December Theme: Honor

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Blog design copyright © 2007-2010 by Steve Amoia. All rights reserved. The blog template was provided by Google Blogger.

"Everything begins in the mind. Create the intention and then apply the effort to receive the result."

"It is very easy to break a pencil in half. Breaking ten pencils in half is an altogether different matter."

--- Coach Ron Pfeiffer, 7th Degree Black Belt, Lake Geneva, Wisconsin USA


"Don't fear the person who has studied a thousand techniques one time. Fear the person who has studied one technique a thousand times."

--- Ed DellaCroce, 3rd Degree Black Belt and the North Carolina State Director for World Dragon Kenpo.


December Theme: Honor.

The Example of Staff Sergeant Salvatore A. Giunta

“I lost two dear friends of mine. I would give this back in a second to have my friends with me right now.”

Featured Video




Saturday, July 14, 2007

July 2007 Slayer News


July Theme: Confidence
15 July 2007


"You have to expect things of yourself before you can do them." Michael Jordan


Contact Coach Pfeiffer or any Slayer Staff member concerning our Membership Mapping Project.


Table of Contents

Expectations by Ed DellaCroce
Have a Good Time by Phoebe Nelson
Fundamentals of Pilates by Steve Amoia
A Martial Art Biography by Chris Gregurich
Camp, Kenpo And Our Journey So Far by Bob Williams
Indiana Dragon Kenpo by Jim Patus
New Member Bio by Shawn Heckmaster
Closing Comments by Coach Pfeiffer


"You have to have confidence in your ability, and then be tough enough to follow it through." Rosalynn Carter

Expectations

by Ed DellaCroce
N.C. Director, World Dragon Kenpo


In the realm of Martial artist there are those who succeed and those who fail. Many enter the arts with high hopes and dreams of becoming the next, new, legendary Bruce Lee. Somewhere along the way, many become disillusioned and fade away quietly into the shadows. Some fail to meet their own standards or expectations. Do we set ourselves up for failure?


Have Hollywood filmmakers created illusions which cannot be duplicated in reality? We must examine ourselves when we fail or succeed. Realizing what produces our traits, good or bad, can allow us to build on or eliminate.

To perfect our Martial Art skills, we should be aware of our strengths and weaknesses. Realistically, we must also face our own personal limitations. In order to grow, set attainable goals, and develop structured daily training. Keeping a record of progress can become a motivator as we track our efforts. A positive mindset will prevent discouragement and the chance of failure. Maturity, both physical and mental, can change the road you walk upon many times. Become humble in the early stages of your training. Set a firm foundation from which you can build upon.

As a student, you will also become a teacher, for you will be able to share your knowledge with others. Your behavior can set an example for others to follow. Do you control your anger, or does it control you?

It is said that imitation is the most sincere form of flattery. Become a role model to a younger person interested in the martial art ways. You possess the ability to leave behind a proud legacy.

You should expect positive results from positive efforts and expect negative results from negative efforts. Expectations will play a major part in your development: "Make them positive". Reach for the stars in your quest to explore the universe and never stop learning. Keep your mind open and your heart sincere. Never fall prey to useless boasting. Each day, look into your mirror and be happy with whom you have become.

If you have fallen short from your goals, blame only the person that you view in the mirror. Most importantly, take responsibility for your own actions!

A closing thought...

"The eyes may be the mirror of your soul, but remember it is the hands and feet which can kill you."



"You cannot consistantly perform in a manner which is inconsistant with the way you see yourself" Zig Ziglar

Have a Good Time

By Phoebe Nelson Oshirak, RN, Tai Chi Student

Each week while driving to Tai Chi class at the Lake Geneva, Wisconsin YMCA, I think about a question Coach Ron is sure to ask each and every one of his students. I am so sure he will ask the question, I’d bet my rich uncle’s money (If I had a rich uncle) and we would both be sure winners.

