IKA News - Jan / Feb 2012


Edited by Soke Kubota and Shihan Kuratomi

Kubojitsu Class, December 2011

Kubojitsu Class, December 2011



Soke would like to wish everyone in the IKA World a very Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and a fantastic New Year. 2011 was a great year to remember and we look forward to an even better 2012 ! We hope for a prosperous and peaceful year with good health for all (keep training!) Osu and Kampai!


Soke would like to give his sincere thanks to IKA New Zealand from the Wellington/Upper Hutt area for hosting a fantastic series of seminars the week of October 25th. Soke was accompanied by Shihan Kuratomi to teach an unprecedented five consecutive days of teaching Gosoku Ryu. This trip was made possible by the IKA New Zealand dojo under the leadership of Sensei Scott MacKenzie, who along with his dojo, conducted fundraisers for a year to make the trip possible. This shows the degree of dedication of the group to learn Gosoku Ryu. The group was taught the latest classes on kata,  kumite, and Kubotactical self-defense. The New Zealand group showed outstanding spirit and respect and they are to be greatly commended. Some of the strongest spirit we have seen world-wide. Soke and Shihan Kuratomi also had an opportunity to do a little sightseeing of some of the local wineries, a car museum, a police museum and a cultural museum in the Wellington area.

We found the people of New Zealand to be extremely warm and friendly but the weather to be cold ! Looking at the globe, I was unaware New Zealand was so close to Antarctica. No wonder it was cold! Despite the weather, the countryside was beautiful with lush green rolling hills and a lot of sheep and cattle. We constantly encountered very friendly people and we were told by Sensei MacKenzie that this was the “Kiwi” way. The “Kiwi” is the flightless bird that has become known to be the symbol of New Zealand. Actually, what was the predominant symbol of

New Zealand was the Silver Fern which is the emblem of the World Championship Rugby team, “The All Blacks”. The World Cup of Rugby just finished in New Zealand just two days before our arrival and New Zealand had won the World Cup. It was wonderful to witness the pride and admiration of the New Zealand people of their new heroes. There was a parade in Wellington while we were there to honor the championship team.

Sensei Scott is to be commended. He has made two one week trips to IKA Headquarters in the last two years, solely for the purpose of improving his knowledge of Gosoku Ryu. By bringing Soke to New Zealand, he organized a tremendous training program for his students to improve their knowledge. The seminars were not a profit making event that was heavily promoted to the public. The seminars were primarily training classes for the improvement of his students. In addition, Sensei Scott is planning yet another trip to IKA Headquarters this year for more training. This is what you call dedication and commitment. Sensei Scott, we salute you! The excellent performance of your students is the result of your hard work and dedication.



Starting with the next IKA Newsletter, we would like to start posting a calendar of IKA events world-wide.

Please submit the name and date of your event along with contact information (e-mail and/or phone) and we will list in the IKA News. Also indicate if it is a seminar, tournament, or other karate related event.

It is our hope that this will better enable our affiliates to support one another.



Soke has just started posting videos of the actual classes taught at IKA Headquarters. For a small fee, you can download the class and view it as many times as you like. We see the future of IKA dojos with a big screen TV on the wall with dojos around the world taking part in virtual classes.  To see and download these videos, go to the IKA website at:


Press the button on the left marked “Web Classes” to preview and download. It is our hope to post several videos every month. Don’t miss this opportunity to view IKA advanced classes in the comfort of your own home or dojo! This is a project that was put into action by our own video expert and instructor, Shihan Val Mijailovic. 

Thanks Shihan Val!


Many of the IKA kata  and waza videos are now available for download by the specific kata or waza topic in small groups by a website set up by IKA New Zealand under the guidance of Sensei Scott McKenzie. This way instead of buying the entire DVD, you can selectively pick topics or small sets of katas that interest you for the low price of $6.99. There are also discounts for bundles of videos.

