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For those of you who are new to Shito-ryu Itosu-kai Karate, welcome. From this day forward you are part of an ancient and honorable martial art form.Karate, freely translated means "empty hand" or the ability of the practitioner to defend themselves without the use of weapons. However, only the student with an open heart and mind can master empty hand techniques.Karate classes begin with "mokuso", a meditative moment before instruction starts. It is at this time the student should clear their mind of everyday worries leaving it ready to receive instruction.The practice of "Shito-ryu Itosu-kai Karate" is an invitation to a lifetime of friendship, physical fitness and spiritual strength. As a beginner, you may find the discipline difficult and wearing but remain persistent and dedicated. The practice of martial arts requires training of spirit, mind and body. Therefore you will be working three times as hard as you would in other sports. Remember that all of your instructors felt awkward and, at times, overwhelmed in the beginning.By enduring and remaining true to the art you will soon begin to experience "budo" or the martial arts way. You will learn to use the power of your mind to defeat an opponent long before you need to use your fists or feet.Study hard, practice diligently, and follow the instructions of your senseis. Forego ego, be humble, strive for perfection. If you do, you are already on the path of becoming a master!