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2024-2025 (Year of the Dragon)

February 26, 2024 – Merritt Island Kyu Rank Test

On Monday, February 26, 2024, the Ueshiro Merritt Island Karate Dojo held a kyu-rank test. Following traditional warm-ups and kihon, the test proceeded efficiently. Congratulations to the following students for earning their new ranks!

Promoted to one green stripe: 
– Selene Parrish
– Emma Williams

Promoted to Ro-kyu:
– Zuzu Sorenson
– Michael Sorenson
– Randy Hancock

Promoted to Go-kyu: 
– David Carr

Promoted to Yon-kyu:
– Zander Ramirez

Promoted to San-kyu: 
– Ezra Ramirez

All participants showed great spirit and “joy and vigor” in performing their kata for the Board of Judges. The Board consisted of Sensei Jennifer Sangalang, San Dan, Ueshiro Suntree/Melbourne Karate Dojo; Sensei Trevor Tezel, Yon Dan, Shihan, Merritt Island Dojo; and Sensei Kurt Tezel, Roku Dan, Merritt Island Dojo. Domo arigato Sempai Tracy Ridout, Sho Dan, for demonstrating the test and keeping the group moving while the Board of Judges convened. Special shout-out to young Sempai Zuzu who showed bravery in (successfully!) attempting a break. 

We dedicated this promotion to the memory of Grand Master Ansei Ueshiro. Domo arigato, Hanshi, for empowering each of us to strive for our maximum potential in the art of karate-do. 

2023-2024 (Year of the Rabbit)

Annual Florida Karate Weekend

February 2, 2024 – Kyoshi Reymond Morning Class

Over 25 Ueshiro Shorin-Ryu karate students representing schools spread throughout the country descended on our humble dojo in Merritt Island on Friday, February 2, 2024 for Kyoshi Reymond’s 6:00am class.

Kyoshi was very generous with his corrections. 

We were instructed to fully extend our arms when working the series of arm exercises at the beginning of class as well as maximizing the rotation of the hands.

Our punches must be fully chambered prior to being released.  Avoid bringing the chambered fist deeper in the pocket when preparing to punch – it should already be as far back as it can go prior to punching.

Special emphasis was put on chambering the arms as we stepped, making sure that we blast out our technique the moment our feet hit their final spot.  It’s also critical not to be tense leading up to the moment of impact.  We were exhorted to “throw” the strike or block.

Kyoshi led us through ten repetitions of Master Ueshiro’s kata, Fukukata San, in strict adherence to Master Ueshiro’s belief that it is better to work ten repetitions of one kata rather than ten different kata.  This afforded us the opportunity to fine-tune and refine our kata at various speeds and power.

The group then moved to the outside deck where we broke into groups to work our respective weapons under the watchful eye of the large herons in the pine trees across the canal.

February 5, 2024 – Question and Answer Session

Monday marked the capstone of an exciting weekend of high-level Karate training. At 8 a.m., the group convened and Hanshi opened the floor for questions. 

The most discussed technical question was regarding the gedan shotei-uke, or lower palm-heel block, combined with a jodan shuto-uke, or upper knife-hand block move executed from ippon-ashi-dachi, or one-legged stance in kata Rohai (aka the “universal block”). Kyoshi Seeger showed us the picture of Choki Motobu executing the move (found on pg. 100 in Tales of Okinawa’s Great Masters), and Hanshi exhorted us to raise the knee above the belt. We practiced the move, and the Kyoshi shared their perspective on the application of the foot step immediately preceding the block’s execution. 

Hanshi shared multiple anecdotes from his time as an officer with the New York City Police Department, including his use of karate to swiftly perceive, and quell, dangerous situations. Hanshi also shared his experience in traveling to Okinawa, as well as visiting the Shaolin Temple and the nearby cave where Bodhidharma meditated. There was also much discussion regarding Okinawa-Japanese relations and the importance of understanding and preserving traditional karate as part of the Okinawa cultural heritage. 

