Jon Beltram, the sensei in charge of Kansas City Shotokan (2026 Broadway, 816-421-1110) is a hefty man, but he doesn't belittle the little people. He insists that karate is a martial art that works if you use it correctly, even if you're smaller than your opponent. Note to the slope-shouldered: He's not making this up. Do not, in your excitement over your new ass-kicking capabilities, demonstrate how to escape a headlock using your roommate as a mock attacker -- unless, of course, you hate your roommate.The first Saturday of every month from noon to 2:30, Kansas City Shotokan's class is open to anyone who wants to give it a try, free of charge. The organization is unique because, unlike more commercial dojos, it awards only traditional white, brown and black belts (so colored because over time, as you practice, your belt gets dirtier and goes through that color progression on its own). Practices are held in a beautiful downtown space, with a tea room for students' use. After learning all the kicks and punches, counting out moves in Japanese, students rehearse self-defense techniques, mastering responses to a set of basic attacks so that with practice, response becomes automatic. Inexperience is no excuse for wimping out, either. Black belts provide newcomers with individual attention for the first few visits.-- Gina Kaufmann
Ready for Takeoff
Freestyle motocross riders are into metal. Or should we say, freestyle motocross riders have metal in them. Almost every rider's profile at pacefmx.com includes a list of plates, pins, bolts and screws that supplement the stunt biker's shattered skeletons.
The International Freestyle Motocross Association encourages its riders to launch themselves and their motorcycles into the air for fame and money. Fifteen of those riders will do just that at Kemper Arena, 1800 Genessee. Bring five extra dollars for the 6 p.m. Pit Party before Saturday's competition to inspect the scars, crooked bones and pronounced limps in person. How'd they get so busted up? Perhaps from attempting tricks with such names as "The Sterilizer" and "The Kiss of Death." Call 816-931-3330 for tickets.-- Michael Vennard