December Theme: Honor

Copyright © 2007-2010 by World Dragon Kenpo. All rights reserved.
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




Tuesday, August 14, 2007

August 2007 Slayer News


SLAYER NEWS
About Dragon Kenpo Karate
August 2007 Preparedness
September Theme - Humility


Be Prepared! A Boy Scout Motto.

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


Table of Contents

Preparation: A Mental and Physical Process by Steve Amoia
How Old Is Too Old by Phoebe Nelson
Why Martial Arts Training Is Important to Me by R. Michael Sweet (Newly Promoted Red Belt!)
Some Pictures From Wisconsin by Ron Pfeiffer
In A World Of Violence Dragon Kenpo Has Given Me Peace Of Mind by Pete Solomon
My View Of Preparedness by Tim Flynn
Closing Comments by Coach Pfeiffer
Staff Biographies

"It wasn't raining when Noah built the ark." Howard Ruff

Preparation: A Mental and Physical Process

by Steve Amoia

In Dragon Kenpo, we are taught two physical stances: The Ready Stance, along with the Fighting Stance. All subsequent movements are executed from these basic, yet integral, fundamental stances. But how about our mental stance? How do we cultivate the proper mental attitude to prepare ourselves for a potential street self-defense situation? How can we prepare ourselves physically? In this essay, we will discuss visualization, environmental awareness, and physical preparation.

Visualization

In the same fashion that some of us practice WDK techniques, visualization can be an important tool. When we think through all of the possible variations before an encounter, we are better prepared to execute the proper self-defense technique that is appropriate for the situation. This technique also prepares the subconscious mind, which does not discern the difference between imagined or actual engagements.

Environmental Awareness

Whenever I take a bus, subway, or train, I always look around at my fellow passengers. Most are self-absorbed in their own worlds. With Blackberries, cellular phones, I-Pods, and wireless laptops, sensory and auditory awareness are greatly limited. Either they don’t care or don’t anticipate the perils of modern life. It is important to be vigilant in our environment. This means complete awareness of your locale. Whether it is late at night, early in the morning, in a good or bad part of town, or in a public venue such as a train station. You are responsible for your own safety. I believe that the military uses a very helpful acronym: IFF. “Identify friend or foe.” Don’t let your worst potential enemy be yourself. Be aware of your environment. Identify situations and persons who may cause you harm. We have inherited an instinct that focuses us to be aware of our surroundings. But in order to hone this instinct into practical use, we must, literally and figuratively, keep our eyes and ears open. Don’t fall into the mainstream trap of “tuning out and turning on” the latest high-tech gadget because everyone else is doing it.

Physical Preparation

We are taught the tailoring principle of Dragon Kenpo. To practice and learn all of the techniques in the curriculum, but to master those that would help us the most in a self-defense situation. To quote Ed Dellacroce, Director of DK North Carolina, “Fear the man or woman who has practiced one technique a thousand times. Not the one who has practiced a thousand techniques once.” One of the benefits of virtual training is the ability to master techniques that work the best for you. As we practice, over and over again, the technique becomes a part of our muscle memory. In conjunction with visualization, this can be a powerful tool in our self-defense arsenal. As Bruce Lee suggested, “Strike as if you were in an actual fight.” We have to create the environment in practice, whether it is sparring or visualization, which can be replicated in a street encounter.

Conclusion

When a self-defense situation presents itself, you will have the confidence, both physically and mentally, to execute the proper response. You will not have to think what to do. You will know what to do. Due to the preliminary regimen of visualization, environmental awareness, and physical preparation. These techniques will also make you a more dangerous target for a possible assailant. Remember, the stronger seek out the weak. Both in the animal kingdom, and in human society.


"Remember, when disaster strikes, the time to prepare has passed." Steven Cyros

How Old is too Old?

By Phoebe Nelson Oshirak, RN, Tai Chi Student

Occasionally I wonder what my mother, God rest her soul, would think if she knew her 68 year old daughter was taking Tai Chi. I imagine she might ask, “What is that, some kind of herbal medicine?” As a kid, I never saw my mother running off to the gym wearing sweat pants and tennis shoes. Exercise regimens were not in vogue back then. Now things are different. Hallelujah! With improved education and healthier life styles, not to mention the more body conscious fashion trends, exercise in any form, at any age, has become an important part of the daily routine. After all, we want our spouses and children to be active and fit. In addition, our children want their parents and grandparents to be the same. That's right. I said “Grandparents!” Hey! Trust me; exercise is not wasted on the old. As the actress Billie Burke said, "Age doesn't matter unless you're a cheese.” No matter what our age, it is never too late to learn new things; in fact, statistics indicate folks in their sixties, seventies and beyond are living longer, healthier and more active lives than ever before. One of the factors influencing this change is EXERCISE. For most of us, with age comes wisdom, and that may be true, but I would like to add; with age comes opportunity. Consequently, I have taken the opportunity to incorporate Tai Chi into my own life style. Tai Chi maintains range of motion, improves balance and memory, to name just a few of the benefits.

