Important Announcement from Mrs. Barnette

The American Karate Escrima Association always has and always will offer the best training available for today’s self-defense needs.   While this is not changing, the management structure is. 

The Kobudo Demo and All School Picnic marks the conclusion of my reign as the Operations Manager.  In order to pursue my new career as a middle school science teacher, I will begin student teaching in August.  

I cannot begin to describe what this school means to me.  To say that I am a completely different person than I was when I walked through those doors 17 years ago is an understatement.  The skills I have learned here have given me the courage to attempt things I would have never considered before.  For this, I am forever grateful.

There are so many people that have been influential on my warrior journey, I could not possibly name them all.  From the countless Little Dragons and Juniors I have taught in groups, to all my private students, to all the instructors that I have had the privilege to train alongside, you have each left a mark that is forever on my heart.

So many fierce women come to my mind from over the years.  As I was coming up through the ranks, Mrs. Everson, Mrs. Neumann, Ms. Klein, Mrs. Carle, Mrs. Daninger, Mrs. Swetz were my role models.  In turn, I hope that I was able to give back to other women what these ladies gave to me. 

When I was new and timid (that’s right, I used to be timid!) I had a love/hate relationship with Mr. Spickler, Mr. Himes, Mr. Hough, Mr. Cully, Mr. Jordan.  Their groups were legendary.  I came to every group I possibly could and what did not kill me, made me stronger.  I see the students today with their blood, sweat, and tears, and think…ah, how I remember those days.  All that agony is worth it! 

While most students and parents may consider me “the face of the A.K.E.A.”, what everyone may not know is what goes on behind closed doors.  I absolutely could not do this job without the support of the Management Team, Mr. Bailey and Mr. Moore.  They put in countless hours developing curriculum, training instructors, exchanging emails to help me in decision making.  They invest time and energy into this school to ensure that we are the best.   “Thank you” does not seem adequate. 

One name stands out above the rest.  I remember it like it was yesterday.  I walked in the front door for my interview and bounding through the tiger door to greet me comes this big, welcoming smile.  While I waited in the lobby for the manager to come out, I could hear that loud Southern drawl over the walls, working on mirror drills with his students.  “I AM STRONG!  I AM FAST!  I AM A WARRIOR!”

I went through the intro and sat down to do the enroll.  The manager told me which instructor he was going to put me with and I said, “No, I want HIM!  That one with the big personality, the Texan.”  And so it began. 

From day one, Mr. Tork had his hands full with me.  Let’s just say, I was not a natural.  But he would not give up on me and more importantly, he never let me give up on myself.  He pushed me hard and then he pushed me harder.  He made me cry, and he made me laugh and through it all, he made me better and better.  I owe more to Mr. Tork than I can ever repay.  Thank you, Sir.  It has been an honor and a privilege. 

Mr. Harmaning, my boss, my mentor, my friend.  I have no words, so I am not even going to try.  *insert bawling here*

Now, I say all this, but it’s not goodbye!  I will still be around, just not quite as much.  I will still be teaching my students as well as handling financial issues, so if you need me, you know how to find me.  In the meantime, how about a little stroll down memory lane.

 My first belt test.  I passed!  I made white/black.  It’s a miracle!!  

  Look at that warrior face.  Circa 2004.

            Shodan test. December 9, 2006

        Nidan test.  May 12, 2012


Lea Hill Elementary School Talent Show

We at the A.K.E.A. love our families that train together.  Take a look at this video.    

Mr. Lanktree is a 2nd grader (going into 3rd now) that presented his martial arts skills in the Lea Hill Elementary School Talent Show.  His mom, a teacher at Lea Hill and also an A.K.E.A. student, joined him for Bo-Bo.  

Mr. Lanktree said “I am so popular after the talent show.  Everyone loved it!”  He liked the experience and wants to add more next year.  Mom says the feedback from the audience was excellent.  

Congratulations, Sir! (and Ma’am)  You represented our school well.  

This just in!

A Ground Fighting Workshop has been added to the June schedule!  This will be the last workshop for the summer, so don’t miss it!
On Friday the 16th, from 6:00 to 8:00, all A.K.E.A. students, age 13 and over, are invited to attend.  In this workshop, Mr. Remillard will:
  • review getting out from under the mount
  • teach how to defend against strikes from your back
  • work on controlling the top position
  • teach how to strike while maintaining the dominant position

For additional information, please check with your instructor.  

The bar has been set. Are you up for the challenge?

Mr. Connors recently said in his renewal meeting that he “likes karate so much”, that he wants to come in and practice more.  And so he did just that.  

Friday afternoon, with no lesson and no group scheduled, he came in and trained all by himself.  With due respect and courtesy, he asked for permission.  He doubled checked to make sure he would not be interrupting the lesson in the other half of the room.  Then he got down to business.  He ran back and forth to get his heart pumping.  He did his jumping jacks, push ups, and crunches.  He got out his manual and went through his forms and techniques.  He finished up with 5 strikes on BOB.  

