Posted by: Martial Arts Point Room | April 29, 2012

Washing your belt

I agree, I have been told by my instructor, that washing your belt washes out the essence of the work you put into it, while wearing the belt.

I never washed my belt. Personally, I like the worn look, not the otrn look, but I, aIso heard, you can buy a belt that has the worn look. But I guess, anyone can buy a black belt also, if they have five bucks. Not that they earned it, but they can buy one.

Posted by: Martial Arts Point Room | April 8, 2012

Meditation, Satanic???

The question? Is meditation satanic or evil?

Let me tell a short story. Just before starting a karate class for 6-15 year olds, one parent approached me, and ask, if she could talk to me about the meditation, we performed before class. I ask, is there a problem? She responded, I was told, meditation is stanic and the work of the devil.

Needless to say, I was astonished. Trying to clear your head before doing any kind of activity would be considered or seen as satanic or evil, in some way. I explained to her, what is meant by the meditiation, and with that explaination, she was fine. It is only a way to relax, clear your mind of outside influence, I told her, so that we can concentrate on learning the techniques faster. It is not Buddist, (although Buddist’s meditate) or anti- relegious, of any kind. Personally, I find it rediculous,  I even had to explain that to a grown person. Any comments on this subject? Let me know what you think.

Posted by: ryanmooney82 | April 6, 2012

Washing your Belt???

Ok so I wanna talk about our most prized karate possession (our belt). I’ve been both seeing and hearing things lately about the good ol “traditions” of our karate belt or obi.




Since my childhood I have always been told that in karate we “DO NOT” wash our belts. I was told that doing so would wash away the hard work, blood, sweat, tears, and knowledge that has been accumulated in the belt that we worked so hard to earn. Washing the belt would also be breaking a time honored tradition and would turn our symbol of knowledge and wisdom into nothing more than a piece of cloth.


This is what was told to me by my parents and told to them by their sensei and probably told to him by his sensei and so on. I’ve also had different instructors of my own enforce the same “DO NOTWASH” rule. Ok so then you ask “Well why not?”


That’s a good question. I’ve heard a boat load of explanations and reasons as to why, again comes the hardwork, blood, sweat, tears thing. I’ve also heard that washing causes colored belts to fade and makes the belt look “less cool.” Another reason I’ve heard is that the inside filler is made up of a different material then the outside of the belt so washing it could cause the belt to fall apart. Another is the shrinking factor, The latter of the 2, actually seem like they make the most sense.


I have had countless conversations with people about “to wash or not to wash” I’ve had parents of students, look at me like some kind of a filthy karate caveman, just for mentioning not washing a belt. They ask me why and I tell them the reason I was told and they look at me like some kind of zen weirdo!!! Then, I also hear from others that the “no washing” thing is an old myth, made up, not true, fake!!! “my soul drops from my gut… is this tradition I’ve been following my entire life just a made up story???” Well this led me to do a little research of my own.


So to find out where this “myth” comes from, we must retrace where the belt system came from. In this journey alone you find a lot of different stories. Some make sense, some not so much. The belt system was founded by jigorokanothe founder of judo. He had his advanced students begin to wear black obi to differentiate them from beginning students. Through out the years different schools or styles added more colors like green, brown.( this is only my understanding)

Ok, so what about not washing? Well another story I’ve heard and read is that all students wore a white belt and through rigorous training the belt would then turn colors thru staining from sweat, blood, grass, dirt what have you, until the belt was eventually black. If you were to wash this belt it would lose its color, why? Because the color of the belt is just dirt! Kinda gross right? Hard to believe Funakoshi would have worn a white belt so filthy it turned black. Lets really think about how much it would take for a white belt to turn black. Not a pretty thought.


Another story I’ve heard is that the belts were originally died darker colors, ie. yellows, greens, browns, etc. So this is the reason belts get darker because you had to die it the next color. Makes sense if you ask me? But what about now? Belts are no longer dyed the next color, nor are they stained with “hard work”. And, if I were to wash my sacred belt would I lose everything I’ve ever learned or attained from karate? Probably not, my belt would just smell a bit nicer. If I wore a different color belt or even bought a brand new one would my karate suffer for it?  Probably not.

So is it wrong to wash your belt? Or is it wrong to not wash your belt? The answer is neither. Its just a piece of cloth, not some sacred artifact that holds the teachings of all of martial arts. If it were, it probably would be in a museum somewhere and not around your waist.

Now I personally have no desire to wash my belt at this time and I’m not telling you to do so. I thought it was a little interesting. What do you guys think? Any good belt stories? Do you wash you belt? Or not wash your belt?

Posted by: Martial Arts Point Room | March 22, 2012

Ryan Mooney, Windy City, 2012 Mens Individual Kata, 1st Place.

