Black belt karate teachers return

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Val Joa

By Treena Mielke

Students from the Central Alberta Martial Arts Centre who recently obtained a black belt in karate will return to Rimbey this year to teach classes.

Val Joa and Darren Davis received their black belts in Toronto this summer. To achieve black belt status, the students were required to complete written assignments, attend seminars, perform, sparring, and demonstrate kata — a series of memorized, focused self defense movements.

For each of them, the journey toward achieving the goal was a mixture of struggles, successes and personal growth.

Davis, 48, began taking karate with his son Rees about 10 years ago and discovered he enjoyed the sport enough to continue with it even after his son discontinued his own training.

He is pleased and excited to receive his black belt, noting the training that has been required to achieve this accomplishment has allowed him to grow physically and emotionally.

“It is very gratifying,” he said. “It does leave you with a certain degree of confidence and allows you to define yourself and know the skills you are training to do.”

Davis is looking forward to teaching in Rimbey with the CAMAC this year, and encourages everyone to consider taking classes.

“There is no age limit and you don’t have to be in a great shape. You just pace yourself and do what you can.”

Like Davis, Joa is looking forward to teaching in Rimbey. She said karate can be a family activity and helps promote “self-awareness” for individuals.

“I like doing it with my kids.”

Joa finds karate gives her an opportunity to understand her own strengths and weaknesses, practice self-discipline and push herself beyond her comfort zone.

Sensei Christine Braun, who owns the centre along with her husband, Dennis, said classes begin in Rimbey on Mon., Sept. 12. She is looking forward to working with Davis and Joa, noting they will bring their own unique skills to the classes.

“Each instructor has a different strength and a different perspective and it offers students more of a holistic curriculum.”

Tai chi practices such as deep breathing, meditation and movement will also be part of the karate classes.

As well as karate, CAMAC offers bullying awareness programs, thai yoga massage, life coaching and special programs focused on fostering self-esteem in youths.

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