Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Where to buy your martial-arts equipment

Reader alert: this is NOT a paid advertisement.  It's just some neighborly advice based upon my own experience in shopping for martial-arts gear. 
   If you live in New Jersey or anywhere near Philadelphia, the place you want to visit is Academy of Karate Martial Arts Supplies in Haddon Heights, NJ.  Live in Montana?  Then check out the store online.  If it exists, they have it.  And if they don't have it in stock, they'll get it for you.
   Because I hate shopping for anything, it's not my nature to brag about great stores that I've found.  But the Academy of Karate rates all five stars that I give it for quality, prices, and service.  And get this: I normally drive there [40 minutes each way] rather than order online just because I like the place. 
   Uniforms?  Yes, an exceptional variety.  Weapons?  You bet.  Kicking dummies?  Any kind you want.  Books?  A first-rate selection.  And most of the time when you visit the store you'll bump into fellow martial artists -- often school owners -- who are buying equipment for themselves or their students.  So you often get to strike up a conversation with someone  you aren't going to meet in the dairy aisle of your local food store.
   When I need something but can't visit the store, I just call.  Friendly service that brings the martial-arts equipment to my front door.  What's not to love?
   I don't accept advertising for this blog.  My only goal is to help keep senior martial artists training and competing.  So here's today's simple tip: put Academy of Karate Martial Arts Supplies on your team.  Check out the store online right now to see what you're missing.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Mercer County Nationals, 2013

The new year has begun, and hundreds of us who live in New Jersey will kick off the tournament season on March 16th at Rider University.  That's when Master Ivan Mendez will host the 18th Annual Mercer County National Karate Championships. 
   I had the pleasure of competing in the 2012 version of this tournament, and I can tell you that it was well run, fairly officiated, and loaded with talented athletes ranging in age from under 6 to over 60.  The event offers competition in sparring, forms, and weapons, and each category is broken into a huge range of age groups and is further refined by the competitors' ranks. 
   Although most of the age groups cover the younger set -- it sometimes seems that every kid in America is currently studying a martial art -- I think it's important to know that Master Mendez makes sure there's room for old guys like me in his tournament.  So you'll also find "Senior" and "Executive" divisions.  "Executive" sounds much nicer than "really old," doesn't it?  Either way, I'll be there on March 16th.
   If you're 60 or older, please plan to compete!  Through this blog I have been trying to locate as many 60+ black belts as possible and urging them to participate in well-run tournaments.  So here's your chance.  Remember, it's not about whether you win a trophy.  It's about showing that older martial artists don't have to be put out to pasture.  In the March 16th tournament you won't have to compete against some who's 21.  You'll be able to show your stuff against martial artists whose ages are close to yours. 
   If you haven't competed in a tournament recently, you'll find the Rider University gym to be an outstanding venue, conveniently located just off
I-95 in Lawrenceville, NJ.  For more information about the tournament, visit http://www.karatetournaments.com/event_pages/mercer.pdf, where you'll find details on the competition itself as well as driving directions and registration materials.
   If you're a senior in the martial arts, now's the time to get back in the game.  Hope to see you on March 16th.