, PA. Jack Bodell, would become the Viola’s first black belt and later a member of the United States Secret Service responsible for the protection of President Jimmy Carter.

Mixed Martial Arts
In 1980, Allegheny Shotokan Karate member Dave Jones of North Huntingdon represented the school in the first Tough Guy Contest, a Mixed Martial Arts competition, by recording a TKO victory over Mike Murray of Vandergrift in the 3rd round.

Over the years, the dojo earned the nickname “Home of Champions” as a dominate force at martial arts competitions and kickboxing championships. Allegheny Shotokan has produced hundreds of regional, national, and international champions including titles from; Amateur Athletic Union (AAU), United States of America Karate Federation (USAKF), United States of American National Karate Federation (USANKF), National Black Belt League (NBL), Sport Karate International (SKI) North American Sport Karate Association (NASKA), and Police Athletic League (PAL) Pennsylvania Karate Rating Association (PKRA).

USA Karate Team Members Doug Selchan and Dustin Baldis began their training at the school. Selchan went on the win a Gold Medal the 1999 Pan-American Games for the United States. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karate_at_the_1999_Pan_American_Games Allegheny Shotokan Karate is the only karate school in Pennsylvania Karate Rating Association (PKRA) history to win all seven grand championships at the Pittsburgh Karate Championships in 1996. Viola’s son, Bill Viola won 8-consecutive black belt overall state titles (1992-1999) and was inducted into the PKRA Hall of Fame. In 1998 the school was honored by Arnold Schwarzenegger as the #1 Martial Arts team in the United States of America.

Allegheny Shotokan is the home of Team Kumite, an all-star travel team. The dojo is the most successful sport karate school in the Pittsburgh region producing World Champions in including; Sara Russell, Dominic Leader, 3x World Champion Terrance Tubio, 7x World Champion Alison Viola

Viola Family
William Viola has had the opportunity to teach all five of his children Shotokan Karate; Bill Viola, Addie Viola, Jacque Viola, Alison Viola, and Joce Viola have all earned black belts and have served as instructors at Allegheny Shotokan.

 

Antonio Brown

Antonio Brown Bill Viola jr Bill Viola Sr

Pittsburgh Steeler Team MVP and Pro Bowl Super Star Antonio Brown with Sensei Bill Viola and Master Bill Viola at the Kumite Classic, Pittsburgh, PA.  Allegheny Shotokan Karate is a proud partner of the Kumite Classic.

antonio-brown-towell

2011 Pittsburgh Steeler Team MVP and Pro Bowl Super Star Antonio Brown with Sensei Bill Viola and Master Bill Viola at the 2012 Kumite Classic, Pittsburgh, PA.  Allegheny Shotokan Karate is a proud partner of the Kumite Classic.

Sport Karate Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh Sport Karate

Pittsburgh Sport Karate is dedicated to the top sport martial artists in the Western PA region. The best of the best in pittsburgh karate, tae kwon do, tang doo do, kung fu, brazilian jiu-jitsu, submission grappling, kobudo, and all combat sport disciplines.  This is the #1 resource for news archives for Pittsburgh Karate tournaments, championships, competitions, seminars, and workshops. Pittsburgh the “Steel City” has produced some of the most legendary karate competitors in the country.  Champions Bleed Black and Gold!  The Kumite Classic is the mecca for martial arts, host of the area’s largest

Pittsburgh Karate Champion Dominic Leader

sport karate championship and the first and most established BJJ & Grappling tournament.  For more info visit www.pittsburghsportkarate.com

Who is the father of MMA

toughguys mma book

Father of MMA mixed martial arts

Who’s Your Daddy?

Alexander Cartwright, James Naismith and Walter Camp all share a similar rite of passage, each has been honored as the “father” of their respective sports: Baseball, Basketball and Football.  For all intents and purposes history credits them with invention, although each sport evolved incrementally from some inspiration or another.  While there may be scholarly debate about who, what, when, where and how each sport actually was conceived, history proves that the masterminds behind the original “rules and regulations” determine the birth of a sport, and with it the recognition of its original author, aka “the father.”

The journey towards mainstream status for every sport has endured long and winding roads, but each trailblazer took that same very defining first step—RULES.  It’s the creation of rules that distinguishes a game from simply goofing off and sport from spectacle.  While rules have certainly changed over the past century, the essence of each major sport is steeped in tradition.  Basketball, football, and baseball can trace their roots back to a pioneer who drafted a blueprint in an effort to standardize competition.  Embodied by awards that bear their namesake, the legacy of Cartwright, Naismith, and Camp are intact, but who is the father of MMA?  Who penned the holy grail of MMA rules?

