Student Manual




Student Manual


Table of Contents -


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We are pleased to have the opportunity to introduce the Okinawan martial art of Shorin Ryu Shidokan Karate-Do. 

As you may know, karate is an effective method of physical training, and is an invigorating form of mental exercise as well.  People learn karate for many reasons.  Some of the reasons are:

  • Self-confidence

  • To condition one's self mentally and physically

  • To learn a means of self defense in our sometimes hostile world.

Karate appears to be the perfect exercise, not only for the body, but to impact the qualities of inner mental strength, to develop a sense of justice, and foster leadership, which is needed to advance in our society.

Karate is an ART that implies a way of thinking and promotes a lifestyle which instills a moralizing influence and generates the power for justice.

Karate teaches tenacity and concentration, and it is also conducive for relieving the tensions and the pressures of life.  A session of training can refresh the student and help calm and clear the mind - permitting the student to, once again, focus his energies completely on his work or studies.

These are only a few primary reasons why karate should be taught to the young and the young at heart.  Karate can help curb tempers and instill a sense of order, discipline, generosity, courage, and humility.

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About Your Instructors...

David and Michael Senak (identical twins) have been studying and training in the Martial Arts for over 37 years.  They began their Karate training  1973 which started a love for traditional Okinawan Karate and a sense of accountability that they carry with them in their teaching style to this day.  Their teaching experience started as early as 1975 with Sensei Herten.  They were teaching group classes by 1978.  At this time, we are students of Master Seikichi Iha, 10th Degree Black Belt, who is the highest ranking Shorin-Ryu Master in the United States.  Hanshi Iha's sensei, Katsuya Miyahira, studied under Shorin-Ryu Grandmaster Chosin Chibana along with Shugoro Nakazato.  Both Mike and Dave have been personally taught by these masters. 

In the Summer of 2007 David, his son Mason and wife Lauren remodeled the Dojo and are now running a full time business. 

Dave Senak:  Owner and karate instructor is also a N.J. certified teacher who taught English and Special Education as well as a licensed optician.  His Late wife Ellen had attained the rank of Green Belt.  Ellen and Dave have two children:  Sensei Mason and Nicole who holds the rank of Green Belt.  Sensei Dave currently holds a 7th degree black belt.

Mason Senak:   Now part owner has trained since the age of 5 and is a 5th Degree Black Belt.  Mason has been training in Okinawan karate for over 25 years.  Mason was a member of Local 102 electric union.  Mason decided he would follow his passion for karate and dedicate 100% of his time to teaching martial arts. 

Mike Senak: Is also a licensed optician, N.J. certified teacher, and karate instructor.  Mike has three children:  Jessica, Matthew a 4th Degree Black Belt and Allison a 2nd degree Black Belt.

Lauren Senak: Also part owner and Business Director of Maywood Karate married Mason 2007.  Lauren graduated Montclair State University with a B.S. in Athletic Training/Sports Medicine.  She also is a Strength and conditioning, speed coach and Personal trainer.  Lauren runs several exercise programs at Maywood Karate. 

Dr. Larry Senak, 5th Degree Black Belt, is the third of the Senak brothers.  He helped us get the Dojo started in 1988 and taught here for five years.  Larry no longer has an active teaching role.  However, we still acknowledge him as Sensei and enjoy when he comes and trains with us.  His wife, Sheryl, is a chiropractor. They have two daughters, Samantha and Karlie.  Larry’s doctorate is in Chemistry.

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Grand Master Shugoro Nakazato indicated that originally karate-do was referred to as "TE".  He stated that all of the styles that were practiced on Okinawa came under this term and that it was not until 1830 that the name Shorin-Ryu was first used.  Around that date, an Okinawan official, Bushi Matsumura, was sent to China by the King of Okinawa to study the Chinese methods of fighting.  It was said that he mastered a form of ShorinJi Kempo and then returned to Okinawa to teach the art.  He taught this art in Shuri, the capitol of Okinawa, and referred to it as "ShorinRyu-Gokoku-an-karate".  Because of his mastery of this art, the king appointed him as the chief Martial Arts Instructor of Okinawa.

