MARTIAL ARTS (The Dao of Martial Arts)

Karate-do is a form of martial art and self-discipline that aims at the betterment of the individual and his relationships with others. The Japanese term "do" from the chinese "tao" indicates a path or way toward greater awareness and human development. At the deepest level, karate-do emphasizes a mind/body unity of natural action and reaction and encourages an attitude of respect for all persons. The martial way is not aimed at violence nor merely a means to justified self-defense. Practicing the art points beyond the art. Karate should be practiced as a means to self-understanding and maturity, rather than as an end in itself. Otherwise, it becomes nothing more than physical exercise or combat technique and may lead to misuse. Although not all schools of karate are the same in what they foster, the true spirit of karate-do manifests itself in such qualities as discipline, honesty, sincerity, respect, humility, open-mindedness and non-violence. Through proper training, the karate student develops capacities for concentration and self-confidence which can carry over to and improve all aspects of life. Karate is only one of many paths. Whatever the path, if it genuinely aims at betterment of the individual as a human being, discipline and sincerity are at the core.



An old Zen story: A professor once visited a Zen master. After a lengthy discussion, the Zen master offered tea. As he was pouring it, the professor's cup began to overflow. "Stop!" said the professor. "You can't get any more in." "Exactly" said the Zen master, "You must first empty your cup before I can fill it."

Karate means "empty hand'°. The word Kara means "empty" which signifies the empty self or ego-less state of "mushin" from which one should approach the training so that the motive for training is pure.

Upon entering the dojo, leave your ego and your negative and distracting thoughts at the door. Allow yourself to be free of all positive and negative emotions that generally occupy our thoughts. Use the moment of meditation to clear and calm the mind. As you meditate, let the flurry of brain chatter dissipate with each breath, allowing yourself to become focused. By doing this you will be able to react with clarity, confidence, and without hesitation during the training.


The Statewide Karate League of California was founded in 1965 by R. T. Nakano. It was reorganized in 1972 and took the name United States Karate League (USKL) in 1974. Until 1979 it was a branch of Statewide Karate League of Hawaii founded by W. K. Nishioka in 1957. Nishioka was originally a jujutsu expert who studied Wado Ryu, Shotokan, and other Japanese styles of karate in Japan. He also studied in Okinawa and China and based his system primarily on derivatives of Shorin‘ryu.

Dr. Dean Pickard, head instructor of USKL from 1972 until 2004, began his training in martial arts in 1965 in Japanese Shonan‘ryu. From 1966 to 1970 he trained under W. K. Nishioka and R. T. Nakano of the Statewide Karate League. From 1972 he studied many styles inยญcluding Shito‘ryu and Shotokan karate, Korean Tae Kwan Do, Tai Chi Ch'uan with Prof. Wen Shan Huang, kickboxing, and Filipino and Chinese arts under Dan Inosanto at the Kali Academy in Torrence, California. Shihan Pickard has taught martial arts in the physical education departments at a number of colleges including Pomona College serving the Claremont Colleges, Los Angeles Mission College, Moorpark College, Los Angeles Pierce College, California, where he was also professor of philosophy and humanities for 26 years.

Dr. Pickard's publications on martial arts include Philosophy, Spirit, and the Martial Arts," USKL, 1993, United Stated Karate League Training Manual, Vols. 1-3, with Ty Aponte, 1992, and "Martial Arts and Meditative Disciplines," (re-titled Achieving the Artless Art) Black Belt Magazine, June, 1979.


United States Karate League Chart

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