arate can teach students better focus

Max Rust

Connie McCaffrey’s foot slammed against the wooden floor. Her arms were held close to her small, tense body as her face showed increasing signs of anticipation.
“Now, somebody’s behind you and they’re gonna nail you. Now move!” yelled Sensei Robert Fusaro.
The whole group of 12 karate students responded with a loud shout and punched their arms with a smooth, snapping motion.
Fusaro, the chief instructor of the Midwest Karate Association, has been teaching karate in the Twin Cities for the past 58 years, and since 1966 at the University. He said he thinks many people are looking for something that will fill their needs for focus, and by teaching karate, he is helping others.
“It is a way of life. A lot of people look to karate just for a mental as well as physical discipline,” Fusaro said.
A seventh-degree black belt, Fusaro was first exposed to karate while in the U.S. military in Japan. He began training at the main headquarters of the Japan Karate Association and eventually decided to make it his life.
“It was a challenge,” he said. “It was so unique that such small individuals can create such powerful techniques.”
Fusaro said karate students develop the use of the whole body in delivering just one technique. This is acquired by training the body’s muscle groups to work together in sequential order.
Fusaro used the analogy of a baseball pitcher transferring power within his body while winding up and then releasing the ball.
“It’s transmitting force. And building it up. That’s what we do.”
The transfer of force is called kime.
Fusaro said in order to develop kime, one has to practice developing the mind as well as the body. That is why karate is a very good source of both mental and physical discipline.
The main principle of karate is self-defense, according to Fusaro.
Karate, a martial art, was first taught in southeast Asian countries secretively because the different rulers of the time didn’t want the people to have a method of defending themselves. The knowledge of karate was passed on from teacher to student before it became popular in the late 19th century in Japan.
McCaffrey, who has been practicing karate for 20 years, said that karate is more than just a physical workout. “It can teach you discipline, teach you to focus and teach you how to concentrate and be calm.”
She said karate is a way of life because she applies its concepts to other aspects of her daily life.
“I think I’m better at work in crisis situations,” she said. “I can handle more difficult things because I’ve learned how to focus and concentrate.”