2B - The Michigan Daily - SportsTuesday - January 17, 2006
Outside distractions can't stop Shotokan
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Athlete of the Week
Name: Greg Wagner Team: Wrestling
Hometown: Fort Wayne, Ind. Class: Senior
Why: The fifth-year senior captain took care of business in
the heavyweight category over the weekend. He won all four of
his events and outscored his opposition by 36 points. His final
victory put the finishing touches on Michigan's win over Iowa.
By Daniel Greenblatt
For The Daily
Imagine a place where you can completely rid yourself of stress,
achieve extreme relaxation and simultaneously have fun. Well, you have
just entered the Michigan Shotokan Dojo, or room 3275 of the CCRB. At
the Michigan Shotokan club, not only can you brush up your self-defense
skills, but at the same time, you can strengthen your spiritual side.
Shotokan is a school of karate developed by master Gichin Funakowski,
and many study it - some starting as late as age 60.
"(Shotokan) is not any sort of religion," said alumnus Dean Askounis,
who has been a member for more than 20 years.
Joining the club simply to be the toughest guy on the street is futile.
"We're not doing this so we can go out and fight," Askounis said.
Members of the club focus on exceeding their own physical boundaries
by setting goals. These range from getting past an injury to perfecting a
karate form called kata. The club members also respect the spiritual side
of karate - bowing and meditating before and after each practice.
There are three types of practice: basic, kata, and cumitae. In basic,
various aspects of karate, such as blocks and kicks, are practiced. In kata,
karate forms are learned, almost like dances. Specific moves must be per-
formed in a certain order and can also be thought of as groups of combina-
tions pieced together. Kata requires extreme practice and determination.
"We do 25 to 30, or even 40 [repetitions] of one kata," said Toni Guz-
zardo, alumnus and club coordinator.
In fact, some members go to a special four-day training session, where
they study intensely at a dojo - a learning hall for martial arts - sup-
ported by the Shotokan Karate Association (SKA). There, participants
practice multiple times a day, devoting their minds and bodies to the study
of karate. Outside distractions are driven away. Alcohol consumption,
drug use and sexual activity are prohibited during these special training
"The first special training is extremely memorable," Askounis said.
Karate started in Japan under Gichin Funakoshi, and Shotokan was
the first form of karate to come to the United States - brought here in
1951 by Tsutomu Ohshima. Ohshima studied under Funakoshi to become
a godan - or fifth-degree blackbelt, the highest ranking in Shotokan. He
then moved to California and founded the SKA - a non-profit organiza-
tion. In 1981, it came to Michigan through a man named John Teramoto,
who studied under Ohshima to become a godan. Teramoto and Ohshima
are very similar in their styles of teaching, and the members of the Sho-
tokan club feel that they were very fortunate to have such a great leader
The SKA, a nonprofit organization funded by grants and donations, orga-
nizes special training and also instructs the dojos about what to teach. Some
of the SKA's funds were used to build the Shotokan Ohshima dojo - a cen-
tral dojo located in Santa Barbara, Calif.
Newcomers are always encouraged to join. In the past, it has been dif-
ficult for the club to keep members because many students are intimidated
by the dedication of the veteran members. For the two straight hours they
practice, their faces are fixed in, extreme concentration, and their arms
and legs move in the most precise manner. But the club hopes new mem-
bers are not intimidated. A meeting for new members will take place on
Thursday to welcome anybody that wants to join. Guzzardo encourages
people to sit and watch a practice to help them decide whether the club is
right for them.
Throughout the years, the club has produced numerous blackbelts. It
has touched many people's lives, including Askounis - he started out as a
beginner and has studied the art form seriously for over twenty years.
"(Who knows), you could be the next Bruce Lee," Guzzardo said.
1/17 Ice Hockey at Michigan State
1/18 M Basketball vs. Northwestern
1/19 W Basketball vs. Minnesota
1/20 Hockey vs. Bowling Green
1/20-21 M Track and Field
at Red Simmons Invitational
1/21 W Track and Field
at Red Simmons Invitational
1/21 M Tennis vs. Western Michigan
1/21 W Swimming and Diving
1/21 W Tennis vs. DePaul
1/21 M Tennis vs. Ball State
1/21 W Gymnastics at Penn State Quad
1/21 Ice Hockey at Bowling Green ]
1/21 M Gymnastics vs. Penn State
1/21 M Basketball vs. Minnesota
1/22 W Basketball at Indiana
Bowling Green, Ohio
Fifth time's a charm for Blue
By Amber Colvin
Daily Sports Writer
When Michigan wrestling coach Joe
McFarland closes his eyes at night and counts
sheep, it must be hard for him to get past the
This past weekend, the No. 5 Wolverines
took fifth place at the NWCA National Duals
in Iowa, making this season the fifth time they
have placed fifth at the meet.
