Karate College 2003: REVIEW!!!

Wow! Talk about a wide variety of experiences....

First, I have to tell everyone that I had a great time. Teaching at Karate College is a lot of fun. I get to meet a lot of really cool folks and get to work with some very recognizable names in the Martial Arts community. Such as Bill Wallace, Joe Lewis, Michael DePasquele, and Renzo Gracie.

The way Karate College works is that all the attendee's are divided into 3 separate groups. Three classes are in session at a time for an hour each. Each instructor teaches 3 classes over the course of the weekend. So, I taught 2 classes Friday evening, and 1 class this morning at 11am. Let me tell you, teaching immediately after Renzo Gracie is a tough act to follow!!!

I spoke with many of the instructors regarding the format, and we all agree that 1 hour is a bit short to teach anything of substance. So we all simply try to give the attendee's a "snapshot" of our martial art or our training program. We try to give them enough in the way of ideas that they can go home and train with, but unfortunately, there just is not enough time to teach anything to proficiency.

One of the surprising things that I noted right away was the number of instructors who spent time teaching the attendee's Boxing skills. Karate instructors, Tae Kwon Do instructors, JKD... EVERYONE was teaching basic boxing skills! I thought this was actually kind of cool to see that so many instructors are taking a practicial approach to teaching punching skills. I was also pleased that they were doing this because this now meant I did not need to spend time teaching basic Boxing skills in my own sessions. I was able to get right to the "good stuff", like Elbows, Knees, and Kicks!

I ran through the basic Muay Thai strikes with each group of students. I switched around the techniques a little bit each session just so I wouldn't feel as if I was being too monotonous. In each of my sessions, I spent the bulk of the time period going over the basic strikes... Horizontal Elbow Strikes, Straight Knees, Push Kicks, and Round Kicks. The last 10-15 minutes of each session were spent showing a few ways to actually apply these moves. For instance, in my first session, I demonstrated using elbow strikes to defend against straight punches. During my last session, I was showing my students how to "jam" a Round Kick with a Push Kick, and how to trap a Round Kick and either punch, or elbow strike the trapped leg.

Now, those of you who are instructors, or have participated in seminars will sympathize when I say that "There's one in every crowd." In each of my classes, there was one stand-out student who deemed it important to talk to me at every possible moment, either to ask questions or to attempt to impress me with their knowledge. Even in a short, 1-hour session, this is a real test of your patience! There were a few instances that I had to simply bite my tongue, smile, and patiently answer a question rather than tell someone to "SHUT THE HELL UP AND GET BACK TO WORK!!!" LOL. OK, it really wasn't that bad, but even so, I found myself having to remind myself that I only had to deal with a particular individual for a few more minutes!

(cont'd)

Now, Radford University is out in the middle of NOWHERE, Virginia. There was absolutely NOTHING to do between classes. There were very few cool hang-outs. There is "BT's", which is a restaurant & bar, and a good coffee shop called "Yummy's". That really about covers it. If you are looking for excitement, you've come to the wrong 'burg. My wife and I decided to drive through town last night to find something to do. Well, we were gravely disappointed.

Another thing we discovered was that we should have brought our own sheets (or sleeping bags), pillows, and towels. None of this was provided. I should have known better, as I have been to this seminar before, but its been 8 years. Too many head kicks in the interim really screws with the long-term memory (LOL). So we ended up sleeping on bare, plastic-covered mattresses using our gym bags as a pillow. Needless to say, we did not sleep very well.

Back on the lighter side... I cannot tell you how many people approached me afterwards to express their sincere thanks and tell me how much they enjoyed my class. I was rather surprised at the reaction because I felt that. due to the short amount of time allotted for each class session, I was really glossing over techniques and doing a half-assed job. Instead, students expressed how they found my class to be one of the most interesting and informative of their experience because I did not spend 15-30 minutes of my session talking. I think I spent a grand total of 20 seconds of each session introducing myself and explaining who I was, then I did a short (10 min's tops) presentation of Muay Thai's most basic strikes. I then I had everyone partner up and get right to work.

Though I am now physically and mentally exhausted (2 weekends in a row of traveling out-of-town for Muay Thai related events), I have to say that it was time well spent. I got to meet a lot of really cool and interesting folks, and network with many of my peers. I am looking forward to next years event. I intend to go down with a better-prepared presentation, and teach more technique.

Khun Kao

u get to roll with Renzo?

My skill level in BJJ is so low that you couldn't call what I do "rolling". Maybe "flopping"? LOL Seriously, though, there really wasn't time for any real individual time. I did get to talk to him for a little bit after his class, though. He just got back from Japan. He's a really, really cool mofo!

Khun Kao

I just got back some of the pictures from Karate College. Most of the pics my wife took are just of me posing with the other instructors.

I have pics of me at DePasquele, Joe Lewis, Renzo Gracie, etc. I intend to scan them and email them to someone for posting. (I'm much too lazy to go about getting my own photo album to post to)

Khun Kao

Hope u beat Joe Lewis's ass for paying out alex gong... LOL

Whats the dude really like?

