Representing your dojo

pma-irvine-team.jpgTournaments are just one of several ways to represent your dojo. In the PMA conduct code it says that your outside conduct reflects on the whole dojo. What forms can this take on? Students might be doing community service, making great academic achievements, achieving acclaim in other sports or activities such as Eagle Scouts, the military, and more. For younger students, one of the prime ways to gain recognition for your dojo is to be involved in tournaments for example. This week of June 26th three of our black belts will be doing just that as they head for Raleigh, North Carolina and the AAU National Championships.

In the picture on left is Heather Graves, a third dan in PMA, who is taking on two roles,one as coach and the other as referee. The latter requires long days spent judging the many different levels of competitors. In the PMA the rank of sandan has many requirements. One of these is to learn about outside tournaments so you can bring this knowledge and guide students in a good way if they would like to compete in tournaments. You have to get a license eventually.

Being a coach is also demanding. Mr. Michael Kaminski in the center of the picture is doing just that as he referees and coaches. Being a coach means giving the maximum support to the team members and helping guide them both physically and mentally. One has to spot areas that can be improved on and have the skills to cause the changes.

Ms. Margaret Izotov will be also competing across the board in kata, sparring and in weapons. She has been on a year long path of training hard just for this big event. Success here could well be the marker that gets her a spot on the Olympic team for Tokyo.

Coaches and referees are the background of any national or local tournament. Without them there simply is not the professionalism we would like to see. Courses and seminars are constantly being sponsored to keep the standards up, and also make it fair for the students that they will get the best of judging.

So how does this reflect on the PMA as a dojo. One way is to build and preserve the national reputation among the other instructors. This leads to other instructors associating with the PMA and they share their knowledge and techniques. This is good for everyone. Another way is the establishing of a reputation that PMA students can be counted on to run rings, help set up tournaments,  support other events, as well as being known for courtesy, politeness, good manners, and a solid martial arts background.

When our younger students see the efforts put in by these three students, they are hopefully guided and further inspired to do great things as well. So congratulations and good wishes to the PMA trio off to the National Championships. You are competing with the best from all over the nation. Your outside conduct is truly valued.

When the PMA is present at many of these tournaments, we are often refreshingly referred to as the ‘tree people’ because our crest has the pine tree and we are always unique.

Ladies’ Appreciation Night


Some leading lady members of the dojo were honored in a short ceremony at the dojo for their contributions this year to both training and service to the dojo. All had proven to be role models in training with consistent training, assisting in the teaching and personal karate development. Also all of them have worked extensively this year on the many dojo events such as tournaments and camps.. For example, Ms. Heather Graves and Ms. Margaret Izotov have been spending many months coaching and guiding the young tournament team, chaperoning to several tournaments, making sure they were well prepared, and more. Ms. Izotov is currently training to enter the Tokyo Olympics. Ms. Alison Smith has been a huge help at our Del Mar dojo  where she backs up Mr. Grootenhuis in the teaching, and also is intense in her study of kobudo weapons.

Ms. Sedlacek also trains four times a week but is invaluable in the organizing work, the dozens of phone calls to students and parents to get them registered for the many different events. Rebecaa Black Sensei who is now a sixth dan and most senior woman ever in the PMA dojo, continues to teach junior programs, assist at the weapons class, helps enormously in managing the belt testing, and much more. Not present in the picture is Ms. Peggy Teng who when not work traveling around the world or running her own Barre studio, continues to support the strong standards of the dojo and its training. Even with limited time she manages all the certificates for example, and is the designer for the many fine camp T-shirts.

Master Devine has frequently said over the years that is generally the ladies who do all the hard working jobs of organizing and keeping the dojo going, and our events so successful. The ladies were given special mementos of lead crystal vases.