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TAK Newsletter

Winter 2017/2018
Welcome to the Winter 2017/2018 edition of Traditional American Karate's electronic newsletter!

In this issue we feature:
  • 2017 Wrap-up - Master Floyd Burk
  • Team Trad Am Rocked in 2017 - Sensei Alee Winters
  • Master Burk's 2017 Black Belt Magazine Articles
  • Annual Promotions Ceremony Awards
  • Student Promotions List
"Be better than you were before!"

The Starfighter Tournament Series kicks off on February 24th
The Star Defender Weapons Camp is set for March 24th

Flyers with all the details will be available soon.
2017 Wrap-up
- Master Floyd Burk

Martial Arts began and ended with a bang in 2017. Seven TAK karate-ka (class of 2016) began the year as new black belts and seven more (class of 2017) ended the year as new black belts. It requires a team effort to get a student from the kyu grades and then across the finish line into the dan grades. The journey entails substantial hard work and sacrifice from the instructors, the student and their family. All the players involved in a journey to black belt should feel much satisfaction. Sensei Tyler D launched TAK's redesigned e-newsletter. The first edition was a real feat as two new columns were installed. Readers got to enjoy good contributions to those columns written by Sensei Martha Burk and Sensei John Ben-Judah. Our training camps – Star Defender at City Hall and the Mountain Retreat in Mt. Laguna – brought students together to broaden their knowledge base and skill sets in unique ways and settings.

TAK's demonstration team, Team Trad Am, was a huge success.  Sensei Hannah and Sensei Dave assembled a really nice group of team veterans and new members who performed marvelously. The Starfighter Karate tournament series was big for many students. As usual, the kids and teens were the majority, however there were some surprise adult participants this year – and grand champions were all first timers. We look forward to another great year for everyone in the TAK karate family.

On a more personal level, unfortunately, there was great loss. Karate mom, Michelle Lutes, passed away in Winter and then, TAK junior black belt Sempai Jillianne Swenddal, passed away in Spring.  TAK mourns the loss of these wonderful people.
TAK Sensei Spotlight
This department is normally a platform for our TAK Senseis to share their knowledge and experience from the years of training at Trad Am Karate. However, this time it’s a write-up about Team Trad Am’s efforts during the 2017 demonstration season written by young Sensei Alee Winters.  We hope you enjoy it.
Team Trad Am Rocked in 2017
- Sensei Alee Winters

The Trad Am Karate demo team of 2017 was a big success. We had two performances, one at the Santee Street Fair and one at the San Diego County Fair (formerly the Del Mar Fair). Our team consisted of brown and black belts from many different classes here at TAK. We started things off with some basic practices where we decided who was going to perform what, with who, and how we were going to make it unique. A few of us learned some specialty katas during the off season, even invented a few, some of which made it into our demos.

The first performance was the Santee Street Fair. We gathered together the members of our team, we did a simple warm-up and a quick run through of some of our performances. We hurried to the back of the stage and set everything in order and then we waited. The music began. Dramatic. Intense. Strong. We marched onto the stage as we had practiced and began our opening bow to the audience. Suddenly, as the music changed beats, we attacked the two Senseis who were leading us through the opening. They defended, we feigned defeat, then used the moment to leave the stage and begin lining up for the next performance. We performed many katas, weapons, and self-defense sets. One of the katas was performed together as a team. We came out on stage and performed the kata, turned to our partners and began performing the kata together as practical applications, attacking and defending ourselves when it was necessary. After we performed the kata a few of us remained on stage and performed a few self-defense sets which ended with our partners on the ground. 

Following the self-defense sets the brown belts performed Tiger 3. Loud, strong, and full of power. Following Tiger 3, team members switched off and performed Tiger 5. They had taller students in the back facing the rear area and the shorter students facing the audience. It was a beautiful scene of intensity. They would come close to hitting each other but never make contact. When they had finished the kata, the Senseis came back onto the stage and began to perform All American Form 4. They began their bow that had been invented for this demo's performance of the kata. They knelt on the ground and began tracing circles on the ground ending with them holding what looked like a large handful of water which they dropped then they entered deep into their stances. Then they began their kata. Power and strength does not even come close to describing the kata. It was perfection. We performed many weapons katas. Bo Shodan was an incredible display of artistic talent.  We also performed the escrimas. Escrima Shodan was impressive. The kata was on point and in sync with the others. They included the risky throw (that is often dropped), however, all of the performers managed to catch the stick in the air. The finale was a kata that one of the students had invented which used strong, powerful strikes paired with gracefully high kicks. At the conclusion of the demonstration and as we left the stage, there was a jubilant feeling to the team. We cheered and congratulated each other.