Our Tai Chi class always starts with a warm up exercise to stretch our muscles and clear our minds. After the warm up, we position ourselves for the first routine of the evening: “Tai Chi for Arthritis.” Before we begin, we place our feet at a ninety degree angle, heel to heel, al la the actor Charlie Chaplin. (If you are too young to remember Mr. Chaplin please keep it to yourself… thank you very much!!) As we begin the exercise, Coach Ron reminds us of the imaginary “Golden Thread” that runs through our body, pulling us higher toward the clouds, making us stand straight and tall. He reminds us to relax, let the cares of the day ebb and to focus on our breathing. We take a deep abdominal breath letting our stomachs push forward… then we release it, allowing our tensions to flow out. I try to keep my mind focused, but I am thinking about the inevitable question.

We finish the exercise and stand at rest while Coach talks about up-coming Tai Chi events. He walks from side to side a bit and then stops, looking straight at the class. My knees feel a bit like rubber and I think to myself, “Yup, here it comes.”

Then Coach Ron asks, “How many of you were able to practice your Tai Chi this week?”

I want to shrink into an invisible speck. My eyes shift from Coach to the floor, avoiding eye contact. I imagine a spot light is pointing directly at me and I pray Coach is not looking my way. The truth be known, I did not practice this week. I know I should have but I put it off until an entire seven days passed and brought me to this moment. My decision comes quickly. I realize I would fool no one but myself if I raise my hand, so I shake my head indicating I did not practice. To my relief, lightning does not strike nor does anyone admonish me. Coach simply encourages all of us to try and make Tai Chi a part of our life-style. He urges us to discipline ourselves to take the time and work toward improving our Tai Chi form. Even if we have only a few minutes to devote to Tai Chi, he assures us we will reap the benefits.

As class resumes I hear Coach saying, “Smooth, even and continuous,” and I attempt to slow my movements and allow them to flow into one another. I forget the guilt and the spotlight…I move on, relax and enjoy the class. By evening’s end I feel rejuvenated and very pleased that tonight I have learned something new about Tai Chi as well as something about myself. I learned that no matter what I do, I should try to do my best. The emphasis is on TRY. Just trying is, in itself, a success. And I realize one other thing too. If I find the time to practice, that’s great. If I don’t, I can forgive myself. After all, the reason for doing Tai Chi in the first place is not just for the many health benefits it provides but for the sheer joy of having a good time.



"You are educated when you have the ability to listen to almost anything without losing your temper or self confidence." Robert Frost

Fundamentals of Pilates

by Steve Amoia

In 1880, Joseph Pilatu was born in Germany. His father was originally from Greece, and was a noted gymnast. His mother, a native of Germany, practiced naturopathy. During his youth, the family changed its name to “Pilates.”

As a child, Mr. Pilates was often ill and physically weak. For this reason, he began to study gymnastics and weight training. “He came to believe that our modern life-style, bad posture, and inefficient breathing were the roots of poor health and ultimately devised a series of exercises, training techniques and engineered all the equipment, specifications and tuning required to teach them properly.” (1) Ultimately, he developed over 500 exercises for his system that is today known as “Pilates.”

Contrology

Mr. Pilates and his wife, Clara, arrived in the United States after World War I. They opened an exercise studio in Manhattan. The term, “Contrology,” referred to their belief that our minds should control our muscular systems. The prime theme in the Pilates method was proper breathing and spinal alignment. The exercises strengthened the muscles of the torso region, which Mr. Pilates felt was the foundation to prevent back pain. As well as assist in recuperation from back injuries, and to increase flexibility. Dancers in New York City began to embrace this new form of exercise, and the Pilates’ studio grew in prominence. “Well known dancers such as George Balanchine and Martha Graham became devotees and regularly sent their students to them for training and rehabilitation.” (2)

Key Principles

  • Mind over matter: Focal awareness of your body at all times. Learning to correct imbalances in structural alignment.
  • Proper breathing: As we have learned in Dragon Kenpo, it is integral to breathe correctly (inhale and exhale) as we execute techniques. Mr. Pilates believed that proper breathing enhanced blood circulation in our bodies. “Squeeze out the lungs as you would a wet towel… Even if you follow no other instructions, learn to breathe properly.” (3)
  • Powerhouse muscles: Pilates stressed the development of strong core muscles surrounding the torso. For example, the abdominal region, hips, back area, and gluteus.
  • Concentration: Relates to mind over matter.
  • Purpose: Each precise movement is related to the overall success of the exercise program.
  • Grace: Mr. Pilates stressed that movements should be executed in a fluid manner. “Grace of motion is emphasized over speed; ultimately the movements are meant to feel as fluid as a long stride or a waltz.” (4)

Further Information

“Your Health,” by Joseph Pilates, 1934.

