Yoshukai Karate Alliance Testimonials

Mr. Stone - Godan (5th degree black belt)

In 1985, when I was 12 years old, I decided that I would like to try karate lessons. At the time I lived in Normal Illinois and had several martial arts schools to choose from. My parents and I looked at many of the different schools all of which were just too expensive. Specifically, I remember calling one school and they were charging $60 a month and required a one year contract and this was over 20 years ago. It was at this time when a friend of my sister recommended that I try Yoshukai Karate, the style of karate he practiced.

I was immediately drawn to Yoshukai Karate. The techniques of Yoshukai were efficient, extremely powerful and were not flashy or extravagant like those I had seen at the other schools. The cost of the Yoshukai lessons was very reasonable at only $25 a month with no startup fees or contracts. With my parents’ approval, I immediately joined Yoshukai and started my karate training.

When I was a green belt the dojo in Normal was closed and I started training with Sensei Dugan in Lincoln. I had met Sensei Dugan a couple of times in the Normal dojo and had been impressed by him. As my training continued I formed a deep respect for Sensei Dugan as do all of his students. As an instructor Sensei Dugan is strict but fair and is always patient and willing to spend extra time helping students. He is dedicated to passing on his extensive knowledge of Yoshukai Karate to anyone who wants to learn.

Yoshukai Karate training instills many different values in its students. Most prevalent among these values are patience, discipline, and respect. I have been studying Yoshukai karate for over 20 years now and I know that these values have been ingrained in me through my karate training. I owe a lot to Sensei Dugan and to Yoshukai karate. Without the discipline and patience of karate training I would not be the person I am today.

Shihan - Yondan (4th degree black belt)

My first introduction to martial arts, like many, was through the movies. It wasn't until a friend of mine showed me some basics that he had learned in a formal class that I understood there was more to it than choreographed scenes and compelling back stories. I wanted to join my friend, but my parents were very cautious and didn't encourage my pursuit.

In 1990, with my first job, I was able to pay for my own training with Sensei Dugan. The fact that I was willing to spend my own money and time convinced my parents that I wasn’t going to give up on the idea, and they allowed me to train. My parents recognized a significant difference in my attitude, especially during those teen-age years. They were then excited for me to introduce Yoshukai to my sister, niece, and nephew much earlier in their lives.

Yoshukai Karate continues to provide a very valuable, positive influence that flows into many aspects of my daily life. I regularly see where Sensei Dugan's emphasis on attitude has benefited me in both personal and professional relationships. The patience, confidence and perseverance developed through the years of training are my greatest reward.

Sensei Dugan - Yondan (4th degree black belt)

My name is Nykol Dugan and I have proudly reached my goal of becoming the first Yoshukai Karate Alliance female Black Belt. Testing for the title of Shodan was one of the hardest things I had ever set out to do, yet the most rewarding.

Not only did I earn the rank of Shodan but also a tremendous amount of respect and passion for the art of Yoshukai. With the traditional and strict training I have endured in the past 3 ½ years, I have gained many great qualities including: self-esteem, self-respect and self-confidence, the three most important values needed to make a person successful within themselves.

Yoshukai Karate proves itself to become a way of life to those who ‘train seriously with heart and soul’. Between the tradition of Yoshukai and the dedication and respect to Yoshukai by Dugan Sensei and his students, we will remain known as the most traditional style of martial arts.

Mr. Lanning - Sandan (3rd degree black belt)

My name is Gordon Lanning and I am a 1st degree Black Belt in Yoshukai Karate Alliance. I live in Lincoln, Illinois and I am a teacher. I was in Yoshukai Karate for 2 years, starting in 1987. I rejoined Yoshukai in the fall of 2003. I felt that I had some unfinished business to take care of. I earned my Black Belt in December of 2005.

I chose Yoshukai Karate because it is a traditional Japanese hard-style of martial arts. I enjoy the workouts and the study of traditional Japanese weaponry. Sensei Dugan is a great instructor that teaches this style of martial art because of his passion and belief in Yoshukai Karate.

Mr. Schreiber - Nidan (2nd degree black belt)

When I was 10 years old I wanted to be in some kind of sport, then my parents heard of Yoshukai Karate. I never heard of it before, but I didn’t care if it was a common or uncommon karate, so I signed up for it.

At first I expected to learn a lot at once, but instead of stuffing my head with karate I slowly worked up to higher things, but it was worth it. I got better with the smaller stuff they taught me so I learned higher things.

Also, when I joined karate I never knew I would make many friends that I could trust, so ever since then Yoshukai Karate has been a big part of my life in and out of the dojo.

