FORT STEWART, Ga. - The latest movie release of "Karate Kid" has drawn audiences to the theaters and piqued interest in martial arts across the nation and at Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield.
Among the many child-oriented programs offered on the installation by Child, Youth and School Services are two martial arts classes, boxing and Tae Kwon Do.
Holding a fourth degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do and Tang Soo Do, CYSS's instructor Master Philip Konz, is a National Level Referee for USA Taekwondo Inc. and has a vast knowledge of martial arts. Like many young people, his interests were began watching Bruce Lee movies in the 1970s. He later joined the Army and developed his love of the martial arts throughout his career. He has studied under fine teachers like Grand Master Han Young Choi, Master Ricky Johnson, Masters Grif and Po, and finally with Grand Master Tiger Bang in Hinesville, where he retired.
He said during his study, he learned that no matter what you study or what sport you play, an individual can benefit from the fundamentals of discipline and commitment. He said the benefits such as greater self-assurance will help the youth throughout his or her life.
"I think it is helping with his confidence" Said Amanda Raemhild about her son Syler, 6, who recently started at CYSS' TKD. "He was able to approach other students in the class and make friends.
Izris Harris, 14, a red belt who has been taking classes said above all else, he enjoys overcoming challenges and learning something new. That is especially true of his brother Na'aim, who although legally blind, has achieved his green belt.
Joshua Bones, 10, who has already earned the high red belt and is close to earning his black belt, understands that philosophy and shares that "never say quit" attitude.
"I first started taking classes to learn to protect myself," Joshua said, adding that he now enjoys it for the challenges, the workouts, and the competition.
"Josh has earned more than 30 trophies so far," said Joshua's father Sgt. Shawn Bones, Company F, 703rd Brigade Support Battalion. He said Josh's motivation has spilled over to his academics too, saying that he has started adding the academic stars that the CYSS TKD awards its students for doing well at their respective schools.
Sergeant Bones said he has to deploy soon, but noted he felt better knowing his son was doing well and was involved in his classes.
CYSS offers several classes at various levels of competence. Beginner classes are each 6-7 p.m., Tuesday and Thursday; intermediate classes are 6-7 p.m., each Wednesday and Friday; advanced classes are 7-8 p.m., each Tuesday and Thursday; and teen Tae Kwon Do classes are 7-8 p.m., each Monday and Wednesday.
To learn more about CYSS' martial arts and other programs like boxing, gymnastics or dance, call (912) 767-4491.