Lifestyle

Marysville's Kung Fu 4 Kids offers free exercise for future 'Karate Kids'

MARYSVILLE — Kung Fu 4 Kids in Marysville turned the premiere of "The Karate Kid" June 12 at the Marysville Regal Cinemas into an opportunity to give kids a free taste of what they saw on the big screen.

Kung Fu 4 Kids instructor Carlton Doup was joined by assistant instructors at a tent in the parking lot of the movie theater, where they had received permission to demonstrate martial arts moves and dispense up to 500 free passes for anti-bullying seminars, which Doup plans to conduct just before the start of the 2010-11 school year.

Ralph Bartolome has been study martial arts for more than eight years, and he joined fellow assistant instructors Sarah Furry and Kaylee Wright in supervising nunchaku exercises on site.

"We practice basic techniques like figure-eights, down-horizontal-verticals and over-shoulder catches," Bartolome said. "I've seen a big change in the kids I've worked with. They often start out very shy and not very social, but doing this makes them feel like they can do anything, and that's golden to me. Beyond just the punching and kicking, it teaches them that if they try their best, they can do anything well."

Briaonna Olson, 9, has been studying martial arts since she was 3 years old, while Kaden Rudy, 11, has been studying for the past four years.

"It keeps you safe in all kinds of situations," said Olson, who emphasized the importance of good manners as a martial arts student.

"It teaches you ho to defend yourself and push yourself to your limits through practice and hard work," Rudy said. "You learn to respect it and not use it the wrong way. You learn to respect adults, students and other people."

Doup estimated that 28 kids were part of the first wave of attendees to take part in the seminars, which he sees as helping to protect kids against bullying by building up their self-confidence.

"They start out kind of shy and standing off to the side, but once they watch the film, it gives them an instant jolt of inspiration to just do it," Doup said. "The original Karate Kid movie was a big inspiration for a lot of martial arts instructors like me, and this new movie couldn't have come at a better time to help out with our bullying prevention."

Starting June 21 and running through the rest of the summer, Kung Fu 4 Kids will also be conducting its summer camp, which Doup described as focusing heavily on bullying prevention as well.

Kung Fu 4 Kids is located at 804 Cedar Ave. and is online at www.kungfu4kids.com.

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