Okinawan karate-do owes a tremendous debt to Ankoh Itosu.  Itosu is considered the Father of Okinawan karate-do and is the first one responsible for publicly teaching the art.  Circa 1903, Itosu taught the art of Shuri-te at the Central Okinawan Middle School located in Shuri.  Because of this, Shuri-te (now called Shorin-Ryu) grew in popularity, and Itosu saw a need to develop new teaching techniques for the many new beginners.  It was during this period of time that he developed the Naihanchin and Pinan series of kata that ShorRin-Ryu presently uses.

Although Itosu is regarded as the Father of Okinawan Karate-do, it was his student, Chosin Chibana, who systematized Itosu's style of karate-do and officially changed its name in 1926 from Shuri-te no karate-do to Okinawan Shorin-Ryu Karate-do.

Chosin Chibana was born on June 5, 1885, at Tottori-cho in Shuri-shi, Okinawa.  He began training with Ankoh Itosu in 1900 after dropping out of Okinawa Kenritsu Dai-Ichi Chu-gakko (high school).  He was then 15 years old.  He studied with Itosu until his teacher's death on August 30, 1915, at age 85.  Five years after his sensei's demise he began teaching on his own.  His first Dojo was located in Tottoribori.  As his reputation spread, he was able to open up a second Dojo in Kumo-Cho, Naha.

Chibana remained on the island of Okinawa during World War II and narrowly escaped death when the Americans destroyed Shuri in 1945.  After the war, he once again began teaching Shorin-Ryu in Giho-cho, which is a section of the city Shuri.  From February 1954, until December of 1958, he was also the Chief Karate-do Instructor for the Shuri City Police Department.  On May 5, 1956, the Okinawa Karate-do League was formed, and he was appointed as its first president.

Chibana's reputation as a karate man continued to spread, not only in Okinawa, but also in Japan.  By 1957, he had received the title of Hanshi from the Dai Nippon Butokukai (the Japanese Martial Arts Association), and in 1960 he received the first Sports Award from the Okinawan Times Newspaper for his overall accomplishments in the study of karate-do.  On April 29, 1968, Chibana received the 4th Order of Merit from the Emperor of Japan for his devotion to the study of Okinawan Karate-do and Okinawan Shorin-Ryu.

In 1964 Chibana was advised that he had terminal cancer.  But, because of his dedication to the art of Shorin-Ryu, he continued to teach even though his body began to weaken as the cancer spread.  By 1966, he was admitted into Tokyo's Cancer Research Center for radiation treatment in an attempt to arrest the spread.  After some improvement, Chibana once again resumed his teaching of Shorin-Ryu with his grandson, Akira Nakazato.  By the end of 1968, his condition became worse, and he returned to Ohama Hospital.  Despite the doctor’s efforts to save his life, he died at 6:40 a.m. on the 26th of February 1969.  He was 83 years old.

Chibana Sensei left five 9th Degree Black Belts to help spread his system of Okinawan Karate-do.  Katsuya Miyahira, Shugoro Nakazato, Yuchoku Higa, and Choshin Nakama are presently teaching Shorin-Ryu throughout the island of Okinawa and in Japan.  Kensei Kinjo, another of the 9th Dans, died in 1971 at the age of 76.

After Chibana's death, Katsuya Miyahira became the new president of the Okinawa Shorin-Ryu Karate-do Association with Nakazato Sensei assuming the title of Vice President.  Nakazato Sensei later resigned from the Association in November of 1975 and formed the Okinawa Karate-do Shorin-Ryu Shorinkan Association.


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School History

The Maywood Academy of Okinawan Karate opened in the fall of 1988.  The original school was located at 43 W. Pleasant Avenue.  In only one year we had outgrown those facilities and started looking for a larger location.  Not wanting to leave Maywood, we moved to 111A W. Pleasant Avenue.  In April of 1996 we moved to our current location, 47 W. Pleasant Avenue.