“In all my time here, I have never seen a Junior student this young come in and train on their own.  Sometimes they will get here early and practice a little before their group or lesson, but never on their day off.  This is a first, and I am impressed!”  – Mrs. Barnette

“It is so nice to see him feel confidant enough to challenge himself and improve on the skills you all have been training him in. Thank you all for creating an environment that is fostering this in him.” – Mr. Scott Connors (Dad)

Did I mention Mr. Connors is 9?  

So there it is A.K.E.A. students.  A 9-year-old is showing you what a warrior looks like.  Does that inspire you to come in this week and train on your own too?  We hope so!  


Clean Sweep 2017

Thank you, Team A.K.E.A, for a job well done!  Check out the gallery for more pictures from this worthwhile event.  

This comes from the City of Auburn Parks, Art, and Recreation Department:  

Greetings Clean Sweepers – Thank you all so much for your hard work and volunteer support for the City of Auburn’s 2017 Clean Sweep event in honor of Earth Day!

We estimate nearly 800 individuals from community groups, service clubs, businesses, faith-based organizations, scout troops, schools, social service agencies, families and individual citizens worked to help beautify Auburn.

Here is a fun video that was captured as part of the morning festivities:

And while the video wasn’t able to feature all of our fantastic groups – we are grateful for your volunteer support and your community spirit! Please feel free to share any photos that you took on the City of Auburn’s Facebook Page so we can capture the hard work of all our volunteers.

This year, we had 22 projects across 14 separate sites. Volunteers worked on a handful of environmental projects around town, including projects at the Auburn Environmental Park and Fenster Nature Park. They removed invasive plants at Auburndale Park; pruned and removed blackberry and understory at Cedar Lanes Park and the West Auburn Lake Property; and cleaned-up Mill Pond Park. Over at Les Gove Park, volunteers planted trees and shrubs around the campus, picked up rocks in the south field, and painted beams for a pergola structure along Auburn Way South. Volunteers created a walking path at the Community Garden, completed beautification projects at the Auburn Justice Center,and painted trash enclosures and picked up trash in the downtown core. Roegner Park got a new playground and some new trees thanks to volunteer efforts, groups along the White River Trail spread wood chips in the landscaping areas and removed vegetation along the trail, a planting project was completed at Mary Olson Farm, and landscaping efforts were finished at Mountain View Cemetery.

We love our volunteers and want you all to know we are grateful for your willingness to volunteer and are in awe of your community spirit, pride and dedication to Auburn.

If you have any feedback about the event, or your project, please let us know. And, please mark your calendar for the event next year, scheduled for Saturday, April 21, 2018.

What can be said of a karate school?

Competitive pricing. Accommodating hours. Convenient location. Friendly, professional staff.  Commitment to the community.

Of course, the A.K.E.A School of Self-Defense has these things. But there is something more.

Being the husband of the manager has given me the opportunity to spend a great deal of time in and about the school, and to have the interesting experience of occasionally wearing some unofficial hats: Handyman, Event Caterer, Delivery Driver, Technical Support, Photographer, and general Gopher. It also has afforded me the honor of knowing some of the staff and students – all from the unique perspective of an “outsider” looking in. Not an outsider in the sense of one who does not belong – indeed, the manager is my wife, and owner my best friend – but in the sense of the unseen gaffer, high in his scaffolding perch behind the scenes of a play, peering down on the players from an intimate and impossible angle.

Invariably, at events like Kobudo Camp or the A.K.E.A Christmas Party, I will hear Mrs. Barnette or Mr. Harmaning refer to the staff, students and their families as “The A.K.E.A. Family”. The remarkable thing is – they mean it. Something more than martial arts training is happening here. Life Training is happening. And I saw it in sharp clarity at this year’s Little Dragon Tournament.

Donning my Photographer’s hat, I watched the tournament begin like most other Little Dragon presentations. The children raced to their positions with determined Yeees Maaaa’aaaam!s and with crisp kiais, followed their uniformed leaders in a show of learned skills. But then, their belt knots were turned to the back, headgear was fastened into place and they took up positions for The Big Fight. The “Fight”, of course, being a brilliant exercise in “take the flag”. A double elimination tournament, where the dual flags tucked into their belts were to be snatched from their opponent, while simultaneously protecting their own. An ingenious combination of offense and defense designed to build coordination and speed through movement, parrys and quick grabs.

It was all great fun, most especially for the athletic types among the competitors, who quickly worked out their opponents’ weaknesses and executed exquisite fakes and dodges, hands snaking out to snatch flags with meticulous precision. The true outsider might have seen little more than children running in chaotic circles in an oddly redundant game of tag. But as the cheers of proud parents swelled to a roar worthy of The Key and the mighty hammer of competitive pressure fell, it was here that the Little Dragons earned their name.

For a few the pressure was nearly too much. Tears welled up and sobs burst out. One even fled to the solace of his mother. Without hesitation, Mom courageously pushed her son gently, but firmly back into the fray, who met his fate bravely and went on to compete valiantly.