The videos are available from the Karate Cosmos Wiki Store at:




Soke Makes The Front Page In New Zealand, October 2011


Soke has recently completed a video on Bokken kata (wooden Samurai sword). This video is brand new and to our knowledge it is unique in that it has two people performing kata in simulated combat. This is a way for one to practice sword skills and fighting without fear of major accidental injury. Since there

are two persons doing the kata, each kata has essentially two pieces that needs to be learned. The new video features two new original katas created by Soke. “Ken No Michi” and “Ken No Mai”  We will announce as soon as the videos are available.



This week, Soke, Shihan Kuratomi, and Shihan Bratakos purchased their airline tickets for Minsk, Belarus. The trip is on for sure now!

Soke is happy to announce that on May 5-6, 2012 he will be teaching a seminar, holding dan testing, and attending a tournament in Minsk, Belarus. The host will be long time IKA supporter and instructor, Shihan Dai Andrei Vedernikov (Also, Shihan Dai Andrei is the “most enthusiastic IKA instructor recipient). This trip is being made due to the tireless support of the IKA for close to three decades by Shihan Dai Andrei. For more information, the host can be reached at his email at:




Soke, Sensei MacKenzie, and Shihan Kuratomi in New Zealand, October 2011



Soke Kubota has awarded the location of the 2013 IKA World Tournament to the city of Molinella, Italy (near Bologna). The host will be under the watchful eye of Kyoshi Pajello and his top student Sensei Monia Atti. We will update you with information as soon as the date is set for the event.



Look for Soke on Facebook. The name is:
IKA Karate Kubota. Soke will be using Facebook for posting photos of his travels and other happenings.


The Masters Forum is dedicated to increasing the knowledge base of the IKA Family. Each month we will try to cover a new
topic on a multitude of facets of the art, dealing with all levels of expertise. This month I have reprinted an article that I wrote for Shihan Val’s Master’s Magazine back in 2007 on “Empi” (the elbow attack). If you are not a subscriber to Shihan Val’s magazine, you should be. It is an excellent publication. Each magazine is full of color photos and excellent articles. What is unique is that  each issue complete with a full length DVD video featuring the masters in the issue. Considering that each has a video, it is a bargain.

You can subscribe to Shihan Val’s magazine at his website at:



The “Lost” Art of the Elbow Attack

In many martial arts disciplines, the elbow attack (also known as “Empi”in karate), once an integral part of the martial artists arsenal has been relegated in into relative obscurity over the last several decades. Only with the resurgence of no-holds-barred matches like the UFC and the increasing popularity of full contact sports like Muy Thai has there been increased interest in the use of the elbow attack. Yet with the increased interest, the actual practice in most martial arts schools is minimal. Why is this?

It is my theory that as martial arts went mainstream in modern society that the elbow attack was deemed “too dangerous” and was thus barred from most traditional martial arts competitions including western boxing. With western society putting so much

emphasis on winning tournaments, what was not used in tournaments was not practiced in earnest and the elbow attack all but disappeared from most mainstream martial arts training. The elbow attack was only periodically taught when practicing street self-defense techniques which are a limited part of most martial arts curriculums. Add to this situation, the proliferation of lawsuits from unintended injury and the elbow attack was buried deeper into obscurity for mainstream martial arts training and practice.

True martial artists, understand that although tournaments have their place they do not reflect the reality of combat nor do they reflect the true intention of the martial arts. The word “martial” is synonymous with “military”.  Military applications have little to do with scoring points on your opponent. It is about destroying the enemy by any means possible. There are no rules in hand to hand combat when one’s life is on the line. The winner is the one that walks away from the confrontation, the loser gets no rematch.

Each different part of the body used as a weapon in martial arts has their optimal effective range. At long range, the kick utilizing the shin or foot is the primary weapon able to effectively reach the opponent. At arm’s reach out to about five feet from the opponent, hand techniques are at their optimal range. However, when the fighting distance is toe to toe or when engaged in a grappling situation, the elbow reigns supreme when a strike is called for. This is especially true for upper body targets due to their closer proximity to the elbow. 

The elbow has much larger bones in the joint than the fist and therefore can deliver a much stronger blow without sustaining damage to the defender. The joint is also naturally pointed which magnifies the force of the blow making it a devastating weapon.


