Traditional Martial Arts in Today’s World


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Welcome to KIAI! - Thousand Waves new newsletter. KIAI! combines the best of our prior newsletters - “Individuals & Communities Responding to Violence” and “e-kiai!” to provide richer context and relevant information to our members and friends. In this issue, discover how Sarah Ludden, Co-Director, incorporates ancient martial arts practices into contemporary life lessons and learn how the thoughtful actions of adult member Aileen and child member Lizzy earned them Peacemaker Awards. Also included in this issue are workshop and course announcements, listing of Karateka that promoted in January and more. Please read on to explore the Thousand Waves community and its unique opportunities for involvement in a better, more peaceful world. (Note: this intro. paragraph is a draft and needs some work.)

Traditional Martial Arts in Today’s World

by Sarah Ludden, Co-Director and Kyoshi

One day, over a decade ago, I realized that my karate practice and teaching, activities I loved, had in fact become my life’s work, the contribution I am making to society. I had to ask: is this a good thing, a righteous choice? Of what value are martial arts –a military science from the days of brutal hand to hand combat, swords and horses, bandits and fiefdoms, samurai and zen training-- in today’s world? How and when does teaching karate become a progressive force for peace and justice?
Insert photo of Kyoshi Sarah teaching here.

To read more click here. (connect to full article).

One day, over a decade ago, I realized that my karate practice and teaching, activities I loved, had in fact become my life’s work, the contribution I am making to society. I had to ask: is this a good thing, a righteous choice? Of what value are martial arts –a military science from the days of brutal hand to hand combat, swords and horses, bandits and fiefdoms, samurai and zen training-- in today’s world? How and when does teaching karate become a progressive force for peace and justice?

I looked to the historical roots of Seido karate. With the end of the feudal period and the transition to modern democratic life, the Japanese military arts evolved into a physical cultural practice, a valiant effort to preserve sophisticated though antiquated martial skills, the vigorous physical and mental training, and the values of the samurai code, bushido— bravery, honor, respect for ancestors and lineage, truthfulness, etiquette, self control and self sacrifice. The Okinawans developed empty handed fighting systems to resist foreign occupation and to defend their lives and their lands.

Chinese martial arts history is interwoven with its healing arts; the place to strike the body to injure or kill is a place to stimulate with acupuncture or acupressure to heal. Lethal attacks and effective defense can be seen in the flowing, meditative, health restoring motions of tai chi. As the military use of chuan fa (generic term for Chinese martial practice) became outdated, the personal self-defense and health and fitness function remained, thereby preserving the cultural history.
Following the US involvement in World War II and later the Korean War, servicemen and women returned home with training in Asian martial arts. Immigration to the US from around the world, including Brazil, Southeast Asia, Indonesia, and the Philippines produced martial arts schools in immigrant communities, later spreading to other communities. The American martial arts boom began.
Martial arts schools surfaced in countless neighborhoods, people bringing their own perspectives, politics and ambitions to their teaching. Kaicho Tadashi Nakamura, in 1976, created a new style, Seido Karate, the “sincere way.” His goal was to offer karate to the widest range of students, and viewed training primarily as a vehicle to develop character and improve our ability to contribute to society.

The struggle for racial and sexual equality informed this next generation of martial artists. Violence as a tool of racial discrimination, and violence against women, sexual assault and the repression of women culturally, were politicized. FIGHT BACK! was a revolutionary statement. Women, including Nancy Lanoue, co-director of Thousand Waves, sought training from martial arts teachers, demanding to be taught, systematically extracting the relevant techniques which could be used by a woman to resist an assault.

Some women left their teachers with this rudimentary skill base, connected with other women and collectivized their knowledge to develop the first women’s self-defense curricula and trainings. The National Women’s Martial Arts Federation, now over 33 years old, was created during this time.