Our Dojo is recognized internationally and nationally by the Grandmaster of Shorin-Ryu Shidokan, Katsuya Miyahira, and directed by his highest-ranking student, Seikichi Iha, who lives and teaches in Michigan.

Maywood Karate has celebrated over 23 years of business!  Teaching the children and adults in the communities of: Maywood, Hackensack, Rochelle Park, Paramus and Bergen County.


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Competition History

Maywood Karate has a tradition of excellence in tournament competition.   Our students have written a impressive history in taking home GOLD MEDALS in Junior Olympic, State, Regional and National level competition.

The Maywood Dojo has participated annually in either the AAU National Championships or the AAU Junior Olympic Games.  The Maywood contingent has ranged in size from 7 to 10 competitors.  Our competitors have never returned with less than 13 medals. 


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Maywood Academy of Okinawan Karate
Sparring Rules:

  1. Proper sparring gear must be worn at all times:

    • headgear

    • mouthpiece

    • gloves

    • protective cup for males

    • shin-instep pads (optional)

    • footgear (optional)

  2. Proper respect and courtesy must be shown to the Sensei and sparring partner at all times.

  3. NO contact is permitted to the head, face, neck, back, or groin.

  4. Light contact to the body is permitted.

  5. No sparring is permitted unless supervised by a Sr. Black Belt.

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Shidokan Tenets



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Basic School Language English Japanese   English Japanese   English Japanese Teacher Sensei   Focus Kime   One (1) Ichi School Dojo   Fast Haiku   Two (2) Ni Uniform Gi   Right Migi   Three (3) San Bow Rei   Left Hidari   Four (4) Shi Forms Kata   Turn Ma-wa-te   Five (5) Go Begin Hajime   One More Time Mo-ichi-do   Six (6) Roku Stop Yame   Concentration Zan-chin   Seven (7) Shichi Spirit Yell Kiai   Meditation Mukuso   Eight (8) Hachi Okay, Yes Yosh   Thank You Arigato   Nine (9) Ku Line Up Kaga Nate   Attention Kyo-tse-kei   Ten (10 Jyu

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Shidokan Basics English Japanese   English Japanese   English Japanese High Block Age-Uke   Front Kick Mae-Geri   Punch Choku-Zuki Middle Block Ude-Uke   Side Kick Yoko-Geri-KeKomi   Hook Punch Kagi-Zuki Inside Block Uchi-Uke   Back Kick Ushiro-Geri   Knife-Hand Shuto Low Block Gedan-Barai   Knee Strike Hittsue-Geri   Palm Heel Teisho Double Block Juge-Uke   Upper Cut Ura-Tz-Uke   Back Fist Riken-Uchi  

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Student Creed

  1. I intent to develop myself in a positive manner and avoid anything that would reduce my mental growth or my physical health.

  2. I intend to develop self-discipline in order to bring out the best in myself and others.

  3. I intend to use what I learn in class constructively and defensively; to help myself and my fellow man and never to be abusive or offensive.

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What Is Kata?

A kata is a series of fighting movements combining breathing, striking, and defensive techniques to suit innumerable situations.  These fighting movements are manifested in the form of choreography, which allows the student to fully express speed, strength, technique, and beauty.  Each kata has a particular rhythmical sequence (without which it would be mere movement) and is designed for the imaginary fighting of several opponents. 

Katas are the essence of Karate and combine rhythmical movement, breathing, and peak awareness.  When one begins to understand them, one glimpses a new world of untold internal riches.  The study of kata leads to complete control of all parts of the body.

Kata teaches technique, balance, power, accuracy of technique, speed, awareness and concentration.  It helps to develop self-discipline, stamina, tenacity, and fighting spirit.  It teaches the martial artist the proper state of mind to respond to an attack with proper technique and spirit. 

