Follow by Email

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

James Pounds Shihan Promoted

Santa Monica, CA
November 11, 2018

James Pounds Shihan, Head Instructor of Seiwakai of Texas Goju-Ryu Karate, was promoted to Nanadan (7th Degree Black Belt).  The Shinsa (grading) came at the end of four days of training with Seiichi Fujiwara Hanshi, the President of Seiwakai International and the Chairman of the Overseas Committee of the Japan Karate Federation Gojukai.

Mr. Pounds began training in traditional Japanese Karate in 1973. He is head instructor of both KarateATX Goju-Ryu in Austin and Blanco County Karate in Johnson City, TX.  He also holds a Kyoshi (Senior Master) license in Seiwakai and a Renshi (Master Teacher) license from the Japan Karate Federation Gojukai.  He serves as Secretary of the USA Seiwakai Board of Directors.

Saturday, September 15, 2018


I taught a self-defense class for women at the Gem of the Hills Center in Blanco last Wednesday evening. ( ) The class was from 6 - 8 pm and we had eight women participants, all of them very interested in learning or enhancing their defensive skills.

I used to shy away from doing stand-alone self-defense classes.  I felt that I would be responsible for falsely inflating a person's idea of their abilities after a two-hour session.  Generally, self-defense is a skill that requires repetition over time, coupled with some stressful training meant to make you "lose your mind" in order to become proficient.

I still believe that.  But in light of the growing meanness in our society and danger in the world at large. I also believe that having rudimentary skills is better than having no skills at all when it comes to self-defense. It is amazing what you can recall when you have to recall it.  Many of my karate students don't think they know as much as they do until I have them teach.  Then they are amazed that they can recall almost everything Sensei has taught them in the past, down to the smallest nuances.

This has made me re-think the value of even a two-hour defensive skills class. I keep the techniques basic and effective, because under duress that is what you might recall when the big adrenaline dump happens.  Primarily I teach awareness in these classes, but if you are attacked, how to increase your odds for survival.

This impressive group of women decided they wanted to have more time to practice their new skills and have asked me to teach a month-long series of once a week classes so they can truly assimilate their new skills. That's being proactive and I am happy to oblige their request. Maybe some will have enough fun and like the confidence they acquire to even join my karate classes taught at Core Fitness in Johnson City. ( )

Stay tuned for upcoming seminars.

Friday, August 31, 2018

CHANGES, CHANGES -- The New Blanco County Dojo

I apologize for not keeping up my blog.  I have been writing regularly, but much of it was for the Pan American Goju-Ryu Newsletter and the other work has been essays I am compiling for a book, so very little has made it to the blog.  There are very funny rules about what constitutes "unpublished" in the writing world, and blogs are published, so any essay I might like to post in this blog would be ineligible for a contest submittal in the future. 

But there is other news to report.

My family and I moved from Austin to Johnson City almost two years ago.  Over those two years I have driven to Austin (one hour each way) to continue teaching at the Karate Austin Dojo, until finally, due to increasing traffic and decreasing enrollment, that finally became untenable. So on July 1st, I left the Austin dojo in the hands of senior practitioners, with the understanding that I am Head Instructor of Seiwakai of Texas and as such, I will continue to be their dojo advisor and they are welcome to train with me at any time. That is now ongoing and they are operating as KarateATX ( 

Now finally, I will be opening a new dojo here in Johnson City, partnering with Core Fitness and at long last will be focusing again on both youth and adults! I am very happy about this as my youngest son is now old enough to begin training, so the time is right.  I aim to continue to pass on to the youth of Blanco County the values of traditional Japanese/Okinawa Karate-do because I know first-hand how that helps kids hold steady through the turbulence and varied influences of being a kid. And it helps us adults to stay fighting fast and fit as well.

So the time for positive change is now!  For me and hopefully for the families who will entrust me to be a great Sensei for their children as well as perhaps for themselves.  We start on September 11th, which is fitting as 9/11 symbolizes the resilience of the US as well as the ability to shake off an attack and rise to the occasion -- which is what karate-do is all about.  I look forward to growing in my teaching as well.  I've been doing this for 45 years now and I'm getting the hang of it, I think. After all, Picasso said it took him 90 years to learn to paint like a child.  I'm halfway there!