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Teaching kids how to overcome through karate

Two Dragons Karate teaches life lessons

Kids taking classes at Two Dragons Karate learn more than karate. Courtesy photo

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As they learn punching and kicking skills at Two Dragons Karate classes, the kids involved often make an unexpected discovery.

They learn, "Yeah, I can do this."

And that newfound confidence leads to commitment, whether in the classroom or in sports at school. The ultimate goal at Two Dragons Karate Martial Arts & Fitness in Graham is more about building character than building punching power.

"The biggest thing we do is we help kids," said Mick Perry, the master instructor and owner of Two Dragons Karate. "Parents always want the focus to be on confidence, discipline, bully proofing. They want to be safer. They want more courtesy."

For kids who are shy, classes with Two Dragons Karate teaches confidence. For kids who are more aggressive, it teaches restraint, how to hold back and respect others. It's not just learning how to kickbox. It's about learning respect.    

Two Dragons Karate, which is located on the corner of 224th and Meridian in Graham, has been offering martial arts and fitness since 1994. Its instructors have taught more than 20,000 students in the Pierce County area, many of whom are from military families.

Perry strives to teach focus, discipline, safety, respect, confidence and fitness, all while having fun.

"I don't teach karate as much as I teach people," he said. "People come here for many different reasons."

Martial arts and fitness classes are also good for children with special needs and kids with challenges like attention deficit disorder (ADD), attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or autism.

A mother whose child has a clinically diagnosed case of ADHD appreciates what Two Dragons Karate has done for her child.

"Since enrolling, our son has better grades and more confidence than ever before," said Lynn, the appreciative mother who wrote her response on Two Dragons Karate's website.

Other parents said that after Perry had a one-on-one talk with their daughter about responsibility and commitment, she was doing better in school.

"I have learned that Mr. Perry says what he means and means what he says and expects nothing less from his students and their parents," said Bruce, a pleased parent. "Our experience has been very positive."

Perry does a lot of work with special-needs kids. Many of them are from military families.

One military family that adopted a girl who was a "meth baby" and is now 11 years old has benefited from taking karate classes at Perry's school.

"They struggled with her," Perry said. "She's eleven, and she was running the household. She's done a few karate classes. She broke her first karate board. She's earned her first belt. She's happier than they've ever seen her."

The emphasis in classes at Two Dragons Karate isn't learning how to kick or punch. That's the lure, the attraction. The emphasis is teaching respect and learning discipline. It's an accomplishment that helps prepare a child for a bigger challenge, a bigger accomplishment.

"A lot of kids who are really unhappy are trying to run the show," Perry said. "Once they understand ‘hey, I know where I stand. I need to do what I'm asked. I'm going to apply myself,' they feel safe. When they feel safe it's the spiral of success. That means ‘I like it. I try hard. I improve.'"

Two Dragons Karate is offering a free two-week class. For more information or to sign up, call 253.847.8686 or visit twodragonskarate.com.

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