“Return to Life Through Contrology,” by Joseph Pilates and William Miller, 1945.

Romana’s Pilates: “Romana Kryzanowska is the world-renowned protégé of Joseph Pilates and has been teaching the method for nearly six decades. Long ago Romana made a commitment to Joe and Clara Pilates to continue their life's work and Romana continues to deliver on that promise today by traveling the world and teaching the next generation of instructors.”

You will find Amazon links on her site to purchase the books of Mr. Pilates.

References

(1-2) Wikipedia Article on Joseph Pilates.


You need to play with supreme confidence, or else you'll lose again, and then losing becomes a habit." Joe Paterno


Martial Art Biography


by Christopher Gregurich

3RD Degree Black Belt Dragon Kenpo/Certified Instructor

Lifetime member International Dragon Kenpo Association 2001

Team Murcigalo, Pro Mixed Martial Arts with UFC fighters Rashad Evans & Noe Hernandez and there trainers in Boxing, Mauy Tai, and Brazilian Ji Jistu, 2007

1st Degree Black Belt Judo Jutsu 1998 Certified through Sensei Jim Cornforth

Yang Style Tai Chi 2yrs with Sifu Dan Jones

U.S. Army Combat Training, 1990 Fort Benning GA.

Hello my name is Chris Gregurich and I have been in martial arts for about 29 years now. I started training when I was 5 in Tae Park Tai Kwon Do at the local Y center going twice a week for about 2 years. Then changed to Judo when I was 8 and did that till I was in high school .During high school I took a break and was competing only in high school athletics such as wrestling and football but that changed when I entered the military. I was with a combat military police unit stationed in Kuwait in 1990 and 1991 with a lot of training in combat survival. When I came back to the states I went back to Judo and finished my 1st Dan. I also studied different martial arts in different areas to fill in my self defense gaps. In the 90s I began studying the Dragon Kenpo Karate System with Ed Hutchinson and received my 3rd Degree in 2001 with the International Dragon Kenpo Association from Coach Ron Pfeiffer. In the winter of 2006 I was asked to teach at the Jackson Boxing Club & Mixed Martial Art Gym I gladly accepted and have not looked back since.

The Jackson County Boxing Club & Mixed Martial Art Gym. Is a 5000 square foot facility with training areas for different arts. I have had the privilege of offering dragon kenpo classes twice a week and several 6 week woman’s and children self defense programs. While here I was able to meet some very big Martial Artist in the field of Mixed Martial Art competition and have had the opportunity to train with them for the last year in Boxing, Mauy Tai, and Brazilian Ju Jitsu. With the experience I have learned with them my Dragon Kenpo has evolved to a higher standard for myself and my teaching. My newest adventure along with my school is I will be a student of Kinesiology and teacher at Lansing Community College in Sport Karate and looking forward to this also I will be a member of the World Dragon Kenpo organization with Coach Ron Pfeiffer working to improve my skills and my knowledge of this art and the tai chi concept.

LIVE TO TRAIN, TRAIN TO LIVE


"Youth is a circumstance you can't do anything about. The trick is to grow up without getting old." Frank Lloyd Wright


Camp, Kenpo and Our Journey So Far

by Bob Williams

My son and I have recently joined the Dragon Kenpo family and I thought I might jot down a few words about our experiences so far.

This isn’t our first foray into martial arts. For about 3-4 years we studied Taekwondo Moo Duk Kwan with Sensei Jerry Podolski (or, as we called him, Mr. P). Unfortunately he had some concerns with the health of his wife which prompted him to retire from teaching.

Griffin and I looked into other schools, but they were all much more expensive than the community program we had been in. More importantly, it was a bit deflating to know that we had earned our red-stripe belts (one shy of black), but that we would need to begin all over, learning new katas and techniques.

Unfortunately I let the ball drop and we just moved onto other things.

Four or five months ago we joined the YMCA, mostly for racquetball and the weight room, but swimming and basketball are alot of fun as well.

One day after racquetball, we decided to check out the activity room next to the courts. We had been seeing lots of young martial arts students coming and going out of the room, and it peaked our curiosity. Even though it had been about 4 years since we last practiced Taekwondo, our interest in the sport began to build.