Insert B & W photo of women demonstrating judo in the 70s in Central Park here (if Rebecca can get the photo from whoever published Women in the Martial Arts - first edition).
Over these last 30 years, we have studied the patterns of violence, the forms of psychological, verbal and physical violence, the scope of violence, from personal to interpersonal, from within the family to international conflict. FIGHT BACK! is a complex notion, demanding disciplined and multi-disciplinary analysis.
Not wanting to perpetuate the cycle of violence and revenge, we have broadened our definition of self-defense to include non-violent conflict resolution skills, boundary setting skills, the ability to de-escalate a tense situation before it escalates into verbal or physical violence, and anger management strategies. We have rights and responsibilities as self-defenders to stand up to injustice and do our part to stop violence. Nancy Lanoue and Marie O’Brien, Director of Violence Prevention Programs at Thousand Waves, have been leaders in this important work nationally.
At Thousand Waves, we ask each karate student who is testing for advanced brown belt, the last rank before black belt, to write an essay explaining how their training is not violent, but is in fact a practice which enhances our ability to move through the world non-violently. Students have cited the development of self-confidence, self-discipline, self-control, compassion, physical conditioning and emotional healing. We practice in a social structure that emphasizes community, respect and responsibility to self and others; meditation enables us to withstand pressure and respond to stress calmly; and we hone fighting skills to respond appropriately to violence.

In sum, we gain the skills and courage to fight back, the skills and courage to NOT fight back, and the personal discipline to choose our response to violence appropriately. This is the purpose of martial arts training in today’s world. These are vital life skills, as important as first aid, CPR, sex and health education, fire drills and financial planning. From feudal Japan to 2009 Chicago…quite a journey—a military science transformed to an art form, a health and fitness regime, a thoroughly modern violence prevention curriculum.

Insert photo of self-defense course here.
At Thousand Waves, children experience the joy of “learning hard things,” and discover that discipline is essential and is rewarded, their personal integrity is respected and that they have the responsibility to be peacemakers in the world. Classes give members the opportunity to develop cardiovascular fitness, strength, flexibility, speed, coordination and endurance and offer well earned relief from the pressures of work and family responsibilities—the blood flows, the body sweats, the mind is engaged, and the student leaves spiritually restored.
The training is exhilarating— feeling one’s power on the heavy bag or when breaking a board is life altering. It is the power to accomplish, succeed in life, overcome hardship, heal from abuse, take on life’s challenges and set the bar high.
Martial training is facing fear, taking responsibility for our shortcomings and committing to grow and change. As a martial arts teacher I examine the craft of teaching, the methodology of transmitting the specific skills of Seido karate and self-defense, and am confident we are doing a good job in this arena. What is more complicated is deciding what is needed to promote the personal discipline, the reflex training and conditioning of spirit that is needed to “choose appropriately” when confronted with violence. This unique element distinguishes karate from yoga, dance class, and functional fitness training.

We must create an atmosphere that facilitates concentration and focus, inspiring courage to face fear, dedication to push ourselves and not accept excuses for failed effort. Every student has the right to reach their potential so we must challenge each student, and challenge them appropriately. To care as a teacher is to be strict and demanding, to expose students to heights they had not imagined being able to climb, and convincing them they can, if they do the work. To communicate love and gentleness, respect and admiration, and expect the most. And being exemplary students ourselves, training hard, learning and growing, expressing humility and gratitude.

I believe we are on the right path, promoting peace and justice, healing and empowerment. The historical roots of our martial arts provide an edifying foundation and contemporary realities provide focus and direction. I am grateful to be a part of Thousand Waves and play a role in helping the Center fulfill its mission of promoting health and fitness, empowerment and violence prevention and am deeply indebted to the intelligent and brave leadership of Shihan Nancy and Kaicho Nakamura. Osu!

  • Sat. 3/7 Stress Management & Wellness Workshop. Childcare available. Limited space. $40. Scholarships available.

  • Self-Defense Course for Women/Teen Girls. Runs 4 Mondays, 6-9pm, Apr 6-27. Discounted fee of $95 through 3/16; $115 after. Scholarships available.

