Winter camp is coming soon!

The annual winter camp starts on Friday Feb. 5th and runs to Sunday. This year we are holding it at the Mt. Empire High School near Campo. We take over the school campus and run classes in the gym, on the fields and do academic seminars inside. This year the emphasis is on perfection of technique in detail. Black belts will get new katas and focus on academic material as well. Lower belts will be learning a wide variety of material including special sparring techniques taught by guest instructor Grandmaster Floyd Burk.

The Japanese term Kangeiko means training in the coldest part of winter but given our geography it will likely be 65 degrees and sunny. Some years however we have snowstorms during the camps.

These major PMA camps are held both in winter and summer and this is the 38th winter camp. Students are coming this year from San Francisco, LA, Portland and of course San Diego. Training starts at 730 AM with a meditation walk, then workouts, seminars that run until 11 PM at night. There is even a star gazing class. Plan ahead for the summer camp next August!

Special advance thanks go to some of the organizers for so much behind the scenes work to get this ready. Plaudits go to Heather Graves, Becky Black, Mac Low, Marc Adams, Jeff Platt, Allison Smith and Jim White.



Historic black belt weapons awards

weapoonsgroupThe last promotion for black belt in kobudo or weapons was made in 2007 at the PMA. On January 9th six new black belt awards were made. Earning a degree in weapons is usually done by a small minority of the black belts. It takes specialized training and mastery in three or more weapons areas such as the bo, the bokken, hanbo, sword, and more. This moment is a great historic accomplishment and indicates the depth and dedication of students to study long years to reach a new goal.

Current active dan holders are Michael Brown Sensei (4th dan), Eric Rosado Sensei (2nd dan) and Becky Black Sensei (2nd) dan and recently awarded, and of course head instructor Master Devine. The new first dan holders are Peggy Teng, Marc Adams, Yuri Gorokhov, Andrew Vaughn, Peter Grootenhuis and Seth Brown. The study of weapons in the PMA is quite distinct and although in the general classes we do teach the short stick hanbo and long staff bo, generally separate classes are held for the other weapons. At the current time students must hold a black belt in open hand karate in order to advance to black belt in weapons study. Everyone on the list has at least thirteen years in karate studies. Seth Brown is the youngest at seventeen years to earn this rank in weapons.

The ceremony to give out the awards was held at Island Palms Resort on Shelter Island Sunday January 17th. Each candidate picked a special friend or family members to award the certificate in conjunction with Master Devine. This award concept is to let the friends and families know we appreciate their large supportive role in the progress of the students.

The ceremony featured a short dedication of karate to the new awardees by some junior members that included Sarah Brown, Ian deGrood, Ethan and Brandon Diep, Isaiah Brown, and Emma Rose Denton. The Polynesian buffet was outstanding.

It’s 2016 for you Polar Bears!

Pacific  Martial Arts always starts the new year with a Polar Bear class and this one was at Coronado. Hardly polar since the thermometer hit almost 70 degrees under sunny skies. The class was traditional stance and kicking drills on the grass of Sunset Park, with partner drills of the Kata Garuma series. About 35 students and 30 parents showed up for the event which was followed by pot luck. We played the emperor game with foam combat swords  where teams defend their royal leader against the attackers. Then we all trooped down to water’s edge where groups braved the cold water up to waist level to do punches, kicks and kata. The finale was doing push ups in the water.

Master Devine spoke briefly to the students about the need to strive for excellence rather than just ‘good’ or ‘average.’ Since we often fall short of our goals, it is better to shoot for excellence or more in every training session, because when we fall a little short under stress, at least we will be good to excellent in all we do.  It was a great day for karate. Happy New Year.

(The pictures tell most of the story, can you find your self in these?)


December gets busy at PMA

Many activities in the dojo happen in December. On Sunday the 13th are two holiday parties at the main dojo for the PMA karate students. The first is the junior party at noon with lots of food, games and song. Later at 4 pm the senior party begins.

On January 1st we have the annual Polar Bear beach class at Coronado and karate families are encouraged to join us for the class, the wade into the surf and sharing some food.

Many juniors are being belt tested in December and January. Those being tested will receive nomination papers.

Currently testing over several days is taking place for six students trying to earn their black belts in kobudo or weapons studies. They demonstrate knowledge and skills and three weapons are tested…. the hanbo or short stick, the bo or staff, and finally the bokken (wooden sword) paired with the four foot staff.

Advanced belt symbols represents one’s training

MaloufAn advanced belt symbol from nature is chosen by the student to represent his training. When Mr. Malouf chose ‘gale’ or ‘kyofu’ in Japanese  he expressed strongly the relationship between his approach to training and what a gale can be. The student goes before the class, reads his short essay and then dedicates a performance kata to the symbol chosen. In the photo, he displays the kanji for the Japanese word which he then gets to stencil onto his uniform lapel.