Does age reflect upon one's ability to perform Tai Chi? Not if one is healthy enough to execute even a few of the movements. For those of you with health issues who are considering learning Tai Chi, an important first step should be to get the OK from your family physician. Then, you only need muster the motivation and courage to begin. Writer/actress Ruth Gordon wrote, Courage is very important. Like a muscle, it is strengthened by use. So I gathered my courage and signed up for a class. I figured if I could lift a fork from the table as high as my mouth surely I could raise my hands a bit higher to manage Tai Chi moves.

Many illnesses commonly found in the elderly can benefit from Tai Chi. The “Sun” (pronounced, Soon) style of Tai Chi offers: Tai Chi for Arthritis, Tai Chi for Back Pain, and Tai Chi for Osteoporosis. And so often attitude is everything. For many of us, despite physical disabilities and illnesses, we can do some form of Tai Chi if we really want to. For example, one of my Tai Chi classmates contends with the ravages of childhood polio. Other classmates, challenged by diabetes, asthma, arthritis, depression, hypertension and osteoporosis will tell you Tai Chi has had a very positive impact on their well being.

Scientist Marie Curie once remarked, “The older one gets, the more one feels that the present must be enjoyed; it is a precious gift…” So how old is too old to practice Tai Chi? The answer is quite simple. You keep at it until it isn't fun anymore...it has nothing whatsoever to do with age.


"Preparedness, when properly pursued, is a way of life, not a sudden, spectacular program." Spencer W. Kimball

Why Martial Arts Training Is Important to Me

By

R. Michael Sweet

Once I saw a photo of a wall filled with weapons. There were swords, knives, and various types of firearms hanging on the wall. Right in the middle of all this weaponry was a frame that said, “Love your neighbor.” I don’t know who took the picture or what their point was, but my Grandfather liked it enough to hang it up. My Grandfather was a medical doctor. I know why he liked the picture. He had seen first hand the results of the violence that people do to each other. He knew that no matter how much love one has for their fellow man, that love will not necessarily be a mutual feeling.

The world is full of evil people. I love martial arts and I hate violence. Like my grandfather’s picture, the two statements seem contradictory. How can one claim to hate violence and spend so much time working on techniques clearly designed to cause bodily harm to someone else? The answer of course is that life is not that simple. Violence is here already. Sure, we can love our neighbor. We may even love our neighbor enough to die rather than cause him harm. The problem is that sometimes our neighbor can become a danger to our family, or others whom we truly care about. It may become necessary to use physical force to control our neighbor so that he can not hurt those persons entrusted to our care. This being the case the weapons in my grandfathers picture were not instruments of death and destruction, but rather of love. My grandfather once showed me his weapons. He said they were to fight werewolves and vampires. I knew what he was really saying. He was showing me his weapons so that I would know that he loved me and, while I was at his house, I was safe. He would fight, if necessary, to protect me because he loved me. What does training in the martial arts mean to me? It means that I live, pray and work for peace, but I train for war. I train because I respect myself and I love others. I train because it has kept my body flexible and strong and given me the tools to protect myself and those I love. I love martial arts and I hate violence. There is no contradiction. I train to impede the progress of violence. I train in order to prevent violence. I train because I love.

I am certain that I will continue to train in the martial arts. I am certain that teaching will become an ever increasing part of my martial arts experience. I enjoy teaching because I feel like each person I teach will have a better chance of surviving a difficult situation. I also enjoy teaching because it is a learning process. I find that I learn more from teaching than I do from being a student.


"Preparation through education is less costly than learning through tragedy." Max Mayfield

Some Pictures From Wisconsin
by Ron Pfeiffer

Yes, it's me. Double Nunchaku Demostrations and Hot Weather = Alotta Sweat!
Here are some photos taken of our kids who participated in the Genoa City Days. After a very positive experience during the 4th of July Parade and Demos in Pell Lake we received an invitation to be a part of this prestigous event. Genoa City Days is a 3 day local festival which includes a parade, live music, food and drink, atv and 4x4 mud bogs and other fun family stuff.
After walking (running the last quarter due to the Caterpillar effect) in the parade we did some demonstrations and had our picture taken by the Lake Geneva Regional News! Our kids were great and after our group demo we let some of them pick their favorite DK technique to show it to the crowd. Enjoy the pics!