Tax deductible donations to Thousand Waves support the scholarships we award to individuals and groups seeking violence prevention classes. Help a survivor of violence on her healing path to feeling more confident, secure, and in charge of her life. Support a group of at-risk youth to use self-calming skills instead of resorting to violence. Help teens build respectful relationships with peers and dating partners, creating safer connections in their lives. They thank you for your support. (connect to donation page)

Community Outreach

Peacemaker Award

by Marie O’Brien, Director of Violence Prevention Programs

In January of this year a new tradition began—the Thousand Waves Peacemaker Award. This award is given to people who carry the mission of our Center—promoting personal safety, violence prevention and anti-violence activism—into their communities. The first award was presented in January to Marie O’Brien, Director of Violence Prevention Programs at Thousand Waves.

We are proud to announce two new Peacemakers, Aileen and Lizzy, each of whom used assertive and courageous intervention skills in their communities. We encourage you to read about what they did to interrupt violence, and hope you’ll join us when we present their awards. Lizzy will receive her award on March 21 at 9am; Aileen on April 8 at 8pm. (Note: These dates needs confirmation.) If you know someone worthy of this award, contact us to nominate them.

Insert photo of Aileen and Lizzy with Nancy and Sarah here, if we can get such a photo.
Aileen’s story

Thousand Waves adult member Aileen Geary used her intervention skills on the CTA, when other commuters starting taunting and threatening each other and it looked like a fight was going to break out. “My goal was to keep any physical confrontation from occurring, in hopes of keeping everyone safe,” writes Aileen. Read about the volatile situation and the strategies she used as an active peacemaker here. (connect to full story)

Lizzy’s story (Note: This story needs to be corroborated – Sarah will do so.)

Thousand Waves junior member Lizzy used intervention skills at her school when a fight broke out in the playground. This new white belt karateka taught self-calming and conflict resolution tools to her second grade classmates so they would not resort to fighting in the future. Learn the simple and brave role she took on in the face of physical violence here. (connect to full story)

Aileen’s Full Story

Late in August, my girlfriend CJ and I had to go to Niketown for a 10K packet pickup. When we arrived at the Jefferson Park blue line stop, we found out that we’d have to take a shuttle bus to Irving Park because of work being done on the tracks. I didn’t realize at the time that this inconvenience would become part of a self-defense intervention strategy later in the evening.

A few hours later, we were on the crowded Clark/Lake platform waiting for a train. Three young men, 18-22 years old, were playing dice. A young heterosexual couple was engaging in some PDA. Other folks were chatting, listening to their iPods, minding their own business. All of a sudden, the three young men became interested in the young couple. One of them, the Loud One, began yelling at the couple (the Boxer and the Girlfriend). Initially, the Boxer and the Girlfriend ignored the Loud One, but as the slurs flew, they began to retaliate. Within moments, the Loud One began to approach them, followed by his Two Friends.
I had been observing the exchange, and quickly came to a few conclusions. One: the Loud One and his friends seemed to be relatively benign, but bored. They had now raised a challenge, and would feel bound to follow through in order to save face. Two: the Boxer (so identified by his t-shirt, his physique and his bearing) was probably quite physically capable. Three: the Boxer and the Girlfriend were willing to ignore the Loud Ones as long they could. Four: if the Loud Ones and the Boxer began to tangle, someone could get seriously injured.
As the Loud Ones approached, I stepped in between them and the Boxer. So did another man on the platform and a CTA worker. All three of us attempted to cool the situation – I said something like “it’s no big deal, just leave it alone” while the CTA worker and the other rider stepped in and said similar things. The Loud Ones retreated.

The train arrived. We all boarded the train, and the Loud Ones boarded the same car. They stood at one end, the Boxer and the Girlfriend were at the other end of the car with us and with the CTA worker. I chatted with the Boxer and the Girlfriend – the Girlfriend was admonishing the Boxer that he couldn’t “hit them first.” When the CTA worker’s stop arrived, she asked if the Boxer and the Girlfriend wanted to get off with her. They demurred. He was quite certain he could handle the Loud Ones. I suspected he could, as well, but didn’t want to find out.

