I have been taking karate classes at the Academy for six years. During these six years, I have grown a great amount. I was a small child, whose attention span was less than ten seconds, and was as shy as anyone could be when it came to being in front of a group. I slowly gained confidence in myself and I could see that others gained confidence in me also. At times, I would lose this confidence and I would almost quit, and then someone would tell me that I could do it, and they would actually take time to work with me. I started to do better in classes, at karate and in school.

Denise Merry | Wilmington

Most people believe karate to be stereotypical, kung fu movie, and all fighting type of “sport.” Of course, that was one of the reasons I wanted to join myself, to be like Bruce Lee. Then, even from the first class my whole view changed towards what we all know karate is about, self-discipline, and focus, along with many important aspects. Karate also builds self-esteem and goal setting. Without this experience of karate I would have turned out to be a totally different person.

Nimit Barochia | Billerica

When I started karate I had no self-control. Along the way I have learned to defend myself, meet new friends and have fun. All of these things are going to help me in life. Learning to defend myself is the best thing that I got out of karate because now I can talk my way out of problems instead of fighting. Since I started karate, I have not got into one fight.

Mike Elliott | Tewksbury

What do you see when you think of a Black Belt? Do you see someone that stands out from everyone else or a quiet humble person that tends to blend and takes in what the world had to offer? A black Belt is a person that possesses many noble qualities that are not only applied in the dojo but in life as well. One characteristic of a Black Belt that many teens today should have is clear focused mind among the chaotic habits of the teen world.

For me personally, having a black belt attitude influenced my approach to High School greatly. Over the four years I realized that certain things must be kept more important over other things. I now know how to set a goal and stay focused on achieving it. I know that there are many things in my life that are going on and sometimes it is very hard to maintain a balance but I must keep a level head and not become overwhelmed. These are just certain things that have helped me to get through the chaotic world of a teenager.

Kevin Briere | Woburn
started Karate at age 10, currently works for a large Accounting firm as a CPA

I can’t was a phrase that I had used often as a newcomer. But through the years with the help of fellow classmates and constant practice, that phrase fell quickly out of my vocabulary. I was encouraged through these long prosperous years by friends, family, but one was my Sensei. No matter how many times I asked him when I could test for my next kyu(rank), he never quit on me. He helped me when I was caught on something or when I did a move wrong. With how he helped me and guided me along, I was inspired to pass that on to other people.

Tom Seichter | Tewksbury

As a parent I find my training to be a way to teach my kids commitment, goal setting, the importance of staying in shape and how to work hard while actually having fun. This country would be so much better off if we could just teach all the kids how successful you can be by working hard and setting goals.

Renshi James Goddard | Andover
Small Business Owner

I have gained so much from my training that is a natural feeling for me to want to share those benefits with others. Before I started Karate training, I had a difficult time with my lower back, and had very little endurance or aerobic capacity.

Life always throws responsibilities and obstacles our way and makes us align and balance our lives so that our goals are always met. Every class I ever participated in was a result of a teacher that made the time and the effort to juggle their own busy lives and issues to come to the dojo and teach me Karate.

Michael Millette | Woburn
40s, Father of Two Kids, Works in the Financial Sector

I brought Aaron consistently 2-3 times per week. I sat in the lobby watching him during that hour and talking to the other parents. When my son’s class was done, I always noticed the adults getting out of their class at the same time. They were sweaty, but always smiling. After a year of watching, waiting, chatting, and noticing my weight increase beyond comfortable proportions, I decided to give Karate a try for myself. I don’t remember much from my first class, but after that first class I was hooked.

Glenn Misiph | Wilmington
Small Businessman

Karate is not just something to do and learn. You learn respect, confidence, and discipline. You absolutely build spirit. You learn what you are made of and really learn how to be positive. These are aspects I take advantage of and try to pass on to others. These qualities become built into you, originate at the dojo, and have application to the real world.

June White | Atlanta Georgia, Formerly of Wilmington
Marketing Manager for Charrette

When I first stepped into this dojo five years ago, I didn’t know that karate would change my life. I didn’t even plan to start training – I was here to sign up my then six year old son. After six months of peering through doorways and windows, I said to myself, “I think I could do this.” Now, Karate influences countless aspects of my daily life. I can look at someone who has invaded my personal space without fear – and feel confident. I can grab things in midair that have fallen from my kitchen counter or a shelf – and feel quick and graceful and shake my head in wonder. I can hear my daughter tell her friends that “my mom is almost a …black belt in karate” – I feel pride. I can open a jar lid, carry grocery bags, shovel snow, or run up stairs tow at a time – and feel strength.

Julee Sheehy | Reading
Adult Student, Mother of a Student, Lawyer

Five years ago, I wouldn’t have believed you if you told me that I would travel to several foreign countries, switch careers and fields, earn an MBA, help start a company and strive to earn a black belt. Karate has given me more confidence to try new things, more discipline to persist when times are difficult, more health and energy to meet my daily objectives and more focus to strive at the most important things in my life.

Tony Tremaglio
MBA, Marketing Manager for a Technology Company