Hello Karateka! Welcome to the third issue of Zanshin! We have a few new and exciting things coming up this month and in future months so I'll just get right down to it. First and foremost, candidate exams are coming up! Be ready to perform your entire grading in front of the class in order to gain your candidate stripe and be able to test for advancement in September. The first round of exams will be Friday, June 5th during class. The next one will be whenever Don feels like having it again, but most likely a few weeks after the first one but before the beginning of July. The grading itself is supposed to be sometime during September, possibly the beginning, so lets get cracking on those gradings folks!

Second, Yabe (I hope I spelled that right) will be coming up in August for the gun show and has asked to teach a Friday night class while he is here. Doesn't that sound exciting!? We could have Bob Shapoff and Yabe co-teach the Friday class! I know that I'm looking forward to it! So, be on the lookout for more news about him as August gets closer. For those of you who don't know who Yabe is, he was on that American karate team with Bob Shapoff.

Thank you Dale and Bill for this info! Keep us posted!

And last, but definitely not least, a huge HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Goes out to Devon and Drake Anderson this month. They will be 11 years old on the 20th. Do you want to be in this cool little memo thingy when it's your birthday? Then fill out one of those surveys that I made a few months back!

Article of the Month:


By Scott Langley

My first memory of learning yoko geri keage (side snap kick) was being paired up with a friend of mine, hand in hand, facing each other, kicking each other under the armpit. Since that time I have been in many classes where the instructor has taught yoko geri keage. Each time the explanation has been different. Some feel that it is merely a fast, snapping kick which can be used to attack under opponent's chins and armpits. Others believe it could be used to knock a knife out of the hands of an attacker! And others resign themselves to the impracticality of the kick in any situation.

In the early ‘90’s I was exposed to a different way of doing yoko geri keage. Kagawa sensei and then Aramoto sensei taught extensively during that time throughout the UK and during their lessons many of the attending karate-ka’s side kicks were changed forever. I then moved to Japan in the summer of 1997 and for five years trained at the hombu dojo in Tokyo. During my time at normal training and then subsequently on the instructor’s course, this “new” way of doing keage was drilled home. At the time I thought it was radical and revolutionary, however, over time I came to understand that this was they way that side kick has been done for many, many years… Unfortunately, in the west many karate-ka are still performing keage as if they wanted to kick someone under the chin.

As I see it the problem with yoko geri keage, as many people do it, is that they do not use their hips, so consequently the direction of one's power only goes upwards. If we use mae geri keage as a comparison, we can see that if we do not use the hips in a fast, forward snapping action, then the power of the kick will go upwards, not forward to the target, therefore, losing distance and power. This is a mistake often made by beginners, where the lack of hip movement forward prevents the foot from penetrating the target. In fact most kicks in Shotokan karate derive their power from either the snapping of the hips or the thrusting of the hips. Therefore, why should yoko geri keage be any different? However, I have observed many people do yoko geri keage without the use of the hips. They rely on a sharp knee lift, followed by a fast snapping action of the leg upwards, with the foot kicking at a 45 degree angle. This type of kick, although very fast and aesthetically pleasing, lacks power and distance and would not be effective.

Therefore, in order to make yoko geri keage effective, it is imperative to use the hips. The idea is quite straightforward, however, as many people have long been used to doing the kick without hip use, they often find the change difficult. Nevertheless, it is worth persevering. The principle of using the hips in yoko geri keage is very similar to the hip movement in mawashi geri. In mawashi geri if one was kicking with the right leg, at the moment of kime, the right side hip would be snapped forward then back with the snapping action of the foot/leg, yoko geri keage is exactly the same. If one was kicking with yoko geri keage to the side with the right leg, the supporting left leg must always remain relaxed and slightly bent, (as the supporting leg helps us to rotate and push the hips) with the supporting foot facing forward. As one pulls the right leg up to ready position (photo Yoko 1), so the knee is facing to the side (to the target), one must allow the right side hip to rotate backwards, with a similar feeling to hanme position in zenkutsu dachi. As the foot is released in a fast snapping action, keep the right side hip back (photo Yoko 2) until the very end of the kick and then release the hip in a snapping action (photo Yoko 3 a or Yoko 3 b), forward then back again (like hanme – shomen – hanme in zenkutsu dachi and the hip snap in mawashi geri). Like all snap kicks the hip movement in yoko geri keage must be left until the very end of the technique to gain maximum power and distance. The key to maximising the power of this kick is to synchronise the hip movement with the push of the supporting leg. As mentioned before the supporting leg must remain relaxed and bent throughout the kick. However at the moment of kime the leg must be used to push the body into the direction of the target, thus generating penetration power. At the same time one must rotate the hip so that they push - snap the foot further forward into the target. If these two things are done simultaneously then a line of power is formed from the ground into the target.
(The term line of power is used to describe the principle which is fundamental to all karate techniques, whereby one’s foundations – stance - uses the floor to push the power into the target in a direct line. For example, in oie zuki the back leg pushes straight, so pushing the hips and the punching arm straight to target in one line of power from the ground to the target). If this is done successfully one's power no longer travels upwards, but instead travels forward. (If you would like to check this have someone hold a football and attempt to kick it with yoko geri keage. If the ball goes upwards you are kicking with the top of the foot and doing it wrong. If the ball travels horizontally in the direction of the line of power, then you are kicking with the side of the foot or heel and doing it right).

