The Spark! – April 2019

A Note From The Director
Dear Parents,
I am so proud to announce that another one of our Karate students has been promoted to Junior Black Belt under Sensei Karin. Eli began studying at Discovery five years ago and has worked so hard over these last two years to prepare. These promotions are even more special to us because we are a small program. We may not produce large numbers of Junior Black Belt students per year, but when we produce one a year, it has more meaning and we celebrate it. I hope this promotion inspires more of our Karate students to continue in the program and work towards their Black Belts. Congratulations to Eli and Sensei Karin. 

One of the things, I was discussing with Karin after the promotion is that even among the higher levels, the basics are tested. Quite often, I hear from students that question why they  have to keep doing the basics – plies, forward rolls, cartwheels, punches and kicks. The basics are the foundation upon which each student progresses to doing the more difficult steps. This month we asked three of our teachers how they maintain their skills including the basics. Feel free to share with your child!

Warm Wishes,
Katie Kheel
An Interview with 
Eli Lifton, 
Seido Karate Student
Eli Lifton has been practicing Seido Karate with Sensei Karin at Discovery since he was six years old. He’s currently in sixth grade and has just earned his Junior Black Belt. He graciously answered questions about his experience at the promotion on Saturday, March 30th. 
When did you first become interested in Karate?
When my parents first signed me up, I came and I was kind of scared in the beginning. It took maybe one class, but when I realized you learn so much, I thought, “I have to be good at this!” and it’s kind of like the dream of a six-year-old, “I’m going to be the best!” So I guess that’s kind of what I thought and then I just got attached to it. 
What is your next goal in Karate that you’d like to accomplish?
I would say my next goal is to improve and just to keep on going. I’m in sixth grade, but soon school will start to get harder and I just want to make sure that even if it’s once a week, I’ll be able to come here and practice Karate.
What was the most exciting part of the promotion?
I’d say when we did the sparring, that was the most exciting part because it’s the final part of the promotion, it’s the hardest part, but once you get over that huge obstacle, it’s almost over. 
What does it feel like to have a black belt?
To have a black belt, it feels different than what I expected when I was six years old and I saw Sensei Karin with a black belt. It doesn’t feel as much like “Yay, I have a  black belt!” but, “Yay, there’s so much more to learn!” especially when you reached brown belt, or even when I first reached green belt, I thought, “Now there’s nothing left to learn,” but there actually is! It feels like the beginning.
What is your advice for students who want to start practicing Karate?
My advice is just to never give up. Once you get here [to your black belt] it feels so good and you can continue!
How did Sensei Karin help you prepare for your promotion? 
Sensei Karin helped me a lot because Kaicho (the Grandmaster) has many philosophies and she has taught me all of them. Even though I don’t go all the way to the dojo [the place of practice] to hear them, she teaches me them, so that really helped me.
• • • •
We also asked Sensei Karin about the promotion from her perspective. She has been a Seido Karate teacher with us for the past ten years and Eli is her second student to become a black belt. 
What does it mean to you when your students become black belts?
It took Eli about five years [to become a black belt], but usually it takes them about six years. He moved up the levels faster because he would practice. I would show him a new kata (a detailed pattern of movements) and I would find him practicing the back leaning stance or practicing the hands. So to bring kids to a black belt level makes me very proud. Karate is a way of life. It is about creating strong self-confidence and self-esteem. It builds better memory and better focus in school. Because it’s disciplined, because it’s so structured, it helps [students] deal with anything that they need to in their lives.
What was the most exciting part about Eli’s promotion for you?
For me, it was seeing him face his biggest challenge and not be afraid. I felt very proud of him when he was not intimidated to spar. I try to teach the kids that, more than anything, they should always do the best they can. We have this Bushido spirit, this “not giving up” spirit [in Karate]. If they carry that into their daily lives, I did my job. That’s really what’s important to me.
What do you hope for Eli for his future in Karate?
I would like to see them, anyone who turns black belt, start becoming leaders and to continue to spread the same values that I’m instilling in them to other kids in the future. Because this is the future of Seido that we’re building here, to carry it on to their daily lives and to become leaders.

We are so proud of Eli and Sensei Karin and we are so excited to see Eli’s journey in Seido Karate continue!

Photo Ops!
Discovery Summer Camps!
Discovery Announcements!
Upcoming Closings
Discovery will be closed on the following days:
Friday 4/19 through Saturday 4/27
-Saturday 5/4
-Thursday 5/16
-Saturday 5/25 through Tuesday 5/28
Summer Camp
-Now is the time to register for summer camp! We have day camp offerings for ages 2-13.
Make Ups
-Reminder to schedule any make ups for missed classes. Make ups must be completed by Friday, May 24th. We will not have make ups on Monday, May 20th or Tuesday, May 21st because those days are dedicated to Parent Viewing.
Spring Recital Save-the-Date
Our annual Spring Recital will take place on Sunday, May 19th. The theme is Circus: Under the Big Top! Performances will be at 11:00am and 2:00pm. 
Tickets will be available for purchase starting Monday, April 15th. Check the Recital Important Information email to see which show(s) your child is in. 

Teacher Spotlight

This month, we are asking our teachers what they do to keep up with training in their sports or arts! 
Coach Gael, Gymnastics
I train everyday. I have a 25-minute routine that I follow and then I pick a skill for the week and take opportunities to practice that skill. Basics are mundane, but so important. Never let it stop being fun!
Miss Katrina, Ballet
As a dancer, something I have to do weekly to keep up with my training and artistry is take classes. Sometimes it’s a ballet class, other times it might be a contemporary class. Many times, in these classes, I am practicing steps I know well. However, this is what makes dance such a disciplined art form. Your mind knows [the steps], but your body learns to master them. 
Coach Joe, Gymnastics and Parkour
I love movement. I like to dance, swim, climb, play, jump, flip, and breathe. I love it all. I am constantly seeking new things that make me uncomfortable and that I am not good at. I am always researching a variety of topics and I am a firm believer in experimentation.

The Spark archive