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Assignment One Description of the Location: The karate gym/dojo is located in a building that has been converted from

an auto garage into a single large training room. Entering from the front door of the building, a small office where the receptionist, Beth, performs her work is located directly to the left. Walking a few feet further into the building leads into the main gym floor which is simply one large rectangular room. There are multiple large black mats covering the vast majority of the floor so that students can practice on a softer surface than the concrete underneath them. To the immediate right of the entrance to the main gym there is a wall lined with cubby holes in which students place their belongings during, also there are multiple chairs so that spectators can observe the class that is taking place. In the middle of the gym hangs three heavy bags from the ceiling that are used for punching and kicking drills, these bags serve to break them gym floor in half. Finally at the back half of the gym there is a boxing ring that is surrounded on the outside edges of the mat by numerous weights for the class workouts. The gym can range from very quiet during exercise and lectures from the teacher, Maurice Moore, to extremely loud during drills and sparring matches. Figured World: A figured world is a representation of a group of people that are interested in or perform common acts within that world. Within a figured world, very specific patterns of behavior and conventions can be observed that help to define the figured world and the people within it. Rules and Conventions: The figured world that is Maurice Moores Karate Academy is the focal point of my observations for the assignment. In this figured world, there is a very structured and regimented mentality that goes along with it due to the ranking system that is in place in karate, white belt through 10th degree black belt. The belts in order are as follows: white, yellow, orange, green, purple, 1st 2nd and 3rd brown, and finally 1 st through 10th black. The utmost respect must be given at all times to the sensei (teacher), while respect amongst the students is also a must if students wish to remain in Maurices class. All of the students must keep their uniforms clean and presentable, with the belt tied correctly so that the loose ends are of even length in order to respect not only the art, but also Maurice and his school. This structured environment is very military like, and largely influenced not only by the traditional art but also by Mauric es time spent as a marine. For a student to disrespect a teacher is intolerable, and will be met with punishment through physical workout or dismissal from the class, although Maurice is a forgiving man. Talking is generally kept to a minimum as people are there to learn, not socialize with the other students, however, during particular times such as sparring it is encouraged for the students to talk amongst each other about ways to better improve their fighting performance, and to encourage the current fighters. The main actors in this figured world are Grand Master Maurice Moore, Beth Lail (receptionist), and the main body of students that the class is composed of.

Actors: Actors are the people that a figured world is comprised of, and play important individual roles along with those of the group. The actors serve as the driving force within a figured world, and they also communicate differently according to the others around them. Maurice Moore: Grand Master Maurice Moore is the owner and teacher at his karate school in Lincolnton, NC. After practicing the art of Shotokan Karate since the age of twelve, he has achieved the final rank of 10 th degree black belt, and is also very knowledgeable of other forms of martial arts. Maurice is a man of God and wishes to share his words with all who he meets all the while teaching people self-restraint, honesty, and how to defend themselves. Maurice is also fluent in Spanish, Korean, and some Japanese. Beth Lail: Beth is the girlfriend of Maurice who acts as a receptionist, and also performs most of the business aspect of running a karate school. Although she is usually confined to her small office, Beth enjoys watching practices and often praises and encourages students on their efforts. Jordan: A young but athletically gifted student, Jordan is a second degree black belt that has been training at the school for nearly 6 years. Jordan and I were friends when I attended Maurices school; he is a very quiet man and hates to lose in a fight. Sometimes this disdain for losing can cause Jordan to become mouthy and come off like a jerk, but generally he is a nice guy. Tyler: Tyler is another young student that is a first degree black belt, and although sometimes overly talkative, a very good student. Tyler takes to learning very quickly and is somewhat cocky due to it. Maurice often has to remind him to be quite and sometimes has to take disciplinary action such as: running, doing push-ups, fighting numerous high ranking people in a row, and simply verbal reprimanding. Megan: A woman in her late twenties, Megan is a fairly attractive woman seeking to learn how to defend herself, and become a little stronger. Megan appears to be a very optimistic person always encouraging others to do well in class, although she herself is not necessarily proficient in karate either. Steven: Steven is a middle aged man who as a child took karate, and has now found new interest in it. His main reason for attending the class is to help work himself back into shape with all of the cardio that is involved, all the while learning something exciting and interesting to himself. Being an older man he has no quarrels with the rigid system of respect and takes it quite seriously.