The elbow, like the fist, responds well to physical conditioning to toughen the joint for utilization as a weapon. This can be done by hitting a striking pad (makiwara) and heavy bag with the various striking surfaces of the elbow. The primary two surfaces are the face of the elbow which would be the side adjacent to the forearm and is used for forward strikes. The other surface is the point of the elbow which is utilized for rearward and downward strikes. The striking pad conditions the

striking surface of the elbow, the heavy bag strengthens key muscles and ligaments needed for power. The key in conditioning is to do the training gradually. This means starting out the strikes slow and easy and gradually increasing the strength of the strike and the number of repetitions over a long period of time. To properly condition an elbow takes several years of dedicated training. This is not to say that without this training the elbow is ineffective. Proper conditioning will greatly elevate the effectiveness of an elbow strike and reduce the chance injury to the person delivering the blow. A properly conditioned elbow can make a single blow end the fight.  In addition, properly conditioned elbows can also be used in an “offensive defense”.  This is when a punch or kick is blocked with an elbow. The defensive move results in the opponent injuring themselves on your elbow. A roundhouse kick to the head blocked with an elbow can easily break the small bones on the top of the foot. A punch to the stomach blocked with the elbows can disable an opponent’s fist. We all know how about the “funny bone” and how even a light strike to this nerve junction can result in great pain and numbness. Proper conditioning can also reduce the effect of accidental strikes to this area.


Part of being an effective fighter and developing an effective offense and defense is knowing the limitations of any technique. By knowing these limitations, you can better defend against an attack. So how do we best defend against the formidable elbow? Analyze the capabilities and weakness.

Utilizing the Elbow as a Weapon

  1. Be Close Enough: In order to execute an elbow attack, you must be close enough to your opponent to deliver the attack. Quickly close the gap between you and your opponent and deliver the attack. You can move much faster forward, than you opponent can move backwards or to the side. Overwhelm your opponent with forward attacks and speed executing kicks and punches. When you close in, follow up with elbow strikes. If the opponent falls to the ground, pursue them with an elbow strike as you close in using the weight of your body to increase the strength of the strike.
  1. Use Combinations: Since you have to be close enough to use the elbow, it is difficult for it to be the primary first attack. You must cross into your opponent’s sphere to use the elbow. Use a punch at the outer range of your opponent’s sphere to open up a close range target susceptible to an elbow attack.
  1. Condition and Train: Do not expect to be able to use a weapon if you do not train with the weapon. You will fight exactly the way you practice.  Temper your elbow on the striking pad and utilize elbow techniques as a regular part of your training regimen. Regular training will make the use of the elbow a reflexive movement that can be immediately utilized in combat without conscious though.
  1. Use Your Hips and Legs: The engine that gives the elbow power when upright is not the arm or shoulder. It is the hips and legs! When delivering an elbow attack utilizing a circular horizontal motion (like an attack to the side of the chin) drive your back leg to push your hip in a rotating motion. Your hips should be in line with your shoulders which in turn drive the elbow. This way when you strike with the elbow, you are not just hitting with the arm, you are hitting with the whole body. If doing a forward uppercut to the chin with the elbow, bend the back leg and then quickly straighten the leg when you deliver the upward elbow attack to the chin. Again, you will have the force of the entire body behind your elbow. When driving a rearward attack to somebody grabbing you from behind, use your feet to slide your body rearward at the same time you deliver the attack. Further increase power by clasping your two hands together at the same time driving the elbow with both arms. This also works using an elbow strike to the body of someone at your side. Slide your feet sideways driving the elbow with both hands clasped to increase power.
  1. Keep Your Hands Close to Your Body: When doing frontal elbow attacks, keep your hands or fist as close to your own body when your elbow is in motion. This makes the elbow move faster and makes the striking surface of the elbow more pronounced. Allowing the hands to move away from your body increases the felt mass of the arching limb slowing it down.

