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I recently had the opportunity to stop in and visit York Shotokan Karate & Mixed Martial Arts before leaving for my next assignment teaching English in Japan. It was nice seeing my former instructors and speaking with Sensei Tony Abel. Sensei Abel gave me the opportunity to come onto the dojo floor and train with the class. Now, I haven't practiced martial arts for years but oddly everything (the kicks, strikes, and self defense techniques) came right back to me. Something else was different about training this time. I felt due to me being older, I was more disciplined when training on the dojo floor. I finally understand how important it is to be focused and to give your absolute best when training. God forbid you ever need to use the physical part of what you learned, but if you need to use your skillset make sure your skillset is up-to-par! Thank you again to everyone at York Shotokan for instilling me with the discipline I needed in order to engage in this thing called life. A BIG thank you to Sensei Abel for dealing with a hellraiser like me, ha-ha! My best, all the way from Japan ~ Taiwan.
Oh man...where do I start? I honestly never liked the idea of my father forcing me to do martial arts. I used to do Taekwondo for quite a bit at different dojos; and, eventually ended-up doing Taekwondo at the JCC for awhile. And, then...somehow, winded up taking karate at York Shotokan Karate Mixed Martial Arts. Man, I used to hate going there to practice martial arts! I was the defiant type. Always arguing and causing problems for the instructors who would take the time out of their busy schedules to train us. I personally could not stand the top instructor, Sensei Abel, who ran York Shotokan Karate. He was the Stone Cold Steve Austin to my Vince McMahon. I used to think I was different from the rest of the people I trained with due to me being African American. I used race as an excuse to distance and alienate myself from everyone. This unfortunate mentality I constructed for myself really hurt me for quite a bit because everyone at York Shotokan was only trying to help me become a better martial artist...and human being overall. Regardless of this fact, I continued to hinder my progress by self-sabotaging myself. As a result, I stunted my growth as a martial artist. I'm honestly surprised Sensei Abel didn't kick my arrogant a~~ out. He would have been justifiably right by doing so. However, he never gave up on me. Overtime, I started to improve little-by-little and started to mellow out and became more receptive to everyone at York Shotokan Karate. I'm not going to lie, I acted like an entitled piece of sh~~. I look back on those times with disgust due to how I acted. I will say though, I learned a lot about self discipline and becoming more disciplined in everything I do thanks to Sensei Abel and everyone at York Shotokan Karate. I'm sorry for being such a pain back then. Without Sensei Abel and the rest of the instructors, I probably would have done many foolish things that may have landed me in prison or dead. Instead, I'm proud to say that I'm currently in the process of teaching English in Japan and just returned from 1-1/2 years teaching English in Thailand.
My name is Oran Eberhart and I have known Sensei Tony Abel for more than 30 years. I started studying the martial arts under Sensei Abel in 1989. I achieved my black belt in 1998 before I went into the New York City Police Academy. The information and teachings that I gained from Sensei Abel and York Shotokan Mixed Martial Arts is invaluable. I took what I learned and acquired from my classes at York Shotokan, and applied it throughout my 25 years in law enforcement...and life. Still, to this day, I fall back onto what I was taught. I've traveled to many different places with my former job as a Federal Air Marshall, and took with me what I learned to keep me of sound mind and judgement. Learning discipline, control, alertness and leadership; and, most of all dedication to one's craft is extremely valuable. Not only to you, but to those around you. You pass it along to your friends and family simply by presenting yourself as an astute person, and being aware of your surroundings. Learning how to handle different situations, what to do or not to do, but most importantly to just be aware. York Shotokan Karate is Tony Abel but most importantly, Tony Abel is York Shotokan Karate and Mixed Martial Arts. He is a wonderful man and has a wonderful school to study under. I am proud, privileged and extremely happy that our paths crossed and for what I have learned from him ~ and what I am still learning from him to this day. It is a bond that one has that cannot be described in simple ways. Even though I don't get to the school as much as I would like Tony is, and will always be, there for his students. I am an example of that, and that is why I consider him not only a friend and mentor but as a father figure as well.
You probably don't remember me, but I used to be a student of yours in the mid 80's. I attended your dojo for about three to four years. I was a super skinny kid with long straight blonde hair about thirteen when I began taking classes in the "barn" dojo, and stuck with it for a couple of years. I was raised by my dad who attended my classes fairly regularly but he often went out leaving me home to fend for myself. Although I don't take karate anymore, I haven't since I stopped taking classes at the barn, I felt compelled to write you and tell you how much of an impact you had on my life. My parents had separated at the wrong time for a kid my age and it was just in time for me to start getting into trouble. But you and your dedicated black belts gave me direction and discipline at a time in my life when I needed it the most. It is very likely had I not taken classes at the York Shotokan Karate Club, I might have taken a sharp turn in the wrong direction. I think about you and those three or four years I spent at the school, and often wonder how you are doing. I'm a grown man now with a wife and two children on my own. I consider the instruction you gave me back then, and frequently apply much of what you taught me about discipline and direct my own children in the same way. It helped me get through four years of military service, and many of my struggles I have faced throughout the years. After all these years, I wanted to take the time to say "thank you" for all that you taught me. Not just the self-defense training, which is a small part of it (not to mention that I probably couldn't get my foot above my waist now). But, the fatherly type of care and wisdom that you showed me which I desperately needed. It may have been inadvertently on your part but nonetheless it was there. So again thank you for your patience, time and dedication that you rendered to the young boy during a critical time in life.
A no-nonsense school with highly dedicated instructors.
You will learn how to defend yourself efficiently and develop your
character, it's also the best exercise there is! I owe a great deal
to Sensei Abel and the other instructors, the experience of
training there in my youth has informed every aspect of my life
since then, and is a well I draw inspiration and peace of mind from
everyday. - Bobby Turk, Nashville TN
This school is well rounded in its arts practical for today's everyday situations. If you truly would like to learn how to protect yourself an your loved ones. You will learn here this school's intention is within the student's interest and the community. Sit in one of the classes you'll see the talent this school has to offer.