NEVADA KARATE ASSOCIATION NEWSLETTER April 2009
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GENERAL INFO:

We have three students attending this year's Ozawa Cup in Las Vegas! Sarah, Christina, and someone from the university; on behalf of everyone at the dojo, good luck and have fun. Also a big pat on the back goes to some of our youth class students for recently making Level 2; well done Mark and Parker! We have also had two other students achieve Level 3. Devon and Drake are now candidates for advancement and will be testing in the dojo grading on Friday, April 24th. Congratulations boys and keep up the hard work!

Hopefully everyone knows by now that the remodel on the dojo is finally completed. And boy does it look amazing! A huge 'thank you' goes out to everyone who made it possible and especially to Don Evans for all of his continued work in keeping it looking snazzy! We now have an official and set training program; Monday, Wednesday and Friday 6:00 - 7:30 pm and, for those of you who are gluttons for punishment and want to push yourself to the next level with hard training and discipline, Saturdays from 10:00 - 11:30 am. On that note, there is now a Youth Program as well which meets Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 5:00 - 6:00 pm. Anyone is welcome to attend either class and volunteers are always appreciated for the youth program!

There has been some talk of ordering T-shirts for both the dojo and the youth program; this is very true. We would love to hear from you! Any design ideas would be greatly appreciated, as well as any ideas of places to order from, other things to order, or just anything you feel like sharing.

UNR CONNECTION:

So far this semester, nothing overly exciting has happened at the University. We have a decent group of beginners who are very eager to learn and are working hard to prepare for their grading on Thursday, April 23. Some of the things Sensei Evans has been teaching these students, apart from the basic kata, kihon and kumite for the grading, are chokes, strangles, falls and a small amount of freestyle for those in the 'advanced class'. The class meets Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3:00 - 3:50 pm and the Karate Club meets after the class from 4:00 - 5:00 pm.
As some of you may have noticed, the dojo has been infiltrated in recent classes by a few University students. These students, for the most part, are very eager learners and have enjoyed their experiences with us. Hopefully, we can convince them to join us on a more regular basis in the near future.

THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW:

The Niju Kun are Funakoshi's Twenty Precepts, written to help the student understand how they should conduct themselves in karate, and in everyday life. Each of the principles is explained in detal in 'The Twenty Guiding Principles of Karate' by Gichin Funakoshi.

1.     Karate is not only dojo training.

2.     Don't forget that Karate begins with a bow and ends with a bow.

3.     In Karate, never attack first.

4.     One who practices Karate must follow the way of justice

5.     First you must know yourself. Then you can know others.

6.     Spiritual development is paramount; technical skills are merely means to the end.

7.     You must release your mind

8.     Misfortune comes out of laziness.

9.     Karate is a lifelong training.

10. Put Karate into everything you do.

11. Karate is like hot water. If you do not give heat constantly it will again become cold.

12. Do not think you have to win. Think that you do not have to lose.

13. Victory depends on your ability to tell vulnerable points from invulnerable ones.

14. Move according to your opponent.

15. Consider your opponent's hands and legs as you would sharp swords.

16. When you leave home, think that millions of opponents are waiting for you.

17. Ready position for beginners and natural position for advanced students.

18. Kata is one thing. Engaging in a real fight is another.

19. Do not forget (1)strength and weakness of power, (2)expansion and contraction of the body, (3)slowness and speed of techniques.

20. Devise at all times.

ARTICLE OF THE MONTH:

Ki Breathing

by Aaron Hoopes

Whenever I teach one of my Zen Shotokan seminars I always have the students breathe in and out through the nose. The first question always asked is; “Why are we breathing in and out through the nose?” This is a valid question and I’d like to address it here. Before I do that, I’d like to explain a little bit about Ki energy and how it relates to breathing.
Most Shotokan karate-ka have some idea about the concept of Ki energy. Ki refers to the natural energy of the Universe, which permeates everything. All matter, from the smallest atoms and molecules to the largest planets and stars, is made up of this energy. It is the vital force of life. It is the source of every existing thing. Ki has many manifestations. Different philosophies and cultures call it by different names. Metaphysical science calls it “vital force.” Friedrich Mesmer called it “animal magnetism.” The Indian and Hindu yogis call it “Prana.” To the Kung Fu and Tai Chi practitioners of China it is known as “Chi.” Naturally, in each manifestation the Ki is viewed and defined differently, but basically it is the same thing. It is the power which enables us to think, move, breathe, and live – the power that makes gravity act like gravity. It is what makes electricity electric. It is the link between our perception of the inner and outer worlds. It is our connection to the very flow of the universe and the prime moving force within the human body. Ki is not breath, it is the power that makes it possible for us to breathe. Ki is not simply “energy,” it is what gives energy the power to be energy. Ki is the power behind movement and thought…and it is everywhere. It is in the oxygen we breathe and the blood that flows through us.

It is difficult to define Ki concretely. It cannot be seen or measured, it cannot be touched or captured. It is everywhere yet we have no way to touch it, make it tangible, or even prove its existence. Therefore Ki is a difficult concept to accept. The Western mind likes the tangible, the concrete and the specific. It likes a scientific explanation which defines, dissects, and categorizes. Ki transcends this kind of explanation. It doesn’t fit easily into a strict biomedical framework. It is simply indefinable in those terms.