Honestly, I don't know. I've barely had a chance to socialize with the other instructors as I had to leave early to come back to the D.C. area.

He seemed friendly enough. Bill Wallace is, by far, the coolest mofo to hang out with. He's funny as hell and a genuinely nice guy.

I'm hoping that I'll get to hang out with the other instructors in the coming years and get to know them.

Khun Kao

Woh Khun Kao,

Your teaching at Karate College? Thats awesome. I used to go every year back in the mid-90's. But lost alot of interest in it once Tony Blauer quit coming. Heck, I went to Radford in '97.

Is Master K still teaching? Or are you filling his shoes at the camp?

Do you find Jerry Beasley a big an asshole as I do? He is the single reason I decided to goto Radford, and also the single reason I stopped. The guy seems to be a wealth of knowledge about martial arts, but found him SEVERLY lacking as an instructor. But worse than that he is one of the single biggest jerks I have EVER met, and I have met ALOT.

But Karate College kicks azz! I went last year because I found out Renzo started doing seminars. He is such a nice guy. It's truely awesome to be able to be exposed to so many arts and ideas in one weekend.

Oh, and as far as where to hangout... drive the 20 minutes to blacksburg (Virginia Tech), THATS where the fun's at! ;)

I might have to try to make it back, it just kind of sucks going alone.


OpinionsVary...

Master K is no longer teaching at Karate College. I am now taking his place. Master K moved back up to Northern NJ, and he has hooked up with a similar-to-Karate-College gig up in his neck of the woods. He likes it better because he no longer needs to make such an extensive road trip.

I'm wondering if perhaps we met at one point? I taught with Master K at Karate College in 1994, and I also taught Muay Thai at Karate College solo back in 1995 (Master K was in Thailand for his Mom's funeral). Were you there either of those years? I did not get a chance to be there with Tony Blauer, though our group did get to meet him in 1993, which was Master K's first year there (the year I didn't get to go...)

I don't really know Beasley, to be honest. I have spoken with him on numerous occassions, but it has always been regarding Master K and I teaching at Karate College. I have heard varying opinions of him, but I honestly cannot say one way or the other.

What I *can* say is that there are a lot of personalities at Karate College. Some of the instructors there are some of the nicest, coolest people you'll ever meet. (see comments regarding Bill Wallace). And then lets just say that there are "others".

You have to take the good with the bad. But I will say this, the good FAR OUTWEIGHS the bad!

Renzo was pretty cool. He and I talked briefly about the NAGA event, his trip to Japan, and Lloyd Irvin (who he likes and has a lot of respect for!). I understand that Renzo is quite a fan of Tequila. I'm going to keep that in mind for next years seminar...

I'm hoping that I will actually get to participate in the other sessions more at next years event. This year, I ended up having to leave the event early to come back to the DC area. So I kinda showed up, taught my classes, then jetted. I didn't like having to do that, because I *really* wanted to stay and participate in some of the other classes, meet all the instructors and students, and just hang out.

So, I take it I'll be looking for you there next year?

Khun Kao



News to me, too. What's up wit dat?

Khun Kao

Yeah Khun Kao, we probably did cross paths sometime. It was a long time ago, and my memory is far from good. I remember one guy helping Master K the first year I attended that had a ponytail with the sides of his head shaved. Possibly not you, but you might know him.

It's a shame Master K isn't doing seminars at karate college anymore, but from the few times I make it over to the kickboxing forum, it seems the thai program is in good hands with you.

And yes, overall Karate College is an awesome experience. The sheer number of instructors there basicly gaurentees that students will walk away with MANY usefull things. I was smart, the last time I went I brought a notebook to each class to jot down notes.

"So, I take it I'll be looking for you there next year?"

I'd love to say definately yes, but it all depends on how my employment situation is next year. (I'm an unemployed college graduate that for some reason cant even get a job working fast food at the moment :( woh is me.)

But I will definately try, karate college is always money well spent. Radford is about 2-3 hours from my house and it just sucks because I'm always going there alone.

Could I get some info on Master K's deal up in NJ?

www.elbowko.com

This is Master K's website. It has a link on the right hand column to contact him. A phone # is listed....

Tell him Brooks referred you and says "hi"!

Thanks

Khun Kao

Master K is great!

Hey Khun Kao,

Have you trained with Master K on a regular basis? I've only done seminars, but he seems like a good solid teacher. I've met some good martial artist that aren't good at relaying theit knowledge, but Master K seems to be very good at this.

I have trained directly under Master K since 1992. I don't get the opportunity to do so that much anymore since he's moved out of my area, but I trained with him from '92 till about 2000. I fought for 3 Muay Thai titles while training under him (only winning one of them though *sniff*), I helped him with his book (I "ghost wrote" much of it), and am certified as an instructor under him. I kinda took a hiatus in 2001, but came back in 2002 to take over teaching for him when he moved.

You're right about K being excellent at expressing himself and conveying his knowledge. That is why I have stayed with him for so long, and continue to work with him. It isn't just his knowledge and ability to communicate though. He is an EXCELLENT motivator! He really makes you WANT to improve! I would never have acheived a tenth of what I have acheived if not for his guidance.

Khun Kao