This way of doing yoko geri keage also enables the power of the kick to travel along the leg and out of the heel like yoko geri kekomi, making the foot kick at a horizontal position rather than at 45 degrees, as many people do when not using their hips. With practice yoko geri keage can become a very powerful technique, with the speed of mae geri keage and the power of yoko geri kekomi. It is important to master the synchronisation between the snapping hip movement and the push off the supporting leg and, with practice, it can be incorporated within the shotokan arsenal, rather than being designated the impractical task of kicking knives out of attackers' hands.

NKA Who We Are:

- Name: Sara Altemara

- Birthday: 10/25/1986

- Rank: 6th Kyu (Green Belt)

- Years of training: 1 year~ 4 months

- School: University of Nevada Reno

-What is your favorite part about classes at the dojo?

The friendly yet productive atmosphere

-Do you have a favorite Sensei and/or Senpai? Why do you like them?

Hm....not really. I pretty much like everyone for different reasons

- Which do you like more? Kata, Kihon or Kumite? Why?

Kumite - do I need a reason?

- What made you start studying karate?

My Tae Kwon Do club stopped and I had a friend that took the university's class. Plus, I've always been interested in martial arts.

- Briefly describe one thing that you think makes you unique.

I'm a BLONDE physicist!

- Name one thing you wish your Sensei/Senpais to know about your training experience at the dojo. Is it something you like or dislike? And why?

Hmm, well I would say that sometimes having several senseis teaching in one class (one 1 1/2 hour block) can be slightly confusing at times. I.E. When the class instructor is discussing something, but one of the other senseis starts talking directly to you. Who do you pay attention to??

Most of the time its an asset! I like having the different views/opinions for the same thing. I think it opens up perspectives, to enforce that there is o set way of doing something.

I think it gives me a better understanding of karate.

- Name: Tom English

- Birthday: 03/19/1939

- Rank: Shodan

- Years of training: 10-12

- Profession outside of karate?: Retired

- What is your favorite part about teaching?

\New people to karate

- If you could only do one kata for the rest of your karate training, which one would it be and why?

Enpi - did it for black belt, quick fluid moves

- Which of the following do you like the most? Kata, Kihon or Kumite. Why?

Kata - contains everything about karate

- What made you start studying karate?

Boxed as a youth - heard about Gary - wanted to try to succeed at something

- Briefly describe one thing that you think makes you unique.

Small but slow

- Name one thing that you wish your students to know about karate that you had to learn the hard way.

Listen to sensei - check your own stances - old days - if you weren't in a good stance you were knocked to the ground.

Upcoming Shotokan Events:

A demo at UNR

- '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


- Yabe's Class


At the NKA

Friday Night

More Info to follow

Food For Thought:

Now, according to Sensei Mike Bevilacqua, one of the most important parts of strength in a technique is the core of your body. He always explains this during his wednesday night classes, and anyone who has trained under him knows this. But, how in the world are you going to strengthen your core? Mike says to strengthen your core you must strengthen your abs; leg raises and sit-ups. Well, me being me, I decided to look up some other things you can do as well that will be effective. This is what I've got.

Top 10 Most Effective Ab Exercises

By Paige Waehner,

Updated: April 3, 2009 Health's Disease and Condition content is reviewed by our Medical Review Board

Want to know the most effective ab exercises? The following ab exercises are the results of the American Council on Exercise's study to determine the most effective ab exercises. While ab exercises won't spot reduce fat from the belly, strong abs are important for keeping your body healthy and protecting your spine. For more about flat abs, visit my Abs Page for articles, workouts, FAQs and more.