Griffin began making trips to the library and Borders bookstore to learn more about the zen of martial arts, Bruce Lee, various moves and techniques, etc.

I looked into the Dragon Kenpo program and it sounded very good. We decided the time was right to get back into martial arts.

Our experiences so far have been extraordinarily rewarding, with the highlight being our recent Father’s Day camping trip.

Ron, Jeff and Ken are great teachers, and it’s obvious they love what they do. Their devotion to the martial arts way of life is infectious. Just looking at the kids in the program it’s apparent that they’re having fun, but that they take the training very seriously. That’s a very good sign to me.

Our yellow-belt testing went well at Camp Edwards and then I had an opportunity to help out Coach Ron's 16 yr old son Ron E. Pfeiffer with his black belt promotion. I played the part of the attacker and Ron played the part of a guy who really knows what he’s doing; someone who doesn’t mind throwing a guy 70 pounds heavier than him over his hip and down on the ground (over and over and over again...).

Besides the aches and pains, the sheer volume of information one needs to know to get to that level is a bit daunting, to say the least.

And I’ve got to admit I was blown away by Ron’s depth of knowledge up at Camp Edwards. I’ve never seen a more impressive display of nunchuks, not even in the movies!

I also enjoyed Ron’s tai-chi demonstration, as well as the eskrima-stick seminar by Ken.

The Dragon Kenpo style of training appears to be more “real-world” than our Taekwondo training was. We spent a lot of time working on our kicks, breaking boards and sparring, but not as much time on individual take-downs or techniques.

Ron and Jeff seem to focus more on learning and perfecting techniques that you would use to protect yourself when under attack out on the street. Of course no one’s ever thrown a punch at me out of anger yet, and I hope it never happens, but I believe the goals are to:
1.) avoid any confrontation by exuding the confidence in knowing you won’t be hurt, and
2.) knowing that if confronted, the opponent will realize he or she made a mistake

I just turned 50 a few months ago, and have come to realize that I’ve lost a step or two (to put it mildly). This commitment to the YMCA in general, and Karate in particular, has really had an impact on the way I feel. I’m excited about what lies ahead.

Thanks Ron,

Bob


"Whether you think you can or think you can't your right." Henry Ford

Indiana Dragon Kenpo

by Instructor Jim Patus
Indiana State Director
Hi Coach,

I haven’t been a very good correspondent for the last month or so. I’m sorry. It’s been hectic.

First of all, please extend my congratulations to Ronnie on his achievement. He’s accomplished something that he can be proud of for the rest of his life.

Jacob and his mom came up from Florida the first weekend of June; that first week really flew by.

The next weekend was Jacob’s birthday and, together with son Matt, we had our annual three day camping trip to The Dream late model stock car race at Eldora Raceway in Ohio. Next year we want to get my dad involved; he’s 88 and owned a racecar in the 1940s. I think he will get a charge out of it. Camping with his son and grandsons should be a plus.

The next weekend we spent five days at Camp Okinawa, a Universal Martial Arts Association seminar at Camp Le Jeune in North Carolina.

June was fun in that we did martial arts almost every day but it was difficult trying to get my hours in at work and Jacob’s summer visit is also the time to catch up on doctoring and the dentist. The oncologist is insisting that the growth on Jacob’s tibia is nothing to worry about. Everyone but me was glad that he did not want to do surgery; I would feel a lot easier about it if they had a better idea what it is. I spent most of last week taking Jacob to the dentist. Four days of agony for him and $1,000.00 of expense for me.

I’ve been pretty busy at work revamping our student advising system at Ivy Tech. Getting folks to do things that make sense is a real battle. Most would much rather do what we have always done whether or not it has ever worked. The Chancellor at Ivy Tech Sellersburg sent out a nice email to all faculty and staff lauding our Tai Chi initiative at Fairington apartments, an elderly Section 8 community. She received a nice letter from the residents thanking her for making me available. We will start another session next week. They have requested going over Tai Chi for Back Pain from scratch. This is probably good because it will give new people a chance to join in. I hope we can get more interest in Dragon Kenpo next semester. It’s amazing how often I run into students who have been here for a while who say, “I had no idea you were doing this at Ivy Tech.”