Next up was the San Diego County Fair.  After some more intense practices, we were ready. Many of us arrived at the opening of the fair even though the performance was scheduled for later in the afternoon. As the day wore on after spending time on the fair grounds, we began to see more and more of our team while we were making our way down to the stage. After everyone had all made it, we hid off to the side of the stage in an open food court and began to warm-up and practice for our performance. Once ready, we headed back stage, set everything up, and began our opening. Similar to the street fair, we bowed to the audience then we attacked the Senseis and then we went through many of the same katas.

A few students performed a kata that they’d devised called kempi in which kamas were used in the open hand empi kata pattern. Thus, k for kama and empi meant kempi.  A student also performed the kata Bo Nidan which began with a graceful bow and then flowed into a series of tricks. Throughout the practices between the Street Fair and the County Fair we lost a few performers, but we are a resilient bunch and we always found a way to continue on. The student who had originally performed the kata finale was unable to attend the Del Mar Fair, but one of the Senseis offered to perform the kata. She was strong and powerful.

Earlier in the year we lost our good friend, Jilli.  [A segment of this demo was dedicated to this fallen student.]  At her funeral a few of the students performed a kata called Willow. Many of those were her good friends and fellow classmates. Thoroughly missed, the students elected to perform the kata at the Del Mar Fair in her honor. The Sensei in charge came out and spoke about the kind and loving friend that we had lost. As he spoke, the four who had performed at the funeral marched onto the stage and began doing Willow. Normally Willow is performed with 5 students - four in the corners and one in the middle. However this time students stood only on the corners.  The Sensei spoke about how the middle was open as Jilli's karate spirit performed the kata with her fellow students. The kata was performed to the Coldplay song “Paradise”. It was a flowing kata filled with grace, love, and sorrow over our friend. When the kata ended, there was a peace over the audience - the students left the stage. The demonstration continued with the strength that had been shown before. It was a great performance.

Being a member of the demo team this year, we had many thanks and I would like to mention a few. Thank you to Sensei Hannah who helped organize the demo. Thank you Sensei Andy and Sensei Tamara for helping keep the students on task, and, another thank you to Sensei Tamara for doing the music which really brought the demo to life. A big thanks to Sensei Dave, the Sensei in charge of the team, who helped us pull the team together and put on the kind of performance that we all hoped for. A big thanks goes to the dojo friend Sifu Rob Moses who helped us with some artistic moments in the preparation of the demo and the opening in which he played a large hand in the creation of. Our teacher, Master Floyd Burk, deserves a big thanks as well. Finally, a big thanks to all who participated in the demo and all those who helped put everything together. Without you the demo team this year would not have been as successful as it was. Thank you everyone!
Master Burk's Black Belt Magazine Articles in 2017

Your Sensei has been writing for Black Belt Magazine since 1994. In 2001, Master Burk became a regular columnist and contributing editor for the publication and over the years has penned more than 300 columns, feature articles and Hall Of Fame pieces. Following are his 2017 contributions to Black Belt.

FEB/MAR 17 Feature  – Bill “Superfoot” Wallace.  “If We Knew Then What We Know Now”. In this Q & A, Bill Wallace tells us the real scoop on some martial myths that should or should not be believed.

APR/MAY 17 BB Times  – How a Senior Salvaged His Martial Arts Career – Twice.  Canemaster Mark Shuey explains how he went from being almost bed-ridden from back problems to becoming a martial arts World Champion.

JUNE 17 Internet Article  – A short story in honor of the late David Carradine who passed 8 years ago. The piece included a brief retrospect about the actor who made martial arts history when he starred in the TV series Kung Fu as the Shaolin priest, Kwai Chang Caine.
2017 Annual Promotions Special Awards

Students of the Month
August Noah Jones / William Reinstein
September Charlotte Gorney / Sydney Hodge
October Oliver Ranson / Eden Olivas
November Kate Kaderabek / Donavan Sainz
December Logan Falk / Alberto Guerra

Students of the Year
Mia Bruso / Tabitha Bratton

Knowledge, Skill & Attitude Award
Daniel Webb-King

Martial Spirit Award
Connor Haynes

Instructor of the Year
Master Larry Leathers

Jr Assistant of the Year
Drew Phillips

Instructor Titles
Sempai: Drew Phillips, Scott Szilard, Lauren McClure, Tabitha Bratton
Sensei: Mike Masso, Ellen Green, Joseph O'Malley, Alee Winters
Black Belt Milestone Awards
20 Year - Master John Ben-Judah
15 Year - Master Brian Hattrup
10 Year - Master Eric Senior, Master Larry Leathers, Sensei Brandon Herrera
5 Year - Sensei Joe Masso, Sensei Elizabeth Glensky (not pictured)
2017 Starfighter XVII Series

Overall Grand Champions
Novice - Eden Olivas
Advanced - Evan Clarke

Tiger Cub

1: Eden Olivas
2: Emily Haynes
3: Kyla Poore
4: Charlotte Gorney
5: Kara Neal
6: Pyper Hodge
7: Aiden Pringle
8: Jaden Rios

