Belated Halloween Party - Saturday, Nov. 25, 2017 - 5:00 to 9:00 PM at The Empty Hand

posted Nov 15, 2017, 9:35 PM by Joe Elliott   [ updated Nov 15, 2017, 9:51 PM ]

Join us for our (belated) Halloween party at The Empty Hand! We'll be training karate, playing games, eating pizza and having a good time! All Empty Hand students and Huaxia Chinese School karate students are invited, and you're encouraged to bring a friend, too! (Don't worry, we'll go easy on them!) Please send us an email before Thanksgiving to tell us you're coming, so we know how many people to expect!
What:   Halloween Party
Where:   The Empty Hand, 835 W. Chester Pike, 19382
When:   Saturday, November 25, 2017, 5:00-9:00 pm (Thanksgiving weekend)
How much:   No charge (but we'll happily accept $5 or $10 for food and drinks!)
RSVP:   Email – infoⓐTheEmptyHand•com
Halloween costumes optional - Wear something you can safely run around in!
We hope we'll see you there!

P.S. - Hey, parents, November 25 just happens to be the Saturday between Black Friday and Cyber Monday; use it well!

No class Tuesday, March 14 2017

posted Mar 14, 2017, 2:37 PM by Joe Elliott   [ updated Mar 14, 2017, 2:37 PM ]
Sensei wrote:

"We are canceling class tonight on account of the weather. I just went out and a lot of the roads are clear but there are also a bunch of slippery spots. Please everyone stay safe and take it real slow if you have to go out.

Sensei Elliott"

-Joe Elliott

Kangeiko 2017 - Special Winter Training at ISKF Headquarters

posted Jan 11, 2017, 8:38 AM by Joe Elliott

What: Special winter training with sensei Hiroyoshi Okazaki at ISKF Heatquarters dojo

When: Every morning at 6:30, Monday - Saturday January 23 - 28, 2017

Who: All ranks and ages are welcome and encouraged to participate; students can be excused early for school or work

How much: One-time $25 fee covers the whole week

Upcoming karate events

posted Sep 6, 2016, 6:26 AM by Joe Elliott

Hey, karate family, I hope you had a great holiday!

Sensei announced a few upcoming karate events and asked me to share them with you.

Sensei writes:

"Hi Everyone,

This fall there are several karate events for students of The Empty Hand.  

Fall Camp
Our east coast family will hold our annual Fall Camp at Camp Green Lane in Harleysville, PA September 9th through 11th.  It should be a great weekend of training!

Next Kyu Exam
Our next rank exam is scheduled for the evening of September 30th.  Sensei Judson Sumbler is the expected examiner.  The class/exam is scheduled to start at 6:30 PM on the 30th.  More info to come in a few days!

2nd Annual Amin Karate Seminar (youth and adult)
On Saturday, October 1st we have all been invited to attend the 2nd annual Amin Karate seminar in Hagerstown, Maryland (about 2 and 1/2  hours away).  The instructors for the seminars will be Sensei Najib Amin, 8th Dan and Dr. Farid Amin, 7th Dan.  immediately following the seminars, I will lead a youth shiai (mini tournament) for all the youth participants.  It was a fun day of training last year.  This year's event should be just as much fun.  The seminar starts at 9 AM with check-in at 8:15 (see the attached flyer for more info).

ISKF US Nationals
The ISKF US National Karate Championships will be held locally this year.  Usually we have to travel to get to the Nationals, but this year they are being held in Valley Forge, PA.  The Nationals will run from November 11th through the 13th.  As soon as we receive the Nationals packet we will send out the sign up sheets so you can participate.  With the Nationals [located] so close this year we should all try to attend and participate!

Keep Training!

Sensei Elliott"

See you in class!
-Joe Elliott

Join the Fight Against Pediatric Brain Cancer!

posted Jun 18, 2016, 9:10 AM by Todd Elliott   [ updated Jun 18, 2016, 9:12 AM ]

In October 2011 Granite Forest Dojo lost a beautiful rising star, 7-year-old Christopher Court, to pediatric brain cancer.  Since then the club has been on a mission to raise awareness and to raise money for research to fight this devastating childhood disease.  This week, Bruce Costa (the Chief Instructor at Granite Forest) and the rest of his 4 -man team begin Race Across America (RAAM) in their continuing quest to help fund the fight against pediatric brain cancer.  Their goal is to raise at least $100,000 for this very important cause.  

