GRAFTON—A local business that offers residents a way to relieve stress, become healthier and learn to focus their minds recently celebrated their one-year anniversary, and although the current pandemic might have tried to slow their progress, they have kicked and punched their way through the pandemic.
Martial arts returned to Grafton last year with the opening of the new and improved Grafton Martial Arts Academy.
The dojo, located at 68 West Main Street, Grafton, which has been offering a true Shotokan experience under the leadership of Sensei John Poling, a Nidan Second-Degree Black Belt under the American Japanese Karate Association International (AJKA-I), celebrated its one-year anniversary on December 3.
“I wanted to say thank you to everyone who has given us a chance and stuck with us throughout the year,” expressed Poling. “We started off our first year great, and while COVID and the lock down definitely slowed us down, we are still here training harder than ever.”
Offering classes for both youths and adults alike, the Grafton Martial Arts Academy teaches students through the guiding principles of character, sincerity, effort, self-control and courtesy. Through their hard work and dedication to the sport, students recently received advancements in their craft.
“I am excited to announce that we recently had Kyu promotions in which several of our kids and adults advanced their karate journey,” Poling voiced.
Sensei Poling started training Karate at the original Grafton martial arts academy in 1997 under Sensei Chuck Patterson. He then continued his training with the AJKA-I organization in 2006 under Sensei Rob Deangelis from the Solebury Club, near Philadelphia.
“Throughout the organization, we have authentic Shotokan masters with legitimate ranking and lineage to our founding master,” he shared. “I have spent many years traveling extensively back and forth to Philadelphia to train with some of the most influential and highest ranked instructors in Shotokan Karate from around the world!”
Shortly after the dojo was reopened, they were recognized as the first and only AJKA-I affiliated dojo in West Virginia.
The Grafton Martial Arts Academy currently offers Kids’ Karate on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5:30-6:30 p.m., and Adults’ Karate on Mondays from 6:00-7:00 p.m., as well as Wednesdays and Thursdays from 7:00-8:00 p.m.
“We also offer kickboxing classes,” revealed Poling. “These are fitness classes where I combine techniques from Kickboxing, Karate, Tae Kwon do, Boxing and Muay Thai for a unique workout.”
He said the classes offer the perfect way for participants to burn calories and get in shape.
Kickboxing is held on Mondays from 7:30-8:30 p.m., Wednesdays from 6:00-7:00 p.m. and on Saturday mornings from 9:00-10:00 a.m.
“We welcome folks to come try out a kickboxing or karate class for free,” Poling voiced.
He shared that all classes are currently being offered via Zoom for those who wish to remain socially distanced.
“To help keep those who are attending in person safe, we are cleaning and disinfecting after each class,” Poling noted. “We are also being sure to follow all of the COVID guidelines set forth for national, state and local health officials.”
To learn more about the Grafton Martial Arts Academy and its offerings, please contact Sensei Poling by phone at 304-694-2080. Also, be sure to like and follow the academy on Facebook at Ajka-I of Wv/ Grafton Martial Arts Academy.