Below you’ll find many articles related to the history of the Karenzukai Karate Association and the martial arts career of Dr. Bernard Collins. Keep in mind that many of the spelling errors are due in part to the lack of world knowledge and proper terminology of the time period in which they were written.
Karate club finds peace and knowledge
Transcript of Article:
Members of the NRC Karate Club have chosen a high-technology environment to practice a martial art form more than 2,000 years old.
On Tuesday and Thursday evenings, the class meets to obtain “peace and knowledge” from their Sensei, Bernie Collins, who works for Advanced Systems Division. A master of Karenzukai, Collins is one of the highest ranking black belts in the United States. He has trained 12 U.S. champions and appeared on national television to present self-defense seminars.
As a volunteer instructor for the ASD employees, Collins teaches the Okuno-ryu style of karate. “Okuno-ryu stresses stability, balance, flexibility and mobility,” Collins said. Initially, he tailored the class to an outdoor environment, and has since moved the class indoors to Pico Park’s gymnasium.
“Regardless of where we meet, participants are discovering that karate helps increase mind and body awareness,” he said.
Pauline Flores has progressed from the beginner’s white belt to a green belt in less than a year. Regarding the first session, she said: “It was more than I expected. I had no knowledge of karate or the disciplined training but I was accepted, and I felt unity and support from my ‘dojo brothers and dojo sisters.’”
Robert Wagner said that all aspects of his physical being come into play. “Karate helped me learn more about myself and others. I can go beneath the exterior qualities to search for inner strength,” said Wagner, who holds a green belt. “After putting in a day in a high-technology environment, I complete my day in a low-technology setting, which brings my mind and body to a higher level.”
Mike Hardy, who also has a green belt, has been interested in the martial arts since he was 12 “I’ve studied different styles and they seem to be basically the same until you get into higher level concepts,” Hardy said. He noted that karate is a serious sport among class participants. Janice Gipson, another student, concurs. “No matter how much experience we have, we all show respect for each other and humility,” Gipson said. Beginners wear a white belt, those in the intermediate category wear a green or brown belt, and experts wear a black belt.
In keeping with the ancient traditions, the class reveres Sensei Collins. “We greet him with a bow, which shows respect for his rank and knowledge,” Gipson explained.
Then the training begins. “It’s rigorous,” Collins said. “Anyone within earshot will hear shouts and grunts. They will also see limbs slicing the air in precise movements. The mechanics of movement are necessary to enhance mental instinct, to heighten relaxation and concentration, to allow natural energy to flow,” he explained.
Drawn to the martial arts by the kata (dance), Collins studied under an old master of the sport while stationed in Okinawa. “Initially, I thought about power, but I learned there was more,” Collins said. “I developed my mind and body through the discipline of the master’s training.”
As a student he had to perform one thousand kicks during kicking training. Collins is less demanding. “My goal is to express awareness of the mind and body and to make them work in tandem,” said Collins. “My class isn’t trained to break chunks of ice, boards or other objects with their head, hands or feet. However, they are able to do so.”
“I’d like to eliminate one of the myths about karate. People still consider it a violent sport, but this isn’t true. We don’t believe in violence. I have taken an oath to be a positive role model.”
With 26 years of training – 12 as a master – Collins has lived up to his promise. He has donated his time to teach underprivileged youth and developed programs that stressed pride in peaceful accomplishments.
A former student of Collins, Johnny Crawford, has also taken an oath. “As chief instructor for this class, I have accepted the responsibility to pass on the knowledge and customs I learned as a student in order to preserve the intent of the ancient traditions.”
In the class setting, all contact is controlled. “Students learn through repetition without making harmful contact with their opponents,” Crawford said. “Dojo brothers and sisters also wear gloves and knee pads for safety during sparring practice.”
Typically, students never address their Sensei. However, Collins stresses communication and frequently interacts with his students. In accordance with ancient traditions, Sensei Collins is protected by his class until participants, in ranking order, address the outsiders.
“We are a close-knit group and we realize support is the key to success,” said Collins. “Okuno-ryu means ‘blending of many,’ and my class exemplifies the meaning of these words by their actions. They practice in groups of two or more on their own time and are very supportive of one another.”
Looking at the uniform all participants wear, called a “gi,” Collins said: “We are woven together like the threads in the gi. We are stronger in mind and body because we are in harmony with each other.”