Windy City, 2012 Mens Individual Kata, 1st Place

Posted by: Martial Arts Point Room | March 20, 2012

Team Yabe, Black Belt

Team Yabe, Black Belt

Posted by: Martial Arts Point Room | March 20, 2012

Ryan Mooney Front Snap Kick

Ryan Mooney Front Snap Kick

Posted by: Martial Arts Point Room | March 20, 2012

Bronze Medal. Kumite, 2011 Windy City Traditional Karate Championship

Bronze Medal. Kumite , 2011 Windy City Traditional Karate Championship

Awarded to Ryan Allen Mooney

Posted by: Martial Arts Point Room | March 20, 2012

James Yabe Shotokan Class

James Yabe Shotokan Class

Posted by: Martial Arts Point Room | March 20, 2012

Sensei James Yabe, and Ryan Mooney


Posted by: Martial Arts Point Room | March 17, 2012


Hello, This blog is about promoting, & discussing,  martial arts of all kinds in a peaceful and respectful manner. If you have an interesting martial arts story, great technique, you want to share, cool martial arts video, etc. Please tell us about it.

Here’s a link to a YouTube, video I shot at David Blair’s Dojo in Fontana, Ca, 2007.

I’m a 2nd degree black belt in Shotokan Karate, with a couple years practicing Kali. I started with Sensei Ken Tambara, in 1972, trained and tested with Sensei Hidetaka Nishiyama at central dojo in Los Angeles, as well as trained with James Yabe, after Sensei Tambara passed away. Unfortunately, I injured my knee a few years ago, and I am just now getting back to working out again. I am an advocate for martial arts, not only Karate. I believe it builds character, and strength. I believe it’s about the practictioner, rather than the art itself.

I’ve viewed many videos on YouTube, regarding karate verses judo, verses, kung fu, verses, etc. I’ve heard Ju Jitsu is better, because they can choke you out, I’ve heard Muay Thai, is better because they kick harder. For the most part, people representing these styles in these  martial arts matches on YouTube are not that proficient. I have been practicing martial arts for about 40 years as a life style, not as a martial arts style.  Although most of my training has been Shotokan, I’ve taken techniques I like, from different styles.

I believe, to be really proficient at any martial art, you need to train hard and all year round. Not just when you have a test, or a competition of some kind. The argument appears to be (and this is not my opinion) that one style is better than the other. MMA is better because it’s mixed martial arts, (more is better right?) karate doesn’t really work, etc, etc, etc. I’ve even heard that karate is satanic, because we meditate.
The JKA (Japan Karate Association) lead by Master Nishiyama taught me Shotokan karate was far superior to other styles. Again not now my opinion, but it has worked well for me. I admire the Japanese culture. When I was younger, I studied every aspect of Shotokan Karate I could find. I was under the impression that there was some kind of mystical thing with Karate. I learned , it’s all about hard work.

When I decided to sign up for karate, to get in shape,  at the age of 23, I went to a local park where Sensei Tambara was teaching. I went on a Saturday morning, when they were having exams. Most of the students were approximately 15-20 years old. I couldn’t believe my eyse. These teens were delivering blows to each others bodies, I thought could break ribs, but they seemed to do it effortlessly, and the ability to absorb a punch to the torso, I thought was incredible . I thought, sign me up! When do I start?

As time went on, I loved it, I noticed, different people have different body styles, and some people most likely, would never be that proficient at executing karate techniques, but they learned other skills. Self control, discipline, coordination, how to exercize, etc. Also, I learned just because it didn’t look good didn’t mean it wouldn’t work under the right circumstances.  I also, realized that having a black belt, or piece of paper signed, by Sensei Tambara, Master Nishiyama or anyone else, was not all that important. Not to say, I don’t cherish the time, I spent with any intructor I’ve had because, in my mind they all are masters at what they do.
I know this because, my second degree black belt, certificate was burned in a fire at Central dojo in Los Angeles many years ago, and my first degree certificate was stolen from my office. I realized it wasn’t important, when not having the $100 dollars for the certificate at the time of my test. Master Nishiyama placed the certificate in the dojo files until I had the money to pay. Of course I made the error by waiting too long to get the certificate. Before I knew it, 20 years had past.

When I heard about the fire at central dojo, I contacted Master Nishiyama, to inquire about my black belt certficate. Master Nishiyama informed me I would need to pay, $500 dollars and schedule to re-take my second degree black belt test at central dojo again, and he would re-issue the certificate.
I then inquired about JKA records in Japan to verify my test. He then informed me, there were never any test records sent to Japan from the United States.

So what does this mean? It means, the largest martial arts organization in the world, did not keep accurate records. Why?  Maybe, they felt there was no need to send black belt certificate records to Japan from America, because they didn’t put American black belts on the same level as their Japanese counter parts? I don’t really know.

My point? The value I received from Sensei Tambara,  Master Nishiyama or Sensei Yabe, can not be measured by a piece of paper, the color of the belt they awarded, or a trophy received in a competition, but the skill aquired, and no one can take that away. Not even the burning of the only record, of that effort.

I learned a great deal from Sensei Tambara, and Master Nishiyama, and Sensei Yabe, and not only about fighting. It gave me confidence in myself, in my professional career. I still learn to this day. Not to mention the exercize, put me in the best physical condition of my life.
I know karate works, because I’ve had to use it in a real situation, (because I would have been pounded into the ground otherwise)and not for points that are awarded,  by  humans who may or may not favor their particular style or competitor.

I honor the memory of Sensei Tambara, and Master Nishiyama, and have a great deal of respect for Sensei Yabe. I thank them for allowing  me to learn karate from them.

The value received from any martial art, is proportional to the amount of time and effort you put into it. I was fortunate in the sense, I was afforded the opportunity to learn from, what I believe to be some of the best instructors of our time.

Responses welcome.