While the origins of Shotokan karate date back to the 1800's, its practice is alive and well at Creekside Fitness and Health Center, where students of all ages join in an art that teaches not only self-defense but respect for others as well as oneself.
Creekside Fitness and Health Center recently served as the test site for the Mid-America Karate Regional Training and Kyu Exam. Hosted by Sensei David Talley, Sensei Tim Gay and the Creekside Karate Club, the event precedes the 34th annual International Shotokan Karate Federation Nationals, to be held Oct. 6 and 7 in Phoenix, which will be followed by the second ISKF World Shoto Cup, in Cebu, Phillipines.
Honored guest instructor Sensei Professor Martin Vaughn, who traveled from Indiana for the Creekside event, explained that the term sensei means "somebody that's been there before, somebody with experience," adding that the term is not restricted merely to karate, and can apply to a person in any area of expertise of whom one could say, "They've been where you are they know what you need to move forward."
Photo by Kathleen Palumbo, Town Crier correspondent
As guest instructors James Oberschlake, Martin Vaughan, and Larry Rothenberg observe, student Lexi Weber of Cincinnati spars with student Hannah Heavener of Canfield during the recent Mid-America Karate Regional Training and Kyu Exam held at Creekside Fitness and Health Center.
Tim Gay, a Vietnam veteran who is currently working for the Sheriff's Department, shared that he has been involved with karate training for approximately 40 years. Married and a father of four, Gay said of the younger students of Creekside's classes, "We try to instill in the kids, first of all, respect," adding that students are urged to follow the mantra, seek perfection of character, be faithful, endeavor, respect others, and refrain from violent behaviors.
"It changes their lives," said Gay of the practice of traditional Shotokan Karate. Sharing his enjoyment of watching the transformation of young students as they train, Gay said of Shotokan, "It's very disciplined.
"We humble the strong and build up the weak," he said, adding that kids are taught respect for school, teachers, home, dojo, and life.
As for adult students, Gay's belief is that they benefit not only from the fitness aspect, but in the form of mental relief, as all of life's stresses are left at the door during training.
Explaining that belts to be earned include white, yellow, orange, green, purple, a series of three brown, and a first degree black belt, Gay added that the succession from white to first degree black belt, if one trains steadily, should take three to four years.
"We believe in training in the old way," he said.
Gay's work as a deputy sheriff and his passion will come together on Nov. 4, when Creekside Karate Club will host a self-defense course for women at Old North Church. As a deputy sheriff, Gay said he likes to help women get prepared for the holiday shopping season.
Further information on the self-defense course will be forthcoming throughout the community, and additional information on Creekside's Karate Club can be found at www.creeksidekarate.com for those interested in the numerous benefits of training in Shotokan karate.