The four RAAM riders will ride their bicycles from coast to coast in 8 days (San Diego to Maryland).  In order to make it across within the 8-day time frame, each rider will have to ride about 100 miles each day!  The ride will take them through some very tough terrain, including the Rocky Mountains, Death Valley and the Appalachian Mountains as they near the East Coast.  It will be a grueling 8 days for the riders, but the cause is worth it.  

Let’s support them as they ride!  Attached is a pledge sheet on which you can sign up to do your own 8-day ride.  Even if we can’t go with the RAAM riders in person, we can add our own efforts from back here at home.  I’m going to try and ride 25 miles for 8 days starting today.  Please support me by making a donation to the Christopher Court Foundation ( or by doing your own ride and getting sponsors to support the cause!  Let’s cheer the RAAM Riders on with our own efforts from home!

Modified class schedule for Master Camp week, June 10th-16th 2016

posted Jun 9, 2016, 5:45 PM by Joe Elliott

ISKF's annual Master Camp takes place this coming week, so most of our instructors will be away. We're still having classes at The Empty Hand, but the schedule will be a little different than usual, to minimize the time I have to spend away from my mom, who relies on me for assistance at home. Sorry about the short notice!

Most classes this week will be open to all students, and will go from 6:30-7:30 pm. The exceptions are Saturday, which is 11:00 am to 12:00 pm; Tuesday, which is brown and black belts only, from 7:00 to 8:00; and Wednesday, which is kids only. To reiterate: Every class from Friday, June 10 through Thursday, June 16 will be 6:30 to 7:30, except Saturday and Tuesday. Here is the revised schedule in a more visual format:

 Day, Date: Start Time: Finish Time: Age, Rank:
 Friday, June 10  6:30 pm 7:30 pm all ages, all ranks
 Saturday, June 11
 11:00 am 12:00 pm all ages, all ranks
 Monday, June 13 6:30 pm 7:30 pm all ages, all ranks
 Tuesday, June 14 7:00 pm 8:00 pm all ages, brown/black belts only
 Wednesday, June 15 6:30 pm 7:30 pm kids only, all ranks
 Thursday, June 16 6:30 pm 7:30 pm all ages, all ranks
 Friday, June 17 (back to normal) 6:30 pm 7:45 pm all ages, all ranks

Thanks for your understanding!

Monday, February 15, 2016 - No Class, Due to Bad Weather

posted Feb 15, 2016, 1:21 PM by Joe Elliott   [ updated Feb 15, 2016, 1:22 PM ]

No class tonight. Sensei writes:

Hi Everyone,
I apologize for any inconvenience but I am canceling class at The Empty Hand this evening (Mon. Feb. 15, 2016) because the forecast is calling for a period of freezing rain this evening which may make untreated surfaces very slippery.
As always, it may not turn into anything, but I'd rather err on the side of safety and cancel so you can all get home without incident.

Tomorrow should only be rain so we should be holding our normal Tuesday evening class. Everyone please be safe and warm this evening!
Sensei Elliott

See you next time!

Tournament Registration Packet - 53rd ECSKA Regional Championships, 4/2/16

posted Feb 8, 2016, 2:31 PM by Joe Elliott

The registration packet for the upcoming regional tournament in Elverson, PA is available. You can download it here, then fill it in digitally using Adobe Reader, or print it and fill it in by hand.

In case it's not clear, pages 11 - 18 are for club directors (as is page 25), pages 19 - 22 are for competitors, and page 23 is for advertisers (complete this page if you're buying an advertisement in the tournament program booklet). The commemorative tournament tee-shirt design is on page 24, so you can see what it will look like before you place an order on page 19.

The postmark deadline for all entries is Monday, March 7, so please have your entry completed and returned to us no later than Saturday, March 5.

Most of the information you need is in the packet. If you have any questions, please ask me or another instructor for help.

UPDATE: January 30th Kyu Exam and Shiai

posted Jan 21, 2016, 9:30 AM by Joe Elliott

I apologize: It seems I jumped the gun in posting the information regarding the upcoming rank examination and mini-tournament at The Empty hand. Please pay special attention to the fees, deadline and schedule change info, as I had these wrong in my initial post.

Sensei Elliott writes:

To:            All Empty Hand, Huaxia and Martial Arts Academy students and parents
From:       Sensei Todd Elliott
Date:        January 9, 2016
Subject:    Kyu Exam and Shiai - 1/30/2016 - 1 pm at The Empty Hand - Kyu Exam Fee Increase!