As we often discuss in self-defense, once a fight begins, things get ugly quickly. Someone could have a weapon, someone could get in a lucky shot. My goal was to keep any physical confrontation from occurring, in hopes of keeping everyone safe. As soon as the CTA worker left the train, the Loud One resumed his taunting of the Boxer. Other people in the car were clearly uncomfortable. Then, the Loud One began to move down the aisle.
I quickly made a decision. I stood up and walked toward him in the aisle. Using my “teacher voice,” I said “Go sit down.” He continued to taunt the Boxer over my shoulder, but began to back up. I made a variety of calculations at that point. He had continued to focus on the Boxer, and was not redirecting his anger at me. Had he begun to target me, I would have had to change strategies. Instead, he was giving ground, as I had suspected he would. As he shouted at the Boxer “what’s your stop?” I said, “We all have to get off at Irving Park. This is not the time or place. You can deal with it at Irving.” I knew that there would be CTA workers and probably police at Irving because of the shuttle situation. The Loud One continued to back off, shouting, “We’ll see you at Irving,” and he and his friends left our car for the adjacent car.
At Irving, we all got off, and, as I suspected, there were many officials. As we all left the car, some of the other passengers immediately began telling CTA workers that the Loud Ones had been causing trouble. They were intercepted. The Boxer, the Girlfriend, CJ and I boarded a bus and took it to the next train stop. No punches were thrown. Think, Yell, Run – no Fight necessary.

Editor’s Note: Written by Aileen, who used the fifth finger of self-defense to “Tell” us about this success story. Aileen is a high school teacher, as well as a black belt and volunteer assistant in Thousand Waves’ Violence Prevention program. And a Thousand Waves Peacemaker. Please join us in honoring Aileen on Wednesday April 8 at 8pm. (Note: These dates needs confirmation.)

Lizzy’s Full Story

Lizzy reports that one of the boys in her second grade class has a very ‘different’ sense of humor, and other students don’t always understand it. Sometimes other children get mad because their feelings are hurt by his jokes. One day after school, this boy and some other friends were playing. The boy said something that offended another child, which led to 2 girls and the boy physically fighting. A playground supervisor helped break up the fight.

Lizzy realized that her fellow students could benefit from violence prevention strategies she learned at Thousand Waves. She decided to teach them to TAKE TEN so they would learn to manage their strong feelings so they don’t erupt violently. TAKE TEN is a system of anger management and violence prevention developed by Anne Parry, an educator who has worked with survivors of violence for many years.
TAKE TEN is simple, and it really works. It puts distance between us and the person who has made us feel angry, sad, frustrated, or disrespected, by:

  • taking ten deep breaths … or ten steps backwards

  • waiting ten minutes … doing ten jumping jacks

  • remembering ten things we like about the person we’re angry with…

…or anything else you can think of to give you time to cool off before responding with hurtful words or actions. The idea is -- if you can’t express yourself peacefully, then talk it out, walk it out, or wait it out.
Lizzy introduced the TAKE TEN strategies to the playground supervisor, and then taught it to her friends. They sat down and learned about what to do when they’re mad, then they all practiced the techniques. The boy did ten lunges. Another student took ten steps back. Another said she’d wait ten minutes. They discussed other options like taking ten breaths, or doing ten pushups.

Later, Lizzy and her mother talked with Kyoshi Sarah, the co-director of Thousand Waves, to share the story. Kyoshi found out that Lizzy’s friends have not gotten upset recently, so they haven’t had to use TAKE TEN to prevent fights. But if and when anger arises among these students, any of them can call “TAKE TEN” as a reminder to choose a peaceful way to deal with the situation. This is a strategy that works and that everyone – child and adult alike – can use to manage strong feelings.

Editor’s note: Lizzy is a new karate student at Thousand Waves in the Junior program. Her older sibling had taken some classes at Thousand Waves in the past, so she was introduced to some violence prevention ideas in Thousand Waves’ curriculum before she started training herself. Still, as Kyoshi Sarah pointed out, “It’s not very common for a student with only eight classes to do this with such great results!” We applaud Lizzy’s leadership as a Peacemaker. Please come and help us celebrate her peacemaking on Saturday March 21st, 9-10am. (Note: These dates needs confirmation.)

