Fairmont Martial Arts Academy Succeeds in Karate Battle

May 7 – Fairmont – The discipline of martial arts thrives at Fairmont.

Students at the Fairmont Martial Arts Academy traveled to Martinsburg on April 23 to compete in “Karate Fight,” a competition where 10 martial arts schools from multiple states compete against each other in various age groups. Fairmont performed well, taking a total of 27 trophies against its competitors in the competition. Thirteen trophies came first, with one karate student taking the title of champion in their age group.

Isabella Phillips, Adam Williamson, Allison Phillips, Carston Dodson, Ryker Dodson, Max Shuck and Guerin Rowe represented the Fairmont School of Martial Arts in a karate bout, with Isabella Phillips taking first place four times and Ryker Dodson taking the overall championship position.

Dojo also won the “Most Supportive School” trophy in the competition.

“They were very excited,” said Eric Stevens, owner and coach of the Fairmont Martial Arts School. “The last time we played was in December. The kids were eager to get back on the field. We’re a very competitive school and all my kids love the game and they’re eager to get back on the field. They’re tired of it. In order to fight each other, they want to get back into the game.

Students at Stevens range in age from 4 to 18, with more competition coming soon. Four of his young martial artists — Loralai Grant, Isabella Phillips, Adam Williamson and Hayden Schneider — are eligible to compete at the National Karate Championships in Detroit next month. The stakes will be high, as the top four qualifying for the national championship will go on to represent the United States on the world stage at the international championship in Dublin, Ireland.

Students at Fairmont Martial Arts School vary in age but dedication. Stevens’ classes take place three days a week and are not low-intensity.

“Like I said, we’re a very competitive school, so we take spar very seriously,” Stevens said. “We fight every night. We start exercising, then we do warm-ups, and then we break up and do Katas, which is Japanese for ‘open hands’, a series of moves that replicate a fight, an invisible fight .It is to help children with coordination and technique.

“It’s an intense thing. We’ve worked hard on it, we’ve had a very comprehensive engagement, and the kids are here to work hard.”

Stevens has practiced martial arts for 27 years under Fairmont resident Ralph Sumlin, a fighter recognized by the International Martial Arts Association for founding his own karate system and most recently earning a 10th grade black with Fairmont residents.

Stevens entered martial arts in an unconventional way, but soon discovered the virtues it contained.

“My sister and I were always fighting, so at the end my mom said ‘You know what, I’m going to make you do something that also teaches you self-esteem and honor, not just punching each other,'” Stevens said . “So she trapped my sister and I in karate.”

As for how he started running his own karate school, it started as a collaborative project between him and his friend Lacey Fox, a local paramedic. Stevens credits Fox for getting him back into karate, which he continued at school after Fox’s death two years ago.

“After she passed away, I took a job at a karate school to preserve her legacy and continue teaching martial arts to our students,” Stevens said.

After eight years of operation, the school still brings the unique advantages of martial arts to the community and instills values ​​that go beyond the combat skills acquired by students.

“Like I started martial arts — you don’t start martial arts just to learn how to beat someone,” Stevens said. “That’s the most important thing my trainer taught me. Martial arts is about self-positivity, how you represent yourself as a person – self-esteem, confidence, honor, discipline. Not only does it help you learn how to protect yourself against today’s society people, but it also teaches you how to be a better person in today’s society.”

With Karate Wars as their latest chapter, it’s been quite a journey for the school’s students. The Fairmont Martial Arts Academy has 14 tournaments during what Stevens calls “tournament season,” and his students have competed in West Virginia, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Michigan and New York in the past. Contest.

Discipline and self-esteem help endure long trips and long training sessions, an example of what Stevens said martial arts can help his students develop for the rest of their lives, something they must be careful to avoid. Abuse extracurriculars.

“They’re wonderful kids, and I’ve never had to deal with bullying or anything like that,” Stevens said. “It’s something that I can’t stand, and it’s something that my coaches never put up with. I give them One rule – if I hear you use something I teach you outside of this dojo – for any reason other than self-defense – then they will no longer be taught here. If anyone tries to harm them, then I Definitely hope they use it. But just be a scumbag, not so much.

“You have to have structure, and it also teaches you structure and purpose. I think a lot of times, kids don’t have goals these days, and that’s what I love about martial arts. You’re only limited by how much you want to push yourself. If you set a goal, say you want to be a black belt, or a green belt, a brown belt. It teaches kids how to set goals and achieve them. “

Please contact Nick Henthorn at 304-367-2548, Twitter @nfhenthorn_135 or email nhenthorn@timeswv.com.

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