Later, the student will choose a character symbol, something like integrity, honesty, perseverance and others that represents a relationship of his training to that word. This more extensive essay is usually done around the time one is ready for brown belt.

In his presentation of gale, this student writes prosaic words … “my fellow warriors of PMA remember me when you see the wind blowing your banners as you charge into battle,  and think of me when a child is filled with wonder seeing a kite fly.”

Choosing symbols to represent one’s training in the dojo causes the student to reflect on his training in depth, why he is  are training, the benefits of training, and the good that his training might bring to the community. For many teens and adults, presenting a symbol is often a first time event and a nervous one usually, to get up in front of peers and seniors and express concepts of training. It might be akin to the knights of King Arthur’s day standing up to proclaim their honor and duty to the causes of being a knight. Students take this seriously and I believe it reinforces not just their training, but their other undertakings in life, even if they do not have to choose symbols. For example a student who chooses diligence as representative of his character symbol, by publicly outlining what that means is a way to establishing that virtue in other undertakings such as job, school and family.

Autumnfest tournament results 2015

The Autumnfest in house karate tournament was held on October 24th and the results posted below.

The day featured both competition and a hot dog barbecue to celebrate the 37th anniversary of the PMA as well. Unfortunately the grill broke down so our responsive volunteer parents and students managed to boil up the hot dogs and everyone got fed chips, hots dogs and sodas.

This event is a practice event that gives students experience in competing so they can later do well in the bigger Stars and Stripes tournament of the PMA in April. It also opens a pathway to be a member of the PMA competition team that competes in outside tournaments that includes the national championships.

A final thought for all students to know about competing, when you spar or do kata at your current level, you may not be the best at your level just yet. You are improving day by day in karate so at some point in the future you may very well prove to be among the best competitors. Tournaments however cannot measure properly your self defense skills, the best kicker, the best puncher, your willingness to help and teach others, your sense of respect that you gradually are learning, your developing self confidence, and much more. Tournaments should be enjoyed for what they are, a fun event of competing with classmates for the day…. much like we might get together and play cards, shuffleboard, a baseball game, etc. What you learn from entering is far important.


♦Red belts: kata in order were Isaiah Brown, Ethan Diep, Emma Rose Denton and Elias Malouf

In sparring: I. Brown, E. Malouf,  E. Denton and E. Diep

♦Advanced Boys:

Kata were Ian DeGrood, Adam Nguyen, William Herman and Kieran McConchie

Sparring: I. DeGrood, Wm Herman, Sebastian Salazar, Frank Abellon

♦Ninja White kyu  Belt Boys:

Kata: Isaac Cook, Levi Johnson, Aryk Saldivar, tie 4th were Chris Boksanske and Nick Popa

Sparring: I. Cook, L. Johnson, A. Saldivar, tie fourth were N. Popa and C. Boksanske

♦Ninja Advanced belts:

Kata: Brandon Diep, Brian Herman, Parker Simpao, and Joshua Thompson

Sparring: B. Herman, P. Simpao, B. Diep, J. Thompson

♦Girls Divisions:

Advanced belt Kata: Kaavya Senthil

Advanced sparring vs boys: K. Senthil

♦Lower belt girls

Kata: Edith Robinson, Hayley Smith, Coral Popa, Christiana Caldera

Sparring: C. Caldera, E. Robinson, H. Smith, C. Popa

♦Shogun Advanced Belts below Brown:

kata; Rohan Shinkre, Eli Morris

Sparring: Eli Morris, Rohan Shinkre

♦Shogun Lower belts:

Kata: Aarya Mishra, Neel Mukavilli, Nitya Mukavilli

Sparring:  A. Mishra, Neel Mukavilli, Nitya Mukavilli

♦Black Belt division

Executive division winner in kata and weapons Carol Sedlacek

♦Open division:

kata… Yuri Gorokhov, Seth Brown, Javed Osmani


Black belts did not spar.

Autumnfest karate tournament


Here is Margaret Izotov (black belt) showing off a trophy won at the national competitions this year. You can develop to this level as well. It all starts with these smaller in house tournaments.

Izotov trophy

At the Old Town studio where we have the space to run things quickly and all at once. (2266 San Diego Ave. 92110)

October 24th Saturday
From 2:00 PM to approximately 3:30 PM

A PMA tournament with competition in kata (forms) and kumite (sparring.) Come and cheer your favorite students to victory. Competitors must be current members of the PMA as this is an in  house tournament.