And the magic number doesn't stop there.
Four Wolverines boasted perfect 5-0
records over the weekend. Two of them were
fifth-year senior captains Ryan Churella and
Greg Wagner, the only undefeated wrestlers
on the squad.
But the one five that got away from Michi-
gan was the one they wanted most - to win
all five of their dual meets. With a tough loss to
No. 14 Nebraska, Michigan's hopes of claiming
first place evaporated. After the 24-16 defeat in
the quarterfinals, the best place Michigan could
get was that familiar number five.
"It was sort of an emotional loss for us
after we loss to Nebraska," McFarland said.
"That was a match that I thought we were on
track to win, but every now and then, some
freaky things happen. We got ourselves in
some tough positions, and Nebraska capital-
ized on them."
Rebounding after the defeat was a true test
for Michigan, who had to win its remaining
matches against Cornell, Arizona State and
Iowa to earn the No. 5 spot.
"I think so far this season, that's probably
the highest level of wrestling we've seen all
year," McFarland said. "All the top teams in
the country were there."
The bracket-style tournament included 16
of the best teams in the country, and Minne-
sota came out on top.
Though it was a team tournament, individu-
als got their chance to shine throughout the
weekend. In his final match, Michigan junior
Nick Roy had a big win at the 174-pound level
over Iowa's Ben Stedman. Roy started the'bout
with a strong lead, but he squandered the mar-
gin in the second period after Stedman eked
out an escape and a takedown. Before the peri-
od was over, Roy came back, bringing Sted-
man down to the mat for a pin.
"I think our team showed a lot of heart
coming back," Roy said. "I know a lot of guys
were disappointed because we wanted to win
it. But not everything goes as planned, and
really, it's the end of the year that counts. I'd
take a national championship over a national
dual championship any day."
Wagner dominated the heavyweight cat-
egory the entire weekend, notching four
shutout victories and one forfeit. Overall, he
outscored his opponents 36-0. The 4-0 deci-
sion in his final bout sealed the 19-15 victo-
ry over the Hawkeyes - and the fifth-place
standing for his team.
McFarland noted that individuals like red-
shirt freshmen Tyrel Todd and Steve Luke
also had praiseworthy performances, even if
they didn't result in a "W" on the score sheet.
"My young guys, Tyrel Todd and Steve Luke,
had good matches," McFarland said. "They
were in every one of those matches. They
proved to themselves that if they continue to
work, it's going to start happening for them."
With five dual meets crammed into two
days and a long bus ride to and from Iowa, the
weekend was taxing for the Wolverines. Four
of the matches took place Saturday, making
for a long day at the gym.
"We were in the gym for 15 hours Satur-
day," Wagner said. "It gets hard to sit around
all day. We couldn't relax, and we had to keep
our focus. It really shows how tough a team is
After the grueling weekend, the Wolver-
ines will enjoy a short break before Big Ten
competition kicks off against Northwestern.
Though he is pleased with where his team is at
right now, McFarland has plans to improve the
team's intensity level, mat strategy and condi-
tioning. With that progress, fifth place could
become a distant memory.
Junior Josh Churella and the Wolverines compiled an impressive record over the weekend.
The NFL Conference Championships
The conference championships are now set, and we at Daily Sports figure that, being a sports section, we should offer
our two cents on what will happen next Sunday.
6:30 p.m., FOX
In Seattle, the Seahawks will kick off against Carolina in the classic East Coast vs. West Coast battle royale that Biggie
and Tupac died defending. If defense wins championships, then Seattle is in trouble. The Panthers allowed the third few-
est yards per game in the NFL and were the best team in the NFC against the rush. NFL MVP Shaun Alexander will be
beaten around more than former Cleveland Indians pitcher Chuck Finley, and it will be interesting to see how he holds up
over the game. Panthers quarterback Jake Delhomme could have a big day through the air since Seattle's pass defense has
more holes than the Bush administration. Expect a low scoring affair in which the only entertaining thing will be listening
to see if Joe Buck's voice changes tone.
Carolina 13, Seattle 3
3:00 p.m., CBS
Denver (14-3 )
Broncos quarterback Jake Plummer is living proof that to succeed in the NFL, one doesn't necessarily need to shower
or shave. The dirty Grizzly Adams look may not be the reason for Denver's success, but Plummer's reemergence as a
clutch player has made it cool again to be a Broncos fan. On the other side of the field, the Steelers come off a wacky
weekend in which a drunken idiot kicker was the only reason they walked away with a win against the Colts. The Pitts-
burgh offense won't wow you, but hard work does go a long way. Unfortunately, one needs more than hard work to win a
championship. And although the Steelers may seem like a team of destiny, the mile-high atmosphere will be too much to
overcome for Pittsburgh. Besides, unlike the Colts, Denver actually likes its quarterback.
Pittsburgh 28, Steelers 24
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