February 27

Metamora Martial Arts Seminar with Steve and Kim Aldus

I am thrilled to say that Steve and Kim Aldus will be leading a seminar for Metamora Martial Arts students on Saturday, April 28.

Steve and Kim Aldus present a special seminar for Metamora Martial Arts students

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We made this announcement Saturday night at our 10th anniversary celebration. The seminar will take place in Black Partridge Park at 1:30 that afternoon and will cost $15. Participants should pay the day of the event.

Mr. and Mrs. Aldus will be giving us instruction that will benefit our karate training in several ways.

For one, it’s always great to be exposed to different arts. I think karate is great, but my passion really began when I was first exposed to tae kwon do, and now tai chi chuan. For me, these other arts have made my primary art stronger because I’ve been able to take what I’ve learned from them and bring them back into karate. Plus, there are always multiple ways to accomplish a goal.

Secondly, the information Mr. and Mrs. Aldus will show us will have relevance to us. They’ll take moves out of our katas and adapt them for the Chinese martial arts. As you’ll see, the Chinese martial arts and the Okinawan martial arts have many common bonds.

Ahead of announcing this special seminar, I had many conversations with Mr. Hawkey and Mr. Aldus. One thing we wanted to make sure was that students didn’t attend this seminar and forget everything they had learned within a few months since we don’t regularly practice tai chi chuan. By showing extensions of our karate forms, Mr. and Mrs. Aldus will help us strengthen the moves we already know and practice on a regular basis.

Due to some of the techniques we’ll be performing in this seminar, we’ve agreed to limit participants to ages 14 and up. That means high school students and adults are welcome. Grade school students may attend by invitation only.

I have been training with Mr. and Mrs. Aldus since August 2010 and it’s been a great experience. Not only are they incredibly knowledgeable and capable, but they’re both fun to work with. They create a great environment to learn in.

Steve AldusMr. Steve Aldus has more than 40 years of martial arts experience. He is recognized as the only known student in the United States continuing the teachings of Master Li Chi Lan in the arts of old yang style tai chi ch’uan and hsing-i ch’uan. Mr. Aldus possesses an 8th dan in tae kwon do, a 2nd dan in karate (Matsumura Seito Shorin-Ryu Koeppel-Ha), a 2nd dan in ju-jitsu, and has trained in numerous other arts. He’s a multiple-time USA Martial Arts Hall of Fame inductee, he’s won championships for the past four decades, and he’s performed seminars and demonstrations all over the United States. To learn more about Mr. Aldus, read:

Mrs. Kim Aldus is a 6th dan in tae kwon do, a 2nd dan in karate (Matsumura Seito Shorin-Ryu Koeppel-Ha), a 3rd dan in ju jitsu, and has a master-level teaching certificate in both tai chi ch’uan and hsing-i ch’uan.

September 9

Upcoming tournament: Morrow’s in Moline

Save the date!

Morrow’s 37th Semi-annual Karate & Kung Fu Championships will be Saturday, Oct. 22, 2011. The event is held at Morrow’s Academy of Martial Arts at 1321 5th Ave., Moline, Illinois.

Events include weapons, forms and sparring. This tournament features a black belt division of competitors age 40 and older, and a black belt championship match for a 4-foot trophy.

Mr. Morrow requires sparring competitors to bring dip foam boots and gloves, a groin cup and a mouth guard.

Registration is $30 for all events, and the spectator fee is $4. The tournament begins at 10 a.m. with registration beginning at 9 a.m.

For more information, please call John Morrow at 309-764-1929. Don’t forget to like Morrow’s Academy of Martial Arts on Facebook.

If you’re a Metamora Martial Arts student, let us know by Saturday, October 8, here on the blog or in our private Facebook group if you intend on competing.

August 31

Our 2011-2012 Program Offerings: Update

The school year is more than upon us—tomorrow is the first of September, and I’m hoping many of our former students and prospective students will check our website for information on this year’s programs.

In brief, here’s what we have to offer as of now:

Metamora High School students will have practices Tues, Wed, and Thu after school. There will be a non-obligating informational meeting and first trial class for new students interested in our program on Thursday September 8th from 3:30-4:30. Meet in the commons and wear comfortable clothes.

For grade school age students and adults in our community, we are offering weekly classes at Riverview Grade School on Wednesdays in the gym from 6:30-7:30. If you are interested in joining or resuming your training, just show up! We’ll have more information for you at that time.

UPDATE: Our program at Germantown is resuming Thursday Sept 15 from 6-7 p.m.

Who is teaching what?

At the high school, Deshi Thomas is teaching on Tuesdays (class supervised by Mrs. Deters), on Wednesdays Coach Unger is leading the workout, and Sensei Chianakas, Sensei Hawkey, and Deshi Adam Bockler are teaching on Thursdays. Assisting as available are Joshu Adair and Joshu Andy.

