Today we begin a new feature on Freehold Patch. The Spotlight On Freehold column will feature a person, buisness or organization that helps make Freehold unique. If you have suggestions for future Spotlight columns, by all means contact me, Keith Brown, by email or by calling (732) 292-4484.
For this inaugural column, we caught up with the New Jersey Karate Club, located in Freehold Township and tried to get to the bottom of what makes this place tick. Below is our conversation:
Martial arts, eh? In a nuts-and-bolts sort of way, tell us what exactly goes on at your business?
We offer Martial Arts training for ages 3 up to adult.
Our preschool program, called Little Champions, is for children ages 3 and 4; our Junior Champions program is for children ages 5 and 6. These two programs are game-based and feature a different curriculum and topic each month. For example, this month, the topic is First Aid. We are teaching the children how to take care of minor cuts and scrapes and when to alert an adult if an injury is more serious. We are also teaching the children how to fall properly to minimize injury and protect their head when they fall.
We have two Martial Arts programs—our Youth Program is for students ages 7 to 12; our Adult Program is for students ages 13 and up. Our program is a blend of different Martial Arts styles and features Krav Maga defense techniques. We offer a sparring program and weapons instruction.
We offer a fitness program called “CardioStrength” which is a 45-minute workout featuring isometric, plyometric and cardio kickboxing training at an intense pace. It’s an awesome workout, and it is guaranteed to get your heart rate up and the sweat pouring down!
Once a month, we have a self-defense class called “Fight Like A Girl” where we teach women how to defend themselves against various types of attacks. Each month features a different type of predatory attack and how to avoid or defend against it using easy-to-learn and effective Krav Maga techniques. The class is held the third Thursday of the month.
In June, we will be introducing Israeli Krav Maga to the Freehold area. Krav Maga is a self-defense system used by the military and law enforcement and also has civilian applications. Our instructor is certified in the Gidon System of Krav Maga. This system traces its lineage to the founder of Krav Maga, Imi Lichtenfeld.
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Business Name: New Jersey Karate Club
How Long in Freehold?: Three years
President: Bob Duarte
Address: 6 Thoreau Drive, Freehold Township
Hours: Varied – see website
Phone: (732) 252-9376
Facebook: New Jersey Karate Club
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Let's say a 9-year-old walks in to your place, with a parent in tow. The kid desperately wants to take classes. The parent is reluctant, thinking this just might be a little too violent. Convince us, the parents, that this is a worthwhile endeavor, if you would.
Martial Arts is more than just kicking and punching. It is a philosophy and lifestyle. Martial Arts teaches students confidence in themselves and their abilities. We encourage our students to do their personal best and come to class and live life with a positive attitude. Respecting others is also very important in our school. We not only expect our students to respect their instructors and fellow students, but also to respect their parents, teachers and everyone they encounter outside of the Karate School. We build self-esteem in our students through positive reinforcement during their training. Academic excellence is expected and is rewarded. We do a lot of physical training, because it is very important to exercise and live a healthy lifestyle.
Of course, we teach our students how to defend themselves. But we tell them that it is far better not to fight and to only fight when it is absolutely necessary. By giving our students the skills to fight back, they carry themselves with more confidence, making them less likely to be bullied.
Unlike in team sports, no one sits on the bench in Martial Arts. Everyone is involved in the class and all we expect from them is to do their very best!
You teach martial arts. But what is the most important lesson you've learned from your students?
We have students with ADHD and Asperger’s -- students who were so shy that they trained in class with their parents; students with low self-esteem and no confidence in themselves; and students with behavioral issues. All of them are awesome students who always give 100% in class. Their parents have told us that they have seen a great improvement in their child’s attitude, behavior and grades and it proves to us that given encouragement and positive reinforcement, EVERYONE can benefit from the Martial Arts.
You do quite a lot in the community as well. Tell us a little about what events/activities you're involved in.
We encourage our students to give back to their community through volunteering, fundraising and being active in community activities.
Students who participate in altruistic activities earn “Community Service” patches and a special star for their uniform.
Our School participates in community service as well by collecting donations for the Open Door Food Pantry, the Monmouth County ASPCA and the Humane Society. In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, we collected clothes, gift cards and household goods for a family who lost their home and most of their possessions in the superstorm. We donate baskets to all of the local schools for their PTO fundraisers and were a sponsor for the Catena Fun Run recently held to raise funds for a fitness trail at the school. We held a free Self-Defense seminar for the women and girls of our community, which drew over 75 participants! We also held several free Self-Defense seminars for our local Girl Scout troops through our “Fight Like A Girl Scout” program.
We recently held our first Kick-A-Thon to raise funds for the Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund. Students performed as many kicks as they could in 15 seconds and solicited pledges from family and friends at 50 cents per kick or $1.00 per kick. They raised $2,996 for the charity, which was awesome, especially since this was our very first Kick-A-Thon!
Every year, we support our community at Olde Freehold Day and have also supported Freehold Township Day by renting booth space at these events.
What is it about this community that made you open, and keep your business, in Freehold?
We live in Freehold Borough and love our town. Our daughter goes to school here and will be attending the Borough High School in September. We support as many activities taking place in our area as possible by doing business with Freehold merchants as much as possible and attending the events held in town. We wanted to open our school in the Freehold area so that we could spread the positive message of the Martial Arts and become active in our local community.