Camp Okinawa was very interesting. Attendees from our group were Jacob, Allen Taylor, and Mike Gregory. We were hoping that the UMAA could help keep us straight on our kata. Thanks to the seminar we haven’t given up.

One of the presenters was Hanshi Tony Sandoval from Bardstown Kentucky. He was one of the first to bring Okinawan White Crane to the United States. We were sitting together during one of the breaks and he asked me about my background. I told him that the majority of my early training was in Judo and Shotokan but that my black belt was in Dragon Kenpo and that that was now my primary style. He raised questioning eyebrows so I added that Dragon Kenpo was a system developed by one of Jay T. Wills’ students. Apparently that rang a bell for Hanshi Sandoval because he immediately volunteered that he had been a friend of Ed Parker’s and that they had trained together. Sensei Sandoval presented two sessions of White Crane. It gave me a whole new insight into our white belt techniques.

Another presenter was Shihan Jerry Offutt, an eighth degree black belt in Shotokan from Arkansas. He conducted one session on Shotokan kata and another on AAU coaching. Sensei Offutt has a small organization that broke away from the JKA. He said he would be glad to mentor us in traditional Shotokan kata. When I told him that I had no intention of giving up Dragon Kenpo he just smiled and said, “Know one way by learning ten thousand.” Allen has family in Arkansas so Allen, Jacob, Mike, and I are going to try to schedule a weekend with Sensei Offutt to have him critique our Shotokan kata and correct our errors. There are some things that I know Jacob and I didn’t learn correctly and Allen learned mostly from us and from videos. Since we are teaching these kata with our Dragon Kenpo I don’t want our broken forms to reflect poorly on what we are doing.

Sensei Offutt frequently trains with his friend Sensei Scott Mertz who has spent a lot of time in Okinawa tracking down some of the family systems. Sensei Mertz has black belts in Judo, Shotokan, Goju Ryu, Shorin Ryu, and Ryuei Ryu as well as holding some very rare teaching credentials in Okinawan family styles. He taught us a very unusual version of Chinte, as well as an oar kata (Irei no Eku) and a sai kata (Arigaki no Sai). We all worked Chinte. Allen and Jacob learned the oar kata (we only had two oars, neither in the water), and since we only had one pair of sai we nominated Allen to learn the sai kata. Allen was one of Sensei Mertz’s favorite uke in our parking lot training sessions. I think he is rather proud of his collection of bruises. Sensei Mertz is a young man who is still in the Navy. He works as a military employee of NCIS in computer forensics. He also mentioned training seals in Pensacola but I didn’t see any beach balls or other things in his kit that you would associate with trained seals. ;)

Shihan Frank Williams the head of the UMAA taught the Shorin Ryu version of Jion and Fusei Kise’s nunchaku kata. Jacob and I had done the Shotokan version of Jion many years ago ant there were enough similarities that we did pretty well with the Shorin Ryu version. Having worked the your WDK nunchaku tapes I think our group came across pretty well and we picked up Kise no Nunchaku pretty fast. (Thank you.) Pretty much everything in the form is something you teach in your video presentation.

Sensei Tim Spiess was not a formal presenter at the seminar; he was a participant like us. Like Senseis Williams, Mertz, and Sandoval, he had studied Shorin Ryu under Fusei Kise in Okinawa but he also got involved with some Chinese styles and his instructor is teaching something that he bills as kung fu. The kanji on his gi says something about Shaolin but I couldn’t get it all. It looks pretty much like an external style of wushu with a strong Okinawan back influence. He showed me what he said was Yang Tai Chi that was self defense applications. In his day job, Sensei Spiess is a secret services agent. Together with Senseis Offutt and Mertz he taught us a lot in the hotel parking lot. I sent a brief email to all the presenters and Sensei Spiess thanking them for all of their training. Sensei Spiess was the first to acknowledge it, offering to conduct a seminar for us covering his unusual style and “some defensive tactics that I have learned from the job”. I haven’t responded yet but I did mention the idea at work to some of the administrators. It was well received. I want to put out feelers to see if there would be a market for a two day seminar targeting black belts and brown belts that could pay an honorarium and expenses for you and Sensei Spiess, and perhaps another presenter, that the college could make use of for marketing and we could use to promote WDK and Tai Chi.