Juniors= ninjas or samurai 6 to 12. (White belts without stripes are not yet ready to compete.)
Seniors= shoguns 13 and up

♪Sparring gear, helmets and gloves required., boots optional

Students compete in age relevant and belt rank relevant groups.

Registering on time:
in order to make up competition lists and draw sheets, awards, etc. we must have your entry by Wednesday, Oct. 21st. On line applications are done  by using payment link.


You can enter two events, and if you a senior, up to three.

Kata ¨ Kumite (Sparring) ¨

Shogun option Special kobudo weapons ¨ for seniors only, a 3rd optional event

COST: $15 total

Options to pay or register:

1. go on line to and use a credit card

2. or write a check or cash in an envelope to PMA and give to instructors or use the drop box provided in the lobby.


♪Competition can be great fun. Autumnfest is intended to give everyone extra practice and preparation before the big and mandatory Stars and Stripes tournament to be held in May next year. Keep in mind that winning only means you had the best kata that day in your division. It does not mean you are the best warrior, the best student, or the next black belt. Have fun first! Learn from being first or tenth! It’s part of life and part of training.

Belt Testing on October 3rd at PMA Karate


Whether competing in a tournament for facing the challenge of belt testing, it builds confidence. Students are formally testing on October 3rd for their belt. Testing is always exciting for many reasons. Testing ranges from enjoyable to stressful to anxious to relief in its completion. There is always pride and satisfaction. Grandmaster Bob Chaney of Temecula wrote the following in an article on why we have testing.

“To elude mandatory regular testing can be motivated by fear of failure, rebellion, misunderstandings, or perhaps the results of financial hardship. One of the very purposes of testing is to help students discover and measure growth in the qualities and characteristics which the martial arts system teaches. Without the test one student would presumptuously rank himself higher than his training would allow, while another student would perceive his achievements as failures. The test levels the playing field for both students. Both are validated by rank which is commensurate to their training. Both may eventually hold the rank of black belt and earn the same level of respect and honor, providing both are loyal to the system which molded them. …. it is possible for the student with lesser skills and athleticism to be worthy of higher honor because the student is measured by their conformity to the system. They embody and propagate the system as long as they continue to be loyal to it and those who are responsible to preserve it.”
Surviving belt tests is part of the step by step growth of facing challenges and obstacles and overcoming them. The steps are every fourth months but reinforces the student’s resolve and perseverance. This clearly has a carryover into other areas in life such as academic studies at school, job employment, other sports, and goals that one sets for oneself in life.

It is important that family and friends support the student in the challenge of testing. By showing support and encouragement, you enable the student to feel pride, to feel like he has an obligation to do well for you, and that he has accomplished something you also can value.

What are the systems and styles of martial arts?

tim3The term martial arts encompasses a vast set of fighting styles but generally most center on the systems coming from the orient. This type of fighting is markedly different than the western styles of fighting which involved boxing, wrestling and western style weaponry.

Asian styles often have a stylized format, salutation forms, are meant to develop mind and spirit, and often have sets of codified conduct and rules. These styles involve using all parts of the body in striking and in defense such as the feet, knees, hands, elbows and more. Throwing, evasion, submissions locks and pressure points are also inherent to the Asian styles as opposed to western fighting.

Styles developed based on the regions they came from. For example Karate is from Japan, Taekwondo is from Korea,  Kung Fu would be from China, and Muay Thai would be from Thailand. Today in America there is a wide diversity of fighting systems and many of them are even merging. The term mixed martial arts involves drawing out strong points from several style and making them into a sport with contact in the ring. Some advocates prefer to limit themselves to just stand up fighting, or throwing style fights such as judo, or perhaps grappling. There are so many things to learn that it becomes questionable whether one could possible master more than just a part of several styles.

For those who wish to add a character or philosophical side to the various martial arts, many styles codify their systems and require the students to abhere to rigid codes of conduct. This conduct generally means using the art form for the good of the community and to protect others. In  Japan a person would then study karate-do (pronounced doh) as a path or way of karate.

Many classical Japanese styles have this suffix ‘do’ to indicate they are more than just a technical fighting system. For example, judo, aikido and kendo all have inherent conduct codes built into the learning. These more classical systems are in contrast to modern approaches that emphasize the martial arts as sporting activities with competition for medals as the key goal.

PMA karate starts fall term

Welcome back to all the fall classes. PMA is now on four school campuses including Blessed Sacrament, The City Tree, Albert Einstein Charter and Old Town Academy Charter. We are holding classes in the Carmel Valley area as well as at our headquarters of San Diego at the Old Town dojo. The new Saturday class at 9AM features sparring and megasparring (jiujitsu) for all junior belts and ages. At 10AM the specialty weapons class is held at Old Town. Good training and remember ‘we teach attitudes first.”