January 28

Learn to visualize

I can’t stress this enough. Learn to visualize.

For one, visualizing helps us see what we’re doing. When we’re performing a kata, we’re not just throwing our arms and legs wildly into the air. In our minds, our intent should be to picture attackers in our mind who intend to hurt us. It is our responsibility to make sure that does not happen. We shouldn’t just memorize a series of movements.

Secondly, visualizing helps us see where we are going. This is how we make it through the form. Think to yourself if you’ve ever been doing a form, had a brainfart, and forgot where you were in the movements. There’s a good chance you thought to yourself, “This isn’t the right place for me to be in. I know where I need to be for my next movement, and this isn’t going to help me get there.”

In some respects, we should be exhausted after performing a kata because, in our minds, we have just eliminated several attackers that wanted to cause us harm. We’ve fought a handful of attackers in a matter of 45 seconds.

I was inspired to write this post today after an article I read at YMAA. Yang’s Martial Arts Association has been around since the 1980s, and YMAA is a leading publisher in the martial arts industry. The article caught my eye because it focused on tai chi chuan, an art I’ve practiced now for a year and a half. But even though karate and tai chi chuan come from different traditions, the methods of visualization the two use are very similar:

“Even when you can do the form very well, it may still be dead. To make it come alive you must develop a sense of enemy. When practicing the solo sequence, you must imagine there is an enemy in front of you, and you must clearly feel his movements and his interaction with you. Your ability to visualize realistically will be greatly aided if you practice the techniques with a partner. There are times when you will not use visualizations, but every time you do the sequence your movement must be flavored with this knowledge of how you interact with an opponent. The more you practice with this imaginary enemy before you, the more realistic and useful your practice will be. If you practice with a very vivid sense of enemy, you will learn to apply your qi and jin (power) naturally, and your whole spirit will melt into the sequence. This is not unlike performing music. If one musician just plays the music and the other plays it with his whole heart and mind, the two performances are as different as night and day. In one case the music is dead, while in the other it is alive and touches us.” —Dr. Yang as quoted by David Silver, Yang Tai Chi for Beginners, Jan. 30, 2012

January 1

This month in history: January

2004

Extreme Martial Arts (XMA) is officially launched as part of the Metamora Martial Arts curriculum.

2005

January 25 – Our satellite program at Metamora Grade School is launched for the first time. The program would last until May 2009.

January 28 – Metamora Martial Arts performed its first MTHS varsity basketball halftime demonstration.

2006 MTHS varsity basketball halftime demo

2006

January 31 – Metamora Martial Arts performed MTHS basketball halftime performances for both the sophomore and varsity teams.

2007

January 12 – Like the two years prior, martial artists performed at halftime of an MTHS varsity basketball game.

January 27 – Metamora Martial Arts attended the Auvenshines’ open tournament in Auburn, Illinois.

2007 - Auvenshine's open tournament8th Annual Auvenshine’s Taekwondo Martial Arts Tournament
Auburn Jr. High School – Auburn, IL

Stephen Arnold
1st place Forms
2nd place Weapons

Brock Blessman
1st place Forms
3rd place Sparring
4th place Weapons

Clay Blum
1st place Forms
2nd place Grappling
3rd place Sparring
Clay was forced to forfeit the match due to injury.

Adam Bockler
Competed, but did not place, in Forms

Daisy Breitbarth
1st place Forms
1st place Grappling
1st place Sparring
1st place Weapons

Joe Chianakas
1st place Forms
Adult Forms Grand Champion

Jim Craig
2nd place Forms
1st place Weapons

Mark Craig
1st place Forms
1st place Sparring
Jim and Mark competed in the same Forms division.

Carly Crabtree
1st place Forms
1st place Sparring

Roger Crow
1st place Forms
1st place Sparring

Jake Folger
4th place Forms
Jake also competed in Grappling.

Meaghan Gove
4th place Forms
3rd place Sparring

Tyler Prunty
1st place Forms
3rd place Weapons

Cliff Rummel
1st place Grappling
2nd place Sparring

Brandon Sassaman
2nd place Forms
2nd place Grappling
2nd place Sparring

Alex Schertz
1st place Forms
1st place Weapons
Alex was also in Tyler and Brock’s Weapons division.

Courtney Yeast
1st place Forms
Courtney and Meaghan were in the same Forms division.

December 1

This month in history: December

2002

Metamora Martial Arts put on its first-ever holiday tournament.

Grand Champion (Sparring) – Adam Ulbricht
Best Competitor (Forms) Derek McAllister, Joe Maubach, and Julia Hovey

2003

Metamora Martial Arts hosts its 2nd Annual Holiday Tournament. The tournament was an inner-school event.

Grand Champion (Sparring) – Megan Siefken
Best Competitor (Forms) – Jason Szewczyk, Jessica Duffy, and Joe Maubach
Best Competitor (Overall) – Matt Katch

Extreme Kumi-Taku Martial Arts opens in Sunnyland. The school hosted various events, including Undoo Renshu, XMA founder Mike Chat, and a host of classes in addition to after-school classes at MTHS.