Mighty Might
1: Jack Swanson
2: Connor Haynes
3: Leilani Lawrence
4: Kate Kaderabek
5: Daniel Webb-King
6: Sydney Hodge
7: Kaelyn Williams
8: Brayden Meyers
9: Mia Bruso
10: Gwendylan Ciota
Jr & Adult
1: Evan Clarke
2: Tabitha Bratton
3: Katelyn Bratton
4: Nicholas Kaderabek
5: Harmony Elmore
6: Megan Williams
7: John Popka
8: Claire Popka
9: Sunny Elmore
10: Jennifer Bratton

Black Belt Star Eagle
1: Joseph O'Malley
2: Ellen Green
3: Alee Winters
4: Leah Neverov
5: Caden Winters
2017 Aug-Dec Promotions
August / September / October
Master Brown Belt
Tabitha Bratton (Sep)

Adv. Brown Belt
Rodney Jones (Sep)
Adv. Green Belt
Wyatt Smith (Sep)
Green Belt
Patricia Hodge (Aug)
Alex Turnbloom (Sep)
Aiden Turnbloom (Sep)
Corbin Poore (Sep)

Adv. Blue Belt
Thomas Callaway (Sep)
Jillian Caudle (Sep)
Emily Haynes (Sep)
Justin Prather (Sep)
Logan Falk (Sep)

Blue Belt
Kyla Poore (Sep)
Xavier Sainz (Sep)
Donavan Sainz (Sep)
Makenna Prather (Sep)
Andrew Fabela (Sep)
Tucker Eagle (Sep)
Purple Belt
Brian Caudle (Aug)
Ryder Whitman (Oct)
Orange Belt
Chase Kramer (Aug)
Oliver Ranson (Aug)
Jacob Hart (Aug)
Rylan Larsen (Aug)
Skyler Larsen (Aug)
Noel Larsen (Aug)
Susie Winters (Aug)
Luke Gray (Aug)
Isabella Abeling (Aug)
Anthony Beggs (Aug)
Andy Guerra (Sep)
Gavin Coleman (Oct)
Hanel Sako (Oct)
Joshua Sako (Oct)
Yellow Belt
Wes Lembcke (Aug)
Nathan Seiler (Aug)
Joshua Seiler (Aug)
Pablo Gomez (Sep)
LeManuel Jones (Oct)
November / December
Yondan (4th degree) Black Belt
Sensei Mike Szilard
Sensei Chris Wilder
Sensei Mike Clarke
Sensei Gary Reed
Sandan (3rd degree) Black Belt
Sensei Melissa Janz

Nidan (2nd degree) Black Belt
Sensei Joseph O’Malley
Megan Lutes
Damon Evans
Scott Szilard
Sensei Leah Neverov
Hunter Manning
Andy Higgins
Sensei Carl Pobursky (not pictured)
Shodan (1st degree) Black Belt
Mathew Smith
Tabitha Bratton
Gina Darwent
Lauren McClure
Kailani Thrasher
Evan Clarke
Todd Szilard
Master Brown Belt
Katie Bratton
Daniel Webb-King
Sean Evans
Andy Popka

Adv. Brown Belt
Connor Haynes
Eric Holden
Michael O’Malley
Megan Williams
Ramil Harvie

Int. Brown Belt
Gavin Lowry
Mia Bruso
Kate Kaderabek

Brown Belt
Christian Albano
Ryan Albano
Giovanny Estrada
Perla Estrada
Sydney Hodge
Zachary Teng
Kara Neal
Jack Swanson

Adv. Green Belt
Zachary LaBarr
Jaden Rios
Sierra Carrillo
Zoey Carrillo
Claire Popka
John Popka

Green Belt
Solomon Caesar
Gwendylan Ciota
Georgie Reinstein
William Reinstein
Madeline Jones
Adv. Blue Belt
Harmony Elmore
Sunny Elmore
Leilani Lawrence
Tucker Eagle

Blue Belt
Jennifer Bratton
Bryan Caudle
Asaf Juarez
Eden Olivas
Isabella Gulla
Brayden Meyers
Noah Jones

Purple Belt
Jeff Lutes
Susie Winters
Lichen Cao
Pyper Hodge
Albert Guerra
Andy Guerra
Cooper Hagood
Charlotte Gorney
Oliver Ranson
Aiden Pringle
Chase Kramer

Orange Belt
Nathan Seiler
Joshua Seiler
Wes Lembcke

Yellow Belt
Jack Davenport
Jaxson Rice
Ke’Mari Carter
Cash Lupo
Brody Geringer
Brogan Geringer
If we missed you, email to have your name added to the next newsletter's Promotions list!
Upcoming Events
The updated event calendar will be printed and passed out to students very soon, and our website will be updated accordingly. Thanks!
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