Student Organization Spotlight: Temple Shotokan Karate Club

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Daniel Sbar, sophomore Physics major and Temple Shotokan Karate Club Treasurer, found out about the Temple Shotokan Karate Club, from a worker at Pearson after they stopped him when he kicked a punching bag in a gym.

“I was working out, using one of the punching bags and as I also play soccer, not on the team here I just play soccer, I also like working out my legs and I was not allowed to kick the bags because they didn’t want people to break the chains connected to the ceiling,” said Sbar.

“So they told me that there’s actually a karate team here where I could be working on that kind of stuff so I found out about it,” added Sbar.

After hearing about the club, Sbar attended and has been a member ever since and was promoted to Treasurer in the fall of 2017.

Members of the Temple Shotokan Karate Club practicing. (Courtesy: Temple Shotokan Karate Club)

A typical club meeting begins with stretching led by President of the club, Nicholas Palmer or Vice President Jason Roldan. Then if one of the two teachers or sensei do not show up to the class, either Palmer or Roldan will teach a lesson involving the styles of basic kicks and punches or they will do kumite, which is practicing Shotokan karate moves in pairs.

After these activities, whoever is leading the club that day will guide the members through a kata, which is a choreographed set of movements. Katas are usually 15-21 steps according to Sbar. To conclude the class, the members bow in a line based on rank of skill and say their code, which most dojos, centers for studying karate have.

Each club meeting is different for members.

“My favorite part of club meetings is when we try out new activities to improve our karate,” said Rebecca Crites, sophomore Psychology and Information science and technology major. “So trying different stances, learning new techniques, and having the experienced senseis come in really helps me learn about karate more and improve my own skills.”

“I really enjoy the aspects of being able to workout in a fun and dynamic manor,” said Sbar. “But the thing I like the most about it are people I get to interact with in the club is a very wonderful group of people who I enjoy going to meet with them twice a week every week, and I wouldn’t want to miss it,” Sbar added.

Crites, who had no experience with karate, joined the club at the beginning of the Spring 2018 semester.

“I learned about the club through a flyer that I saw somewhere around Temple’s campus and I just decided to show up to a meeting and try it out,” said Crites. “Everyone was very nice to me even though I had no prior experience with karate. But whenever I was working on my stances or on the katas, they would be very helpful and it’s a welcoming environment and so I decided to come back and be a full time member,” Crites added.

The Temple Shotokan Karate Club meets every Monday and Wednesday from 6 to 8 PM and on Thursdays the club goes to a dojo in West Philadelphia, the International Shotokan Karate Federation Headquarters.

Students interested in getting more information about the Temple Shotokan Karate Club can learn more here.

Inside the Temple University Philippine American Council

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“I can’t see my college career ever starting ‘til I joined TUPAC,” says Aielle Reyna, senior nursing major at Temple University and current President of the Temple University Philippine American Council (TUPAC), which is a student organization of non Filipinos and Filipinos who practice, discuss, and educate themselves about Filipino cultural traditions and current events.

“I found out about TUPAC in my freshman year but I wasn’t really interested,” Reyna adds. “I was a commuter so joining clubs and stuff would be extra time for me to stay on campus when I would rather just be home.”

After being convinced to attend a TUPAC Easter egg hunt by her friend, Reyna got involved with the student organization in her junior year.

“Eventually I got the position as secretary and I got more involved in the club,” says Reyna. “It really became like my second family, my second home here.”

A typical TUPAC meeting begins with announcements, and then the club will play a game relating to Filipino culture, such as a Filipino street game, have a language lesson, or hold a discussion exploring identity.

“We’re just trying to educate ourselves about the Philippines, what we’re about,” says Reyna. “For this year we’re really looking towards self-identity in one’s culture. Especially since a lot of us are first or second generation Filipino Americans where we’re so Westernized we kind of forget our culture back home.”

This year, TUPAC hosted Mr. District 5, also known as Mr. D-5, in late February, one of their largest annual events.

TUPAC on a bonding trip/ Mia Garcia

TUPAC is a part of District 5 of the Filipino Intercollegiate Networking Dialogue, a national organization which works to unite Filipino students in higher education and has 9 districts around the United States of America. District 5 also includes the University of Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania State University, the University of Delaware, and other schools in the area.

“Mr. D-5 [ . . .] was a male pageant between all the district schools,” says Reyna. “But they would showcase different talents with their Filipino culture so some people would dance traditional Filipino dances, some people would have like a dialogue in Tagalog, which is one of our native languages, and some people would just talk about how being Filipino really affected them.”

TUPAC hosts general body meetings from 5 PM to 7 PM on Tuesdays or Wednesdays. The club donates to charities which help the Philippines. Depending on the season, the meeting can be holiday themed and celebrated with Filipino traditions.

To celebrate Valentine’s day, TUPAC hosted one meeting in which they discussed courtship in the Philippines.  In the past, to celebrate Christmas the club members have made star lanterns and put candles inside of them to light them which are commonly made in the Philippines around the holiday season.

“I went to the first meeting and obviously the first meeting you’re just meeting everybody so you don’t have a friend there,” says Mia Garcia, freshman Legal Studies major at Temple University. “But like as the second meeting rolled around we were all comfortable with each other and it’s kind of like the feeling where you meet someone for the first time and you guys are just–you instantly hit it off and it’s just like you’ve known each other for years.”

“It’s only my first year of college but I feel like I definitely found the people that I’m going to keep in my life forever,” Garcia adds.

Students looking to get involved with TUPAC can find more information here.

Student Organization Spotlight: Temple Debate Society

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The Temple Debate Society takes on about two debate tournaments each month. The fifteen members, ranging all years from freshmen to seniors, attend debate tournaments around the United States.

Temple Debate Society members after a bonding dinner (Courtesy: Gillian McGuire)

At these competitions, students debate formally by following the rules of the American Parliamentary Debate Association, an intercollegiate debating group which sponsors and plans the debates. Other teams represent different schools such as George Washington University, Pennsylvania State University, Columbia University, and New York University.

“Tournaments are most of the day Friday and all day Saturday,” says Amanda Smith, President of the Temple Debate Society and junior Global Studies and German majors. “So they can be quite tiring but super rewarding.”

Debates can be two sided arguments surrounding a broad range of issues for the competitors. These issues come in cases or case statements, which are similar to prompts, for one round per debate.

“After the round’s over we talk about the round,” Smith explains. “Just like what everyone thought about it, what everyone’s actual opinions are on it, just clarifying the round you know because we learn about something new each time so it can be about feminism in third world countries one day and then we talk about, like, food insecurities the next.”

This past weekend, the Temple Debate Society packed up and stayed in Princeton for a tournament from Friday, April 6th to Saturday, April 7th.

According to Smith, student debate organizations at Temple have been active since the 1960s but the clubs had always ended due to lack of interest. The Temple Debate Society, which meets Mondays and Wednesdays from 6:00 PM to 7:30 PM, started five years ago after some students were interested in debating. Although debate teams at Temple have died out in the past, Smith is sure that the Temple Debate Society will stay active in the future

“The club will definitely live long after I’m gone. This year we’ve had the most freshmen join and stick around ever,” says Smith.

I initially joined because I saw Temple Debate team at welcome week and I wanted to get involved and meet people at Temple who had similar interests,” says Rachel Berston, a freshman majoring in communications and political science.

“My favorite part of debate club is how much of a family we are,” says Gillian McGuire, a freshman engineering major. “Hanging out with everyone and just learning new things.”

Students looking to get involved with Temple Debate Society can find more information here.