With rosy cheeks and hair matted to foreheads, I watched children battle not one another, but their own trepidation and uncertainty. I watched at the call, “Guard Up!”, though with brows furrowed and eyes filling with tears, fists nevertheless went high. These are no incapable little children. These are Fire Breathing Warriors. These are my heroes, these wondrous children who have broken through the surface tension of fear and now know that it is no barrier to them. I felt a distinct pride and vicarious thrill that I am certain must be no match for that of parents looking on. We all experienced their triumphant victories together. And, yes, the disappointing defeats. Through this tiny microcosm of life, I think we all grew just a dash stronger and a pinch wiser.

So, what can be said of a karate school? Outstanding training. Dedication to its students. Stewards of our Future.

The A.K.E.A. is more than just self-defense training. It’s Life Training.  – Ian Barnette

Little Dragons’ Flag Sparring Tournament Results

From the thrill of victory to the agony of defeat, (yes, there were some tears) this year’s Little Dragons’ Flag Sparring Tournament had it all.  These warriors were in it to win it! 

The field started to narrow with the Sweet Sixteen.  Still undefeated up this point, some were about to start fighting to hang on.  Mr. Oguakwa over Mr. Howard, Mr. Oguakwa II over Mr. Nichols, Miss Edwards over Mr. Selzler, and Mr. Schober over Mr. Perez. 

With one loss already hanging over them, for some, this would be their last bout.  Mr. Howard over Miss Rogers, Mr. Tanner over Mr. Nichols, Mr. Walton over Mr. Selzler, and Mr. Stachlowski over Mr. Perez.  And then there were 8…

The Elite Eight, that is.  Still undefeated, it was cousin vs. cousin.  Excitement filled the room as Mr. Oguakwa handed Mr. Oguakwa II his first loss of the night.  The crowd was in a frenzy for the next bout.  Both still undefeated, the only girl left fighting, Miss Edwards sent Mr. Schober to the loser’s bracket.

Fighting with a loss, it was Mr. Tanner over Mr. Howard and Mr. Walton over Mr. Stachlowski.  Still fighting to hang on, it was Mr. Tanner over Mr. Schober and Mr. Oguakwa II over Mr. Walton.  And then there 4…

The Final Four had everyone cheering.  Only two competitors were left undefeated.  Mr. Oguakwa came out on top over Miss Edwards.  Both with one loss, Mr. Tanner beat Mr. Oguakwa II, leaving him in 4th place.  Mr. Tanner had to fight back to back.  This time beating Miss Edwards, leaving her in 3rd place.  Was this going to be the final bout of the night?  Could Mr. Tanner continue his winning streak, handing Mr. Oguakwa his first loss of the night, and requiring a rematch?  Red-faced, sweaty, and even after getting a tooth knocked out, Mr. Tanner went in fighting.  But when it was all said and done, Mr. Oguakwa was our undefeated, 1st place winner, with Mr. Tanner coming in a very close 2nd.

Great fighting, Ladies and Gentlemen!  All of you did a great job!

Thank you to Mrs. Peterson for organizing this fun and exciting event.  Thank you to our center judges, Mr. Harmaning and Mr. Moore.  Thank you to our ring judges, Mrs. Brengle, Mr. Remillard, and Mr. Jordan.  Thank you to our bracket masters, Mrs. Barnette and Mr. Tipton.  Thank you to our videographer, Miss Moore, and to our photographer, Mr. Barnette.  And most importantly, thank you to our parents, families, and friends that came to support these students.  You made it worthwhile! 



Check out the pictures and video posted in the gallery!  

The votes have been counted, and the winner is…

Miss Brengle’s awesome A.K.E.A./Clean Sweep gi design.  Isn’t she creative?


This year’s design comes with an added benefit.  The screen printer will be able to invert the design and print it on black T-shirts, so students will be able to wear it while training.  How’s that for a bonus?

T-shirts have been ordered, but you can still join Team A.K.E.A. in Clean Sweep, Auburn’s largest community volunteer project on April 22.  If you would like to participate, please email Mrs. Barnette or Mrs. Peterson.  We look forward to seeing you there!


Firearms courses

Thank you to everyone that attended The Basic Handgun Course this weekend.  These new shooters learned safe gun handling habits, gained knowledge, and built confidence.  As you can see by the smiles, the live fire training was a huge success.  Excellent job!  Check out some more pictures in the gallery.  




This year’s Clean Sweep T-shirt design entries are in…

and they are great!  The competition is tough.  The final decision will be based on:

  • Is it related to karate, martial arts, ninjas, etc?
  • Is it related to cleaning, landscaping, maintenance, etc?
  • Does it include include “Team A.K.E.A.” or “American Karate Escrima Association” and “Clean Sweep 2017” etc?

It’s a close race.  Which one do you think should win?

And don’t forget, YOU too can own one of these T-shirts.  If you are a student or are in any way related to a student, you can join Team A.K.E.A. in Clean Sweep, Auburn’s largest community volunteer project on April 22.  You can help…whether you are young or not-so-young, have a green thumb or not…come be part of something big.  Please sign up by March 31, so we can get T-shirts ordered.  You may list your T-shirt size in the comments, or you may email Mrs. Barnette or Mrs. Peterson.  We look forward to seeing you there!