Special Event Pictures
Malibu Beach Workout 2015
Sanchin Kata Seminar with Franco Sanguinetti Sensei - October 2016
On Saturday October 8th, 2016 the Defense Arts Center Dojo hosted a seminar led by Franco Sanguinetti Sensei (7th Dan in Goju Ryu Karate and Matayoshi Kobudo) on the fundamentals of the practice of Sanchin Kata.
Winter Gasshuku - Claremont Loop Trail - January 2018
Workout in the Park - Memorial Park, Claremont - March 2018
Relay For Life - May 2018
On May 19, 2018 some members of the USKL dojo participated in the Claremont/La Verne Relay for Life organized by Paul and Jennifer Alverez (former senior USKL students). We were part of Team Sultana/Walking Warriors and we gave a karate demonstration for the participants at the Relay. We captivated the audience while demonstrating basics, progressives, kata, kumite waza, and sparring. At the end of the demonstration we led a lap around the event track area to the tune of “Kung Fu Fighting” to send cancer the message that we plan to kick its butt. USKL demonstration participants included: Senseis Ty, Lynn Aponte (cancer survivor), James Augur, and Leo Shortle, and Laura St. Martin, Devin Voiles, Ivan La Rache and Ian Li. Sensei Christie Villa Kramer carried the baton around the track, cheer-led and took pictures.
Spring Gasshuku - Big Bear Lake - May 2018
Special Training with Jeff Klein, DAC May 31, 2018
On Thursday, May 31, Defense Arts Center was fortunate to host as guest instructor Sensei Jeff Klein.
Sensei Klein is not only one of the most senior karateka still practicing in Shotokan Karate of America (SKA), but was a legendary tournament fighter throughout the 1970’s in both national and international venues, besting many of the toughest and most celebrated fighters in the world. Sense Klein received his Yodan ranking from Ohshima Sensei personally in 1976.
Sensei Klein is one of those rare practitioners who are constantly evolving, polishing and improving their execution and understanding of karate and the martial arts. In addition to an encyclopedic knowledge of the history and important players in Shotokan karate, as well as other disciplines, Sensei Klein is a deep and innovative thinker on the meaning and applications of kata and the ‘basic’ movements we all take for granted. For instance, Sensei Klein has long maintained that instead of kata being a fight against multiple, albeit very stupid or polite and patient opponents, during kata you are facing ONE opponent and constantly moving them around, pulling, pushing, grabbing, throwing, breaking joints and striking this one opponent throughout the kata.
Sensei Klein began the class utilizing movement in place of the traditional warm-ups. Throughout the class, Sensei Klein focused on Shuto-uke (sword hand block) as it is one of the most ubiquitous movements in our katas, as well as one of the least understood and utilized movements in non-kata applications.
We began by moving forward and backward with big and very loose and relaxed feeling in the basic fold up and execution of the block. We practiced many applications of shuto-uke with and without partners. Sensei Klein emphasized that BOTH hands are fully functional during engagements, pushing, pulling, striking and manipulating one’s opponent in order to both unbalance the opponent and gain an advantageous position or angle.
Sensei Klein emphasizes using both hands simultaneously in very realistic ways. Although our basic techniques are extremely important as a foundation and training method in order to understand the connections, stances and mind/body awareness, our karate must evolve beyond the basic techniques and understandings and utilize more sophisticated and fluid movements and manipulations of distance, timing and angles with our opponents.
We also practiced Heian Shodan, trying to employ our new understanding of using both hands, relaxed flowing movement and mentality, executing the kata both very slowly and very quickly, with continuous feeling.
After practice, Sensei Klein treated us to his own history of karate training, interweaving his very interesting story with many wise insights.
Later, a few of us, including Sensei Ty, Sensei Leo and Ariel Heyman went out for sushi wherein we were treated to some very captivating stories and observations regarding many of the most famous JKA legends, Sensei Klein’s ‘interaction’ with Bruce Lee, and other, perhaps, not for general consumption insider information about karate’s great Masters, fighters and iconic personalities. Extremely engaging and down to earth, Sense Klein is as fascinating and instructional off the practice floor as he is on it. Hopefully, we can entice him into returning for another class before he moves back to New York.
-- Sensei Tom Heyman (Yondan SKA)
USKL Annual Beach Workout, July 22, 2018
On the weekend of July 22nd the Upland Shotokan Karate League offered another summer getaway to break from the routine and beat the heat by going camping at Gaviota State Beach. It was a two day event that included karate training on the beach, overnight camping and lunch in the quaint little Danish village of Solvang.
Due to the heavy winds on the last night of our stay we decided to break camp early, head back up to Solvang for a delicious dinner at the famous Pea SoupAnderson's restaurant, and then head home. We enjoyed spending time together, training on the beach, and telling ghost stories around the campfire. We look forward to our next beach/camping trip and hope you’ll join us.
Araki Mujinsai Ryu Iaido Seminar & Grading, July 22-29, 2018
I (Sensei Tim Richmond) had the great honor of hosting from Japan, Master Toyoda (The 17th. Seito Soke of Araki Mujinsai Ryu Iaido) for our annual Seminar and grading held at the DAC dojo in Upland. This event was supported by our parent dojo, as well as my Sensei, Mike Kazmer (Godan) chief instructor of the Yamakage (mountain shadow) dojo located in Lancaster.
