Author Archives: Bill Viola

2018 Shodan Sensei

🥋New Black Belts – Shodan – Sensei

Allegheny Shotokan “Viola” Karate Dojo is proud to announce a milestone moment for five of its members.  On Saturday September 1, 2018 the black belt candidates tested for Shodan (1st Degree) Junior Black Belt.  The students have been training between 7-8 years each to be eligible to test.  Earning the title of Shodan are 11-year-old Zach Farroux, 15-year-old Gabriel Anthony, 13-year old Stephen Jackowski, 12-year old Owen Orth, and 13-year-old Matt Morrow.  The students logged in over internship 100 hours, completed a 4-hour physical test, passed character education development and a martial arts history exam.

It was a record setting exam at the Dojo.  5 black belt all passed.  It is the largest group in dojo history.  Congrats to our new Sensei’s.  Examiners were Shihan Viola, Sensei Ray Walters, Sensei Bill Jr. and Sensei Ray Adams.  Sensei Gary was also invited to observe.

Sensei Zach Farroux, Sensei Owen Orth, Sensei Stephen Jackowski, Shihan Viola, Sensei Bill Viola Jr., Sensei Gabe Anthony, Sensei Matt Morrow,

 

Congratulations to these karate-ka:

  • Zach Farroux
  • Gabe Anthony
  • Owen Orth
  • Stephen Jackowski
  • Matt Morrow

The history portion was scored very well, but in the heat of the moment we did have some inside jokes including a yak & camel, bald headed monks in orange robes, shiane temples, and buttism.  Gentlemen, always remember that karate is a “journey” and not a destination.  We hope that you realize that the real learning begins at black belt. Always remember that quitting karate after getting your black belt is like getting your driver’s license and never driving…

Kata

A form:  A choreographed pattern of movements that simulates a “imaginary fight.”

  • Japanese prounuciation 型  “kata” Translates as “Form” or a mold, law, or model.
  • Chinese pronunciation 型 “hsing”
  • Korean pronunciation 型 “hyeong”

Important Kata Terms:

  • 分解  Bunkai (analysis)
  • 応用  Oyo (application)
  • 演武線  Embusen (kata line)

Circa 1891 The Japanese Army was very impressed with “te” but lost interest due to poor organization and outdated training methods. Master Itosu took steps to modernize karate by intoducing the “Pinan” Kata as a form of physical fitness and removed the dangerous elements (tegumi). (Funakoshi later named them Heian to suit Japanese nationalism). In 1901, Itosu started teaching Karate at the Shuri Jinjo Elementary School and by 1905 he teaching at the First Junior Prefectural School. Karate became part of the official physical education of Okinawa’s school system, eventually making its way to mainland Japan via Funakoshi in 1922.

“Heian” The word “Heian” is Japanese and shortened from two words – 平 heiwa (peace) and 安 antei (stability)

Heian 1-5 are the most popular kata in the world.

  • 平安 Pingan (Chinese) “stay safe”
  • 平安 Pinan (Okinawan) “stay safe”
  • 平安 Heian (Japanese) “peaceful”
  • 平安 Pyong-an/Pyung-Ahn (Korean)

SHITEI 指定 Kata “designated” (Heian & Tekki Shodan)  These kata introduced by Yasutune Itosu

  1.  平安初段 Heian Shodan – (peaceful mind, first level)
  2. 平安二段 Heian Nidan – (peaceful mind, second level)
  3. 平安三段 Heian Sandan – (peaceful mind, third level)
  4. 平安四段 Heian Yondan – (peaceful mind, fourth level)
  5. 平安五段 Heian Godan – (peaceful mind, fifth level)

Okinawan “Naihanchi” kata and naihanchi-dachi demonstarate elements of Tegumi and tai sabki. This Shōrei-Ryu kata was later remaned “Tekki” 鉄 Tetsu (Iron) 騎 (to ride or sit horseback) by Funakoshi who also renamed the straddle stance to Kiba-dachi (Cavarly Horse Stance)

鉄騎初段 Tekki Shodan – (iron horse riding, first level)

鉄騎弐段 Tekki Nidan – (iron horse riding, second level)

鉄騎参段 Tekki Sandan – (iron horse riding, third level)

SENTEI 選定 Kata “Selection” are (4) required kata (compulsory):