Mr. Chianakas introduces Xtreme Martial Arts (XMA) for the first time over winter break.

2004

Dec. 4 – The 3rd Annual Metamora Martial Arts Holiday Tournament takes place.

Grand Champion (Sparring) – Jason Szewczyk
Best Competitor (Forms) – Adam Ulbricht and Thomas Deters
Best Competitor (Overall) – Jason Szewczyk

At our holiday party, Adam Ulbricht is officially promoted to first-degree black belt.

2005

2005 Metamora Martial Arts

2005 Metamora Martial Arts

Dec. 10 – For the first time ever, all programs were in one building at the 4th Annual Metamora Martial Arts Holiday Tournament. Still not an open tournament, we had many more divisions with the inclusion of the grade school students and adults.

Grand Champion (Sparring) – Daisy Breitbarth
Best Competitor (Forms) – Thomas Deters and Ted Gove
Best Competitor (Overall) – Daisy Breitbarth

At our holiday party, Mr. Chianakas and Mr. Hawkey announced several award winners.

Bushi-do – Aaron Ruder
Most Improved Student and Best Assistant Instructor – Adam Bockler

Also, for the first time in 2005, Metamora Martial Arts introduced new categories.

Best Black Belt Instructor – Amanda Dixon
Most Improved Beginner Student – Tony Herr

Dragon, for the student who showed the most spirit and enthusiasm – Adam Ulbricht
Snake, for the student who fit anywhere and clicked with everyone – Amanda Dixon
Crane, for the student who was strong but humble – David Bess
Leopard, for the student who made the most balance out of their life – Ted Gove
Tiger, for the student who had the strength of fire – Daisy Breitbarth

2006

The holiday tournament results were…

Grand Champion (Sparring) – Mark Craig (high school) and Jim Craig (grade school)
Best Competitor (Forms) – Daisy Breitbarth
Best Competitor (Overall) – Daisy Breithbarth (high school) and Jim Craig (grade school)

Dec. 17 – Metamora Martial Arts performs a pre-game demo at a Peoria Rivermen game. Adam Bockler drops the puck with former WWE Diva Torrie Wilson.

Metamora Martial Arts at the Peoria Rivermen game

Metamora Martial Arts at the Peoria Rivermen game, Dec. 2006

Dec. 27 – Justin Knobeloch is officially promoted to black belt after having tested earlier that month. As a result of his new promotion, Daisy Breitbarth was presented with the sempai title, the senior student under black belt.

The following awards were given at our holiday party…

Best Black Belt Instructor – Adam Ulbricht (who also was promoted to second-degree black belt)
Best Assistant Instructor – Daisy Breitbarth
Bushi-do – Adam Bockler
Most Improved Student – Mark Craig (high school) and Alex Schertz (grade school)
Most Dedicated Beginner Student – Clay Blum and Roger Crow
Most Improved Beginner Student – Andy Seidel

Dragon – Thomas Deters
Snake – Tony Herr
Crane – Adam Bockler
Leopard – Justin Knobeloch
Tiger – Daisy Breitbarth

Finally in December 2006, MetamoraMartialArts.com went live for the first time.

2007

Dec. 20 – For our annual holiday party, the black belts performed a skit for friends and family in which Mr. C lost his karate spirit.

Also announced were the following awards…

Best Black Belt Instructor – Adam Bockler
Best Assistant Instructor – Clay Blum
Bushi-do – Thomas Deters
Most Improved Student – Tiffany Robertson
Most Dedicated Beginner Students – Trinidad Marin and Adair Rodriguez
Most Improved Beginner Student – Bianca Kamm

Dragon – Tony Herr
Snake – Amanda Dixon (dan) and Meaghan Gove (kyu)
Crane – Adam Ulbricht (dan) and Brandon Sassaman (kyu)
Leopard – Thomas Deters (dan) and Maggie Fandel (kyu)
Tiger – Adam Bockler (dan) and Mark Craig (kyu)

We also introduced a new award, the Choki Motobu Award. Motobu, who we trace in our Shuri-ryu lineage, was said to have a very physical and dominating personality. As a new award for students who did conditioning classes with us, we named Clay Blum the 2007 Choki Motobu Award winner.

2008

Thomas Deters was officially promoted to a deshi, or a second-degree black belt. Tony Herr was also awarded the sempai title at our 2008 holiday party. Other awards included…

Best Black Belt Instructor – Adam Ulbricht
Best Assistant Instructor – Andy Seidel
Bushi-do – Justin Knobeloch
Most Improved Student – Adair Rodriguez (MTHS), Jake Pfister (MGS), Rachel Arnold (RGS), Bridget Bryning (Germantown)
Most Dedicated Beginner Student – Melanie Davis

Dragon – Adair Rodriguez
Snake – Chris Schirer
Crane – Tony Herr
Leopard – Caitlan Rohman
Tiger – Thomas Deters

Choki Motobu Award – Adair Rodriguez

Also new this year was the Warai Warrior Award, given to the person who could make is laugh. The only person to ever receive this award was Tiffany Robertson.

