For the last 40 years, Kempo-Goju Hudson has been training pharmacists, lawyers, history professors and hundreds of other people who are looking for a way to stay active while also learning discipline and self control.
"All of my instructors and I have come to our careers after earning our black belts, and our training in the arts played a large part in our success. I earned my black belt at 11 and now run the school some years later. We produce good people," said head instructor Flint Johnson. "Most of us have several stories where karate kept us from dangerous situations or guided our actions during them."
When David Lindquist and his family - who live in Baldwin - were looking for ways to get their second of three girls, Anna, into an activity that would keep her active and teach her discipline, they found Kempo-Goju. Now, about five years later, David, Anna (11) and youngest sister, Brita (9), all train at Kempo-Goju.
"I think going to karate as a family has brought us closer together. It gives us common experiences to talk about," David said.
According to David, the training they receive at Kempo-Goju is truly a self-defense course, and teaches the trio the basics of karate, such as punches, blocks and kicks in a very structured way.
"Those are things you can always improve on. Then you work on combinations and moving up and down the floor so that you can get used to not just throwing just one punch," David said. "There are specific things that we learn, like if someone grabs you by the lapel, how you can get out of that. There are a lot of different aspects to it. As you move up you start to learn more things."
So far in their five years of training, David has achieved a green belt with two purple kyu, while Anna is a green belt with one purple kyu. Belt progression in Kempo-Goju's karate system moves from white, to yellow, to green, to purple, to brown and finally to black, David said.
"The time it takes to progress from belt to belt, I think, depends on your level of learning. Brita picked up her yellow belt after just eight months. I got my yellow in about half the time it took Anna, but that is mostly because testing only happens twice a year," David said. "We test in February and then at karate camp in August."
Currently, the family is gearing up for testing in February and are learning what they need to practice and memorize for testing.
"We are learning a mixture of stuff. For me, we are working on stuff for testing. Last time I was there, we did some things on the mat," Anna said. "You also have to remember techniques and names and numbers and words and a different language. Training in karate has helped me in a few ways, even helping me get the most pushups in our grade for girls."
The trio attends class twice a week, on Mondays and Thursdays, and Brita looks forward to class every week.
"I enjoy meeting new people and making new friends. I like learning how to defend myself as well. But I don't really like testing because it can be scary to try to remember everything you need to know and do it in front of other people," Brita said. "I'm not really good at Japanese, so I don't know what he says in Japanese when we are doing the testing."
For David, training is an enjoyable way to get in some good physical activity twice a week, but is also a way to take a break from the trials and tribulations of daily life.
"You really have to concentrate to learn what you need to do and to be able to do it well," David said. "It is almost a complete mind break, because you are concentrating on something else rather than the stresses of the day."
Instructor Johnson feels the Lindquists are ideal students and would love to see more families train together.
"Each has their strengths and weaknesses, the girls sometimes want to be silly rather than learn, but all of them understand what they're getting out of the school - protection from and awareness of others, and a good sense of their own bodies," Johnson said.
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