The real highlight of the trip was taking Allen to the beach. When we were driving through Virginia he mentioned that it was the farthest that he had ever been from home. So I made up my mind that we had to get him to the ocean. That was cool.

It was also a lot of fun watching the interaction between Jacob and Allen over the five days. Despite their age difference they showed each other a lot of respect and despite their difference in physique the worked well together reinforcing each other’s learning. I got a good feel for this sitting on the sidelines watching them working the oar kata. When we were all watching Allen learning the sai kata the glance to the sidelines for reinforcement and the big grin said it all. Allen is a pleasure to have in the group. He enjoys martial arts and works very hard at it.

I’m not sure how many we will have for the Tai Chi Labor Day weekend. Allen and I are pretty certain, as is Mike and his wife, Roberta. Mikes daughter Sara may or may not go depending on her plans with her boyfriend. The boyfriend, Dustin, is a soldier at Fort Knox and is on the US Army MMA team. Maybe we can get him hooked. Ed Brown and his wife would also like to attend. Jacob probably will not be able to go because it is the first week of school and his mom doesn’t want him to miss anything that early in the year; I’m not pushing it.

A student that I had an academic advising appointment with yesterday does some kickboxing and expressed an interest in learning more about both DK and Tai Chi; I hope she follows through and comes to try us out this Saturday. One thing that Jigoro Kano (Judo), Morihei Uyeshiba (Aikido), and Bruce Lee (Jeet Kune Do) all had in common is that they showcased their styles by using students who had come to them already very proficient in other styles.

Ivy Tech is on break this week so I was supposed to be off but I have already put in over 20 hours. Monday I’m starting a 5 week crash biology course that I was dumb enough to choose a new textbook for and the lab manual is a new edition. I haven’t had a chance to take a good look at how I’m going to put it together in five weeks. Oh well, I have until Monday to figure it out.

I’m moving this weekend but I’ll try to make the meeting if I can get my computer hooked up in time.

It’s been a hectic couple months and July doesn’t hold promise of any respite. But life is good.

Jim Patus

We're super proud of the way Instructor Patus and the students in Indiana represent World Dragon Kenpo. They present an excellent example to all of us and are to be commended. Great Job Indiana Dragon Kenpo! Coach Ron Pfeiffer


"Confidence... thrives on honesty, on honor, on the sacredness of obligations, on faithful protection and on unselfish performance. Without them it cannot live." Roosevelt


New World Dragon Kenpo Member Bio

by Shawn Heckmaster (Jo Kyo Nym)

Jyo Kyo Nim Shawn began studying Kuk Sool Won in 2002. He was promoted to First Dan in April 2005. It was at this promotion ceremony where he proposed marriage to Jyo Kyo Nim Valerie. They were married on Oct 29th 2005. Jyo Kyo Nim Shawn began teaching Kuk Sool Won in Feb of 2004, as a black belt candidate. Previous martial art experience includes Tae Kwon Do, Judo, Kickboxing and Wrestling. Shawn is a 10 yr. US Army Veteran. He served, as a Non-Commissioned Officer, from July 1991- July 2001. He currently works as a Department of Defense Military Analyst at the National Simulation Center, Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas, and as a Realtor, with Realty Executives. During his service with the Army, Jyo Kyo Nim Shawn lived in South Korea for 4 years, where he learned to read/write Hangul (the Korean language). Other tours of duty included stays/assignments at Ft. Sill, Oklahoma, Ft. Chaffee, Arkansas, Ft.
Lewis, Washington, Ft. Lee, Virginia, Camps Red Cloud, & Casey, SouthKorea, 1996 Olympic Games Security Force Support, Atlanta, Georgia, Hunter Army Airfield & Ft. Stewart, Georgia, Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas, and a two year assignment with the University of Kansas Army ROTC, Lawrence, Kansas.

There are many reasons why I decided to study Kenpo. I have had many friends in the past who studied Kenpo, and enjoyed it very much. In college, I took a combination Kenpo/Aikido course for one semester, and was very happy with the training. The distance/online learning
availability is something that interests me a great deal. I have taken many classes online, and found them to be a pleasurable experience. Online courses are not for everyone, but I seem to be one of those people who can really thrive with self study. I have taken insurance courses online, real estate courses, personal fitness training courses, college credits, and many more. I feel that with my strong background in martial arts, and aptitude for online learning, I will be able to accomplish my goals in Kenpo.