9.  Bassai Dai (Passai) 拔塞 (to penetrate a fortress – major/big) Japanese meaning of 拔(batsu) is “to pull out or to extract” in Chinese “拔 (bá)” can mean “to seize or capture” and 塞(sai/soku) means a “place of strategic importance” or fort. Bá sāi (拔塞) would mean “to seize or capture” a “place of importance. Some moves symbolize a battering ram used against fortress walls.  Introduced by Peichin

10. Kanku Dai 観空大 (Kushanku) (to view the sky – major/big) The first movement views the sky, which symbolizes the universe and shows your opponent that you are unarmed. It was Master Funakoshi’s preferred kata.  Introduced by Kung Hsiang Chun

11. Jion 慈恩 (love and goodness) or mercy is a term in Buddhism. It is also the name of a temple (Jionji 慈恩寺) in China.

12. Enpi 燕飛 (Wanshu/excellent wrist) The quick up and down movements of this kata are reminiscent “flying swallow” where it gets its name . Enpi is one of the oldest kata in Shotokan. The “Funakoshi 15” Heian 1-5, Tekki 1-3, +4 Sentei kata, + these (3)  Introduced by Wang Ji

13. Hangetsu 半月 (Seisan) meaning half moon based off the hangetsu dachi (half moon stance).  Bushi Matsumura

14. Jitte 十手 (ten hands) also spelled Jutte is designed to fight against ten opponents.

15. Gankaku 岩鶴 (Chinto) (crane on a rock) The main stance in this kata (tsuruashi dachi) resembles a crane ready to strike at its prey. The movements are supposed to simulate a fight in the narrow alleyways of Okinawa. The former name was Chinto.  Bushi Matsumura

Other Advanced Kata:

16. Bassai Sho 披塞小 (Passai) (to penetrate a fortress – minor/small)  Yasutsune Itosu

17. Kanku Sho 観空小 (Kushanku) (to view the sky – minor/small) Kanku Sho was created from Kanku Dai. The movements and performance line are similar.

18. Sochin 壯鎭 (Hakko) (strength and calm) The name of this kata comes from its stance (sochin or fudo dachi), a strong, rooted stance. The purpose of this kata is to teach defense against a stick.  Yoshitika Funakoshi

19. Chinte 珍手 (rare or extraordinary hand) Chinte has a lot of circular and roundhouse techniques. These are rare and are not typical of the shortest distance between two points concept of Shotokan.

20. Goju Shi Ho Dai 五十四歩大 (fifty four steps – major/big) This kata is one of the most advance kata of Shotokan. Master Funakoshi called it hotaku (knocking of a woodpecker) because some of the techniques resemble a woodpecker tapping its beak against a tree.  Yasutsune Itosu

21. Goju Shi Ho Sho 五十四歩小 (fifty four steps – minor/small) This is a smaller version of Goju Shi Ho Dai. It is also one of the most advanced kata of Shotokan.  Yasutsune Itosu

22. Meikyo 明鏡 (Rohai) (bright mirror) The first movements of this kata suggest the smoothing of water to make it as calm and even as a mirror. The triangle jump at the end of this kata is said to have a secret meaning portending to a miracle.  Tomari-te

23. Niju Shi Ho 二十四步 (twenty-four steps) The movements in this kata resemble waves breaking on a cliff. The former name of this kata was ni sei shi.  Seisho Aragaki

24. Unsu 雲手 (cloud hands) Unsu has several techniques that symbolize parting the clouds with open hands. Classically pronoucned “un-shu” Considered Rare Kata:  Seisho Aragaki

25. Wankan 王冠 (king and crown) The shortest kata in Shotokan introduced by Funakoshi’s son (Gigo/Yoshitaka).

26. Ji’in 慈陰 (love and shadow) or inverted mercy. Along with Join and Jitte begin with left hand covering right (ancient Chinese) Tokui kata 得意 is your “free” or favorite kata. It translates into: speciality, pride, triumph aka your best! Its pronounced: (toe ku eee) *Kata has been described as the soul of karate.  Tomari te

There are 26 standard Shotokan Kata. Some count Taikyoku “first cause” (Kihon Kata) as a 27th

27. Gigo Funakoshi also created partner kata known as “Ten no Kata” 天の形 Which translates as kata of the universe/heaven in 1930s. He was sent to learn kata from Okinawan master Kenzo Mabuni and as a result of these teachings, the curriculum of Shotokan is believed to have included Sochin, Nijushiho and Unsu.