But we, as Shotokan karate-ka, have a good understanding of Ki simply because we can feel it when we are training. It is the power we generate when we execute a strong technique. The body is working as one complete unit and the force generated is considerable.

Ki within the body is like power in a rechargeable battery. Occasionally it needs to be replenished. The Ki of the universe is inexhaustible, yet the body needs fresh Ki to maintain its vitality. When you are exchanging the Ki within you with the Ki of the universe, you feel healthy and vigorous. By energizing the body with Ki it is revitalized naturally, enabling it to fight off illness and maintain good health. The true secret to replenishing Ki resides in our breathing.Proper breathing practice enables us to gather sufficient Ki for our techniques. Breathing in and out through the nose is the only method that enables the body to process Ki energy effectively. Most people understand the importance of breathing in through the nose. The nose has a series of defense mechanisms that prevent impurities and extremely cold air from entering the body. Breathing out through the nose, however, requires a deeper understanding of the nature of Ki energy. Practitioners of martial arts, especially Shotokan karate, need to absorb and process the Ki that they are breathing in order to generate the power and force for the techniques they practice. They also need to be able to retain the Ki within the body until the moment it is needed. Basically, when we inhale we are bringing fresh oxygen and Ki into our body. When we exhale through the mouth we are expelling carbon dioxide which contains all the toxins and poisons that have built up within the lungs. We are also expelling Ki from the body. But if we are continuously expelling the Ki we never give it a chance build up into the rich source of energy needed to complete our techniques to their maximum effectiveness. By exhaling through the mouth the Ki energy is simply dissipated back into the world. Breathing out through the nose, however, completes a closed circuit. By exhaling through the nose, the Ki energy, instead of being expelled with the carbon dioxide, is transferred to the hara, located about three finger widths below the umbilicus. With each breath in, more Ki enters the body and circles down to the hara growing stronger and stronger. During this breathing process, the tongue is up, touching the top palate of the mouth just behind the front teeth and the air is expelled from the nose with a slightly audible hiss. There is also a feeling of the abdominal walls contracting down with the exhalation.

Once sufficient Ki has been generated this way we are able to expel the Ki with tremendous force. Of course, this is known as the Kiai where the breath is expelled through the mouth. This is a very important factor of Shotokan training. The Kiai teaches us to build up sufficient Ki energy and then expel it in one strong technique. This is what makes the Kiai technique of any Kata so dynamic. If we were to try to Kiai with every technique, we would quickly become fatigued since we are expelling Ki with every breath. Try doing a Kata such as Bassai-dai and Kiai at the end of each technique. You will quickly run low on energy.

Shotokan Kata are excellent for practicing Ki breathing. Hangetsu, especially, is a Kata that emphasizes breathing techniques. The Kiai points in Hangetsu release all of the energy you build up during the other parts of the Kata.

Remember that Ki is a subtle, invisible force that requires much patience and long years of practice to understand. The ability to relax and breathe effectively will benefit your training in building Ki. When your mind and body are working together in a relaxed manner and you are breathing properly, a tremendous amount of energy is able to flow through your being. The key is not to force it, just slow down, relax and breathe through the nose.

Sensei Aaron Hoopes began his karate training in New Orleans in 1982 under Sensei Takayuki Mikami. In addition to karate he also began studying Tai Chi with sifu Chien Lam of the Tamashii school. In 1986 he moved to Japan to continue his training at the headquarters of the Japan Karate Association. He had the opportunity to train with Sensei Nakayama at his private dojo (Hoitsugan). In 1994 he moved toAustralia and began studying Shanti Yoga at the Australian Meditation Institute. He completed the intensive instructor training course in 1996. Throughout his travels he has had the opportunity to train in many diverse styles, including Tong Lung (Praying Mantis) Kung Fu, Wing Chun, Shorinji Kenpo, Iyengar Yoga and Shaolin White Crane Qigong.

He is the founder of Zen Yoga, a blend of Tai Chi movement, Shanti Yoga stretching and Qigong breathing. He is the author of three books.

Website: www.artofzenyoga.com

UPCOMING SHOTOKAN EVENTS:

- Ozawa International Tradiditonal Karate Tournament

April 11,12 2009

Las Vegas, NV

- Kyu Gradings

April 23 2009

UNR 3pm

April 24 2009

NKA 6pm

- '09 International Camp

July 11-17 2009

San Diego, CA

For more information, please contact:

International Traditional Karate Federation

1930 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 1007

Los Angeles, CA 90057

(T) 213-483-8262 / (F) 213-483-4060

E-mail: itkf@itkf.org

FOOD FOR THOUGHT:

Fatigue-busting tips to boost your energy at work or the gym.

By Kathleen Zelman, MPH, RD/LD

WebMD Weight Loss Clinic - Feature

Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

It usually happens around 3 p.m. Your eyes get a little heavy, your energy starts to sag, and you feel like you need a nap or something to get you through the rest of the day.