Mr. Bugner - Nidan (2nd degree black belt)

My name is Daniel Bugner, and I joined Yoshukai Karate Alliance in 2012 and earned by 1st degree black belt in June 2015. Before karate, I was and still am an avid swimmer, but back in 2012, I was suffering from back and neck pain from focusing on only swimming, as well as loss of balance.

After signing my 2 boys up for Karate, I noticed that the Traditional Japanese training style of Yoshukai Karate was what I needed. The traditional Style of Karate focuses on improving oneself both physically and mentally. This training help improve my balance and strengthen many of the muscles that I hadn't been using, eliminating my back and neck pain that I was suffering from. The training also help me re-focus my efforts and regain much of self-discipline that I had started to lose.

In the end Yohsukai Karate has helped me become stronger both physically and mentally

Ms. Dawn Johnson - Shodan (1st degree black belt)

My name is Dawn Johnson and I am proud to say that Yoshukai Alliance has been a great help in my life. When I was younger, I spent all my time in dance and gymnastics. At an early age, my parents divorced and then I was taken out of all the things I enjoyed the most.

My confidence had dropped and my spirit broken. I went through some difficult times with being picked on at school as well as at home by the neighbor kids. I went through life the best I could and I did have some great friends. It wasnÕt until I was an adult that I was introduced to Yoshukai Karate. The timing was great, I was ready for improvement in my life and this was it. Yoshukai Karate has helped keep me mentally strong as well as improve my health. I have asthma and osteoarthritis. Without training, I feel miserable and depressed.

Mr. Austin Johnson - Shodan (1st degree black belt)

Yoshukai has helped me by improving my confidence, discipline, stamina, and strength. My discipline is probably better than what it would be if I didnÕt start, itÕs a lot better at home too. My stamina has increased a lot. My defense in class and in everyday life is probably way better than it would be without karate.

Karate has helped me with a lot!

Mrs. Emilie Tapscott - Shodan (1st degree black belt)

I have learned a lot from my training in Yoshukai Karate Alliance. Not only have I gained confidence in my ability to defend myself, but I've carried all that I've learned into my life outside karate as well. Through the mutual respect among the karate-ka i've gained respect for others and myself. What puts Yoshukai Alliance above the other styles for me is that it's more than a school of karate, but a school of moral principles, and a family to it's students.

Mr. Noah Kenney - Shodan (1st degree black belt)

I have learned patience and self-control. I do not seeing earning a black belt as a stopping point but just another step in my karate achievement. Yoshukai means the training hall of continuous improvement and development and I can always learn and develop new skills in Yoshukai Karate.

Karate has given me more self-confidence not only in the dojo but life in general. I feel privileged to train under the leadership of Dugan Sensei and the other black belts at the Yoshukai Karate Alliance. The have all been mentors to me in my karate and daily life.

Mr. Payton Lanning - Shodan (1st degree black belt)

There are many things that a black belt is but the three most important traits are achievement, perseverance and the virtues of traditional karate training, which include compassion, patience, respect, honor and gratitude.

The way you act as a black belt in Yoshukai shows how you honor your dojo, Sensei, and the history of Yoshukai karate. I have gratitude toward Sensei for giving me the proper training and offering me the chance to test for black belt.

I thank Sensei for allowing me to test to become one of his black belts.

Mr. Ethan Hoinacki - Shodan (1st degree black belt)

Karate has been great for me physically. I have never found a workout regimen as intense and focused. I would try running everyday, but I found it boring. I couldn't stay focused and eventually quit. I wasn't learning anything. The first dojo-belief that karate-kas memorize: Train seriously, with heart and soul. I don't know a whole lot of exercise programs out there that make you put your heart into it. Exercise is about running in pace on a treadmill, or listening to your favorite up-beat playlist on Spotify while throwing around a tire in a smelly gym full of stinky people. ThatÕs not for me. Yoshukai is a lifestyle, not an exercise program; it becomes a part of you. Once a karate-ka, always a karate-ka. Training seriously means training and being your best both inside and out outside of the dojo.

Mr. Daniels - Shodan (1st degree black belt)

Yoshukai Karate has been a great experience, and has helped me get over some fears, and increased my self-confidence. I am a black belt now, and am very proud that I stuck with my training all these years. I never thought I'd reach this level by the time I was only 12.

Ms. Meghan Kenney - Shodan (1st degree black belt)

Several members in my family have been a part of Yoshukai Karate Alliance, including 3 of my cousins, my aunt, two of my uncles, and my older brother Noah. Noah joined the Alliance while he was in 4th grade and my parents had plans for me to follow in his footsteps. However, I joined the Alliance in June during my 6th grade year. Even though I could have joined earlier, my parents knew how much discipline it took to be in martial arts and they thought it was best for me to wait until I got a little bit older. To me, karate always seemed intimidating, but once I came to class, everything felt natural. I distinctly remember my first day in class, Sensei taught me Kiotski, Yoi, and Yame. And once I learned my blocks, I would be practicing them in my front yard in between lessons. I was grateful to be able to test every four months all the way through earning my 1st Kyu. I also love attending Yoshukai clinics and Natsu Keiko (summer camp). Yoshukai Karate has taught me patience, good agility, and responsibility. I've seen a lot of people come and go while training over the last four years, but I have pressed on and I have earned my black belt, just as several people in my family have done. My training continues as I am working on continually improving and learning.