 

 

 

Journey Continues for Master Ray Adams and Master Dave Zezza

black belt

The Journey Continues for two North Huntingdon

Martial Arts 🥋Masters

karate masters
Left-Right: (The Masters Club) Bill Viola Jr., Dave Zezza, Bill Viola Sr., Ray Adams, Ray Walters.  Not pictured Jack Bodell

On Wednesday August 29, 2018 history was made at the Allegheny Shotokan Viola Karate Dojo.  North Huntingdon / Irwin  Residents Sensei Ray Adams, 76, and Sensei Dave Zezza, 63, were promoted to Master Rank in the art of Shotokan karate.  It has been a lifetime of study, practice, and diligence that both men agree that has been, “a journey and not a destination.”

Karate is a journey, not a destination

Adams first donned a karate gi (uniform) in 1970.  It’s a routine he still carries on today.  He was a photography teacher at East Allegheny High School when and met fellow teacher Bill Viola Sr. (Founder of the dojo).  Adams explains, “In those days karate was brand new.  Sensei [Viola Sr.] had been teaching the students in the high school gymnasium and I wanted in on the action.”   Nearly fifty years later, Ray is still kicking, teaching and loving living the martial way.

His training partner Dave Zezza, shares his passion as both men obtained 5th Dan (degree).  Zezza, a systems consultant, began in his late thirties, and at age 63 he’s never looked back.  Affectionately nicknamed “Tombo” or dragonfly in Japanese, he is the resident Kobudo weapons expert at the dojo.  Zezza sports a dragonfly tattoo on his arm to signify his commitment.   Viola Sr. explains, “Our philosophy is ‘old school.’  Black belts come and go, but to be a master we require a unique combination of character, skill, and teaching ability with decades of training.”

Adams and Zezza are still “learning.”  They explain that a black belt is just the beginning.  Now at master rank, they don’t plan on slowing down.  Zezza explains, “I’m always thirsty for knowledge.”  Both men thank Shihan Viola and Sensei Ray Walters for pushing them.  They also acknowledge their friend and fellow Alumni of the dojo, Sensei Joe Bauccio, who relocated to Florida.  Bauccio is training towards joining them in the ranks soon.

Adams and Zezza join a very elite club where only a few other Masters have ever etched their names.  The exclusive fraternity requires a lifetime of dedication to be inducted.  The only other Masters in the Allegheny Shotokan Karate Association are Bill Viola Sr., Bill Viola Jr. Ray Walters, and Jack Bodell.

The men exemplify that age is truly just a number, as both plan on kicking as long as their bodies allow them.  If they can’t kick, they will just punch 👊.   Adams and Zezza also teach and share their knowledge weekly with the younger members of the dojo and train themselves every Saturday morning and attend Shihan Viola’s black belt class every Monday night.

The official presentation to the dojo members and “gong” ceremony will take place Wednesday September 5, 2018.

Master can be defined as an artist of consummate skill.  Adams and Zezza are a perfect examples of men who continue to evolve and share their experience.  We are blessed to have them apart of our karate family. The Viola Karate dojo will celebrates its 50-year-anniversary in 2019.  The new Masters are looking forward to a reunion workout .

Master Zezza and Adams know all 27 Shotokan Kata (listed below) so Shihan gave them a challenge outside of their comfort zone.  They had to learn a kata other than Shotokan style and learn the differences in method, technique, and execution.  The Goju kata Suparinpei was chosen. 

 

