Important Announcement from Shihan Moss

Beginning karate students are naturally quite rank-conscious and are often shocked to hear a 1st or 2nd degree black belt (shodan/nidan) still refer to them self as a ‘beginner,’ but such is the heritage of the ancient art of karate. No one in a single lifetime can possibly master all there is to know about the art. The more one learns the more one realizes how much more time is required to master a technique. Gichin Funakoshi, the ‘Father of Modern-Day Karate,’ stated on his death bed, “I think that I finally learned how to do a straight punch.” In other words, Karate is a lifelong activity that you can always learn something and get better through practice on learned techniques.  As new students become engrossed in the study of karate, they soon lose their rank-consciousness and try to learn all they can, one lesson at a time. The journey itself becomes the goal.

The color of the belt (obi) is very important since it represents what level of proficiency one has attained in their particular system of the martial arts. The obi is a relatively new addition to the martial arts. In the early years of martial arts development, there were no belt rank certifications, only titles. In China, one was considered a master, instructor, or student. On Okinawa, the titles of karateka (practitioner or student), renshi (qualified instructor), kyoshi (advanced teacher of instruction), and hanshi (instructor of teachers or master) were the only certifications awarded. The man credited with inventing the belt color dan/kyu system was Jigoro Kano, who also was the founder of Judo. Judo has been practiced on Okinawa since the 1920’s.  Master Gichin Funakoshi had met Dr. Kano while in Japan. Master Funakoshi, himself a teacher and a very educated man, was very impressed with Dr. Kano and decided to use the dan/kyu color belt system in his teaching and begin to award a corresponding belt rank certification. The dan/kyu system did not take hold on Okinawa until 1956, when Chosin Chibana formed the Okinawa Karate Association.

Black belt 1 and 2 are beginner ranks (sempai; assistant instructor); black 3 (sensei; instructor), black 4 for intermediate students (renshi; qualified instructor); and black 5 and 6 for an advanced rank (kyoshi; advanced teacher of instruction). A red/white belt is use for the master rank (shihan; master instructor), black 7 and 8; and a red belt is use for the master instructor of teachers (hanshi), black 9 and 10.

Titles are not awarded automatically with the belt ranking but must be earned separately. If a black belt student never teaches or promotes their martial arts system, they are not eligible for the specific titles listed. The title of professor (kyōju) is the highest title of master within any martial arts system awarded for both teaching and knowledge. Traditionally there is only one professor per martial arts system. Professor Bill Marron is the official professor of the AKKW. The professor has the final ‘say’ about the techniques and direction in which the system will be developed. As the saying goes, “The buck stops here.” The title of professor can only be presented by a board of martial arts peers, for example the Midori Yama Budokai (MYB). It is a title and not a rank. The person must be a master in their system before they can be eligible for the prestigious title of professor. The title of master teacher (shihan) can be conferred on a 7th degree black belt and approved by their instructor. The rank of 7th degree black belt or above does not automatically confer the title of master. The same rule applies to the title sensei (teacher or instructor) or kyoshi (advance teacher). Just because the student earns his 1st degree black belt does not entitle him to be referred to as a sempai (assistant instructor).

Upper level rankings above black belt 3 is difficult to obtain. To say the least to be awarded master level rank and title is very rare. Shihan Glenn Harmaning is one of those rare individuals that has dedicated over 40 years to learning and teaching the martial arts.

It seems like yesterday when we met in the 80’s back in Idaho. Our friendship has grown throughout the years along with our continued knowledge in the martial arts. When you contacted me to come out to your present dojo 12 years ago, I had dreams that advanced ranking would be possible. I love it when dreams come true. Today it is an honor and privilege to award Shihan Glenn Harmaning the rank of 8th degree black belt. Through both the American Kenpo Karate and Weapons and Midori Yama Budokai, Shihan Harmaning has been issued official certificates to document this master rank.

Congratulations Shihan Harmaning for this monumental achievement. It is well earned and deserved.

Photo by Silent Knight Productions.  (Used With Permission)

Congratulations from Professor Marron

“Congratulations on this momentous promotion.  It’s not every day a person earns the privilege to enter the ‘Master’ rankings.  When I first met you, I knew you had a great destiny in the Martial Arts, and I was (as it turns out) correct.  

It is my privilege to be a part of this great honor.  You’ve earned it, Glenn. Congratulations.” 

Professor Bill Marron, Judan

American Kenpo Karate and Weapons 



Kobudo 2017 was a huge success!

Pictures from the Kobudo Demo & Picnic will be coming soon.  In the meantime, take a look at the pictures below from all the great groups leading up to the Demo.

Camp concluded with some students learning Okinawan Nihanshi Shodan.  See more pictures here.

These kids were so good, in fact,  they were ready to take on Dr. Moss with his sword.  Check out these pictures.  

These first year Kobudo Kids have Bo-Bo down.  Take a look at some of these high jumpers here!


During the final review, students were evaluated for rank promotions to be announced Saturday at the Demo.  See more pictures here.

Now that Dr. Moss is here, some of the Black Belts got to play.  See more pictures here.

The Advanced Kobudo Kids are honing their skills in preparation for the Demo on Saturday.  See more pictures here.

Some of the instructors got to learn Matayoshi No Kami Ni.  See more pictures here.

It’s not just the adults that get to have fun.  These 2nd year Kobudo Kids are learning Matayoshi No Tunfa  Ich.  See more pictures here.

Let the bo fighting begin with Bo-Bo.  See more pictures here.

Now they know Chotoku Kyan no Sai.  See more pictures here.  

Then we added Chou No Kon.  See more pictures here.  

Next came Matayoshi No Tunfa  Ich.  See more pictures here.  

The first group of the year gave students an opportunity to learn some basic bo techniques through the form, Shi Hon Uki.  See more pictures here.   

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.  

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!