2009

Dec. 17 – Our holiday party was held at the Grand Village Buffet in East Peoria. No awards were given out.

2010

Dec. 10 – Like 2009, our holiday party was held at Grand Village Buffet in East Peoria.

November 1

This month in history: November

2006

November 25 – Metamora Martial Arts hosted its Fifth Annual Holiday Tournament, the last tournament of its kind we hosted. It was a competition for members of the program.

Grand Champions (Sparring) – Mark Craig (High School) and Jim Craig (Grade School)
Best Competitor (Forms) – Daisy Breitbarth
Best Competitor (Overall) – Daisy Breithbarth (High School) and Jim Craig (Grade School)

Ben Alig
2nd place in Breaking

Jon Bell
2nd place in Breaking

David Bess
1st place in Forms

Brock Blessman
2nd place in Sparring
3rd place in Forms
3rd place in Weapons

Clay Blum
2nd place in Forms

Daisy Breitbarth
1st place in Breaking
1st place in Forms

Jim Craig
Youth Sparring Grand Champion
1st place in Breaking
1st place in Forms
1st place in Soft Sword Sparring
1st place in Sparring
1st place in Weapons

Mark Craig
Adult Sparring Grand Champion
1st place in Breaking
1st place in Soft Sword Sparring
1st place in Sparring
3rd place in Forms

Roger Crow
1st place in Breaking

Jake Folger
1st place in Forms

Ted Gove
2nd place in Forms
3rd place in Breaking

Travis Haedicke
3rd place in Forms

Tony Herr
1st place in Forms
2nd place in Breaking

Greg Johnston
3rd place in Forms

Brandon Love
3rd place in Breaking
3rd place in Forms

Robert Pitts
3rd place in Sparring

Tyler Prunty
1st place in Soft Sword Sparring
1st place in Sparring
1st place in Weapons
2nd place in Forms
Tyler was the runner-up in the Youth Sparring Grand Championship!

Faith Robertson
1st place in Forms
2nd place in Soft Sword Sparring

Tiffany Robertson
2nd place in Forms
3rd place in Soft Sword Sparring

Cliff Rummel
2nd place in Forms

Brandon Sassaman
1st place in Forms

Alex Schertz
1st place in Forms
2nd place in Weapons

Bob Schertz
2nd place in Breaking

Andy Seidel
3rd place in Forms

Sarah Turpen
2nd place in Breaking

Robert Unger
1st place in Breaking

The 2006 Metamora Martial Arts roster

2007

November 3 – Metamora Martial Artists travel to Rantoul, Ill., for the Supreme Way Challenge.

In alphabetical order, here are the results.

Adam Bockler
1st place Team Forms

Mr. Chianakas
1st place Team Forms

Carly Crabtree
1st place Forms
1st place Sparring

Jim Craig
1st place Forms

Mark Craig
3rd place Sparring

Thomas Deters
1st place Team Forms
2nd place Forms
3rd place Weapons

Tony Herr
2nd place Sparring

Greg Martin
1st place Sparring
2nd place Forms

Jake Potter
4th place Forms
2nd place Sparring

Alex Schertz
1st place Forms

Some of the MMA crew in Rantoul

November 1

This month in history: October

2004

October 27 – XMA founder Mike Chat visits our Sunnyland dojo. The former blue Power Ranger visited several local schools to promote Extreme Kumi-Taku Martial Arts, then wound up back at the dojo to perform some seminars for current students.

Mike Chat, Tom Livingston, Joe Chianakas

2006

October 15 – We visited the North American Nationals in South Beloit, Ill. By rank, here is how our competitors placed at the Ramada Inn Convention Center.

Thomas Deters
1st Place in Forms
1st Place in Weapons
Thomas won the Weapons division against a previously undefeated kama competitor from the nationally ranked Team Diamond.

Adam Bockler
1st place in Forms
3rd place in Sparring

Daisy Breitbarth
2nd place in Forms
1st place in Sparring
Daisy also competed in a large 13-17 Weapons division.

Brandon Sassaman
1st place in Forms

Jim Craig
1st place in Forms
Jim also competed in Daisy’s 13-17 Weapons division.

Alex Schertz
2nd place in Forms
Alex also competed in a Weapons division.

Honorable mentions go to…

Mark Craig (Forms), Tony Herr (Forms), Meaghan Gove (Forms and Sparring), Jon Herr (Forms and Weapons), and Stephen Arnold (Forms and Weapons).

The Metamora Martial Arts crew poses with their winnings

October 21-22 – Adam Bockler tested for first-degree black belt on Saturday and was officially promoted on Sunday. The test began at noon and lasted six hours and 45 minutes.

Joe Chianakas congratulates Adam Bockler at the completion of his black belt test