Black belts throw themselves from the sand in the face | Community



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GLENEDEN BEACH – Karate masters and students from across the West Coast will gather at Gleneden Beach State Park this Saturday and Sunday September 25-26 to test themselves in the sand and surf.

“Suddenly the foot is uneven compared to the flat floor of the dojo,” said Lee Woolsey, Lincoln City martial arts instructor, describing the challenge and excitement of karate on the beach. “Conditioning exercises are more difficult. It’s good for fights, sparring, and takedowns. You end up with sand pressed onto your cheeks, ears, and nose. It’s a different experience.

For those spectators who take the park’s beach path to watch the 9:30 am to 3:30 pm sessions this weekend, one of the most interesting shows will be the ‘kata’, the synchronized practice of traditional forms by up to 30 talented martial artists at one time.

Head of Goju Ryu Karate Instructor America Andy Franz is the featured teacher. Other methods that will be brought to light are the ancient and disarming practices of Gung Fu and Kenpo karate. On Sunday, the class will end with breathing exercises in waist-deep ice surf.

“You do kata as the waves try to suck you into the ocean,” remarked Woolsey, who said all ranks, from lowest yellow to highest black, will be tested for advancement.

Woolsey said the gathering of martial artists from Washington, Idaho, California and Oregon has become an annual tradition. “It looks like Mother Nature will be kind to us this year, our fifth. But if the meteorologist is wrong, we’ll end up inside at the Lincoln City Dojo.

Goju Ryu is an explosive martial art from Okinawa, taught locally at the Taft Athletic Club in Lincoln City by Woolsey, a first degree black belt. He runs two popular classes, for 6 to 14 year olds at 6:15 p.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays, followed by adults at 7:15 p.m. The dojo is located on the gymnasium floor, 4744 SE Highway 101. Visit lincolncitykarate .com or call 541-614-1446 for more information.

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