Anyone who would like to help with our Kids Karate Camp fund rasier can find more information at www.dragonkenpo.net/raffle.html.


"Self-Reliance is a prerequisite to the complete freedom to act." Marion G. Romney


In A World Of Violence Dragon Kenpo Has Given Me Piece Of Mind!
By Pete Solomon

Down through the years, as I've traveled down this path to greater knowledge in this thing we all call self defense, I've encountered many truths, but sadly, I've also seen a lot of misled students (and instructors). Additionally, I've heard my share of myths. This article is my little contribution to anyone interested. Now do not misunderstand me. I don't claim to be an expert or authority on anything. All I can do is try to shed some light on a few aspects of my experiences.

Let's begin with the belt (obi). The glorified 'Black' belt. The person that wears this belt should be a person of high standards and moral; sadly, this is not always true. I've come across many Dan ranked students, who in my opinion, should have been wearing a piece of string instead. Wearing a black belt can sometimes give a person a huge ego, and my friends, a huge ego has no place in the dojo. The goal is to instill in my students that the honor of wearing a dan rank should be just that, an honor, and with this comes a great responsibility to everyone below them. Teach not only the correct form but also, teach younger students how to be humble and respectful.

On the other side of the black belt discussion is how long should a person be made to wait before being tested for black belt status? Again, this is only my opinion. I don't believe in promotion to BB before the age of 16. I don't think that anyone younger than this can really understand the meaning of what takes place when you wrap that belt around your waist. Also, I believe it gives a false sense of security.

When I was training in Florida under Sensei George Alexander, we did a weapons seminar in West Palm Beach. At this seminar, there was a Korean school, and they had a bunch of little kids doing high kicks and somersaults and all were black belts! It was a great demo, very flashy, lots of energy. Sensei turned to me and said "Yeah but can they fight?" At the time, I thought that was mean, but as the years have passed, I've noticed that some styles do promote to black belt at a very young age. These kids may develop into great fighters, but at 12, couldn't really defend themselves in an alleyway. Also, if I earned my black belt 15 yrs ago and haven't trained since, am I still a black belt? First, earning that black belt, whenever it was, was an achievement that nobody can take away from you. Because a person has a certificate saying such has nothing to do with that person's ability today. It's our job to stay worthy of that honor and to stay capable of the requirements of that position. When a student of mine takes a leave of absence for a while, he or she will still hold their rank when they return. But it will have to be back to the level they were before they advance further. What they earned in the past is theirs, period.

Now the ranking system. Well I was taught that a white belt through the years turned black due to sweat, mold, age, etc. Renshinkai had only 4 belts: White, green, brown and black. But I've also been taught that the ranking system was only used in the past hundred years for commercial reasons. I feel that the lower color belts give the new student a feeling of pride and accomplishment, and give the instructor an idea of where that certain student is in their training.

Next I'll discuss sparring. Through the years, I've trained with some who would say, "Oh we can't spar with our tools they are strictly for street defense and would only hurt our students in the dojo.". Well, I say to them, how do you know they work? We wear everything from gloves to motorcycle helmets in class. If I teach something in class, I want to be sure it will work on the street. I feel I would be a letting my students down otherwise. So, we spar and spar and spar, after all, we are training to fight (defend) so practical application is the only way to test these tools. If you are going to teach something, make sure that it works.

Lastly, I want to discuss DRAGON KENPO. Folks, this is my kinda system. I've trained in traditional karate Renshikai, Shorin ryu, and a little Shotokan. I've trained a lot in Judo, and have a 1st degree in Jujitsu. I studied Jeet Kune Do under a man by the name of James Watson, and trained hard in military hand-to-hand combat. But none of these captured my soul like Dragon Kenpo. With my background, I have been able to take this system and make it my own. This stuff really works. I was a little skeptical at first, but I thought, "What the hey, I'll give a shot." That was in 1998 and I'm still learning things about self defense through self expression. Ed Hutchison has given us a gift and it is up to us to show the world that we are here to stay. There will be people who will look down at us. You can learn from a computer screen. Long distance training can work. Maybe not for everyone, but for the ones who put their heart into it this system will make believers out of everyone. Take it from someone who has been on both sides of the fence. Train hard, and don't cheat yourselves out of what Dragon Kenpo can give to you. In a world of violence, Dragon Kenpo has given me piece of mind. I hope it does the same for you.

