A community built through karate

The beginning ranks start class by following the sifu’s called commands at the start of class at True Lineage Kenpo Karate on Tuesday, Nov. 26. (Photos by Stephanie Blair)

Toledo Dojo welcomes all ages to try out free classes on Dec. 14

True Lineage Kenpo Karate in Toledo is opening classes up to the public for anyone to try for free on Saturday, Dec. 14. The dojo’s owner and sifu, David Todd, his teaching staff and students look forward to meeting new faces and growing their dojo’s community. There are classes for all levels and ages — his students currently range in age from two to 77.

Todd, a second level black belt with nearly 20 years of martial arts teaching experience, explained that, with all the screens and indoor activities children are bombarded with in today’s society, he wanted to create “a fun, safe place for the kids to learn martial arts.”

While he understands the concern that some people might have about doing a combat sport, he says it’s just as dangerous as wrestling, which is a school sport. Additionally, everyone is welcome to wear as much padding as they feel comfortable in, so that they feel safe.

“I’m open to how people want to train,” said Todd. “I recommend pads for protection, I recommend mouthpieces for protection … but at the same time, if somebody doesn’t want to wear a mouthpiece, I’m not going to force them to wear a mouthpiece.”

And Todd also does his best to teach his students conflict resolution from a young age, to avoid fights from happening in the first place in the real world. This goes along with the manners and responsibility he expects from his students — and which he teaches by example. Todd refers to all of his students, regardless of age, as “miss/missus” and “mister.”

But while all this sounds serious, there is a silly streak in the dojo’s community as well as a lot of camaraderie. Maureen Boyer said she likes the discipline and self-esteem her 10-year-old daughter has gotten from two years of classes, but that’s not all there is to it.

“Besides the karate, the program does things on their birthdays, on holidays, they do field trips,” said Boyer. “It’s a lot more than just karate.”

Rob Vevers, who is a blue belt after just 14 months of training regularly at the dojo, started taking classes after watching his 12-year-old daughter attend the dojo for two years.

“A lot of places say ‘oh, it’s like a family,’ but that’s one of the things that really got me about this place: it really is,” said Vevers. “One night, I was here and sifu was helping a kid with his homework, Mrs. Todd was doing a girl’s hair. And, plus, they teach you how to defend yourself.”

For anyone who would like to get a taste of what life at the dojo is like, True Lineage Kenpo Karate invites everyone to attend their free promo day on Dec. 14. There are classes for all ages and no prior experience is needed to get on the mat. For more information, including the day’s schedule, visit truelineagekenpo.com or visit the dojo at 281 N Main St. in Toledo.

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