The Bicycle exercise is the best move to target the rectus abdominis (i.e., the 'six pack') and the obliques (the waist), according to a study done by the American Council on Exercise. To do this exercise correctly:

1. Lie face up on the floor and lace your fingers behind your head.

2. Bring the knees in towards the chest and lift the shoulder blades off the ground without pulling on the neck.

3. Straighten the left leg out while simultaneously turning the upper body to the right, bringing the left elbow towards the right knee.

4. Switch sides, bringing the right elbow towards the left knee.

5. Continue alternating sides in a 'pedaling' motion for 12-16 reps.

The captain's chair leg raise is the second most effective move for the rectus abdominis as well as the obliques. You can do a variety of exercises on the captain's chair, which is a rack with padded arms that allows your legs to hang free and can be found in most health clubs and gyms. The key to keeping this move safe and effective is, first, to avoid swinging the legs or using momentum to bring the legs up. Second, keeping the knees bent will help you focus more on the abdominals and less on the hip flexors. To do it right:

1. Stand on chair and grip handholds to stabilize your upper body.

2. Press your back against the pad and contract the abs to raise the legs and lift knees towards your chest.

3. Don't arch the back or swing the legs up.

4. Slowly lower back down and repeat for 1-3 sets of 12-16 reps.

The exercise ball is an excellent tool to strengthen the abs and comes out number three for working the rectus abdominis. To do it right:

1. Lie face-up with the ball resting under your mid/lower back.

2. Cross your arms over the chest or place them behind your head.

3. Contract your abs to lift your torso off the ball, pulling the bottom of your ribcage down toward your hips.

4. As you curl up, keep the ball stable (i.e., you shouldn't roll).

5. Lower back down, getting a stretch in the abs, and repeat for 12-16 reps.

The vertical leg crunch is another effective move for the rectus abdominis and the obliques. To do it right:

1. Lie face up on the floor and extend the legs straight up with knees crossed.

2. Contract the abs to lift the shoulder blades off the floor, as though reaching your chest towards your feet.

3. Keep the legs in a fixed position and imagine bringing your belly button towards your spine at the top of the movement.

4. Lower and repeat for 12-16 reps.

The Torso Track is a tough exercise because it can hurt your back if you're not careful.

1. Grip the handles of the Torso Track and pull the abs in without holding your breath (as though bracing them).

2. Exhale and glide forward as far as you comfortably can. If you collapse in the middle and feel it in your back, you've gone too far.

3. Contract the abs to pull your body back.

4. Add tension by using more tension chords.

This move, ranked 6th in the ACE study, emphasizes the upper part of the abs. To do it right:

1. Lie on a mat and extend the arms straight out behind the head with hands clasped, keeping the arms next to the ears.

2. Contract the abs and lift the shoulder blades off the floor.

3. Keep the arms straight and avoid straining the neck. If you feel neck pain, take one hand behind the head while keeping the other arm extended.

4. Lower and repeat for 12-16 reps.

It may seem like the reverse crunch is for the lower abs but, remember, the rectus abdominis is one long muscle, so you can't separate upper from lower. To do this move right:

1. Lie on the floor and place hands on the floor or behind the head.

2. Bring the knees in towards the chest until they're bent to 90 degrees, with feet together or crossed.

3. Contract the abs to curl the hips off the floor, reaching the legs up towards the ceiling.

4. Lower and repeat for 12-16 reps.

5. It's a very small movement, so try to use your abs to lift your hips rather than swinging your legs and creating momentum.

In a full verticul crunch, you really work the abs by involving both the upper and lower body. To do it right:

1. Lie on your back and extend the legs up towards the ceiling.

2. Place hands behind your head (lightly cupping it) and contract the abs to lift the shoulder blades off the floor.

3. At the same time, press the heels towards the ceiling, creating a 'u' shape with the torso.

4. Lower down and repeat for 12-16 reps.

The Ab Rocker (or roller) is number 9 for targeting the rectus abdominis. To do it right:

1. Sit on the Ab Rocker and grab the bars in each hand.

2. Contract the abs and rock forward, originating the movement from the abs rather than using momentum.

3. Release and repeat for 1-3 sets of 12-16 reps.
4. Go slowly to reduce momentum. Try to focus on the abs rather than pushing with the arms.

The plank exercise ranked number 10 in the ACE study and is a great way to build endurance in both the abs and back, as well as stabilizer muscles. To do it right:

1. Lie face down on mat resting on the forearms, palms flat on the floor.

2. Push off the floor, raising up onto toes and resting on the elbows.

3. Keep your back flat, in a straight line from head to heels.

4. Tilt your pelvis and contract your abdominals to prevent your rear end from sticking up in the air.

5. Hold for 20 to 60 seconds, lower and repeat for 3-5 reps.