In conclusion, as I have said before, Pete Solomon will be a lifelong fixture in the world of Dragon Kenpo. Thank you for giving me your time. I hope I didn't ramble on too much! Coach Ron thanks for everything!

In Training,

Pete Solomon 4th Degree BB,
CI World Dragon Kenpo


"Some people are making such thorough preparation for rainy days that they aren't enjoying today's sunshine. " William Feather


My View On Preparedness
by Tim Flynn

Preparedness is something we must have in everything we're going to do. When we have a task or goal to complete, we have to be prepared physically, mentally, and sometimes, spiritually. But if we take in too much at a time, or in my case, another term I use is "Bite off more than you can chew," then you make being properly prepared for anything much more difficult, Even after 18 years of Martial arts experience, I continue to learn this.

Let me give an example and lesson for others to learn from. I wanted to come to Lake Geneva in person this September to test for my 3rd Degree Black belt in Dragon Kenpo and I told Coach Ron this. Being too gung ho and all, anyway, I knew in the back of my mind, especially after being told what was to be required from me, that I had another test to work on at the same time. That was a Black Belt test in a style known as Aiki Ryu Ju-jitsu, not to mention the fact that I teach self-defense at my community Y plus my full-time job.
My point and lesson are that it's ok to be ambitious and motivated. But if you bite off more than you can chew, you are not doing a very good job of preparing yourself for the tasks that you're attempting to commit.

Peace and good practice!


"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.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Preparation: A Mental and Physical Process by Steve Amoia

Preparation: A Mental and Physical Process

by Steve Amoia

In Dragon Kenpo, we are taught two physical stances: The Ready Stance, along with the Fighting Stance. All subsequent movements are executed from these basic, yet integral, fundamental stances. But how about our mental stance? How do we cultivate the proper mental attitude to prepare ourselves for a potential street self-defense situation? How can we prepare ourselves physically? In this essay, we will discuss visualization, environmental awareness, and physical preparation.

Visualization

In the same fashion that some of us practice WDK techniques, visualization can be an important tool. When we think through all of the possible variations before an encounter, we are better prepared to execute the proper self-defense technique that is appropriate for the situation. This technique also prepares the subconscious mind, which does not discern the difference between imagined or actual engagements.

Environmental Awareness

Whenever I take a bus, subway, or train, I always look around at my fellow passengers. Most are self-absorbed in their own worlds. With Blackberries, cellular phones, I-Pods, and wireless laptops, sensory and auditory awareness are greatly limited. Either they don’t care or don’t anticipate the perils of modern life. It is important to be vigilant in our environment. This means complete awareness of your locale. Whether it is late at night, early in the morning, in a good or bad part of town, or in a public venue such as a train station. You are responsible for your own safety. I believe that the military uses a very helpful acronym: IFF. “Identify friend or foe.” Don’t let your worst potential enemy be yourself. Be aware of your environment. Identify situations and persons who may cause you harm. We have inherited an instinct that focuses us to be aware of our surroundings. But in order to hone this instinct into practical use, we must, literally and figuratively, keep our eyes and ears open. Don’t fall into the mainstream trap of “tuning out and turning on” the latest high-tech gadget because everyone else is doing it.

Physical Preparation

We are taught the tailoring principle of Dragon Kenpo. To practice and learn all of the techniques in the curriculum, but to master those that would help us the most in a self-defense situation. To quote Ed Dellacroce, Director of DK North Carolina, “Fear the man or woman who has practiced one technique a thousand times. Not the one who has practiced a thousand techniques once.” One of the benefits of virtual training is the ability to master techniques that work the best for you. As we practice, over and over again, the technique becomes a part of our muscle memory. In conjunction with visualization, this can be a powerful tool in our self-defense arsenal. As Bruce Lee suggested, “Strike as if you were in an actual fight.” We have to create the environment in practice, whether it is sparring or visualization, which can be replicated in a street encounter.

Conclusion

When a self-defense situation presents itself, you will have the confidence, both physically and mentally, to execute the proper response. You will not have to think what to do. You will know what to do. Due to the preliminary regimen of visualization, environmental awareness, and physical preparation. These techniques will also make you a more dangerous target for a possible assailant. Remember, the stronger seek out the weak. Both in the animal kingdom, and in human society.