Perhaps most significantly, the discussion touched on the metaphysical, a significant theme of the weekend’s events. We discussed how the combination of belief, and relief from stress, could enable individuals to achieve extraordinary things. Hanshi and Kyoshi Seeger shared this in the context of Grand Master Ansei Ueshiro and his mystical ability to get a student back on his feet or to heal an injury in a seemingly effortless way. 

Domo arigato, Hanshi, Kyoshi for the great session and an incredible weekend of events. 

January 20, 2024 – Sho Dan Test

On Saturday, January 20, 2024, following the regularly-scheduled class at the Ueshiro Shorin-Ryu Viera Karate Dojo, Hanshi Scaglione presided over a black belt test and promotion. Congratulations to Sempai Tracy Ridout (Ueshiro Merritt Island Karate Dojo) for receiving the rank of Sho Dan (1st degree black belt)! Sempai Ridout successfully demonstrated all Fukyugata, Pinan, and Naihanchi kata, as well as Ananku and Sakugawa Bo Kata. 

Domo arigato Sensei Jennifer Sangalang, San Dan (Ueshiro Suntree/Melbourne Karate Dojo), for administering the test and for performing Yakusoku Kumite with the testing candidate. Hanshi, Sensei Kurt Tezel, Roku-Dan (Merritt Island Dojo), and Sensei Trevor Tezel, Yon Dan (Shihan, Merritt Island Dojo), served on the Board of Judges. 

Ms. Ridout began her Karate training in 2014 and attained the rank of Ik-Kyu in February 2020. Please see below photograph of this next, and particularly memorable, event along her karate journey. 

Domo arigato, Hanshi, for continuing to push us toward developing our maximum potential in body, mind, and spirit.

December 20, 2023 – Green Tip Test

On Wednesday, December 20, 2023, the Merritt Island Dojo conducted a green tip test. Congratulations to Sempai David Carr for his promotion to Ro-kyu (one green tip)! Great spirit was shown by Sempai Zander Ramirez (Yellow Belt) in demonstrating the test. The board of judges consisted of Sensei Kurt Tezel (Ro-kyu Dan) and Sensei Trevor Tezel (Yon Dan).

December 9, 2023 – Annual Kanpai celebration

November 24, 2023 – Annual Black Friday beach workout

November 15, 2023 – Guest Instructor: Kyoshi Sal Scaglione, Hachi Dan

Kyoshi Sal Scaglione, Hachi-Dan, guest-instructed the regularly-scheduled 6pm class at the Ueshiro Merritt Island Karate Dojo. Students from the other Florida-area dojos participated in this special class. Among Kyoshi Sal’s points of emphasis were keeping the chudan-uke tight to the body and exhorting the Deshi to incorporate the principles from Chapter 6 of Master Nagamine’s, Essence of Okinawan Karate-Do, into their yakusoku-kumite training. Even our newest deshi, Sebastian Scaglione, Shichi-Kyu, took part in the training! 

September 11, 2023 – 9/11 Commemoration Workout

On September 11, 2023, in commemoration of the lives lost 22 years ago to the day, the Florida dojo of Ueshiro Shorin-Ryu Karate USA conducted a special workout under the supervision of Hanshi Scaglione at the Merritt Island Dojo. The workout coincided with the monthly Ik-kyu class. Hanshi shared with attendees Grand Master Ansei Ueshiro’s close personal connection with the City of New York and the importance of his obtaining American citizenship (“the happiest day of his life”).

August 12, 2023 – Combined Florida Kyu Rank Test

The Merritt Island Dojo hosted a Kyu rank test with the other Florida dojos, which was led by Hanshi Scaglione. Congratulations to the following Merritt Island Deshi: Stella Stauffeneker (Yellow belt), Zander Ramirez (Yellow belt), Ezra Ramirez (Yon-kyu)! See below photo of Merritt Island Deshi with their new ranks.