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Shidokan Katas Kihon Ichi   Pinan Nidan   Kusanku Sho Kihon Ni   Pinan Sandan   Naihanchin Sandan Kihon San   Pinan Yondan   Matamura Passai (Passai Dai) Kihon Yon   Pina Godan   Kusanku Dai Kihon Go   Itosu Passai (Passai Sho)   Chinto Naihanchin Shodan   Naihanchin Nidan   Goju Shiho Pinan Shodan   Gusakuma Passai   Teisho     Jion  

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The Belt System

The belt system is designed to evaluate the merit and development of each student.  This system is divided into two basic categories:  the lower level is called "kyu", implying the idea of "boy"; the upper level is called "dan", implying the idea of "man".  As a student of karate develops physically, he is expected to broaden his character accordingly. Belt Color Rank Belt Color Rank Gold 8th Green 4th Orange 7th Green/Brown 3rd Blue 6th Brown 2nd Blue/Green 5th Brown/Black 1st

The White Belt denotes the beginner.  The qualifications to be promoted included:  dedication to training (number of hours), attitude, and the student's personal level of performance in Kata, Kumite, and Drills.  The students are motivated to do well by a status system.  They see that the color of their belt changes as their abilities and accomplishments increase.  In the Kyu system, students begin to climb, as White Belts, on a scale that starts with 8th Kyu and advances in descending progression.

Although each belt level is a reward for the student's progress, the first important accomplishment is the advancement to the Green Belt level.  It is with an intense feeling of pride in his achievement that a student receives his new rank of Green Belt.  He realizes that he has accomplished the first significant step leading to the heights he wishes to attain.  Training at this level becomes more intense.  Their focusing power starts to develop.

The Brown Belt represents the ripening maturity of the developing student.  The last level of Brown Belt is the 1st Kyu, which denotes a first-class student.  Brown Belts seem to be the hardest working and most aggressive students.  Their main concern is to become worthy of advancement to 1st Degree Black Belt.

Shodan, 1st Degree Black Belt, means "first man" in Japanese.  Achievement identification now changes from low numbers to high numbers, the inverse of the Kyu system.  The 1st Degree is the bottom of a ladder that progresses up to ten.  

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What does it mean when a student bows?

Bowing reflects RESPECT for one's soul.  It can be considered the ultimate symbol in showing respect that cannot be explained by words.  When a student bows to the flags at the beginning or end of class, he is actually saluting the American flag and Japanese flag.  He is showing his respect, especially to the flag of Japan where is ancient martial art originated.  By no means should the bow be considered to humble or lower a person executing such a respectful gesture.  When a Black Belt or senior student returns the bow, he in turn shows his respect to his junior person who bowed first, therefore, making the gesture equal.  It can also be looked upon as being a symbol of recognition of higher authority and/or higher level of knowledge, as would be the case of a student to his instructor.

THE RESPECTFUL BOW:  Hands flat at the sides of the legs, the bow is made at least at a 45-degree angle, then moves slowly upward to the attention position.

THE CHALLENGING BOW:  Clutched fists at sides, looking straight into the eyes of your opponent, the bow is made at a 30-degree angle.  This bow may be made when entering a competition and away from one's own Dojo, but is not necessarily encouraged as a practice or habit.

"Karate begins with courtesy
and ends with courtesy."

---Karate Precept #1
---Gichin Funakoshi

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Academic Achievement Awards

The Academic Achievement Award program was designed to motivate our younger, school-aged students to excel academically, as well as physical.  We encourage our students to do their very best in school and to achieve their fullest potential.  Awards are given for good grades and also for improved grades.  Thus, every student is capable of earning an award throughout the year. 

A large, red star is given for "Highest Honors"--this requires the student to earn highest possible marks in all major subjects (art, music, etc., are not considered). 

A small, yellow star is given for "Honors" marks--this requires all second highest marks or better in all major subjects. 

A student who improves in any subject and does not drop down in any other subject can earn a small star on subsequent report cards. 

Along with these patches, each student receives a "Certificate of Achievement" to acknowledge their success in school. 