Defense Against The Elbow

  1. Keep Out of Range: Since the elbow is a close range weapon, do not allow yourself to be closed in on in a defensive situation. If your opponent moves in, move back or to the side at angles. You now do not have to worry about the elbow but you must be prepared to deal with the weapons whose range you are still in; either the fist or the kick. Remember, close proximity negates skill. Make your opponent work for the distance. If you are close to your opponent, whoever strikes first will make contact. Do not give your opponent this advantage. Use evasive footwork to maintain distance.
  1. Circular Delivery: Except for a rearward strike, most frontal elbow attacks will move in an arc to the target. Arcing attacks are easily blocked if you pay attention to the perimeter of your body. Think of an imaginary sphere encircling your upper body. The elbow attack must breach this sphere in an arcing motion which can be defended against with right angle blocks. Blocks utilizing your forearms are effective shields against an elbow attack as are using your own elbow strike as a defense against an elbow attack. Block an elbow with an elbow. In this case, the stronger elbow wins. Condition!
  1. Watch the Shoulders: The elbow can’t move unless the shoulder driving the elbow moves. If you are watching your opponent’s eyes, open up your peripheral vision to see the shoulders. Arching movement of the shoulder means the elbow is incoming. If the opponent turns your back on you, it could mean a spinning back elbow attack or backfist may be incoming. The spinning attack starts with the rotation of the shoulders.
  1. Keep Up Your Shield: All too often you see fighters drop their hands to their sides. Your arms are your shield, keep them up! Action beats reaction.  If your arms are down and your opponent charges you quickly, you can easily be hit before you can get your arms up to defend against an incoming elbow attack or punch. Keep up your defense. Shields at full power Mr. Scott! (Star Trek…)
  1. Destroy the Weapon: Although the elbow is a formidable weapon, it is weak when bent back against the joint.  If you dislocate the elbow of your opponent, not only is their elbow attack neutralized but your opponent is likely out of the fight. Learn grappling attacks to hyperextend and dislocate the elbow or arm-bars followed up with a forearm strike to the back of the elbow to dislocate the joint. Likewise, when you are the attacker, do not allow your arm to be fully extended. A slightly bent arm can protect your elbow from a devastating dislocation.

The elbow, properly trained and conditioned is a formidable weapon that should not be forgotten. It should be an integral part of any serious martial artist’s arsenal. Train like you want to fight and you will fight like you train. Set aside time in your training for self-defense applications of your martial art. Remember, true martial art is not a sport!



“In the old days, we used to talk of progress from white to black belt as like a wheel, not a ladder. The longer a person is at black belt, the more the black thread is worn away, revealing more and more of the white thread underneath. Eventually, the black belt becomes white. But a technically similar thing was also believed to take place. A beginner, when attacked, reacts spontaneously and quickly. Then, as he progresses in rank, he loses his beginner's spontaneous mind and tries to react in a manner as he has been taught. His actions are slow and full of thought. Eventually, after many years of training, he has practiced his techniques so long that he is again spontaneous and quick, back where he started - only his techniques are technically correct. They used to hold that he has then come full circle.”

                -Kyoshi Jim Mather (Student of Sokes)

Editor’s Note: There is also a Zen symbolism here. As the black belt wears and turns white, the karateka discovers that the more one learns, the reality as to how little knowledge one really knows surfaces.  It is a reminder that one must always have a beginner’s mind to continue to grow….





Each seek perfection of character.
Develop morals, ethics and distinguishable attributes.

Each be faithful.
Be loyal and devoted to a person, cause, or idea.

Each endeavor.
Have conscientious or concerted effort toward an end with an earnest attempt.

Each respect others.
To feel or show deferential value, honor, appreciation and regard for another.

Each refrain from violent behavior.
To hold oneself back from responding with inappropriate anger and physical force.