Afternoon fatigue (or a similar slump at any time of day) can be caused by low blood sugar or dehydration, or it can simply stem from boredom or lack of sleep. And no, candy bars or caffeine won't help. They may work immediately, but after a short while, energy levels drop again.

Still, there are a few things you can do to perk up and get back to business, at your desk or in the gym. Eating small meals every three or four hours throughout the day is one way to prevent energy lulls. But if eating around the clock doesn't fit into your schedule, try boosting your energy with one or more of these five "instant energizers."

1. Hydrate Yourself

Staying hydrated is essential to maintaining energy. So before you head to the vending machine in search of a pick-me-up, drink a big glass of water.

"Being dehydrated can make you feel tired, so one of the easiest, calorie-free ways to beat an energy slump is with a tall glass of water or sparkling soda with a twist," says Carolyn O'Neil, RD, author of The Dish on Eating Healthy and Being Fabulous. "As we age, our thirst mechanisms are not as reliable and don't work as well. Keep water bottles at your desk or in the car, and sip regularly."

If water just doesn't do it for you, try a glass of iced tea or cup of hot tea.

"It makes sense that cultures around the globe have enjoyed the daily ritual of 'tea time,' to enjoy a hot beverage and a little snack to perk up their sagging energy levels." says O'Neil.

Having a cup of tea helps hydrate you, and the addition of a small cookie or dainty tea sandwich is just enough to take the edge off your appetite and energize you until dinner.

"An added bonus is, tea is loaded with antioxidants and other health-promoting substances," O'Neil says.

Stock your pantry, briefcase, or desk with a variety of tea flavors and individually packed, simple cookies or 100-calorie snack packs so you can enjoy your very own "afternoon tea" time.

2. Bed and Breakfast

First off, you need a good night's sleep -- if you're sleep-deprived, it's going to be challenging to overcome energy lulls with anything other than a nap. Then, be sure to get your blood sugar perking with a healthy breakfast.

"Many people skip breakfast and this usually leads to a midmorning slump," says Marissa Moore, a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association.

A bowl of whole-grain cereal, fruit, and low-fat milk makes a quick, healthy breakfast. If you just don't have time to sit down, whip up a smoothie or grab a breakfast bar, banana, or yogurt.

3. Grab a (Balanced) Snack

A balanced snack could be exactly what you need to rev up your energy levels. But not any snack will do the trick: "Think carbohydrates and protein," says Moore.

Some foods, like fruit, are simple carbohydrates that are easily absorbed and result in a quick rise in blood sugar and energy. Fruit also has the benefit of containing water, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. But if you add some low-fat or lean protein to your fruit, you've got a snack that can provide a steady stream of energy for several hours.

Plan ahead and take along one or more of these energizing snacks:

• Apples with peanut butter

• Hummus (or other low-fat dip) and vegetables •

• String cheese (or any kind of low-fat cheese) and whole-grain crackers

• 100-calorie packs of popcorn, crackers, or simple cookies

• Sugar-free cocoa with an added splash of skim milk

• Rice cakes with nut butter

• Low-fat yogurt and fruit

• Hard-boiled egg and a glass of juice

• Glass of skim milk and graham crackers

• Fruit smoothie

• Low-sugar granola or cereal bar

• Mini whole-wheat bagel and soft cheese

• Trail mix of dried fruit and nuts

Of course, snacks also add calories. Keep your portions small, so you'll get the energy boost without weight gain.

4. Eat Before You Exercise

After a long day of work or a long night's rest, you need an energy boost before heading to the gym.

"The best pre- and postworkout snacks contain low-fat protein and carbohydrate," says Moore.

Protein helps your body repair muscle tissue, and carbohydrates give you fuel to help your body perform the physical activity and replenish blood glucose afterward.

"Make sure the foods you eat before working out are easily digested," says O'Neil, who recommends keeping the snack small.

Also, don't forget to drink plenty of water before, during, and after physical activity. O'Neil also recommends drinking an enhanced water or a small container of sports drink, to help keep you hydrated and give you a bit of sugar for energy.

Here are some healthy snacks for before or after a workout:

* Low-fat yogurt and whole-grain cereal or crackers

• Small container of natural applesauce and a handful of nuts

• Bananas, to provide quick energy plus potassium for muscles

• Dried fruit and nuts

• A fruit smoothie

• Low-fat cheese and a piece of fruit

• Whole-grain toast with nut butter

5. Get Moving

One reason your energy is flagging at work could be the fact that you've been sitting in the same chair hour after hour, without moving much more than your fingers.
"Get up out of your chair and move around at least a few minutes every hour," advises Moore.
Instead of sending an email, go to your colleague's office. Schedule a walking meeting. Take the stairs to the restroom a few floors away. Just find a reason to move around and be more active. And don't think of it as wasting time. It could well help you be more productive.

"Engaging in small bursts of physical activity can be very energizing and help you overcome a slump and think more clearly," Moore says.

Published October 2006.

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If you want to hep out with the newsletter via submitting articles or info that you find interesting or helpful please get in touch with either Don.

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