For nearly a decade now, Sean and Lauren Kennedy have taught the people of Central the martial art of Tang Soo Do.
Since 2007, the couple has run Central Karate which moved to its present location on Sullivan Road in 2016.
Lauren says the new space gives them an opportunity to offer more services to the people of Central.
“The reason we wanted to move in here (to the new location) is so we could start doing summer camps and things like that,” Lauren said. “There’s nothing else like this in Central.”
Central Karate is currently winding down its summer camp program at their 2,600 square foot building, and Lauren adds there’s one thing you’ll get at their summer camp that’s hard to find elsewhere.
“Unlike most summer camps, we do 10 full weeks,” Lauren said. “We don’t skip the week after they get out of school and we don’t stop the week before they go back. I remember when my daughter was young she went to a camp that only did eight weeks and those other two weeks makes it hard on a working parent.”
Once school’s back in session, Central Karate will continue to offer those working parents some help with their before and after school program. In addition to having time to do their homework after school, students enrolled in the program will also take Tang Soo Do lessons twice a week, something Lauren says means more time for parents to spend with their children.
“By the time you pick them up (from after school) at 6:00, they’ve had a snack, they’ve done their homework and they’ve had their afternoon activity,” Lauren said. “So when you get home, you can eat dinner with your kids and spend a little time with them.”
And even on days when the after school students are doing Tang Soo Do, the gym offers something other programs may not.
“We’ve got 2,600 square feet of mat where they can run around and scream and play dodge ball or whatever they want to do,” Lauren said. “So even if the weather is bad they’re not sitting in a classroom they’re running around playing and being active.”
As far as traditional karate classes go, the Kennedys start them for kids age six and up. However, if parents want their children to get an early start there is an option at Central Karate.
“We start at age four, from age four to six they’re in a program called ‘Little Ninjas,’ they have class twice a week.” Lauren said. “What we’ve done with Little Ninjas is taken everything they’ll learn from white to yellow belt and broken it into little chunks, because typically at that age if you give them a bunch of information at one time they’re going to walk out the door and they’re not going to remember any of it.”
Lauren adds that Tang Soo Do is a great bonding experience for families to do together.
“This is a great family activity, we have a little girl, she's a red belt, who does it with her step father, and they actually started doing it before the man and her mom were married, so it's been a bonding thing for them,” Lauren said. “We have a father and son that train together, we have another father daughter set. My daughter does it, and I do it with my husband, so it's a great thing to do with your family.”
In fact, Central Karate has a special for the rest of 2017 where a parent can train for free for six months when they sign up their child, and Lauren says Tang Soo Do or any martial art is something every child should experience at some point in their lives.
“It's such a good activity, it keeps you limber, you're learning to defend yourself, it's great for any age,” Lauren said. “I'm a firm believer that at some point, I know not every kid is going to get to black belt, but every child at some point in their life should take martial arts, I'm a firm believer in that.”