A couple of weeks ago I asked my Facebook friends if they had any recommendations for children’s karate classes in Fresno. After getting some recommendations, talking with owners of local studios, and doing research online, I discovered that there is a new studio – Bell’s Kenpo Karate (The Tiger’s Den)-opening up right around the corner from my house!
I have a 7 year old son, and I think my son would really benefit from being part of karate. I’ve heard many stories about how karate has helped children with focus, respect, attention, confidence, and concentration. I never really understood how that would be possible, as I always thought karate was just about fighting. However, after talking with one of the owners of Bell’s Kenpo Karate studio, I’ve discovered that karate is much more than that!
Fred and Connie Bell are co-owners of Bell’s Kenpo Karate, and they will be having a Grand Opening and Ribbon Cutting Ceremony on Saturday, March 19th. This is a new location for Bell’s Kenpo Karate. (They were in their previous location for 8 years.) By moving, they are able to have more space and welcome more students.
Fred started doing karate when he was 9 years old, and Connie started when she was 7 years old. They both hold a 6th degree black belt in American Karate Do, so to say that they know what they’re doing is a bit of an understatement. 😉 Fred and Connie both teach classes, and have other black belt instructors who teach as well. They offer children’s classes, adult classes, and women’s self-defense classes.
The Grand Opening this Saturday will be a family friendly event, and fun for all ages. The ribbon cutting will be at 11:30, and then at 12 there will be a Lion Dance (a traditional Chinese dance) to kick off the festivities. The event will go from 11:30-3:30. There will be face painting, demonstrations, a free karate class and women’s self-defense class, as well as lots of good deals if you want to sign up your little one. There will also be free food, face painting, and a local radio station broadcasting live. A local celebrity appearance will be made by Grand Master Dave Johnson. He’s a “10 x Hall of Famer” in Tae Kwon Do and featured in more than 11 films.
Fred was kind enough to talk to me the other day and explain some of the history of Kenpo Karate. This is a whole new world to me, and I really don’t know the differences in the types of karate. Kenpo based karate came out of Okinawa. It was recreated in the 40’s, this time coming out of Hawaii. It’s more of a self-defense, realistic approach. Kenpo Karate has 3 primary methods: 1.-Learn the basics, 2-Techniques, 3-Controlled Sparring. The basics include things such as blocks, kicks, stances-in its traditional art form. Then there is the sparring, which is controlled. This is where the students get to put into action what they’ve learned. Remember when I was talking about how children become more focused and confident after starting karate? Well, it’s accomplished by having students practice these methods and techniques. The students have to be focused to learn new techniques. If they participate in the belt system, there are rewards for their performance. At Bell’s they also reward students who have a 4.0. They put their pictures on Facebook by acknowledging how proud of them they are! I find it fascinating how it’s all connected, and I love how the Bell’s are invested in the whole child.
If you’re free this Saturday, check out the Grand Opening. The address is 3622 W Shaw, 93711. They are behind Applebee’s, in the Walmart shopping center. I’m super happy that this place is only 2 minutes away from me. I can’t wait for my son to start on this new adventure!