SESSION 1: JUNE 23 – JUNE 27nSESSION 2: JULY 21 – JULY 25nAll Sessions are from 9a – 4p*n*Additional $5 per day to extend session until 5:30pnOpen to ALL Children ages 6-12n (NRK Karate membership is NOT REQUIRED)n


-Daily Reading Hourn-Daily Math/Science Enrichmentn-Two 60-min Training Sessions (Applicable To Next Belt Test)n-Pizza And Movie Party On The Last Day Of The Session (Only Day That Lunch Is Provided)n-$200 Per Sessionn-Bring A Friends And Receive A $20 Discount Per Guestn


The 2014 calendar year will be an important point in the history of NRK Karate.  This year will be the first time that I will have the honor of playing host to the people that have been so influential in my Karate training.  This will also be the first time, and likely the only time in the near future (the next 4 -5 years) that we will have the honor of hosting FOUR Hanshi (grandmasters) of Traditional Okinawan Karate.  And these are no ordinary Hanshi.  The gentlemen that we will host were THE pioneers of our Karate in the United States.  They are among the few living first generation students of Shugoro Nakazato, the inheritor of our system from its first Hanshi, and they are some of the most knowledgeable and well respect Karate-ka in the world.

The men that I am speaking of:  Hanshi Jiro Shiroma, the original and most senior student sent to bring our system of karate from Okinawa to the U.S.; Hanshi Frank Hargrove, my first teacher and primary instructor of more than 20 years; Hanshi Robert Herten, the second American to ever be promoted to the rank of 7th Degree black belt in our system of karate; and Hanshi Masanobu Kikukawa the first person to make the rank of Kyoshi under the legendary Soichoichi Gibu.


I always strive to give my students the best experience and the deepest knowledge that I can possibly muster.  This is the very best that I have to offer.  It has been more than two years in the making, and every bit of it has been for your benefit.  Take advantage.


I often find myself having a conversation with parents about how well their child is doing in karate. Generally speaking my answer will be the same. "They are doing just fine." So why is is that I can apply the same response to such a wide variety of people at different points in their training? My response to it is this: Karate is different.

I'n most activities their is some juxtaposition inherent that separates the great from the average performer. There is your star point guard, you quarterback, you have first string, or varsity, or any other number of separators. Real Karate is not really built like that. Sure, there are champions in competition. There are also children that are physically gifted, or fast learners, but none of that really has much to do with the essence of karate.

In Karate Do (the karate way), the pursuit, ultimately, is for self perfection. It is not for a victory in a match or some metal clad medallion, trophy or flashy ring. Those things can be nice motivators from time to time, but do they really help you to be better. In some cases the arrogance that they breed can have the exact opposite effect.

Indeed, Karate seeks to help you to search inward to find a more perfect version of yourself. From that reflection you learn to grow and improve. In that way can there ever be a point in your training when you are not doing well. That is like telling someone that I want you to be great, but could you please hurry it up, I have a time line to keep... Sound ridiculous? I sure hope so.

Now that is not a dig on any of the parents who ask me that question. We come from different places. I have spent most of my life training, thinking, studying and meditating on karate and its meaning. You are coming to me cold, for the most part. It is for this reason that I am writing now.

Again I say, Karate is different. Every student can be great. I truly believe that, and history has proven me to be correct. Many of the most famous masters of karate were less than what the common world would consider to be sports icons. Many may not have even been considered athletes of any sort when they began training. That is actually appropriate, because karate is not a sport, but that is a topic for another post. As I said, many were not athletes. Some very notable masters were frail or sickly, others were not regarded as that intelligent when they started, but in all of their cases, where they ended up, and where they started were two totally different places.

Every Karate student has a path to greatness. Everyone's path however is not the same. If you were to tailor a suit to two men of a similar height and build, the two suits would be different. They could be on the same color. the same fabric, but they would be different. Such is the case with karate.

Each student will mature at their own time. Each will find a different inspiration. My goal is to use a systematic method to get them to look in the right direction to find their path. I can not truly give it to them. Nor can I really teach it to them. What I can offer the is a direction. A general course that I have followed, and continue to follow in my quest to find a more perfect me. In that way definition of sensei is very who has gone doesn't literally mean teacher though that is the most common translation. Similar is the case with the term senpai ...senior. Both terms imply the presence of applicable experience, not some ethereal knowledge. Even the terms that we regard for what we in the west would call an expert, master or grandmaster....Renshi, Kyoshi, Hanshi, literally these terms are more a recognition of a person's character as a role model than they are an assessment of greatness.

So what am I trying to say with all of this? Simple. If a person of any age is engaged in a practice that has at is core, the holistic development and improvement of that person as a contributor to the world, than participation constitutes a degree of success. When you goal is perfection know two things: 1 -Your path is a long one. How many years are their in infinity.? 2. Action is progress, and progress (towards perfection) can never be anything less than great.


By now several of you have heard me say that in Karate Black Belt is the beginning of the journey, or you don’t really have a rank until Black Belt.  Well I thought that it was high time that I explained that concept. 
For starters, lets look at the concept very literally.
In traditional karate there are two types of “rank” that a student can have.  There are “kyu” (prounouced key-ew) and there are “dan” (pronounced don).  Kyu translates to mean grade, similar in concept to grades achieve in primary school.  Dan translates as grade, level or rank.  In our system of  grading Kyu count down from 10 to 1 with the lower number signifying the higher seniority.  It is similar to the way that in the military a 1st lieutenant is senior to a 2nd Lieutenant.
Dan ranks go up from  1 – 10.  Again the corollary can be made to the military in that a 4 star general is senior to a 1 star general.   When a student reaches black belt they are called a shodan (sho -don) or literally a person of the first rank.  In our system is not until 2nd degree black belt, or nidan (knee – don) that a student has learned the entirety of our basic curriculum.  Then it is not until 3rd degree that a student is of sufficient seniority to promote another person to Black Belt.
Conceptually, the the premise is that it takes a person several years (until they reach black belt) to put their mind, body and spirit into a condition where they can apply their basic principles effectively.  Techniques at this point, cease to be a matter of thought and mechanical action and start to become a matter of reflex.   It is at this point that the student has sufficient foundation to learn to apply the techniques and principles that they have been practicing for the years leading up to this point.    Additionally, it is at this time that the student begins to appreciate the often dangerous potential that their skills have.  With this realization comes a new level of responsibility and (hopefully) humility on the part of the student.
A dedicated student will from this point, spend the rest of their lives refining their skills, and themselves as an individual.  The hope is that one day you reach the elusive concept of mastery.  The mastery we seek thought goes far beyond martial skill.  It is a total mastery of self.  It is for this reason that the highest ranking person in our system is regarded as Hanshi (Han – She), or model person (gentlemen, or samurai).  Though we at times Americanize this title to mean “grandmaster.”  The true meaning is far deeper.
Interesting thing is most Hanshi will tell you that reaching that level of personal proficiency (9th or 10th degree black belt) returns them to a single undeniable notion…They are still as student.  So in someways the beginning (10th kyu) and the end (10th dan) are endlessly linked in the journey of the student.  It is for this reason that you will never here me say “we are a black belt school.”  We strive to be something much more than that.