        We have a lot happening on January 30, 2016. First of all there will be no morning class at The Empty Hand in order to encourage students to participate in Kangeiko (Special Winter Training) at the headquarters dojo in Philadelphia (222 S. 45th Street at 6 AM all week). The Saturday Kangeiko class will be the last one of the Kangeiko week and even one Kangeiko class is a great way to start your karate training for the New Year! Look for more info about Kangeiko in a separate memo!

        On the afternoon of January 30, 2016 we will hold both our next kyu exam and our first 2016 shiai (mini-tournament). All Empty Hand, Huaxia and YMCA Academy students are both welcome and encouraged to participate in the shiai even if you aren’t taking the kyu exam. You are also all welcome to take the kyu exam if you have your instructor’s permission (Kenya and/or Shani at Huaxia, Joe at the Y and Sensei Elliott at The Empty Hand). The shiai is a great way to meet other karate students and a great way to test your karate skills! We ask for a donation of $5.00 per participant in the shiai to cover the costs of refreshments, pizza and snacks after the shiai. Other than the refreshment donation, there is no charge for the shiai!

        As noted above, our next Karate Rank Examination (Kyu Exam) will be held at The Empty Hand on Saturday, January 30, 2016 at 1 PM. Because of Kangeiko, there will be no morning classes at The Empty Hand on the 30th. Students who are testing or participating in the shiai should be at the dojo dressed and ready for the exam no later than 12:45 PM on the 30th.

        Mr. Judson Sumbler, the chief instructor at both Greater St. Matthew’s and the Yeadon Shotokan Karate Clubs, is the scheduled examiner for the 30th. He is a 6th degree black belt with over thirty years Karate experience. Mr. Sumbler has visited our club, and invited us to his own, on many occasions throughout the years. He is an excellent examiner and always teaches fun, informative and entertaining classes (and is awesome with shiais too). Please give your best effort and pay close attention to his instructions.

        Administrative Details

        In order to be eligible to test a student must have trained a minimum of 3 months and have at least 30 attendances. The fees for kyu exams are going up this year so that we can make certain karate related reading and educational materials available to you throughout your time training with us. The fee for the examination for a color belt with a current ISKF membership card is now $50.00. Students testing for the very first time must complete the green ISKF (International Shotokan Karate Federation) membership application, have the application signed by your parents and also get it notarized (Yes, they really have to be notarized!!), and pay both the $35.00 annual ISKF/Empty Hand membership fee and the $50.00 examination fee ($85.00 total). All payments, membership cards, and completed ISKF applications must be presented to Sensei, Joe, Dan, Kenya, Gaby or Shani Elliott no later than the end of class on Saturday, January 23, 2016. Please make checks payable to The Empty Hand. If you have any questions about the test, you can ask any instructor before or after your normal class times.

        And once again, just a reminder... When you take any rank examination please remember to do all of your techniques with speed, power, and focus. Also remember that you should make loud strong KIAIs throughout your basics and twice during your kata. Also, DON’T BE LATE!! Finally, Sensei Elliott WILL NOT LET ANYONE TEST IN A DIRTY UNIFORM. All gis must be clean and neat!! Keep up the good work. Thank you in advance for making us proud at the Shiai and for an outstanding performance at the test.

The Empty Hand's 5th Anniversary! Special New Year's Day Schedule

posted Dec 31, 2015, 7:49 AM by Joe Elliott

I can't believe it's already been five years! The Empty Hand Family Karate Studio officially opened on January 1st, 2011. Sensei will be celebrating our dojo's first half-decade with a combined New-Year's Eve class, for all Empty Hand students. After that, we're ringing in 2016 with an open-house, New Year's Day kata-thon!

Sensei writes:


We will have one combined class at The Empty Hand tonight (New Year's Eve) from 6:30 to 7:45. On New Year's Day (tomorrow), I'm going to open the dojo at 8:30 and try to get through 75 kata between 9 AM and 11:00 AM. The dojo will be open to anyone who wants to train with me, including our friends from other clubs. I haven't done 75 kata in one stretch in a long time and I'm curious if I can pull it off. I'd love to have company for the attempt!

Have an awesome 2016!

Sensei Elliott

Thank you so much for being part of our karate journey! We literally couldn't have done it without you. Let's make the next five years even better!

Happy New Year!

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