Thursday, April 30, 2020

Latest UPDATE: 
Given the Governor’s extension of the stay at home order and the presumption that
we will be in Phase II of the restart, it appears we won’t be able to reopen in Mid-May,
perhaps some time in June.  So, it is now critical that all students do at home karate
trainings according to JKA teachings. 
To that end we are establishing Zoom at home trainings for Tuesdays and Thursdays
at 5:30 p.m.  They are going to be on the calendar, along with all relevant information
for attending.  There are also LKA (Louisiana Karate Association) Friday zoom evening
trainings that are now on the calendar.  The calendar can be found at the bottom of our
web page / blog at
There are a couple of rules, first you need to wear your Gi and you have to put the video and
audio on so that you can be seen by the moderator and other students.  There is also a
Louisiana Karate Association (LKA) Zoom Training every Friday at 5:30 that is now also
on the calendar from Metairie Louisiana.
For those who haven’t used Zoom before it is really easy and if you are using a mobile
device it’s better to install the app.  Before you sign on make sure the camera can see
you by putting the camera on and watching yourself in the image so that you can see
the entire body.
The classes will be as follows:  5:30 - 6:10 (all ranks) 5 minute break advanced belts will
come back to the meeting room for an additional 30 minutes of training.  You won’t need
a lot of room to train in as we will be working on close fighting techniques and footwork. 
I am going to email you the zoom instructions (if I have your email).  Please send me your
emails if I don’t or if you don’t receive it.  The first class will be on Thursday April 30, 2020
at 5:30 pm, so please make sure you have the registration information.
Secondly, please subscribe to the Youtube channel at Karate at Home.  You can even do
it on an apple tv, roku or firestick.  There are many excellent JKA teachers from all over
the world who have contributed classes there, including Sensei Ohta of England and
Dimitri from New Orleans.  
After watching the students train the black belts will be able, hopefully, to evaluate
where the students are and how to progress from there both in virtual trainings, and
perhaps virtual testing.  So with the addition of the zoom and youtube classes, hopefully
we can get back to some kind of a routine soon.  Because I don’t have wifi at the dojo,
I am not sure that I am going to be able to do the meetings from the karate school.  I
will have to experiment a little and I am sure it will NOT go smoothly at first and I may
end up having to do them eventually from home.  
I canceled the dues for May Monday.  I have to cancel each transaction individually,
so if your account accidentally gets debited, please let me know.  This week was
supposed to be our test and I greatly regret that you won’t be able to test at this time. 
I am hopeful that perhaps some students can participate in a virtual test or pretest if
they have kept up their karate.  I am hopeful that the Zoom trainings will expose this
and perhaps get us all back on track.
 Sensei Scott

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

am thinking about Sensei Okazaki today and missing the great man. Sensei Okazaki seems to have touched everyone that he taught. Everyone has their favorite moment with Sensei Okazaki, so here is mine.

It was 13 years ago at Master Camp training a kata class that was being taught by Sensei Yaguchi. Sensei Yaguchi is a great technician and excellent at teaching kata. I think the kata we were practicing was Chinte. I was positioned in a straight row near the middle of the class. Class started and everyone lined up and we began the kata after stretching a little.
When I did a big turn near the beginning of the kata, I suddenly noticed that Sensei Okazaki was right next to me doing the kata along with me and the class, in fact in line next to me. He didn't say a thing (except to kiai) and just vigorously performed the kata along with us. Of course his technique was flawless and crisp and he appeared quicker and stronger than everyone.

However, what was so unusual to me was that I had never seen Sensei Okazaki training at all before (I had seen him teaching many times), much less right next to me. I knew that he had to train sometimes in order to maintain his outstanding physical karate conditioning, but I had never seen it, except when he demonstrated while teaching. Then suddenly here he was, right next to me, training along with the class. It was easy to see from his expression that he was thoroughly enjoying the training.

I could also tell from the expressions of the people around me that they probably had never seen it either. Everyone suddenly perked up and did their best technique to attempt to imitate and perhaps impress the great Master. He did several katas with us, smiled broadly, bowed, and quietly left the dojo shortly before class ended.

Class continued and soon I noticed that there was a student near the back with a camera that was taking pictures. Although I had never met him before I tried to keep site of where he was off to as we bowed out. After finishing the class, I ran up the hill barefoot to try and catch him to ask if he had taken pictures of Sensei Okazaki performing the katas. He chuckled and said yes and seemed to know exactly what I was thinking. He told me that he would gladly send them to me if I would give him my e mail address at supper. So at supper I found him and gave him a card from the dojo and asked him to please send me those pictures. He sent me these three pictures the next week. It was a moment I appreciate being able to always remember.