List of IKA Headquarters Staff and Instructors
President and Founder Soke Takayuki Kubota
Soke Dai James Caan
Vice-President Thea Kubota
Chief Advisor Leonard Kramer
Office Manager Carmen Kim
Senior Technical Advisors Val Mijailovic, Boban Petkovic
Technical Director Rod Kuratomi
National Coach and Advisor Ted Bratakos
Secretary Judy Rao
Liason, Special Projects Sara Kubota
Medical Advisor Dr. Ashok Rao, M.D.
Webmaster Brian McEvoy
Official Photographer Lee Fisher
Soke Takayuki Kubota 10th dan Master
Hank Hamilton 7th dan     Shihan
Paul McCaul 7th dan     Shihan
Val Mijailovic 7th dan     Shihan
Boban Petkovic 7th dan     Shihan
Mike Berger 6th dan     Shihan
Ted Bratakos 6th dan     Shihan
Mark Grigorian 6th dan     Shihan
Tatsuo Hirano 6th dan     Shihan
Leonard Kramer 6th dan    
Rod Kuratomi 6th dan     Shihan
George Sinani 6th dan     Shihan
Antonio Antonetti 5th dan     Shihan
Norvell Carrere 5th dan     Shihan
Mark Gujda 5th dan     Shihan
Judy Marx 5th dan     Shihan Dai
Marcial Soto 5th dan     Shihan
Sami Asmar 4th dan     Shihan Dai
Victor Chico 4th dan     Shihan Dai
Danny Kahan 4th dan     Shihan Dai
Demetrio Munoz 4th dan     Shihan Dai
David Petrie 4th dan     Shihan Dai
Stuart Richman 4th dan     Shihan Dai
Kirk Stites 4th dan     Shihan Dai
David White 4th dan    
Alfanso Espinosa 3rd dan     Sensei
Aman Ikram 3rd dan     Sensei
Anthony Boosalis 2nd dan     Sensei
George Lopez 2nd dan     Sensei
Judy Rao 2nd dan     Sensei
Patrick Reddy 2nd dan     Sensei
Roy Simmons 2nd dan     Sensei
Jennifer Allen 1st dan      Shidoin
Maureen DeGuzman 1st dan      Shidoin
Richard Martrosian 1st dan      Shidoin


The average training time for the Shihan (Master) level instructor is 30+ years of training and teaching. Each Shihan not only teaches but trains as well in order to maintain their status. Title is not automatically bestowed with rank. Soke also has several other master level instructors in Kubojitsu , Kobudo and IPT (International Police Training). Shihan Dai is a Deputy Master level instructor with an average of 20-30 years of training and teaching. Titles are reserved only for instructors that are ACTIVELY teaching at IKA Headquarters. Dan ranks are retained but titles can be changed as Soke sees fit.


We welcome any contributions you may have that you wish to have published subject to approval by Soke. Submit the articles to Soke in writing or e-mail them to him at:


It has come to Soke Kubota’s attention that some organizations around the world may be using IKA’s name and trademarks without permission. The name ”International Karate Association, Inc.” (IKA) and its registered trademarks may be used by affiliated organizations only after first receiving Soke’s written permission.   In addition, Soke’s hand written signature or the red Japanese signature stamp must not be used without his expressed permission. The red stamp is like a legal signature in Japan and is a symbol of authenticity. It should not be used by anybody except for Soke or for purposes that he authorizes. The “International Karate Association” name must not be used by itself to represent your organization. There is only one International Karate Association, Inc. and it is at Headquarters in Glendale, California, USA. After receiving approval from Soke, you may use the IKA name, but it must be attached with another description to differentiate it from the IKA Headquarters.  For example, if you are from the state of Nebraska, you could use the name, “International Karate Association of Nebraska” or something similar.


Please note that proper protocol (Reigi) requires that information matters directly relating to IKA Headquarters, IKA tournaments, karate training and seminars must be communicated to Soke Kubota first before contacting other members within the organization. It is improper for Soke to be the last person to be informed of matters that directly involve him and IKA Headquarters such as, for example, your intention to attend his tournament or invitations to tournaments that are addressed directly to a Headquarters student without Soke’s knowledge. It is proper respect in both of these cases to inform Soke first or at the same time that the student is contacted.   Thank you for your consideration in these matters. 


Due to increased liability risks, it is necessary that all IKA schools carry some form of liability insurance to protect the school from legal issues that may arise from accidents. The amount of liability insurance will depend on your location. USA schools are suggested to carry one-million dollars of liability insurance.

Past News Letters

Nov - Dec 2011 News Letter

Aug - Sept 2011 News Letter

Jun - Jul 2011 News Letter

Apr - May 2011 News Letter

Feb - Mar 2011 News Letter

Nov - Jan 2011 News Letter

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