NASA Thank You Letter for Dr. Collins
This letter was a congratulation award to Dr. Collins for pulling to safety men and women after a rocket fuel spill on the grounds of the Kennedy Space Center. Also present is a letter from a Senator congratulating Dr. Collins for his acknowledgement and a letter from the security company explaining the accident.
Dear Mr. Collins:
It is with great pleasure that I forward the enclosed picture and flags of your present home state of Washington and the United States which have flowing in space aboard the Space Shuttle.
The legend seeks to recognize and thank you for your contributions in just one instance while you were a Security Officer and supervisor here at the Kennedy Space Center. However, there is no way that words alone can convey the importance of the talents, dedication and plain hard work which you and thousands of others bring to the space program. It takes the work of each of us, working in our own area of expertise, to make the Space Program a success. Every day you were here you provided one of those vital services which has helped lead to such great accomplishments for our country.
On behalf of the Kennedy Space Center and entire agency please accept this token of our thanks and our best wishes for you and your family in the future.
Hugh W. Harris
Director, Public Affair Office
Karate Love Affair Motivates Collins
Karate Love Affair Motivates Collins
By: Jim Wright, Sentinel Star Staff
It’s self defense. It’s physical conditioning. It’s an art. It’s a competitive sport. But for Bernie Collins of Cocoa, karate is a love affair.
A Boeing security lieutenant at Kennedy Space Center, Collins holds the rank of fifth degree black belt in karate. That means, he says, the only experts with a higher ranking are generally Japanese people who began karate participation as children.
Such qualifications, it seems, would enable Collins to supplement his income healthily as an instructor.
“I have been offered $35 an hour to teach karate,” he says, “but I’ve enjoyed it so much I can’t see limiting it to those who can afford to pay.”
So, Collins and his advanced students teach, in four locations around Brevard County, without charge except for equipment. “Instead of $50 a month, my students pay about $2 monthly.”
A volunteer effort of such proportions did not go unnoticed. Miles Ross, deputy director of the space center, heard of what Collins was doing and expressed an interest in seeing an exhibition.
Thus, on a recent evening at Cocoa’s Joe Lee Smith Recreation Center, Collins’ students assembled to show their skills to Ross and the public. The students enjoyed showing off, and Collins and Ross clearly enjoyed watching them.
The karate class will meet Thursday at 7:30pm, at the A. L. Lewis Branch of the YWCA, 8th and Calhoun Streets. This class will include the principles of self-defense, with special emphasis on Karate. Bernard Collins will instruct the class. While in the United States Army, Mr. Collins was stationed in the Far East on the Island of Okinawa as a paratrooper. He received his training in Karate under the instructions of Sensei Zenryo Skimabriknno and chief instructor Edward Takae. He was awarded the first degree black belt for outstanding achievement in Karate.
The classes will meet twice weekly at 7:30pm, Monday and Thursday for a period of six weeks.
In Our Corner – He’s Karate Expert
In Our Corner
He’s Karate Expert
By Suzi Beadleston, Tribune Columnist
Three nights a week the National Guard Armory in Cocoa becomes a dojo, and the sensei rules.
A dojo is a training gymnasium where karate, the ancient Oriental style of combat, is taught. The sen sei is the “supreme commander,” according to Bernard Collins of Lakeview Estates.
He knows, for he is the sen sei to the Seibun Kan Karate Club, a class of about 30 students. They meet from 6 to 8 pm on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.
Karate has always seemed to me a violent, dangerous form of fighting – something to be dreaded. And perhaps those who would antagonize a karate expert should beware.
But as is typical of anything Oriental, mental control is stressed as much, if not more than physical action, Collins said.
He began his study of karate while stationed with the Army in Okinawa
“Over there I saw a black belt karate expert take unbelievable insults and abuse one afternoon,” Collins said, “Later I asked him why. He said he knew he could kill his tormenter with one blow – therefore there was no reason to prove it.”
This is an extreme point of view, but it illustrates the absolute control maintained by the true Oriental, and the confidence instilled through knowledge of karate, Collins said.
Karate takes dedication. Collins had instructed more than 1,000 students of varying ability, yet has promoted only a tenth of them.
When students begin they are white belts. As they advance through the ranks, their belts become yellow, orange, green, purple, brown and black.
