May 17

Info Packet: 2014 Douglas Grose Memorial Martial Arts Tournament

2014 Harrison Dorris AJKAI IOBK Tournament packet

Download the full tournament packet, including rules for each event

The Douglas Grose Memorial Martial Arts Tournament takes place Saturday, Aug. 9, once again in Peoria at First English Lutheran Church, but with some minor tweaks.

For the first time and to eliminate crowd congestion, karate and tae kwon do events will take place at different times. These events have traditionally been divided in the past. However, divisions have run concurrently until this year.


Karate (or similar style) events – forms, point sparring, tag team and masters’ divisions – will begin at 10:30 a.m.

Combined events – breaking and weapons – take place starting at 12 p.m.

Finally, tae kwon do events (or similar style) events – forms, Olympic sparring (continuous), tag team and masters’ divisions begin at 1:30 p.m.

No-gi grappling begins at 9 a.m., and the special events division begins at 11 a.m.


Competitors participating in 1-2 events can enter for $50, plus an additional $10 per event up for a total of $90 for all 6 events.

Tag teams are $60 per team.

Spectators pay $6 if they are 10 or up, $4 for children and senior citizens, and children 3 or under can get in for free.

Friday Night Seminar

Ms. Harrison’s “Slam, Bam, Wham” seminar features two sessions.

Master Jim Hemphill will cover grappling techniques in session 1 from 4-6 p.m.

Masters Kim Aldus and Erin Lehman will present self-defense techniques in session 2 from 6:30-9:00.

The seminars cost $30 each, or $50 for both, with a $5 spectator fee.

Sensei Bockler’s Thoughts

You should attend this event, whether you’re one of my students or you stumbled on this website through a link your friend posted or through a search.

Honestly, I’m pretty bummed that I have a commitment already made for this weekend because I would love to compete against Peoria’s finest black belts, leaving me unable to attend any event listed here.

Last year’s event was fantastic. You can read about some of my thoughts from the seminars and watch some videos, too.

April 26

A Letter to Competitors Following The 2014 GAMA Tournament

Mark your calendars for April 25, 2015, because I cannot recommend this tournament enough.

Master Aaron Wayne-Duke address sparring competitors at the 2014 GAMA Tournament

Master Aaron Wayne-Duke addresses sparring competitors at the 2014 GAMA Tournament

Congratulations to Master Aaron Wayne-Duke and Galesburg Academy of Martial Arts for a successful tournament. This is the first event I’ve known Mr. Duke to hold since I first met him in 2008 when he attended the first-ever Metamora Martial Arts open tournament.

Mr. Duke and his entire crew should be proud of their effort today. The whole event only ran as smooth as it did because of how hard they prepared.

The atmosphere at his tournament all day was very positive, starting from grappling to forms, then weapons and sparring.

What I saw was a group of determined, focused, phenomenal group of young competitors who gives something a shot that more of their peers should, in my opinion. Not only are they learning martial arts, but they’re learning what it’s like to compete, and what it’s like to win and lose.

A young competitor came up to me after receiving third place in his forms division. I personally thought he was in the top 1 or 2, but the other judges had a different opinion.

He should’ve gotten an award for his character, though.

“Thank you, sir,” he said, as he shook my hand and bowed. “This is my first tournament, and my birthday is tomorrow. This is the best present I could’ve gotten.”

While I noticed some tears following a few divisions, I’d like to think all of the competitors eventually went home happy. The coaches/instructors, from what I saw, all helped guide their students after the students felt disappointed, I assume, from not winning first or at least performing better.

As my instructor always said: “It’s all right to be disappointed, but it’s not all right to be discouraged.”

You have a year to get better if you didn’t win first place today.


Try again.

Fall down seven times, get up eight – so goes the old proverb.

To the competitors who won first place and walked out with smiles…

Keep working because everybody else who didn’t win first is gunning for you next year.

I feel like I’ve got a target on my back for the adult black belt forms division.

March 17

Competitors Place in Forms and Sparring at Auvenshine’s 15th Annual Tournament

For the first time since 2011, Metamora Martial Arts took a delegation to Springfield for Auvenshine’s 15th annual open tournament.

Dominic, Adam Bockler, and Zoe at Auvenshine's Open Martial Arts Tournament

I’m proud of our team for how we represented Metamora Martial Arts. While none of took first in our divisions, a few details pop out to me that we stood out.

Perform Like All Eyes Are On You

Own the ring. It’s a philosophy I use every time I compete. When you’re in the ring, get all of the attention on you (for the right reasons, at least).

I’m always happy when a judge – better yet, somebody who doesn’t have to be looking (a ref, a parent, or somebody associated with the competitor) – makes a special comment about your form.

After Zoe competed, one of the judges told her how he really liked her kiai.

After I competed, an individual who I didn’t know came up to me to tell me he thought my form was “awesome.” I later found out he was the friend of some of my friends, and he helped coach me in my sparring match later on.

By commanding that presence in the ring, we made sure people were paying attention. Own it.

This Is a Great Beginner’s Tournament

The main reason I’ve liked attending the Auvenshine’s tournament is because it’s a great martial arts tournament for beginners. The black belts are typically friendly. There were no rules discrepancies that I heard yesterday, at least in the ring I judged in, anyway. Mr. Aldus, a martial arts veteran, did an excellent job of being the center referee during forms. He coached us if we needed help, he dissolved one or two minor issues that came up, and as far as I know, everything was fair.