Artifacts: The artifacts are physical objects, ideas, and emotions that are important to particular actors within a figured world. Artifacts can also be key parts of the environment that the actors participate their literary practices in.

Maurices Timer: This timer is always going off during class to signal the end of a particular drill or lesson. It is important to Maurice, who as a former Marine drill instructor, loves to have his class very well organized and on a schedule. This plays into Maurices much regimented lifestyle and class setting. Maurices Stories: Stories are a staple of Maurices karate class, and after living a very full 60 years he has plenty of them. This is a way for Maurice to seem approachable by his students considering he is a 6 foot 5 inch and very heavily muscled man that dominates the room. The stories are also important because it is a way for Maurice to communicate strong morals and life lessons to the class. Jordans Neat Uniform: Jordan always has the straightest and cleanest uniform in class, along with his belt being perfectly tied so that each of the free ends hangs evenly on his thighs. This is one of his ways of displaying his quiet intensity during class, and is important in displaying his respect for the art and that of Maurice. Tylers Ability to Perform Kata* (a preset arrangement of movements meant to emulate a fight scenario): Tyler is considered to be the best in class at performing these katas, and takes great pride in his ability to learn and perform the most difficult ones. This is important in defining his cocky nature.

Discourse Communities: Discourse communities are almost like smaller versions of a figured world, within a particular figured world. One of these communities can be composed of a group of actors that communicate differently than the others, or share a unique characteristic amongst them. The Black Belts: The two black belts, Jordan and Tyler, generally act more like friends with each other than with the rest of the students; this was also the case when I was a black belt with them. In some way this makes the black belts seem and feel as if they are superior to the other students, but in fact they use this position to help teach the other students and each other as peers. The Teachers: As I have already stated Maurice Moore is the grandmaster and owner of the school, however he occasionally requests the assistance of an old student, Roosevelt Moss, to help lead the class and teach them better fighting technique. The two act as close friends, which they are, and combine their knowledge to benefit the class. The General Class: The main body of students is generally quiet and pays very close attention in class. They talk amongst each other as acquaintances, and pay due respect to the black belts and the teachers. Beth & the Audience: While through the majority of class the audience is usually silent, during sparring bouts they become more vocal, cheering for

fighters and offering praise. Beth often joins in with this crowd by applauding the students hard work in both drills and competition. Literary Practices: Literary practices are the specific ways of literate communication that take place between the actors in a figured world. Literate communication can range from normal spoken and written language to that of gestures and any other form of understood act of communication by the actors. Bowing: Bowing is a form of respect that is observed in many countries and cultures around the world, and since karate is of Japanese origin we follow some of the basic ritualistic practices. This shows respect amongst the students and most of all to the teacher. Bowing is performed at the beginning of class, at most times when addressing the teacher, and at the end of class. This is performed from the stance of Musubi Dachi*. Shouting (loud grunts): While performing katas, or while in a sparring match, the students are to shout loudly on key strikes to indicate that it is a powerful strike. This form of communication not only shows the intensity with which one is performing but also teaches the student to put maximum effort into his work. Use of Japanese*: When counting reps during drills Maurice leads the students in Japanese rather than English as a sign of respect to the art, and to give the students a broader education. Students also refer to the different types of blocks, kicks, and punches in Japanese. Stances: There are two stances not involved in fighting that are used to communicate readiness, or rest. These stances are called by the teacher based on what drill or lesson is coming next, and are often shouted out to bring the class to attention. Heiko Dachi is the ready stance, and Musubi Dachi is the rest stance. Testing: Testing to achieve a higher rank is a very crucial part of the figured world of a karate dojo. Advancement can only take place when the instructor feels that a student has performed admirably enough and learned enough to be given a chance to move up in rank. The test is usually administered in three parts: a written part that tests the students knowledge of the key Japanese terms that are used throughout class (including blocks, punches, kicks, and the major body parts), a part in which the student performs the kata for the particular rank they are trying to achieve and all of the previous katas before it, and finally a sparring test in which the student usually spars a higher ranked student to see how they fair against tougher competition. The ranks are as follows: white, yellow, orange, green, purple, brown I, II, and III, and then black followed by 1-10 with 10 being grand master.