Mr. Taylor Hoinacki - Shodan (1st degree black belt)

I believe a black belt is not the end but a beginning to something new. Kyu belts are just like a huge training step to work as hard as you can to get everything right.

Yoshukai karate has helped me is by teaching me respect by showing respect to my Sensei, Shodans, and fellow classmates. Watching other black belts shows that they have lot a lot of time and effort put into karate and have a passion for it. Once one obtains a black belt I believe it's a whole new road full of different obstacles than a kyu belt has to handle. Everything gets a little more intense each time you complete a test. This has taught me to strive for perfection.

Yoshukai karate has taught me some great characteristics for my everyday life such as patience. Patience is hard to find in the American culture, due to things being so instant. Striving to do thebest, is also something I have learned while training in karate! Have to work very hard everyday on everything I do, such as school work, and everyday chores. I am excited to see where karate takes me in the future.

Ms. Savanna Shaffer - Shodan (1st degree black belt)

Yoshukai has helped me in a variety of ways. Yoshukai has helped me to be respectful to othersand myself. The way we do things such as bowing to each other, saying excuse me, and how we kiai after someone says something shows respect. That has not only helped me in karate but in daily life.

Karate has helped me work harder to accomplish my goals. When I first joined karate I wasn'tnecessarily fully committed. I didn't know if I was going to do okay or if I was ever going to pass atest. However, when I passed my first test I felt amazing. That really pushed me to continue to trainhard and keep progressing in physical and mental training. The higher rank I got, the more I wanted to learn, and the more I wanted to get better. Karate has helped me gain confidence as well. Knowing that you know self -defense helps you walk around and be more confident that if someone grabs you can hopefully get out of it. Yoshukai has helped me breathe better as well. With my asthma, doing the deep breathing and breathing in through your nose but through your mouth has helped me to relax and calm down if I can't breathe very well. It also builds up the strength of your lungs, as well as my overall physical strength. Going to class every Tuesday and Thursday as well as practicing often keeps your mind and body healthy and active! Over all, Yoshukai Karate has helped me in a variety of ways and I am very glad I joined karate.

Mr. Tyson Lile - Shodan (1st degree black belt)

Yoshukai has helped me in many aspects of my life. It has helped with my discipline. Beforeattending Yoshukai, l was much less disciplined and less respectful to people. Karate has givenme the ability to defend myself and teach my friends how to defend themselves as well. Not onlydo I know how to fight, but I know how to break holds, keep from being choked, and resolvefights without throwing a single punch or kick. Last year, I was approached by someone whowas angry with me. Instead of trying to talk; he started to try and punch me. I used what Ilearned in karate to angle in, and grab him, impairing his ability to hit me. We both made out ofthat fight unscathed. Without my training with Yoshukai, I could have been hurt. Karate has evenhelped me stay in good physical shape.

Karate has taught me discipline that carries out to many other parts of my life. I run track, and ourpractices are hard. If I had never started practicing karate, I would never have the discipline andendurance to continue running track. Karate has also sharpened my mind. I have good gradesand am in the advanced math class at my school. Karate has helped me with that mentaldiscipline that makes me get good grades and pay attention in class. In conclusion, training in karate has benefited me in many, many ways.

Ms. Denise Crutcher - Shodan (1st degree black belt)

Karate did not start out as a burning passion. It just looked interesting and fun as I watched my sonbegin his training. After a month of watching, I decided that I wanted to try it, and it was fun. It became one of the only forms of exercise that I truly enjoyed. As I progressed in my own training, I started to develop a stronger sense of myself as I accomplished things that I never imagined I could. Even though I was in the class with my son, I had to learn how to focus on my own training and improvement and not watch him. As I came home from the stresses of my job, I had to learn how to re-focus my attention on my karate and let the tension of the workday go. This has been extremely helpful to me over the last 3 years and has been very good to my mental state.

Karate is not easy. It involves serious training, and sometimes injuries happen, especially when you're beginning in your 40's, but part of Yoshukai Karate is perseverance, and you do not give up just because you're injured. You work through it, and one day you realize that you're stronger for having continued. That success has carried over into all aspects of my life, as I accomplished more than I ever thought I could. Learning how to defend myself has given me more self-confidence, and while I would still prefer not to get into a fight, I know that I am capable of defending myself and those around me if necessary. That confidence has led me to remember to hold my head up and face difficult situations head on without fear.

