Karate America is a taekwondo school where people go to not only learn self-defense, but other very important skills needed in life.
Between violent video games teaching aggressive mannerisms and the media giving false ideas of how people should look and act, bullying among children is increasing more every day. The goal at Karate America is to teach children not to bully others and to teach them self-defense in case someone is bullying them.
Ian Reyes, eight-year-old taekwondo student, says the most valuable thing he has learned at Karate America is self-defense, even though he has never had to use it. Reyes also said that taekwondo has taught him to be more confident and has made him better at making friends.
There is a new lesson every month at Karate America. The lessons include goals, courtesy, loyalty, respect, attitude, perseverance, honor, self-control and integrity. The students learn one of the words at the beginning of the month and each time they come to class they have to say how they have applied the lesson to their life. Moving up to a different color belt requires that the students not only master their kicks and self-defense techniques, but to also document how they have used the monthly lessons to improve their lives.
Another student, Kelly Bagby, said taekwondo has taught her patience, self-control, respect and integrity. “I didn’t have a lot of patience before,” Bagby said, “but because of the repetition and the self-control that you learn, it has taught me to be patient.”
Bianca Castillo is the chief instructor at Karate America. Castillo said that Chet’s Creek Elementary has been having issues with bullies in the school lately and some of the problem students have been referred to Karate America to learn how to respect the other students. One of the ways Karate America teaches students to respect one another is by addressing each student by either “sir” or “ma’am” regardless of their age.
“We want to set a respectful environment for the students, instructors and parents that come in,” Castillo said, “we want to make sure that they respect one another while they’re here, so that they learn to show respect while they’re at home and at school.”
Castillo said that the student’s parents always tell her that the attitudes of the students improve with each class. Karate America not only teaches students how to defend themselves, but to be a leader in the community. The goal at Karate America is to have every student behave with the discipline of a black belt, and to eventually become one. Castillo then quoted the Eternal Grand Master, creator of the American Taekwondo Association, “If everybody had courtesy and respect, we wouldn’t have to learn how to punch and kick.”