Details regarding this program are announced during class.  It is important to bring your report cards in as soon as possible after each marking period.  When our list is compiled and the certificates are printed, the students will be presented with their awards at the end of a training session. 

This is just one of the many benefits of karate training.  We hope to direct each student in a positive manner so that they are better prepared to face the challenges of life.


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Maywood Dojo Guidelines

Since you are now a karate student and have acquired a new discipline, you should know that there are a few guidelines that will make it easier for you to study karate in a traditional manner.

  • Karate practitioners will behave as ladies and gentlemen at all times.

  • All members should strictly adhere to and observe the Student Creed.

  • Once you are a member, remember to address the head instructor as SENSEI at all times.  Nothing else is ever allowed, even outside the Dojo.

  • Higher belts should aid lower belts at all times, especially beginners on the path.  Lower belts should, and will, follow the instructions of all higher belts.

  • In karate, your word is your bond.  Your integrity is an important part of your training.  DON'T BREAK YOUR WORD!!

  • Keep in mind that you are one of many.  Be neat.  Have deep pride in your Dojo and show it by cleaning up after yourself.

  • Personal cleanliness is essential.  Nails must be clipped, deodorant must be worn, and hair must not interfere with your training.

  • No alcohol or drugs before class EVER, and no candy, gum, or smoking inside the Dojo.

  • No loud talking or profanity is permitted.  Remember the Dojo is a place of study.

  • Please remember to remove your shoes at all times when entering the training area.  This goes for parents, as well as students.

  • Always remember to bow when entering and leaving the training floor.

  • To prevent disruption, all students are to stay out of the office area--unless invited in.

  • All tuition payments should be made in a timely manner.  If for some reason they cannot be paid, make the necessary arrangements with one of the staff.

  • Please remember to be on time for every class.  Should you be late, be sure to observe proper etiquette by not walking into class, but by kneeling at the back of the training floor until formally admitted to the class by the instructor.

  • Make sure all of your equipment, including your bag, is clearly marked with your name.  We are not responsible for any articles lost, stolen, or left in the Dojo after class.

  • During class, or while sparring, should your uniform become disheveled, etiquette requires that you to turn away from the Shoman and Sensei, and repair your uniform.

  • Uniforms are to be kept clean with regular washing and repair of any rips or tears when necessary.  Pants should be hemmed to a proper length--not rolled up--for safety reasons.

  • Parents and siblings should be QUIET while classes are in session.  Our younger students are easily distracted and you are paying for them to learn!

  • Never ask to be tested or to learn a new kata--it is considered to be a sign of disrespect.

  • When sitting on the Dojo training floor, students are to sit in the proper position--legs crossed or kneeling, and in a respectful manner.  Never lean against the walls.

  • No one is permitted to leave the training floor without permission.  If you must leave early, check with your Sensei first.

  • Weapons are not toys, they are a part of your serious karate training and should be treated as such.

  • All jewelry, watches, etc., are to be removed (preferably left at home) before you start your class.

  • Sparring is not permitted without a Sr. Black Belt present to supervise.  Challenging a Black Belt to spar is disrespectful.  Don't do it!

  • Don't waste the time of the instructors, other students, or your own!!  If you are not at the Dojo to train seriously...GO HOME!!

  • Never train if you are ill.  We do not want to spread any germs.

  • Please be punctual in dropping off and picking up students.  Let us know A.S.A.P. of any emergency situations.

  • Parents, please check the bulletin boards and newsletters for announcements regularly.  This is our principle way of communication.  The children do not always remember what has been announced in class.

  • Remember the importance of a regular training schedule of at least twice a week and also the importance of practicing at home.

  • When lining up for class, the highest-ranking student will be to the right, with the longest-in-rank of the same color to the right.  If both have the same time-in-rank, then the oldest goes on the right.

  • If any questions or concerns arise, it always best to "go to the source" rather than be upset or "gossip" with other parents or students.  We will do our best to address any problems and explain our policies.


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