May 19

5 Improvements Coming to Metamora Martial Arts in June


These changes are the culmination of months of thinking on my part, and the responses by our students and parents to a recent survey I sent out.

I think you’ll be pleased to see these changes, and I’m looking forward to seeing how we progress.

1. An Updated Curriculum for Basic Students

The requirements listed for basic students – mainly white belts – has changed several times since we began holding classes at the Metamora Community Center.


First and foremost, I want our martial artists to learn how to protect themselves. By adjusting what I teach at a basic level, I help ensure that our students are adequately prepared to defend themselves.

Second, as I gain new information in a variety of ways (seminars, chatting with other instructors), I learn what other teachers and styles are teaching. By incorporating this material into our curriculum, it makes our students stronger and better able to defend themselves.

A changing curriculum is normal. Master Robert Trias, who brought karate to America, pulled from a variety of sources while evangelizing Shuri-ryu karate worldwide. When he learned something new, he would find a way to make it work in the style he learned. This is why Shuri-ryu karate is a complete martial art. I look to continue to evolve our art and our style.

This curriculum will be used going forward starting June 1.

2. Two Full Hours of Karate on Thursday

Both the kids classes on Thursday will increase from 45 minutes to 60 minutes per class.

That means basic class will meet Thursdays 6-7 p.m., and the advanced class will meet 7-8 p.m. starting June 1.

3. Break a Board – Monthly Review Sessions

I will run all students – kids and adults – through a review on the last class of the month. We’ll review the recent techniques we’ve learned, and brush up on the ones we haven’t worked as much during the past several weeks.

Promotions will more than likely be earned on these nights. However, students who demonstrate stellar knowledge may be promoted at any time.

The best part is that students who earn a promotion will be eligible to break a board!

Unlike other martial arts programs, I do not charge a testing fee. The only fee I charge related to testing is for the cost of a new belt.

4. Get Your Gear – Regular Sparring Sessions Starting

Once students have their first stripe on their white belt, they will be eligible for sparring.

These sessions will take place on at least every third class of the month. Given we are extending class to 60 minutes, we may do sparring more often (especially if we’re going to a competition in which our students are participating in sparring). For now, though, we’ll stick to once a month.

Students who do not have gear should contact me for pricing and to learn what equipment is required.

Sparring, for those who have never done it, is essentially a game of tag using hands and feet.

Contact me about your required set of gear.

5. Classes/Demos During Metamora Farmers Market

Students have a unique opportunity to do something Metamora Martial Arts has never done before.

I will be holding informal classes in the Metamora square during the farmers market, and students are encouraged to participate and help out.

More details on this are to come on this, so stay tuned.

August 6

August 2013 Newsletter

Program Update

Thanks to all of our martial arts students and families for making our grand re-opening a success. I’m very happy with how our students performed, and I hope they are, too. I have received interest from several potential new students about joining Metamora Martial Arts.

If you are a student or family member, please encourage your friends to give our program a try.

Pictures from the event are available on Facebook.

To help promote the event, I went on WMB31 News This Morning to show some martial arts application for one of my favorite forms, Kanku Sho.

Mr. Bockler Featured in Taekwondo Times Magazine

I was pretty excited about this opportunity. Mr. Steve Aldus, my tai chi chuan/Hsing-i chuan teacher, asked me to be his partner for a photo shoot demonstrating several tai chi chuan applications for Taekwondo Times.

What I didn’t write about in the blog post that I’d like to mention here is the importance of being a good uke.

You’re already familiar with this term – nagashi uke (palm block), chudan uke (middle block), etc. Except uke doesn’t actually mean block in Japanese. It means to receive. The “blocks,” essentially, are receiving the techniques of the other person.

Being a good uke requires trust and going with the flow, among other things. At a demonstration last week, I was an uke for Mr. Aldus, and he choked me, threw me to the ground, and put me in multiple locks and holds. I know when to tap if he applies too hard, and he – like Mr. Hawkey – gets to the brink of going too far without ever going over.

I trust both of my instructors with these moves, and they trust putting them on me.

It’s great because it teaches me so much about practical application of martial arts techniques.

Seminar and Tournament This Weekend in Peoria

Ms. Vera Harrison hosts the annual Douglas Grose Memorial Martial Arts Tournament this Saturday, Aug. 10, at the First English Lutheran Church in Peoria. Fees start at $50 for competitors, and spectator fees are $6. The full tournament packet is available at the link provided.

As usual, Ms. Harrison is also promoting two seminars the day before, Friday, Aug. 9, at the same location. The Friday morning/afternoon seminar will feature Terry Wilson. Friday night, Col. James Gifford, Jr., will teach classic Okinawan bunkai (applications) and jiu-jitsu.

All of these events are open to the public.

