New Shotokan Karate club builds members spiritual and physical lives

Photo by Dayna Berry

Jose Rodriguez

The Shotokan Karate Club held its first class at the School of Health and Kinesiology on Oct. 20.

The new club is being held weekly on Wednesday and Friday in the Combat Room (124 H&K) from 4 to 5 p.m.

Shotokan is a popular style of Karate in Japan. Most sayamese students practice it at an early age in grade school. Karate means “empty hand,” which explains the training and practice using only hands, feet, elbows and knees without any weapons.

UNO Lead Biomechanical Engineering Technician and instructor for the club Ben Senderling enjoys being able to relate martial arts and karate to his biomechanical work. Through biomechanics, Senderling can understand his base of support. Through karate, he works and practices with principles that deal with keeping a lower center of gravity to reduce opponents’ chances to move him.

“It’s not like my personal life and my work life are separate, there is a link between them,” Senderling said.

Senderling has a wide experience and background with martial arts. Since he first entered a karate club in fourth grade, he has been consistent with his training and participation while growing up for the most part in the Northeast. From high school to graduate school, Senderling has been actively participating in clubs, organizations and classes. When Senderling moved to Omaha, he wanted to keep going,

“On my list of things to do was find an apartment, work, a gym and a martial arts club,” Senderling said.

The club is going to cover three essential parts to the discipline: kihon, kata and kumite, Senderling says. Kihon refers to basics and covers striking and blocking techniques with punches, kicks, elbows and knees. Kata is the accumulation of the kihon, taking all the moves of it and stringing them together. Lastly would be kumite, which will cover structured sparring drills (designated attacker and defender) at first, then transitions to a higher level closer to free sparring.

All students, faculty, staff and people from the public with an H&K membership are welcome to join the club. No experience is required at all, and people with different martial arts backgrounds experiences can also join. UNO student and financial officer for the club Keaton Young thinks it is a great opportunity to have.

“We are not only working together to learn martial arts but are also working to form friendship bonds between each other that can expand out pass the H&K building and the club itself,” Young said.

Two of the most important aspects and objectives of the club is to improve its members’ character and fitness. Senderling argues that this will be possible through the physical and spiritual aspects of the club’s practice. “We have a meditation at the beginning of class and at the end of class, we use that to center us toward our surroundings and focus on the class,” Senderling said.

Currently, Senderling, two officers and the president of the club are hoping to have at least six active members within four weeks to continue the club this semester. If this number is not reached within this period, the team will then reevaluate their reach efforts and start with the club next semester. People interested in joining the club should have a liability waiver signed, a physical and a base-line concussion test.