Respectfully,

Shawn Heckmaster


"Class is an aura of confidence that is being sure without being cocky. Class has nothing to do with money. Class never runs scared. It is self-discipline and self-knowledge. It's the sure footedness that comes with having proved you can meet life." Ann Landers


Closing Comments by Coach Pfeiffer

Do you want to see improvements in this publication over the next year? Send in your ideas! Feedback is important! Let us know what you would like to hear about!

If you have an article that you would like to submit email any staff member. Comments and questions are welcome too.

IMPORTANT NOTICE TO ALL MEMBERS

All Student/Instructor members are reminded that advancement and promotion are not automatic. Contact Coach Pfeiffer or your local instructor if you have questions or to request advancement information.

Is your school having an event? Let the Dragon Kenpo community know by placing it in the Slayer News! We are here to help you and your students get the most out of your training...

Please remember to keep your information updated so that the World Dragon Kenpo Schools of Self Defense can serve you in the best way possible!

The articles within this newsletter are the views of the writer and not necessarily the views of World Dragon Kenpo Schools of Self Defense.

Fundamentals of Pilates by Steve Amoia

Fundamentals of Pilates

by Steve Amoia

In 1880, Joseph Pilatu was born in Germany. His father was originally from Greece, and was a noted gymnast. His mother, a native of Germany, practiced naturopathy. During his youth, the family changed its name to “Pilates.”

As a child, Mr. Pilates was often ill and physically weak. For this reason, he began to study gymnastics and weight training. “He came to believe that our modern life-style, bad posture, and inefficient breathing were the roots of poor health and ultimately devised a series of exercises, training techniques and engineered all the equipment, specifications and tuning required to teach them properly.” (1) Ultimately, he developed over 500 exercises for his system that is today known as “Pilates.”

Contrology

Mr. Pilates and his wife, Clara, arrived in the United States after World War I. They opened an exercise studio in Manhattan. The term, “Contrology,” referred to their belief that our minds should control our muscular systems. The prime theme in the Pilates method was proper breathing and spinal alignment. The exercises strengthened the muscles of the torso region, which Mr. Pilates felt was the foundation to prevent back pain. As well as assist in recuperation from back injuries, and to increase flexibility. Dancers in New York City began to embrace this new form of exercise, and the Pilates’ studio grew in prominence. “Well known dancers such as George Balanchine and Martha Graham became devotees and regularly sent their students to them for training and rehabilitation.” (2)

Key Principles

· Mind over matter: Focal awareness of your body at all times. Learning to correct imbalances in structural alignment.

· Proper breathing: As we have learned in Dragon Kenpo, it is integral to breathe correctly (inhale and exhale) as we execute techniques. Mr. Pilates believed that proper breathing enhanced blood circulation in our bodies. “Squeeze out the lungs as you would a wet towel… Even if you follow no other instructions, learn to breathe properly.” (3)

· Powerhouse muscles: Pilates stressed the development of strong core muscles surrounding the torso. For example, the abdominal region, hips, back area, and gluteus.

· Concentration: Relates to mind over matter.

· Purpose: Each precise movement is related to the overall success of the exercise program.

· Grace: Mr. Pilates stressed that movements should be executed in a fluid manner. “Grace of motion is emphasized over speed; ultimately the movements are meant to feel as fluid as a long stride or a waltz.” (4)

Further Information

“Your Health,” by Joseph Pilates, 1934.

“Return to Life Through Contrology,” by Joseph Pilates and William Miller, 1945.

Romana’s Pilates: “Romana Kryzanowska is the world-renowned protégé of Joseph Pilates and has been teaching the method for nearly six decades. Long ago Romana made a commitment to Joe and Clara Pilates to continue their life's work and Romana continues to deliver on that promise today by traveling the world and teaching the next generation of instructors.”

You will find Amazon links on her site to purchase the books of Mr. Pilates.

References

(1-2) Wikipedia Article on Joseph Pilates.

(3-4) Wikipedia Article on Pilates.