As I explain in each of those blog posts, Ms. Harrison has been very supportive of the martial arts in Peoria. I have met her on numerous occasions at tournaments and seminars throughout central Illinois, and I always look forward to talking with her and learning what nuggets I can.

I hope everyone has had a fantastic summer, and that the students are looking forward to starting their next school year later this month.

February 8

Mr. Bockler Receives First Place, Class Update for February

I have a few updates for you as we head into February.

Deshi Adam at AKA Grand Nationals 2013First, I wanted to update you about a tournament I competed in on Feb. 2. The AKA Grand Nationals is the longest-running tournament in the United States, now in its 48th year. I’d estimate nearly 1,000 competitors were on hand at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Chicago. I’m happy to announce that I received first place in my men’s 18-29 Japanese/Okinawan traditional forms division after competing with the kata Kanku Sho! It was my first time at this tournament. Since the AKA Grands are the kickoff of the NASKA tournament circuit, it was an interesting feeling watching competitors jockey for their place in the rankings. I hope to take a group back next year.

Next, we will be hosting class twice this month – once on Feb. 14 and then again the week after that on Feb. 21. Once again, starting in March, class will be held every week. Students who are currently attending will be asked to pay the $40 tuition fee this month. Or, pay $120 for three months of classes in advance in order to receive special discounts when ordering equipment.

March will be when we begin to heavily recruit new students. If you or someone you know may be interested in joining what Black Belt Magazine named its Best Children’s Program in 2008, please contact me.

June 4

June 2012 Metamora Martial Arts Newsletter

I hope you have enjoyed the two-week official break from Metamora Martial Arts. Sometimes it’s nice to recharge our batteries.

We are ready to go for the summer and we hope you are, too! Classes start back up this Thursday at 6 p.m. and go until 8. All classes will be held at Metamora Township High School.

We know the summer months can be very busy, so we understand if you cannot attend class. If you can be with us, great. If not, we hope you have a good summer.

Classes Resume Thursday, June 7

Martial arts class begins at 6 p.m. on Thursday, June 7, for grade school students. Unlike during the school year, we offer summer classes for free!

High school students and high ranks – You are welcome to attend these classes in order to get extra practice, as well as if you’d like to become an assistant instructor.

Once the grade school students finish, high school students, high ranks and adult ranks are asked to be ready to bow in at 7.

Grade school students and parents – If you or your child would like extra practice, you are welcome to stay on the mat with us once the grade school class is bowed out.

Advanced Summer Classes with Mr. Hawkey

Mr. Hawkey is once again offering classes for advanced ranks (brown and above) at his home in Hopewell. These classes will be offered on specific Saturdays. We are currently trying to pick when we’ll have the first class since he is out of town two weeks in June. Keep your eyes peeled to Metamora Martial Arts on Facebook for an update.

Kempo Seminar in Dana, Ill., on June 9

We received word on our Facebook page last month of a seminar being held by Professor Pat McDaniel in Dana at DragonsFire Dojo this weekend thanks to Ki Do Kai Kempo.

Mr. McDaniel has been practicing self-defense for more than 40 years. He plans to cover speed drills, smoke drill concepts, slip blocks and says his methods can be incorporated into any style.

The DragonsFire Dojo is located inside the Dana Fire Department at 115 E. Washington Street in Dana, IL, 61321.

Soo Kim Taekwondo Open Championship in Peoria, Ill., on Sunday, June 10

Our friend Charles Robertson alerted us via Facebook that Master Soo Kim will be holding his annual tournament this coming Sunday beginning at 12 p.m. at Peoria Academy, 2711 W. Willow Knolls. The cost is $50 for the first event and $20 for each additional event.

Master Kim was recently featured in the Peoria Journal Star.

USKK International Karate/Kobudo Championship in Peoria on Sunday, June 17

Charles also notified us of the United States Karate-do Kai’s next tournament being held at the Riverplex in Peoria beginning at 9 a.m. on June 17.

The competition will feature kata, kumite and kobudo. Non-USKK members can compete for $45 for the first event if registering beforehand and $50 the day of. USKK members receive a $5 discount. Spectators will be admitted for $5.

Additionally, the USKK is hosting three days of events. On Friday, June 15, will be the USKK euchre tournament and a feature seminar. On Saturday, June 16, several heads of styles will be hosting seminars from 8-10 a.m. Finally, the tournament will be held on Sunday, June 17.

For more information, please download the USKK International Karate/Kobudo flyer.

May 1

May 2012 Newsletter

Hello, everybody, and welcome to the last newsletter of the 2011-2012 school year. I think it’s safe to say that it’s been an interesting year, to say the least, and I hope we’ve all learned something about where we’ve been and where we’re going in the future.

We have a lot happening throughout this busy month. Please pay careful attention to some dates and times below.