After the black belt level has been reached, the karate expert is tested through four degrees.
Although he has attained the rank of 2nd degree black belt, he still practices four hours a day, seven days a week.
“The object of a karate student is to equal his sen sei,” Collins said. “I have to try to see they don’t.”
Next week, Collins will begin teaching a karate class for NASA personnel at the Kennedy Space Center. One of his students is sen sei to a beginning class at Brevard Junior College.
When Collins first came to Brevard in 1966, there were no Karate classes offered anywhere in the area.
He first taught karate through the recreation department, then moved to the Armory. His classes there include both men and women.
“I recommend karate just as a method of keeping physically fit, especially for women,” he said, “as well as a form of self-defense.”
His four-year-old daughter Berandelle doesn’t really worry yet about physical fitness, but she’s not afraid of going to school next year. Standing up to her full three and a half feet of height she informs one and all, “Nobody better mess with me next year, I’m a karate expert.”
Bernard Collins Heads Local Karate Association
Bernard Collins Heads Local Karate Association
When Bernard Collins, Boeing Security, went to Okinawa in 1961 as an Army paratrooper, he became interested in the Okinawan martial arts destroyers. He was impressed with their power, yet their humbleness – so impressed that he worked every night, seven days a week for 18 months to earn a black belt in karate. A fifth degree black belt, he has been active in the sport ever since.
KSC Director Lee Scherer, Deputy Director Miles Ross and Security Chief Charles Buckley attended one of Collins’ classes and were subsequently named honorary black belts. Collins said that this is a high honor among karate associations.
(Lost section) Collins teaching experience dates back to his days in the Army when he taught underprivileged children the art of karate under a federal grant. Following his discharge he continued to teach the children, receiving no monetary compensation.
His friendship with NBC’s Jay Barbaree – a fellow black belt with whom he trains – led to Collins invitation to act as a personal escort to NBC anchorman John Chancellor during the 1972 Democratic and Republican conventions.
Collins noted that about 35 Space Center employees take karate lessons. He added that half of his 300 students are women.
Dr. Collins Named Regional Director of Karate Federation
Former Jaxon Named Regional Director of Karate Federation
A former Jacksonville resident was recently named Regional Director of Florida, Georgia and Alabama in conjunction with the all Japan Karate Federation, in Philadelphia, Penn., and received his second Black Belt promotion.
Bernard Collins, of Cocoa, Fla., where his employed at JFK’s Space Center, began studying Seiban-Kan style karate while stationed on Okinawa as a paratrooper, during which time he earned his first degree Black Belt.
After returning to the states in 1965, Collins, established the first karate class at the A.L. Lewis Branch of the YWCA. Upon leaving Jacksonville in 1965, Collins left the class under the direction of John Andrews, who was recently promoted to Black Belt. Collins is now an instructor of karate at the National Guard Armory in Cocoa, Fla. His class consists of 95 percent white and 5 percent Negroes.
Bernard Collins has just returned from Pennsylvania, where he was named associate editor of Florida for the Self Defense Magazine by the Editor-in-Chief.
By accepting the appointment of regional director, Collins, became the first Negro to ever receive such an appointment.
Collins is married to the former . . . . of Jacksonville, and the couple has one daughter, Bernadette Renee. He is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Leroy Collins, Sr., of 1258 W. 30th Street.
Family Weekly, November 30, 1969
In an effort to beat inflation, many Americans are turning to moonlighting. Usually, moonlighting means a second job. But another form of moonlighting is a part-time business operated after regular job hours.
It may be just the idea for you – not only for extra money but for the challenge and satisfaction that comes from having your own business.
For example, Bernard Collins, a security guard at Kennedy Space Center in Florida, is one such venture. From 9 to 5, Collins watches over our moon-launch program, but twice weekly he changes his uniform to a white robe and black belt, and his title becomes “Sen-Sei.” His subject is karate.
A Korean veteran who learned the sport while a paratrooper stationed on Okinawa, Collins now holds a 4th degree black belt and is one of the nation’s highest-ranking sandan karate experts in his style, which is called “Shorinji” (closed fist).
Collins now teaches four classes a week, and his students range from balding, overweight executives to lithe teeny-boppers – and even on striptease artiste from Cocoa Ranch. Teaching these protégés nets Collins between $300 and $400 monthly – not bad, considering he’s keeping fit all the while.