1. Taikyoku Shodan / Kihon kata (太極初段) Means ~ first cause first level Introduced by ~ Gichin Funakoshi
2. Heian Shodan (平安初段) Means ~ Peaceful begining level Introduced by ~ Yasutsune Itosu
3. Heian Nidan (平安二段) Means ~ Peaceful second level Introduced by ~ Yasutsune Itosu
4. Heian Sandan (平安三段) Means ~ Peaceful third level Introduced by ~ Yasutsune Itosu
5. Heian Yondan (平安四段) Means ~ Peaceful fourth level Introduced by ~ Yasutsune Itosu
6. Heian Godan (平安五段) Means ~ Peaceful fifth level Introduced by ~ Yasutsune Itosu
7. Tekki Shodan (鉄騎初段) Means ~ Iron Horse first level Introduced by ~ Yasutsune Itosu
8. Bassai Dai (披塞大) Means ~ To penetrate a fortress (dai=major) Introduced by ~ Peichin.
9. Kanku Dai (観空大) Means ~ To view the sky (dai=major) Introduced by ~ Kung Hsiang Chun
10. Enpi (燕飛) Means ~ Flying swallow Introduced by ~ Wang Ji
11. Hangetsu (半月) Means ~ Half Moon Introduced by ~ Bushi Matsumura
12. Jion (慈恩) Means ~ Thought to be named after the Chinese temple Jion-ji. kata and comes from Tomari te
13. Sochin (壯鎭) Means ~ Preserve Peace Introduced by ~Yoshitika Funakoshi
14. Meikyo (明鏡) Means ~ Mirror of the soul and comes from ~Tomari-te
15. Ji’in (慈陰) Means ~ Named after the saint and comes from Tomari te
16. Gojushiho Dai (五十四歩大) Means ~ 54 steps Introduced by ~Yasutsune Itosu
17. Jitte (十手)Means ~ Ten hands and comes from Tomari te
18. Gankaku (岩鶴) Means ~ Crane on a rock Introduced by ~ Bushi Matsumura
19. Tekki Nidan (鉄騎二段) Means ~ Iron Horse second level Introduced by ~ Yasutsune Itosu
20. Tekki Sandan (鉄騎三段) Means ~ Iron Horse third level Introduced by ~ Yasutsune Itosu
21. Chinte (珍手) Means ~ Incredible hands Introduced by ~ Yasutsune Itosu?
22. Bassai Sho (披塞小) Means ~ To penetrate a fortress (sho=minor) Introduced by ~ Yasutsune Itosu
23. Kanku Sho (観空小) Means ~ To view the sky (sho=minor) Introduced by ~ Yasutsune Itosu
24. Nijushiho (二十四步) Means ~ 24 steps Introduced by ~ Seisho Aragaki
25. Unsu (雲手) Means ~ Cloud  hands Introduced by ~ Seisho Aragaki
26. Wankan (王冠) Means ~ Kings Crown Introduced by ~ Gigo Funakoshi
27. Gojushiho Sho (五十四歩小) Means ~ 54 steps Introduced by ~ Yasutsune Itosu

Suparinpei – “108 Hands”

Suparinpei is the most advanced Kata in Goju-Ryu and contains the greatest number of techniques.  It is translated as the number “108.” 108 is suggested to have origins in Buddhism and can represent the “108 sins of man”. On the Chinese New Year, temple bells are rung 108 times to “drive away the evils of man.”  In japanese we call this kata Hyakuhachiho.  

$10,000 Donation Made to KICK Parkinsons

Kick Parkinson’s Disease 2018

We gave Parkinson’s a swift KICK this weekend!  Very proud to announce that Allegheny Shotokan “Viola” karate and its sister program Norwin Ninjas in conjunction with Team Kumite to have combined to raise over $10,000 for The Pittsburgh Institute of Neurological Diseases #PIND  Read more. 

Sensei Bill’s Grandmother

The “KICK” concept was developed Irwin native Bill Viola Jr., founder of Kumite Classic Entertainment, and former Mayor and State Senator Sean Logan.  Logan was diagnosed with early onset Parkinson’s disease in his mid-forties and Viola spent years caring for his Grandmother who passed away from neurodegenerative complications.

Logan developed a 5K to promote his “Do Something” campaign as means to encourage exercise.  Physical activity has been proven to be an effective method to combat Parkinson’s disease.   Viola parented with Logan in 2017 to add a “Kick-a-thon” element to the 5k, and its growth has been exponential.  Viola explains, “Last year the KICK raised just over $5000 with 50 participants. This year we doubled both brining us up to over $15,000 with just two kicks-a-thons.