Thousand Waves sincerely thanks its 2009 – 2010 Community Partners and encourages members and associates to continue supporting their businesses:

Fifth Third Bank

Angelique C. Mizera, DO

Prairie Capital

Rent Smart Chicago

Blue Property, Inc.

Uptown Bikes

Greenlawn Landscaping, Inc.

Dr. Katherine Lauterbach, DDS & Dr. Susan Torma, DDS

Angel Food Bakery

John D. Kopczyk, Ltd.

Our Community Insurance Consultants, Inc.

The Grind

Flourish Studios

Okinawan Karate Club of Dallas

Suzuki Music School of Lincoln Park

Howard's Wine Cellar

IMPACT Chicago

Interested in connecting your business to Thousand Waves' receptive 400 plus members? Explore becoming a Community Partner - contact Rebecca Epstein to learn more about partnership benefits.
Member News

Congratulation to Karateka that promoted in January 2009:

Aidan Robert-Fitzgerald

Alexis Fernando

Amy Wechsler

Ana Gore

Antonio Amezcua

Arushi Beohar

Ava Swan

Bahar Berksoy

Ben Lindau

Benny Rizzo

Brianna O'Malley

Bryce Bezirgan

Catherine Swanson

Christopher Killackey

Daniel Applebaum

Darrin Goins

Deanna Smith

Dylan Turner

Ethan Seitzer

Geoffrey Lawrence

Gianna Trimarco

Graham Paterson

Helena Taft

Henry Nishiura-Groves

Ione Dellos

Isabelle Mallet

James Fraser

Janet Lefley

Jason Dulberg

Joey Ridarelli

John Cusick

Joseph Friedman

Julissa Tapia

Lars Dellos

Laura Glenzer

Lazar Sestovic

Lindsay Holzman

Lindsay McKirnan

Lizzy May

Louis Armstrong

Lucia Frisancho

Lulu Daly

Mark Hubert

Marley Holzman

Matt Birnholz

Max McCoy

Miles Kozlowski

Miles Robinson

Miles Wagner

Nora Begy

Ricky Rivera

Ron May

Sam Brown

Sam Daly

Sarah Day

Shelby Donahue

Sophie Ishiwari

Steven Norinsky

Sui Lin Tam

Insert Promotion photo here.
Check out more promotion photos on the Thousand Waves webpage. (connect to photo index)
Welcome to New and Returning Students
: (Note: List was made 1/29, and if we include this section should be updated shortly before March 1st.) (connect to full list)

Full list:

Adam Block

Aldan Aque

Alisa Hobbs

Catherine Killackey

Claire Boyle

Clare Hardiman

David Furst

Deborah Gould

Elias Furst

Henry Holtz

Henry Moskal

Jaylen Nathaniel

Jensen Hobbs

Joshua Silverstein

Nicholas Gardner

Nurit Lifshitz

Michael Washington

Omri Bomash

Ryan Hardiman

Samantha Turner

Sarah Pagiluzza

Sheila Sutton

Olivia McGrath

Valerie Diaz

Thousand Waves is pleased to announce the 2009 Board of Directors:

Patricia Broughton, Chair

Matt Birnholz

Denise Coleman

Shelley Fried

Kristen Kleckler

Tony Laden

Diane Miller

Jean Petersen

Margarita Saona

Ays̨e S̨ahin (Note to Ann – I think I figured out how to recreate the characters used in the letterhead with the “Combining Diacritical Marks” section of the “Insert Special Characters” function in Open Office, which I use instead of Microsoft Office. If the font you were planning on using isn't compatible with these characters, we can still try using the list from the letterhead as a graphic, like we discussed this morning.)

Katie Speth

Andrea Wenzel

Would you like to connect more deeply with Thousand Waves? Consider joining the Board or a Committee – contact Jun Shihan Nancy or Kyoshi Sarah for an exploratory discussion.

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