I am waiting for word from the Governor and Parish President, but it looks like Phase I of the reopening plan will begin in Louisiana on or about May 1.  This involves reopening businesses, groups and schools that will have less than 10 people gathered.  Phase II, which should be 14 days later if all goes well in Phase I, will allow for groups of up to 50 people.  Phase III will be business as usual.  We should fit into Phase II, so my current assumption is that we should be able to re-open the dojo by Friday, May 15, if all goes well.  

This is a best case scenario, but fits with my assumptions regarding reopening.  I will await the final word from governmental officials, but if these expectations are accurate, then:

  1. Dues will again be suspended for May (we lost half of March from the closure, so the half of May we can train will make up for that time -- otherwise, we will prorate the dues for the first month back accordingly); 
  2. Expect training to resume on May 15 and increase your at home training to try to regain your “karate shape” and conditioning;
  3. I, along with input from the other black belts and the instructors in Lafayette, will evaluate where the students are upon returning in order to determine when we will have our next test.  Obviously we are missing the test that should have been this Saturday and our next test is scheduled for August 8, so we need to determine if all or some of the students should test between now and then to keep everyone on track.

I am sorry for all these modifications, but I am sure that most all clubs are in the same situation.  We will do what Karateka do in difficult situations, we will adapt to changing circumstances.  

On a personal note, I know that many of you have had changes in employment status given these closures and the plunge of oil prices, which may or may not be temporary.  I can empathize because this has directly affected me and my family.  Given this, there have been remarkable few parents and students who have contacted me regarding their status as members of the club.  I very much appreciate your patience and your continued support of the school and your student’s participation in our Karate organization.  

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On a sad note, one of the senior JKA instructors died yesterday of complication from COVID-19.  Sensei Teruyuki Okazaki (June 22, 1931 – April 21, 2020) was a tenth degree black belt in Shotokan Karate, as well as the founder and chief instructor of the International Shotokan Karate Federation (ISKF). Along with Gichin Funakoshi and Masatoshi Nakayama, Okazaki helped found the JKA's instructor training program and our chief instructor, Sensei Takayuki Mikami, was the first graduate.  Sensei Okazaki was a great influence on my Karate and life and I encourage you all to research the life of this important figure in modern Karate.  His life greatly mirrors the advent of modern Karate in the United States.

On a final note, I really miss you all and learning from my students.  I have been working out at home and have been doing virtual classes online and on zoom daily to stay in shape and to get new class ideas.  I hope you all are still training too.  If you have, it will show when we conduct our evaluations.  If you haven’t, you still probably have a few weeks to catch back up.  I look forward to seeing you all very soon.


Sensei Scott

Thursday, April 16, 2020

     Today sadly marks one month that the dojo has been closed.  I really miss everyone and our classes a lot.  Although I consider Karate essential, the State and Parish disagree at this point.  I hope everyone has been practicing their Karate and staying physically fit at home during this time of social isolation.
     There are good resources available to help with your at home practice.  Facebook has a group, Karate@home, which is very good.  Youtube also has a variety of karate streaming classes for training at home.  Most of the classes are modified due to space restrictions and lack of training partners, but still will keep your skill level intact.  Karate is always best executed by active participants, so remaining active is the key to keeping your karate skills high.
     There WAS a test scheduled for April 25th which is now officially cancelled.  I am awaiting the Governor’s office to determine what extensions they are considering, but I am currently projecting a mid-May reopening hopefully.  That will put us out of the dojo for two full months.  I will consult with the black belts and the instructors from Lafayette to determine how and when to reschedule the test.  I guess a lot will depend on the level of the students physically and technically when we reconvene. 
     Dues for the month of April were suspended.  Unfortunately, due to a banking glitch I was unaware of, three students did have their accounts debited.  I am very sorry that happened.  After the fact I found the error and will make sure that it doesn’t happen to them again and that they are given credit for the first month we return.  All three registered on the same month, so I think it had something to do with that.  Anyway, though the dojo is closed our bills do continue, so I appreciate everyone’s continued support and want you to know that any dues and fees will continue to be suspended during the time of closure automatically. 
     When the dojo first reopens, we will scan members for temperature and ask anyone who feels sick to go to the doctor before training as an extra precaution for members.  You should wear shoes to the school, but to remove them before entering the training area.  You should wash your hands for at least 20 seconds before training either at home or at the dojo.  We will likely limit partner training for a while too and try to spread everyone out more on the floor.  Self-defense also includes defending yourself from environmental adversaries, like this virus.  We will follow the safest practices possible while balancing that with each student’s need to continue their physical and technical trainings.
     I am toying with the idea of trying to make an at home training video for everyone myself, but I don’t really have the equipment or production skills necessary to make a very good video.  If I can get something put together, it will probably be done on my phone, so I don’t expect very high quality.
     I will update you with more information as soon as I get it.  In the meanwhile the dojo has been cleaned and disinfected completely and has remained closed for four weeks.  As soon as we are given the green light, we will be ready for re-opening.  I look forward to seeing you all there at that time.


Sensei Scott