 

 

 

kick parkinsons disease

Over 100 kickers!  Thanks to everyone who made a donation to Kick Parkinson’s:  Here are the top 10 for 2018

First Name Last Name Amount
Mike Barone 2015
Aidan Thornton 900
Danielle McKeever 800
Grace Weingberger 726
Katelyn Regina 620
Gabby Viola 560
Riley Evans 363
Ariana Trout 325
Henry Francisco 210
Aaron Goettler 210
Rayden Galley 206

kick parkinsons disease

What we teach

funakoshi

At Viola Karate we teach traditional martial arts and training methods including:

What we Teach Kanji Description Memo
BuJutsu 武術 Martial Arts-skill, method, science of Japan – older/parent (warrior technique) mortal combat self-protection
Budo 武道 Martial Way – philosophical Life skills more modern 17th century+ self-perfection
Bugei 武芸 Art of War – Catchall term for Japanese fighting arts  embracing both budo/bujutsu  bu=martial gei=art military art
Martial Arts 武芸 Latin term “arts of Mars” (Mars/Roman god of War) it is the umbrella and generic term for fighting arts
Karate 空手 1 of many Japanese martial arts (judo, jujutus, akido etc.) meaning “empty hand” (developed in Okinawa) influenced by Chinese Kenpo
Shotokan 松濤館 A Japanese style of martial arts created by Gichin Funakoshi (1868-1957) meaning the house of pine waves
Kumite 組手 Fighting: using martial arts skills  (waza) in realistic combat situations such as free sparring or block and counter. meaning crossing of hands
Goshin 護身 Real world self-protection techniques self-defense
jū-jutsu 柔術 Close combat used to neutralize an opponent in the form of pins, join locks, throws and submissions Jiu-jitsu is the Brazilian spelling
Tegumi 手組 Japanese wrestling, submissions and leverage kumite backwards
Kihon 基本 The fundamentals and building blocks of karate (blocks, punches, kicks, strikes, stances) Basics
Kata Karate forms required for advancement.  Memorized patterns of techniques that simulate an imaginary fight
Bunkai 分解 Analysis or disassembly of kata to fully understand its techniques to break down
Oyo 応用 Application of bunkai by extracting movements of the bunkai (personal and creative interpretation) apply, practical use
Kobudo 古武道 Okinawan weapons training including the bō (wooden staff) sai Old martial way

Pittsburgh’s Karate Kid Gabby Viola – Fighting in and out of the ring

gabby viola karate kid
Pittsburgh’s Karate Kid – Gabby Viola a fighter in and out of the ring

Karate kid Gabby Viola kicks back at bowel disease

MARY PICKELS  | TuesdayAug. 7, 2018, 1:33 a.m.

Her blonde ponytails and bare feet flying, the purple belt she’s earned in karate cinched at her waist (the same belt dad Bill Viola Jr. earned many years ago), Gabby Viola appears happiest when in motion.

She kicks, jabs, spins, all with a look of determination surprising for a 7-year-old.

Gabby has been learning karate since the age of 2, and began competing at age 3.

North Huntingdon Township’s Allegheny Shotokan Viola Karate Dojo is, after all, the family business.

Viola puts his daughter through her paces as her mother, Jenn Viola, and brother, Will, 10 months, watch. Gabby is a member of Team “Kumite,” an all-star travel team composed of martial artists from Allegheny Shotokan.

In July, Gabby placed first in sparring in the 7-year-old advanced category at the U.S. Open ISKA World Championships at Disney World.

Just a few months ago, it was unclear if Gabby, who will start second grade at Stewartsville Elementary School this fall, would be able to continue competing.

gabby viola new

Struck suddenly

Having already worked her way up to her purple belt in karate, Gabby has her eye on acquiring her brown belt next.

“She competes at the highest level of her age. … She goes up against kids with black belts and she beats them all the time,” her proud dad says.

“If my (students) are at that caliber I put them in that division all the time,” Viola adds.

Gabby’s goal is to earn her junior black belt by age 10.

“Then at age 14, she would go after her black belt,” Viola says.

In May, after taking first place at a tournament in Albion, Pa., Gabby suddenly began bleeding after using the restroom.

Her parents immediately took her to the hospital, where she underwent a battery of tests.

“They (doctors) thought she had a bacterial infection,” Viola says.

After a colonoscopy and biopsy, she was diagnosed with indeterminate bowel disease .

The illness, Viola says, has elements of both Crohn’s Disease and ulcerative colitis.

“It was very scary at that point,” he says.

A treatment of oral steroids for inflammation has not helped.

The family recently visited Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia for a second opinion and to get more information. Gabby is trying a different round of treatment, her father says, and the family is hoping she will go into remission.

A new normal

Gabby’s diet has had to change since her diagnosis.

“I can’t have gluten, dairy or grain. And limited sugar. I love chocolate,” she says.

“So we’re working hard on that right now,” her father says sympathetically.

