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Local students getting a kick out of karate classes

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By Molly Haines

Kelley and Kerri Runion recently opened the Owen County Martial Arts School in hopes of teaching children and adults the importance of self-defense and the confidence that comes with it.

The school officially opened on May 5 to 60 students. The school now teaches about 70 students on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Kelley Runion said he felt Owen County needed a martial arts program for those who may not be interested in other sports but still wish to be a part of some physical activity.

“I’ve been studying martial arts for 20 years,” Kelley Runion said. “The idea to start this school really came as we saw the need for it. There are a lot of kids who may not be as good at basketball and football as others, but they still want to be involved in something. Martial arts gives them confidence they need and it will be something that will carry over into their adult life.”

Kerri Runion said having a martial arts school closer to home may be encouraging to those who are interested in martial arts but have never had the chance to participate.

“For those who are already in a martial arts school or would like to be a part of one there’s really no place close to go,” Kerri Runion said. “The closest would either be Florence or Lexington and a lot of people don’t have the time to go that far.”

Classes are held every Tuesday and Thursday in the Owen County Primary School cafeteria. Three different children’s classes are held from 3:45-6:15 p.m. Children may stay for all three classes if they choose. The adult class is held from 7-9 p.m.

Classes are $40 a month, the first month includes a uniform. Each additional student in a household is $25 a month. If an entire household takes the classes, the maximum cost for the family is $100 a month.

Kelley Runion said that the adult class is one way to stay in shape.

“The adult class is great for fitness,” Kelley Runion said. “It also teaches adults how to properly defend themselves. In the event that a situation occurs where the adult would need to defend themselves, they would be prepared.”

Kelley Runion said the school will also offer women’s self-defense classes in the future.

The main style of karate taught at the school is shotokan karate, which is what students will eventually earn a black belt in.

Kelley Runion said there is no way to tell how long it will take students to earn their black belt.

“Each person is different,” Kelley Runion said. “It generally takes three to five years to earn a black belt. It really just depends on how committed that person is.”

Kelley Runion said students make a commitment by following a creed.

“The creed states that the student will avoid things that would reduce mental growth and physical health,” Kelley Runion said. “That’s really important today because there are a lot of kids out there that begin doing drugs at an early age and we want to help them build the courage to say no and stand up for themselves.”

For more information on the Owen County Martial Arts School, call (502) 484-9180.