One of the benefits of Metamora Martial Arts is that, unlike many other activities, we don’t have a season; we train year-round. However, in the interest of time and rejuvenating ourselves, I’ve scheduled a mini-break at the end of May for our program. During the two weeks that we’re off, focus on your goals for the summer, and let’s work together to reach them.

A Special Thanks to Steve and Kim Aldus

On behalf of Mr. Hawkey, I would like to extend our gratitude to Steve and Kim Aldus for braving the chilly weather on Saturday, April 28, to spend time with the two of us to discuss just how similar the Chinese and Okinawan martial arts are.

I would enjoy bringing these experts back for a future seminar assuming students would be interested in attending such an eye-opening event.

Group Pictures

As announced on our blog several weeks ago, Pam Siefken of Portraits By Pam will be taking our pictures this year at all of our locations this week. On Wednesday, May 2, she will take group and individual shots at Riverview Grade School. And on Thursday, May 3, she will shoot at MTHS around 4 p.m. and Germantown Hills Middle School at 6 p.m.

If you did not get a chance to get your envelopes last week, we will have extras on hand. Pam expects to be able to turn the pictures around before the end of the school year. Once I receive notice the pictures are ready, I’ll notify everyone of how can you pick them up. As detailed below, our practice schedule for May is a bit unusual.

Senior Recognition and Awards Party

All of our martial arts students and family members are invited to our Senior Recognition and Awards Party at China Village Buffet in East Peoria on Thursday, May 10, at 4 p.m. We will be located in the back room with reservations under “Bockler.”

Many of our martial artists requested this location for our 10th Anniversary Party earlier this year, so I wanted to honor their wish for this gathering.

As we like to do every year, we will congratulate our seniors on four years of hard work through high school and wish them the best in their future plans. Graduating seniors should not consider their high school graduation an end to their training. Many of our martial artists have continued to learn and teach after graduating (myself included).

May Class Schedule

May’s schedule is going to be different than normal. In short, our last class at MTHS will be Thursday, May 17. Riverview’s last class will be Wednesday, May 16, and Germantown’s last class will be this coming Thursday, May 3.

There will be no class for any students at MTHS, Riverview and Germantown following Thursday, May 17, and continuing for the remainder of the month. We will use those two weeks to take a break, regroup, and come back strong starting in June.

Tuesday, May 8 – No class at MTHS.

Thursday, May 10 – No class at MTHS or Germantown. MTHS Senior Recognition and Awards Party. Riverview and Germantown students and families are welcome to attend.

Tuesday, May 15 – No class at MTHS.

Thursday, May 17 – No class at Germantown because of 8th grade graduation.

As of this writing, we anticipate holding the rest of the classes as scheduled through Thursday, May 17. We realize this is a busy time for students, so please make a commitment to your academics first.

Last-minute schedule changes may be emailed out or posted on either our Facebook group (geared specifically toward active students/parents) or our Facebook page (for anyone).

You may want to see these dates represented visually. To do so, visit our Google calendar located on the sidebar of our blog under “Upcoming Events.”

Summer Schedule

Speaking of schedules, we have a draft of a summer schedule ready for you. Class is expected to be held on Thursdays starting June 7 at MTHS for all students. From 6-7, we expect to host grade school students. And from 7-8, we expect to host high school students and older.

I say “expect” because I have not been given the official go-ahead from MTHS administration, though they are aware of our plans. If anything changes, we will let you know on our blog.

Mr. Hawkey also holds advanced classes at his home every other week. We had been looking at possibly holding class every other Wednesday night, though we have discussed also holding them Saturdays or Sundays. A decision will come within the next few weeks, so please pay attention to our blog. Advanced classes are open to brown belts and above.

Walker’s Taekwondo Tournament of Champions IX

Mr. Joseph Walker will host Walker’s Taekwondo Tournament of Champions IX in Bloomington on Saturday, May 19. We have posted all of the info on our site, so please take a look if you are interested. Fees are $50 for both forms and sparring until May 5, or $60 after May 5.

I talked briefly with Mr. Walker at a tournament in Springfield and he has invited me to bring a group of students down to spar with his group on a Friday night. If you are interested, please let me know.

Free Seminar with Richard Clear

Clear's Tai Chi in Peoria - May 18-20, 2012Our martial artists are invited to a weekend of workshops with tai chi expert Richard Clear. Mr. Clear will be conducting several free workshops the same weekend as Mr. Walker’s tournament, making it an excellent three days for martial arts fans. Mr. Clear will also be hosting some paid sessions, as well as some private lessons.

More details are available, of course, on our website.

Quote of the Month

“At whatever level you achieve, if you think you ‘deserve’ a black belt, or if you think you are now ‘good enough’ to be a black belt, you are way off the mark and, indeed, a very long way from reaching your black belt. Train hard, be humble, don’t show off in front of teacher or other students, don’t complain about any task, and do your best in everything in your life. This is what is means to be a black belt.” –Kensho Furuya