The default response isn’t an individual at all but rather, “The UFC of course.” The nonchalant reaction bundles Rorion Gracie, Art Davie, Campbell McLaren, Bob Meyrowitz, Dana White and a host of others into a single entity so you don’t have to pinpoint exactly when the NHB became MMA.  Some would argue that pioneers like Jeff Blatnik, Larry Hazzard, John McCarthy, and Howard Petchler, who all had a hand in influencing modern MMA rules, should be in the conversation.  Each deserves a placard in the Hall of Fame, but unfortunately those rules were not the originals. CV Productions owns the rights whether folks know it or not.

When my father [Bill Viola Sr.] first put pen to paper in 1979 he had a vivid dream.  As successful as mixed martial arts has become, to him, MMA is as brilliant today as it was supposed to be decades ago.  It’s come a long way since the Holiday Inn in New Kensington, but one thing remains the same; my father, Frank and the original “Tough Guys” and Super Fighters will always and forever be the undisputed Godfathers of an American sport.

bill-viola-jr-bill-viola-sr

Learn more about the real fathers of MMA here:

Courtesy of Pittsburgh MMA:  http://pittsburghmma.com/2015/02/the-real-father-of-mma/

Who really invented MMA mixed martial arts

 

father of mma

Who created MMA?

Who created the sport of MMA?

A new book, Godfathers of MMA documents the history of mixed martial arts and answers the question of who really created the sport of MMA.

Who really created the “sport” of MMA in The United States?  It wasn’t the UFC.  A new book, Godfathers of MMA, is set to release early 2014 and reveals the answer.  This is the birth of an American sport…

Great article on who invented MMA:  http://mmahistory.org/who-invented-mma/

More info at http://pittsburghmma.com/2013/09/who-invented-mma-mixed-martial-arts/

Viola Legacy

Ali Viola world champion

A Pittsburgh Legacy “Building Champions in Life”

Pittsburgh, PA — January 5th, 2015

Winning World Titles is nothing new for the Viola family, especially for Duquesne University law student Ali Viola.  Over the course of the past decade, she has become a 7x National Black Belt League (NBL) World Champion with international honors that have made her the most successful female karate fighter in Pittsburgh history. She has followed in the footsteps of her martial arts pioneer father and International Champion brother, Bill Viola Sr. and Jr.  Although she doesn’t have anything further to prove on the mat and wasn’t planning on competing in 2014 due to college commitments, it was a very special season for the family.

Photo Courtesy of Pittsburgh Tribune Review

The 2014 World Games marked a ceremonial passing of the torch, a karate tradition that has been a rooted in Pittsburgh for fifty years.  Ali Viola competed alongside her 4-year-old niece, Gabby Viola, the youngest competitor at the World Games and the next generation of Violas to represent Pittsburgh.

The 25th Annual Sport Karate World Games known internationally as the “Super Grands” was held 26th-31st in Buffalo, New York. The tournament is sanctioned by the National Black Belt League (NBL) and Sport Karate International (SKIL) which are responsible for the largest sport karate ranking system and league for black belts in the world. The competition is the equivalent of the Super Bowl for martial arts with over thousands of world class competitors representing North America, South America, Asia and Europe each year at the Games. The competitors must compete at a series of regional and national events to earn a seed and qualify for the competition, a process similar to NCAA tournaments that is required to secure an invitation.

Gabby’s Aunt [Ali] added two World Titles to her resume, one for Women’s Middle Weight sparring (defeating a contender from France in the semi-finals and then the number #1 ranked fighter from California, Ashlee Grant, in the finals); the second victory was a team title that included teammates Willie Hicks (Texas) and Luis Jimenez (Mexico).  Jimenez, a friend of Ali’s coach and brother Bill, also entered his son Joey Jimenez (the second youngest competitor at the World Games).

Gabby and Joey formed a unique bond that extended beyond the ring as they learned about family, respect and tradition.  Although neither Gabby nor Joey won the overall division (Gabby 4th and Joey 6th) they learned something much more valuable—the importance of carrying on a legacy!  Each walked away with an Amateur International Title and took the first step towards creating their place in martial arts history.

As Viola Sr. says, “Titles come and go, but a legacy is forever.”  The school’s motto is “Building Champions in Life.”  He prides his students on being community leaders and exceling in the education.  Ali Viola is a first year law student at Duquesne University and former Division-1 soccer star at Youngstown State.  She currently works at Eckert Seamans Law Firm and is an assistant coach for “Team Kumite” the all-star travel team founded by her brother.  She avidly supports the Western Pennsylvania Police Athletic League and also trains boxing at the Third Avenue Gym downtown Pittsburgh in her free time.

Gabby Viola is currently a yellow belt in the Norwin Ninjas program at Allegheny Shotokan Karate and is coached by her father (Bill Jr.) and instructed by her Aunt (Ali) and Grandfather (Bill Sr.) aka “Papa Sensei.”  For the past fifty years, the Viola name has been synonymous with martial arts excellence and Gabby is next in line to carry the tradition.  More importantly, she is learning how to build character through martial arts.  Viola Jr. adds, “Respect, discipline and focus are the cornerstones of karate and those traits will help you throughout your schooling, your job, and life.”