At Riverview, Joshu Adair Rodriguez is our black belt lead instructor, assisted by Robert Unger (also our adult supervisor), Caitlan Rohman, and Greg Martin.

At Germantown, Deshi Adam Ulbricht, a 2nd degree black belt, will lead the classes. Assistants still TBA.

How much does it cost?

Training at Riverview Grade School costs only $7 per class with a semester fee of $20 (payable two times a year). It’s the best deal in town, for sure!

Training at Metamora High is free and is sponsored by the high school. You pay only for your uniform and promotions.

If you have questions, you may contact Sensei Joe Chianakas at joechianakas@gmail.com.

How do I get updates?

Please “like” our Facebook page here. You can also join our private Facebook group if you are a current student or parent of a current student here.

May 23

Where are they now? Clay Blum reflects on the discipline in martial arts training

In this “Where are they now” feature, Clay Blum reflects on his martial arts experiences. Blum started training in karate in 2006 and was dedicated throughout his junior and senior year in high school. He also placed second in forms at the 2007 US Open World Karate Championships, one of the biggest martial arts tournaments in the world.

At first, my martial arts training began a mild fascination that quickly grew into an insatiable appetite for everything martial arts-related.

In a matter of weeks, I went from a fairly lazy, inactive, average student to a very active one whose grades were improving markedly.

In a few years, I went from a novice white belt to a more educated, more disciplined brown belt with a greater understanding of what martial arts is really about.

Clay Blum performs Anaku

Clay Blum performs Anaku in 2008

I trained for about three years and eventually my life of work and school made it too difficult to attend regularly. I wish I could still attend, but I have taken away from my experience several trophies, and most importantly, life skills that I will never forget. I am thankful I was able to be a part of that group and that my instructor was so influential and really cared about his students.

While I have been inactive for quite for some time now there is not a single day that goes by that I do not think about everything I have learned from my instructors, Joe Chianakas and David Hawkey. My skills have certainly diminished to a degree, though I still practice what I remember when I can.

However, I will never forget the ultimate characteristics I learned from them: discipline and self-confidence. It is these two attributes that have gotten me to where I am today.

Even after several years of training my instructors would still have us practice a form (kata) we learned as a yellow belt, which was very early on in training. I thought it was of little benefit at first until I realized that, even after three years of practicing it, the form was far from perfect. The idea behind it all was to hammer the idea that nothing we do is ever perfect, and thinking that it is perfect will breed laziness.

The discipline I learned in karate was my favorite part of karate every day I went to class. I never wanted to sit cross-legged on the floor during our “lectures” on karate history. I always hoped that we would have to sit zazen, a traditional posture that was usually uncomfortable. I enjoyed pushing myself to sit for as long as I could like that.

Eventually, that aspect carried over to my daily life. I began to actually do my homework and study. It was the same idea – push myself to do something I really don’t want to do because it is good for me.

That discipline has gotten me to where I am today. I am currently employed at Caterpillar in a part-time office job in a division where my hard work will eventually help propel me further in the company. Of greater importance to me, I am attending Bradley University as a Communications major (another influence from my instructor) and have scholarships due to my high GPA.

I could not have hoped for that if I had never become fascinated by karate, and ultimately moved from just loving the physical hard work it required, but loving the discipline it instilled in me. Studying karate has made me a better person and has changed my life for the better.

Even if I can’t attend classes, the lessons I learned will always stick with me.


March 28

Master Steve Aldus: Above all, I value respect

Last month, Mr. Aldus wrote a great piece about a student testing for black belt who received encouragement from his karateka. His inspirational story directly translates to a piece we introduce this month about respect.

“I value rei above all else,” Mr. Aldus said. “Rei is simply defined as respect. I appreciate Master Gichin Funakoshi’s concept of rei. As Master Funakoshi states in his treatise, The Twenty Guiding Principles of Karate, “Karate-Do begins and ends with rei.”

Rei means much more than respect. It encompasses both an attitude of respect for others and a sense of self-esteem. When those who honor themselves transfer that feeling of honor and esteem-that is, respect to others, their action is nothing less than an expression of rei.”

Master Funakoshi also goes on to state,

It should be also noted that although a person’s deportment may be correct, without a sincere and reverent heart they do not possess true rei. True rei is the outward expression of a sincere heart.

“All martial arts begin and end with rei. Unless they are practiced with a feeling of reverence and respect, they are simply forms of violence.”

In addition to rei, Mr. Aldus also lists other aspects of the martial arts that are important to him: “friends I have met during my journey in the martial arts, the students with whom I had the privilege and honor in sharing knowledge passed down to me and the benefits to my health – physically, psychologically and spiritually.”

Having learned what a martial arts practitioner of more than 40 years values most about the martial arts, what about you? What do you value the most?