Before I begin my observations I feel as though there are some important things that a person should know before practicing karate or any martial art in general. Here are some of the top things based on my own personal experience: 1. Strength is not as important as conditioning is when it comes to martial arts. Often in a fight or during competition, if one can outlast his opponent or perform kata at a high level repeatedly, it is much more beneficial than simply being strong. 2. Respect is always key, regardless if you are dealing with your instructor or another student, but it is especially important in competition. I have witnessed competitors be thrown out of tournaments for disrespecting judges or fellow competitors, as well as well as people score higher on their kata for being genuinely respectful and courteous to the judges. 3. Always be willing to step outside of your comfort zone. Being timid or unwilling to come out of your shell will greatly hamper your ability to learn and perform a martial art. They are intended to instill discipline and self-confidence into the students and cannot do so if not allowed. 4. Practice the way that you want to perform. If you always give 100% during practice, then come time to execute you will easily be able to perform at your maximum level. Practicing hard is also important if you plan to use a martial art for self-defense. 5. Never become complacent with what you have learned in a martial art. Always strive to know more because there is always someone out there that is better than you, and if you do not put forth the time or effort to continue to learn then you have basically wasted your time learning the art in the first place. Day 1 5:55PM-Students begin to arrive at Maurice Moores Karate Academy in Lincolnton. As always Jordan is the first through the door and immediately prepares for class by doing a series of stretches, mainly for his legs. At the same time Maurice is walking around the gym talking with some of the spectators and students of the previous class, giving advice to them and also having a laugh. 6:00PM-All of the students have arrived, and Maurice calls them to attention in the ready stance before bowing them all into class. As is customary, the current ranking belt in the class steps out to Maurice and bows to him before turning and bowing the class and returning to his position in beginning of the first row. The students are aligned in rows from left to right starting with the highest ranking student going down, there are almost four complete rows today. 6:03PM-Maurice begins by telling the students about a charity karate tournament that the school will be hosting next month to raise money for wounded warriors and their families. After Megan asks how much of the proceeds will be donated, and is answered with nearly all of it, Maurice yells for the class to get down into a push up position. From here they

begin to do a series of basic exercises including: sit-ups, mountain climbers, push-ups, and leg lifts. 6:15PM- Once the exercises were concluded, Maurice had everyone quickly jump up into a fighting stance from which they would perform punching, kicking, and blocking drills. As they count through the reps the entire class chants along with Maurice Ichi, Nee, San, She, Go (one, two , three, four, five). After punching came kicking, in which four specific kicks were drilled on today: side kick, front kick, roundhouse kick, and crescent kick. 6:25PM-Still in the midst of drills, a younger student probably around the age of 12 asks Maurice if he can use the bathroom. Maurice tells him to do so quickly, the bow bows to Maurice and as he steps off the mat turns around and bows to the class in a way of expressing his apology before going to the restroom. This type of redundant bowing is in order to exemplify the respect that is taught and required to be shown in the class. 6:30PM-Maurice yet again yells at the class to come to attention upon completing the drills, as the class is about to move on to the actual lesson for the day which is kata, commonly referred to as form in the karate world. Kanku Dai was the form they would be practicing, which is a black belt level kata involving various fast paced punching blocking and jumping movements. Maurice instructed Tyler to take a small group of beginner students to with on the kata in order to show them in a smaller setting while he took the main class through the steps. Day 2 6:30PM-Today I arrive halfway through class since most of the time the first half is only drills and exercises. Sensei Moss was in class and had the students lined up at attention going over basic fighting strategies, drilling into the students to always keep their hands up, and their head and feet moving at all times. At this time Moss selected two fighters, Jordan and Steven to equip their headgear and gloves and proceed to the center of the mat, which has a square arena taped around it. As usual Jordan grumbles under his breath due to the fact he was having to face a yellow belt, the second belt after white, when he really only enjoys fights with other black belts or challenging opponents. 6:35PM-After two, two minute rounds of point fighting, Jordan obviously came out as the victor. Steven and Jordan bumped fists and bowed to each other saying good fight before took his seat on the outside of the arena. Jordan was told to stay in by Sensei Moss, who then sent the other black belt, Tyler, in to be his opponent. 6:38PM-The scattered audience all stood up and moved closer to the mats in order to get a good view of the fight that was to ensue. Maurice came out of the office and over to the arena to be the coach for Jordan while Moss became the coach for Tyler. Maurice addressed the class and told them to pay close attention to the fight because Tyler and Jordan were both very skilled and they good learn a good deal from them.