For generations, the Viola family has put Pittsburgh on the map in the world of martial arts.  Bill Viola Sr., the family patriarch, has been a pioneer of karate since the 1960s and is credited as the co-creator of the sport of mixed martial arts (MMA) in 1979, a decade before the UFC was a household name. In 2011 The Western PA Sports Museum and Heinz History Center honored him with an exhibit documenting Pittsburgh as the birthplace of modern MMA. In all, Viola Sr. has five children [Bill Jr., Addie, Jacque, Ali, and Joce], all of whom have earned black belts and excelled in international competition.


Bill Viola Jr. has created the Mecca for martial arts in Pittsburgh, promoting the region’s largest and most prestigious competition known worldwide as the “Kumite Classic.” He’s an accomplished martial arts author and movie producer whose credits that include Tapped (2014) starring UFC Champions Lyoto Machida and Anderson “Spider” Silva.

About Allegheny Shotokan:  Bill Viola Sr. established Allegheny Shotokan Karate in 1969, and has since produced more World Champions than any other school in the Pittsburgh region.  The school has been representing Pennsylvania and the United States at the World Games dating back to the establishment of the league.  www.alleghenyshotokan.com

Other students from Allegheny Shotokan and Team Kumite who represented at the World Games were:

  • Sara Russell
  • Cameron Klos
  • Nick Kosan
  • Hope Chase
  • Bess Chase
  • Brigid Chase
  • Luke Lokay
  • Brady Johnson
  • Austin Hladek

Voted Best Karate School

irwin pa karate

Allegheny Shotokan Karate voted best martial arts school in the Westmoreland Country area by Trib Total Media.

Pittsburgh based Allegheny Shotokan Karate was voted the best martial arts school in the region by Trib Total Media! We thank all the friends and families that make our dojo special.

Allegheny Shotokan Karate: A Pittsburgh Family Martial Arts Tradition

Martial Arts are great way to build self-confidence and boost self-esteem in children. Every mom and dad wants to instill respect, discipline and focus in their kids, but with so many options available today it can be difficult to find the right program. Parents across the region have been raving about the Irwin based Norwin Ninjas, winner of the Trib Total Media Readers’ Choice Gold Award. As Western Pennsylvania’s premier youth marital arts course, the programs are structured to develop positive “character” traits that reinforce strong family values. The award winning classes have been honored for their creativity and unique curriculum developed by certified teachers and educators. Gary Klos of North Huntingdon has a son in the school and tells us, “Every class is exciting, and the workouts challenge the kids mentally and physically. I’ve been around a lot of other martial arts and this is simply the best program for my son. He loves it.”

The energetic group of students is led by the Viola family; three generations karate champions. Master Bill Viola Sr. has over fifty years’ experience in the martial arts and has enlisted his black belt family; son Bill Jr, and daughters Addie, Jacque, Ali and Joce to help run the school. Over the past 6 decades Viola Sr. has taught thousands of students, making him the authority on karate in the Norwin area. In 1969 he founded Allegheny Shotokan Karate, the first martial arts school in the area. Viola Sr., a retired school teacher, has used his education background and years of hands-on experience to help devise a program that not only teaches self-defense and Shotokan karate, but more importantly building character in young people.

The Norwin Ninjas emphasize a child’s “SELF” image and uses goal oriented objectives to encourage them. Every student sets goals and works towards reaching them. Sensei Bill Viola Jr. says, “We strive to build positive role models, and as our students advance, they are taught to set an example. To us, it’s all about building future leaders. The mental focus and determination they learn in karate will carry over to school, family and life. It starts a young age and I have seen so many kids improve their grades, behavior, and coordination after joining the class. I couldn’t be prouder of the kids who have graduated from our programs.” In fact Connor Burns and Liz Leaseburg were honored by former Steeler Hines Ward as male and female “Positive Athletes of the Year” for martial arts. Viola continues, “Kids like Connor and Liz are making a difference in the community. They epitomize the motto, ‘Building Champions in Life.’”

Michael Russell of North Huntingdon has a daughter in the teenage class. He says, “I love that it is a family run school. All the instructors are exceptional and they make you earn everything! This is not a chain; you will progress at your own pace. They have really brought out the best in Sara.” Sara recently competed at the National Black Belt League World Games representing the United States and won a World Title. Eight years ago she began as a Norwin Ninja, and now after years of dedication has become yet another role model for the next generation of Norwin Ninjas. Sensei Viola ads, “We teach all our Ninjas that to in order to achieve, you have to embrace the three ‘D’s’ Desire, Determination, and Dedication.”

New students are now being accepted for Monday and Wednesday classes at our Irwin and North Huntingdon locations. If you would like to reserve a spot for a free lesson at no obligation, call Sensei Bill Viola at 724-864-3495.

www.alleghenyshotokan.com

irwin pa karate