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Perkasie’s Granite Forest Dojo founder publishes book on karate

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Sensei Bruce Costa has been practicing karate for over four decades and is the founder of Perkasie’s Granite Forest Dojo, where he teaches as the chief instructor to a wide range of children and adults.
His new book, “Welcome To Karate: Unlocking the Wisdom of the Beginner’s Mind,” was published in September. Its 11 chapters are jampacked with principles, traditions, techniques and etiquette for martial artists who are beginning their training. The book offers technical support for striking, blocking, kata, sparring, body shifting and kicking.
“Every black belt is a white belt that never gave up,” said Costa. A self-described non-conformist, Costa quickly realized that the art of karate prescribes just the opposite.
“You go in, and you remain quiet. You do your best to be at your full listening potential – you do exactly what you are told, and you do it to an extreme,” Costa said in an interview with the Bucks County Herald.
Much of Costa’s listening consisted of the words of 10th-degree black belt Grand Master Teruyuki Okazaki, whom he trained under for years after Okazaki moved to Philadelphia to teach karate from his native Japan in 1961. Okazaki wrote the forward for the book, in which he describes martial arts as a lifelong endeavor, one where “you are never finished, and there is no graduation.”
Costa echoes this sentiment, saying that those who enter into the art with guns blazing and untamed aggression usually find their backside on the mat in quick time. Costa emphasizes the need for a “beginner’s mind” when suiting up for karate.
“Go back to the beginning, and maintain a beginner’s mind,” Costa said. “Place yourself in a position where you know nothing. That is the secret sauce right there.” With a beginner’s mind, there is an abundance of room for personal growth and knowledge, Costa explained.
Costa’s vision for the book came from his desire to write a karate book that has not been written before, one that encompasses all he has learned from his four decades of training.
“You end up with a journey that seems to be a good narrative, and you write that journey,” he said.

Costa’s favorite part of the publishing process was the solitary space that his writing required him to be in, something he rarely experiences when dozens of students are hanging on his every word during class.
“To simply say stop to the world’s responsibilities and distractions – to be able to sit down, me and the screen, and focus completely, that is the gift of choosing the path of a writer,” he said.
Costa described himself as “the last person picked on the playground, every time,” an additional motivation to write the book – if he could go from that child on the playground to an experienced black belt sensei studying under the world’s greatest martial artists, anyone has the potential to excel in karate, and he hopes his book can forge that path to success.
While karate requires great intensity, Costa described how calmness is just as necessary. While teaching at his dojo, he places great emphasis on mindfulness and breath, two concepts typically associated with much less intense practices like yoga or meditation.
Because of this focus inward, Costa expresses that karate can be most beneficial to adults. While American culture tends to associate karate with little children, Costa believes the mindfulness and connection of soul and body is actually most beneficial to older folks, who have to deal with the stresses and responsibilities of an adult life, often without healthy outlets like karate.
Costa’s goal for his book goes far beyond dollar bills or copies sold.
“Even if the book never sold, it is absolutely a success,” he said. “To me, it’s about communicating from the heart, displaying vulnerability, and being available to the lessons that were created by people well before me. That’s the joy of all this.”
The book is available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Indie Bound and YMAA websites.


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