Mr. Wyatt Crutcher - Shodan (1st degree black belt)

Where do I begin? Karate has changed me in many ways. Let's start with strength. Strength can come in the form of physically and mentally. For me, karate has given me both.

If someone would attack me, l spring into action and defend myself until I am safe from harm. I don't feel like a weak child, but feel like a strong man ready to take on the world! Then there is mental strength. A person's mind over the body can help you through many things. Your mind is your decision maker. While your body can physically do a lot, your brain tells you what to do. Karate has taught me to keep from boasting, to not lash out in anger and, to respect others; that is mental strength. Those two together is what makes strength. Those two together is what makes strength an important factor of my life.

Next is respect. Respect is something that belongs to everything, even if it doesn't appear to, everyone deserves respect, your peers, your family and teachers. Not just school teachers, everyone like Sensei's. They deserve much respect because they are the reason you are learning karate.

Karate has given me more hope in myself so I can be kinder and more respectful. I think that the golden rule should be applied to everything. Treat others the way you want others to treat you.Karate helps me with that. That is another big thing that will play out in my life.

The last thing is perseverance. The dictionary definition of perseverance is steadfastness in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success. Now that is definitely important to some aspects of my life. For my karate tests I have practiced and practiced to pass. Those practices have gotten me to where I am now.

Testing for black belt. When people say, "How does that fit in with karate?" Well first off our karate Gi's say Nintai, which means perseverance, on the back. I also use perseverance in everyday life. That is perseverance. That will also help me in my life.

In conclusion karate has given me many things like strength, respect, and perseverance through many tasks. In our dojo beliefs it says to use these beliefs in the dojo and in everyday life. That is what I'm going to do with all of the stuff l have learned in karate. Thank you Sensei Dugan and Dugan Sensei!

Ms. Ava Thierry - Shodan (1st degree black belt)

I have been a Yoshukai Karate ka since I was seven years old. When I first joined, Ihad very little self-discipline. I would get in trouble in school, not for major misbehaviors,but for my non-stop talking. Over the years of practicing karate, an activity that requiresmuch self-control and self-discipline, I learned to control my talking and to try to onlyspeak at appropriate times.

I feel that being part of the Alliance has also made me more confident. I look at allthe other girls in my school, and they put themselves down. They never seem to have anypositive things to say about themselves. Even my best friend says something bad aboutherself almost every day. Then I'm over here, shocked, because I know that there'ssomething great about all of them. While they feel they aren't good enough, I know that,as long as I try, I'm the best person I can be. I think that karate is part of why I realize that.

Finally, there's personality. The ultimate goal of Yoshukai Karate is characterdevelopment, which has definitely proven true to me. Yoshukai made me realize at an earlyage that I would need to put in hard work to succeed. Without that lesson, I woulddefinitely be struggling in school. Before karate everything came pretty easily to me. I'vealways been ahead in school and was normally a quick learner. Then when karate came, Ihad to put more effort than usual. That was the first time that I dealt with true struggleand learned to overcome it. Now that I'm in Junior high and our school band I realize, effort pays off, so thank you, for helping me become who I am today.

Ms. Faith Eckhardt - Shodan (1st degree black belt)

To start, Yoshukai has helped me in many different ways. Yoshukai has taught me how tobuild up my confidence. Now it is easier to stand up to bullies that I normally would have shiedaway from. Through training and testing, I now am able to stand up in front of the class andpresent my work when necessary. That was a huge struggle for me. Yoshukai also helps mewith controlling my breathing. Breathing is an enormous part of Yoshukai. Breathing helpsmake your moves more powerful. I have become a better athlete because of Yoshukai. My balanceand coordination have both improved. It's hard to imagine what my life would be like if I hadn'tstarted my karate training. I wouldn't be where I am right now mentally or physically. Yoshukai has taught me how my mind can tell me how to fight through the pain. You can accomplish anything if you tell your mind to do it. If you tell your mind NO, NO I can't do this you're right, you probably won't. Dugan Sensei said to the class once, your mind controls your body, if you tell it you CAN'T do something then the mind won't do it. But if you tell your mind Yes I CAN do it, your body willfollow your mind. When I first started my training anytime I was told No, that's incorrect or someone raised their voice at me, I used to get really upset. I now feel like I've developed "Thicker Skin" and I'm not as sensitive as I was. I know I still have a long journey yet but that is what Yoshukai is, continually improving! And finally, Yoshukai has help me realize that everything we do in karate, is for a reason. Nothing is handed to us, just like in life, you have to work for it!
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