Let’s be honest. Not everyone walked away from our ring happy. I saw several tears from those who wanted first place and didn’t get it. However, it’s a great learning experience.

It’s also a great tournament for black belts to try their hand at judging. The center referee for sparring in our ring was 17. He’d had little live experience, if any, in a tournament setting, but he seemed prepared for the task. Kudos to him, whose name I forget.

Shake Your Judges’ Hands When Your Division Is Over

It’s common courtesy to shake the hands of your judges when your forms division is over. Each competitor files behind the next and goes down the line.

That’s why I was puzzled when the other competitors in my forms division went immediately for their medals. Meanwhile, I was shaking hands, thanking the judges.

I encourage my students to shake the judges’ hands, and I would like to have seen the black belts – especially the black belts who win first place – lead this small effort.

Karateka May Have a Hard Time at Tae Kwon Do Events

Tournaments hosted by tae kwon do schools are the predominant events in central Illinois, it seems. As a result, most of these tournaments are judged by tae kwon do stylists.

It has been my observation that karateka have a difficult time overcoming the style bias. By that, I mean tae kwon do stylists generally prefer their own forms because they recognize them.

The opposite is true, as well. I would imagine a tae kwon do stylist would have to really work to score higher compared to several karate stylists.

I noticed what I felt was a style bias several times in both forms and sparring yesterday. I don’t hold it against anyone. It’s what people are used to.

However, I think competitors need to be aware of that bias in order to train to win first place, if that’s what they really want.

Hygiene is Key

I left my sparring match with a hyperextended knee. Only later did I realize I had blood on my uniform from what appeared to be scratches on one of my fingers. These scrapes seem to have come from fingernails or toenails. While I can’t say for sure, I can only assume, based on their location, that they came from my opponent.

Competitors, please make sure all of your nails are trimmed prior to a tournament.

Quick Results

  1. Adam Bockler placed 2nd in men’s black belt forms, 16-34, and 3rd in men’s black belt sparring.
  2. Zoe placed 3rd in girl’s colored belt forms.
  3. Dominic placed 3rd in boy’s colored belt forms.
January 15

Upcoming Event: Galesburg Academy of Martial Arts Invitational Tournament on April 26, 2014

Contrary to the name, this tournament is actually an open event, according to the Facebook event.

2014 Galesburg Academy of Martial Arts TournamentThe 2014 Galesburg Academy of Martial Arts Invitational Tournament begins at 10 a.m. Saturday, April 26, and features grappling, forms, weapons and sparring.

Costs start at $25 for one event and go up to $50 for all four events.

Awards will be given for 1st, 2nd and 3rd places.

For a complete competitor packet, please visit this link.

Registration is only available online – in other words, no registration at the door.

The Taekwondo Times will be on hand covering the event.

If you have any questions about this event, please contact Master Aaron Wayne-Duke at 309-299-5845.

Mr. Bockler’s Commentary

This, I believe, is the first-ever tournament put on by Mr. Duke. I would be delighted to take students to this event. Five years ago, Mr. Duke brought a contingent of students to our first-ever tournament, and did so when we held two more after that. There is nothing more I’d like to do than be able to help return the favor.

Personally, the character of Mr. Duke is unparalleled. He was one of the first to help my family after the tornado devastated several of their homes on Nov. 17, 2013, bringing an abundance of T-shirts and chotchkies for the kids, among other things. His students are lucky to have such a good person as an instructor.

Let’s help Mr. Duke have a successful tournament!

January 8

Upcoming Event: Auvenshine’s Taekwondo 15th Annual Martial Arts Tournament – March 15, 2014

Register for Auvenshine's Taekwondo 15th annual martial arts tournamentAuvenshine’s Taekwondo of Auburn, Ill., is hosting its 15th annual open martial arts tournament at Lincoln Land Community College in Springfield on Saturday, March 15, 2014.

Events include forms, sparring and grappling. Black belt forms grand champions will be crowned in both junior and adult divisions.

Entry fees are $40 for one event, $45 for two events and $50 for all three.

Registration goes from 8-10 a.m., with opening ceremonies starting at 10:30.

Concessions are available. All school owners, instructors, judges, referees, timers and scorekeepers will be provided lunch.

The school with the most registered competitors will be awarded a plaque.

For a complete list of rules, divisions and awards, please download the tournament packet.

If you have any questions about this event, please contact Masters Bill or Patty Auvenshine at Auvenshine’s School of Taekwondo using the phone number 217-438-6118.

Mr. Bockler’s Commentary

I’ve attended this tournament more often than not over the past seven years. It’s a great tournament for beginning students, or students who have not had much tournament experience. The judges and officials guide everyone through the competition with ease. Plus, it’s not too terribly far from home.

Joshu Adair Rodriguez, Deshi Adam Bockler and Miss Caitlan Rohman at Auvenshine's tournament in 2011

Mr. Adair Rodriguez, Mr. Adam Bockler and Miss Caitlan Rohman at Auvenshine’s tournament in 2011

This tournament always helps kick off to competition season. I’m happy to help coach any of our students to get ready for this tournament, and I’ve definitely got it on my calendar this year.