Students And Instructors At Lonsdale Karate Earn Black Belt Promotions


Students and instructors at Lonsdale Karate earn Black Belt promotionsLearning the art of karate in Lonsdale is not a small town accomplishment. The lifelong training, passion and skillful teaching by the owners of Lonsdale Karate are nothing short of world class.
Tim and Mikako Jurgens moved to Lonsdale in 2010 and immediately started offering classes at the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church Civic Center.
They chose Lonsdale for its location, as it is roughly halfway between Mankato where they were still teaching, and St. Paul where Tim works. They teach classic Okinawan Karate and Kobudo, with an impressive background of training and skill for the art. They belong to both the Karate and Kobudo associations, and they are directly connected to Akamine Hiroshi Sensei, the president of those associations who is a 9th Degree Black Belt and recognized as a living cultural treasure – the highest possible recognition in Japan.
Just recently Tim was rewarded for his training efforts by receiving certification as a 7th Degree Black Belt. This is the first ever awarded in his teacher’s system of karate to a person outside of Okinawa, Japan.
Mikako, who is from Okinawa, recently received her 3rd Degree Black Belt while two of their students, Dan Prenevost and Chuck Phillips, received their 2nd Dan Kobudo certifications. Holding classes is a family effort as the two Jurgens children are among those actively learning the art.
Tim has been training in Shorinryu Karate for 30 years and spent 18 of those years in Japan learning the source of the system. Because of his extensive training, advanced Black Belt students are drawn to Lonsdale Karate to train along with him.
“They come from Mankato, White Bear Lake, and even as far as Forest Lake to train with us,” Tim said.
Another attraction is the style of Kobudo they teach that sets them apart from other schools in the martial arts system.
“What makes our school unique is our offering of Ryukyu Kobudo as a separate martial art system that teaches the use of traditional weapons such as the Bo and the Sai, as well as our Japanese language class,” Tim stated.
According to Wikipedia, a Bo is a six-foot-long oak staff and considered “king” of the Okinawa traditional weapons. The Sai is three-pronged and appears similar to a short sword, but is not bladed and the end is traditionally blunt. The weapon is metal and its length dependent upon the forearm of the user. The two shorter prongs on either side of the main shaft are used for trapping (and sometimes breaking) other weapons such as a sword or Bo.
They also offer Japanese language classes as the entire Jurgens family speak it fluently. Mikado and the children are native to the language while Tim has earned a Level III rating from the Japanese Ministry of Education.
Tim said he once competed in world class events in Okinawa, but now finds real value in doing what they love -- training, learning from others, and building a community of excellence around lifelong commitment to improvement.
“We are not a sport oriented school so we really do not put much emphasis on competition, although we do have some members who enter them from time to time and generally have a respectable showing,” Tim shared. “Our school’s approach is continual improvement over a lifelong avocation.”