(Special Note: The name of our Iaido club (taught out of the DAC) is titled the Yamabiko (mountain echo) dojo. Last year the Yamabiko dojo was granted official recognition as a full, stand-alone dojo, with all rights and privileges afforded to the 5 main dojos in the U.S., establishing our lineage within the U.S. and cementing our ties with Araki Mujinsai Ryu Iaido dojo, headquartered in Japan.)
Toyoda Soke arrived Sunday July 22nd, and we trained diligently Monday through Friday, as often as we could, to take our Iaido training to the next level and in preparation for Saturday’s exam. Thank you to all the Sensei, instructors and students of the Defense Arts Center for accommodating us. Your generosity of sharing the dojo floor cannot be measured!
Saturday was test day. Susan Vance, Julian Verdon, and I tested from Yamabiko (Upland) dojo, and Thomas Cordova tested from Yamakage (Landcaster) dojo. Everyone who tested under the watchful eyes of Soke Toyoda and Sensei Kazmer passed. Congratulations! Susan is now 2nd Kyu, Julian 5th Kyu, Thomas 4th Kyu, and I can now say that I am a proud Yondan (4th deg. Black Belt) in Iaido.
In retrospect, I had never thought when I first began my Martial Arts journey back in 1987 (coincidentally at Sensei Ty’s DAC dojo) that it would lead me to this momentous occasion. I am grateful to Mike Kazmer Sensei for his guidance. Without his expert tutelage this honor bestowed upon me would not have been possible. I also want to express my gratitude to all of my friends, students and peers who supported, encouraged and believed in me. I must admit however, that going from my former title, Sempai to being called 'Sensei' is going to take some getting used to…
After the exam, the culmination of the week’s events included a celebratory pot luck party to honor Soke Toyoda and to congratulate all those promoted to their new ranks. Sensei Ty Aponte presented Soke with a gift (a colorful yet dynamic framed portrait of Toshiro Mifune – a famous Japanese actor playing the legendary Samurai Myamoto Musashi) and went on to explain to all the attendees:
“The realization of my dream of having a dojo where a variety of martial arts could come together in the Spirit of Budo under one roof with each art having a direct lineage back to their source i.e. Iaido, Kendo, Aikido, Jujutsu and Shotokan all having (in one fashion or another) direct ties with Japan, Kobudo (traditional weaponry) is linked with Okinawa and Tai Chi has the Chinese Connection. This direct lineage helps maintain the integrity, authenticity and quality of the arts that we teach here at the DAC. Toyoda Soke’s visit from Japan - sharing his time and knowledge along with the advancements and achievements made today is a testament to the Budo Spirit and noble efforts that all our DAC instructors and students strive for. It was an honor to have Soke visit and we look forward to seeing him again next year”.
-- Sensei Ty Aponte
Core Connection Workshop with Dr. Tina Wang, Saturday August 4th 2018
Dr. Wang has a medical practice in Claremont/Upland which focuses on Regenerative Injections and using holistic and movement based approaches to restructuring the body. Coming from a dance background, Dr. Wang is very familiar with the needs of athletes and emphasized the importance of engaging and using the core muscles of the body to support everything that we do. During the workshop we progressed from simply breathing to engaging and maintaining core connection while moving in a variety of ways. Throughout the class we were able to apply the core engagement concept while performing kicks, punches, etc.
This workshop was very informative, well received and gave us some great knowledge and ideas that can be applied directly into our training, and I know that everyone who participated benefited from it. If anyone is interested in learning more about Dr. Wang’s practice and what she does please see below for her website and contact information.
Upland Martial Arts Center Tournament August 11, 2018
This past Saturday, a few USKL students entered their first karate tournament! The tournament was local, put on by Chris Pellitteri’s Upland Martial Art’s Center and was host to our dojo's competitors as well as other martial arts schools in the area. Though our style is more traditional (Shotokan) and executed a little differently, our students did exceptionally well. We had four of our beginning/intermediate youth compete in kata and kumite, two of which took home trophies. We also had two of our brown belts compete in kata and kumite, with Devin placing first place in both categories! Our other brown belt, Gwyn, placing third in kumite. Thank you to Sensei Tom Heyman for helping with the judging as well as Leo and Laura for looking out for our USKL members. Constructively the tournament was well organized and timely, however, seating was limited - the turnout seemed to be larger than what the venue could support. With that aside, it was a good day, congratulations to all, we hope to see our students continue to put their training to the test and compete in future tournaments!
USKL competitor not pictured: Sophie Ball - Yellow belt - participation award
Note from Sensei Ty Aponte:
"I know that while I was there talking to a few members warming up before their competition some were a little intimidated, however I tried to keep them at ease explaining, there is nothing to fear, you have performed your kata (form) many times and have burned it to muscle memory. Show the judges that you are in command, and through your kata performance; demonstrate confidence, power and focus. In kumite (sparring) be courageous, be strategic, be first - get your controlled point (punch or kick) in before your opponent does. If by chance some who may not have placed, still be proud of yourselves, the fact that you had the courage to enter the ring and give it a try makes you a winner."