by Sensei Mike Bannister
February, 1993

I first walked into the Fairview Mall Karate Club in January 1980, not really knowing what to expect, like most people, I guess. Teaching the class was Sensei Shintani, and I was soon to be very impressed by him in a number of ways.

We trained on a floor that was half wood and half carpet so if you got on the floor quick, you got wood!

Little did I know when I started, that by 1983 I would be teaching classes and yes, it was nerve-racking. My advice to students who find themselves in this position is to demonstrate the techniques you know best and don't go too fast. Take enough time to think about what you are doing.

About this time, Sensei Tony Robles approached me about helping him with his children's club. This become yet another chapter in my Karate life. We had sometimes as many as fifty children and young adults at one time. (I think this was about the time my headache problem started!) Teaching children takes much more patience; little guys don't have the attention span of an adult. Structuring the class for children becomes important. It seems better to have a lot of variety so as to prevent boredom, which is a major consideration. Plus we found warming up by doing races with push-ups, crunches etc., was more fun for them. Karate discipline has still to be instilled, which is difficult for some children to accept.

The Black Sea Hall Club formed several years ago and has grown from one Black Belt to eight, so far. We have a very healthy children's club and a strong adult section. Sensei Neil as our administrator has had a leading role in this over the past three years.

Finally I would like to say looking back on ten years of teaching Karate, that the high point for a Sensei is being present at a Black Belt grading and watching a student you have helped from age eight or nine. I have been fortunate for this to happen seven times thanks to Senseis Oliver, Scott, Rosanna, Rocco, Omar, Mike and John. I know there will be others to come. We must all keep working hard to be good Karatekas.

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