“We’re a very proactive family. We are trying everything, looking into holistic approaches. We want to touch on every possible solution,” Viola says.

Another student at the karate school has the same diagnosis, and his parents are able to share some advice with the Violas.

“She has a buddy here who can help her,” Viola adds.

“There is no cure. You can only fight to get it into remission. That’s what she’s fighting to do,” he says.

No stopping her

Gabby’s participation in the U.S. Open ISKA World Championships, Viola says, “was a game-time decision.”

“We were worried at first she wasn’t going to be able to do it because of the diagnosis,” he says.

Gabby, however, never saw her health issue as an impediment.

She says she was confident she would do well, and believed she would take first place.

“It didn’t matter if she won or lost. We were just proud of her that she did it,” Viola says.

‘Kicking’ for others

On Sept. 3, Gabby will once again participate in the Kick-A-Thon to raise funds for the Pittsburgh Institute for Neurodegnerative Diseases event at Pittsburgh’s Boyce Park.

The goal is to “kick” Parkinson’s Disease, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), Huntington’s Disease, stroke and Alzheimer’s Disease, according to the event’swebsite .

Viola, who lost his grandmother to neurodegnerative complications, developed the kick-a-thon , along with former state Sen. Sean Logan, who developed the 5K after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease.

Her family believes she can be an inspiration to the other students in the dojo.

“She’s so little and she’s so strong. … That’s why we’re sharing this story. We are all about hope,” Viola says.

“What does karate teach you, Gabby?” he asks his daughter.

“Be tough, and have courage,” she says.

Mary Pickels is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Mary at 724-836-5401, mpickels@tribweb.com or via Twitter @MaryPickels.

Doug Selchan USA Karate Pan American Games Gold Champion

selchan kumite

Profile:  USA Karate Champion Doug Selchan

U.S. Karate Team Captures Gold in Men’s Kumite

Doug Selchan
Doug Selchan USA Karate and Pan American Games Champion

U.S. Olympic Committee Press Release  WINNIPEG, Canada

The U.S. karate team ended its competition at the 1999 Pan American Games the same way it began the Games — with gold medals.

George Kotaka (Honolulu, Hawaii), John Fonseca (Northbrook, Ill.) and Doug Selchan (North Huntington, Pa.) each won a gold medal in men’s kumite in their respective weight divisions to give the U.S. a total of five individual gold medals. Akiru Fukuda (Huntington Beach, Calif.) and Kellie Kennedy (Seattle, Wash.) won gold medals in men’s and women’s kata on Sunday.

“We started with gold, and we ended with gold,” an elated U.S. head coach Tokey Hill said. “I can’t ask for more out of my boys and girls than that. They delivered.”  Kotaka came back to defeat Alberto Espejo (COL) in the finals of the under 65kg. After giving up the first point with 2:43 remaining, Kotaka scored five times and held Espejo scoreless for the remainder of the bout.  “It was really nerve-wracking, but once we got out there, the jitters were gone and it was time to fight,” Kotaka said. “I initiated the attack and he (Espejo) countered it on the first point. But I knew that sooner or later, because there were three minutes, I could come back and get some points back.”

Fonseca never trailed in his bout against N.L. Sardenberg (BRA) in the men’s under 80kg, needing only two minutes to score the maximum points to earn the gold. “He (Sardenberg) is a very strong fighter, very sharp,” Fonseca said. “But  every body has good and bad days, and I felt very on today and maybe he was a little off.”

Selchan completed the karate competition with a hard fought win over Altamiro Cruz (BRA) in the men’s over 80kg. The bout was stopped several  times after Selchan suffered a scratch above his right eye early in the match. Selchan recovered to take a 3-2 lead with 27 seconds remaining and then scored an Ippon with 10 seconds remaining to put the match out of reach. Cruz scored with three seconds left, but time expired with Selchan leading 5-3. “I knew I had it all along,” Selchan said,

“Not to sound conceited, but  this week I was very confident. I was in pretty good shape, felt strong and felt good. I needed this win. It was a big win for me.”

Men’s Kumite Individual +80kg Gold Medal Match

  • Doug Selchan (USA)
  • Altamiro Cruz (BRA)
  • 3T. Manuel Costa (URU)
  • 3T. Yoel Diaz (CUB)

Norwin Student Gets a Kick From Karate -Pittsburgh Post Gazette By Torsten Ove

 

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 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

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