6:45PM-Maruice gave Jordan and Tyler an extended period to fight for the benefit of the other students, with Jordan just edging out Tyler to win two in a row after which he was exhausted. After bowing to each other they shook hands and hugged to signify the stronger bond that the two as black belts shared. Both black belts were made to sit out for the rest of the night as the rest of the class fought. 6:47PM-Megans turn to spar came up with another student. With her relative inexperience, Megan drew the encouraging voice of Beth from the sideline as the fight began. Beth acted as her coach somewhat throughout the fight, although after her four minutes of fighting she come out with a loss, but not discouraged. 6:50PM-Maurice brought the class to attention early and told them they had done a good job for the day, But that he would like to see more improvement from his new and young students, thereby putting more responsibility on the black belts to help teach. They all bowed and the class was dismissed. i Day 3 6:30PM-I again arrive halfway through the class as they finish up the first half warm-ups and prepare to begin practicing a new kata by the name of Basai Dai (to storm a fortress). This time, Maurice decides not to break the class up, but to instead practice as a one unit. 6:40PM-The class watches Maurice perform the kata at full speed. The kata is a quick combination of intricate sweeping foot motions, very fast jabs to the mid-section, combined with powerful mid-level blocking, and an agile dodge which requires falling down into a position that is similar to that of a push-up. 6:50PM-The class continues to practice the kata incrementally, so as to repeat each part as they learn it. Very obviously the black belts, especially Tyler, stand out and learn the kata much quicker and look crisper in their movements than the lower level belts in the class. Maurice assigns a count to each individual move that the students make, and has them perform that particular move as he shouts out the number in an attempt to drill them into the students. 7:00PM-As the class drew near its end, Grandmaster Moore selected Tyler from the group and had him perform the kata by himself in front of the class in order to demonstrate his understanding of it. Tyler performed Basai Dai to near perfection with just minor hesitation as he came to its end. Maurice praised Tyler for his strong effort and turned to the class to explain the importance of hard work and being able to stay focused on the task at hand.

Kata: A prearranged set of motions, blocks, punches, and kicks, that are meant to simulate being attacked from multiple angles. Katas are also referred to as form by many in the martial arts community.

Dachi: Means to stand, as in a stance.

Great work! As someone unfamiliar with this community, you do an excellent job painting an accurate picture of what goes on in this karate gym. Your thorough descriptions of the concepts from Bartlett and Holland article were fantastic! In revision, I would like for you to work on the following elements: Add some sort of visual to this project; whether you choose to add pictures or some type of presentation about this work, a visual would be really helpful. Perhaps some sort of PowerPoint discussing some of the moves, expectations for practicing karate, etc. This would be a really easy piece to add into your Wix portfolio.

I would like to hear a bit of personal reflection on completing this assignment. I know you have mentioned in class that karate is a big interest of yours and your family, so I would like to hear what it is like being an actor in this particular community. A list of the top ten things you think a person needs to know when practicing or becoming interested in practicing karate. This may include conditioning, training, levels a person has to go through to advance, etc. (This again can be based on your own personal experience, and not necessarily based on your observations).