JUST FOR KICKS: Martial arts classes attract students of all ages | New

Children and adults alike are having a blast during martial arts classes this summer, learning the discipline and art of taekwondo.

Denisse Ramos is the co-owner of Ramos Championship Martial Arts, along with Paula Thompson.

“We’re teaching Olympic-style taekwondo and preparing to bring Gracie jiu-jitsu to town,” Ramos said.

RCMA recently changed its name on Facebook from Ramos Taekwondo.

“We focus on developing character, building the child from the inside out, and we use taekwondo to do that,” Ramos said.

Taekwondo is a Korean martial art based on kicks. Ramos said it can help kids with various issues, like concentration.

“There are different levels of belts they can earn,” Ramos said. “They are gaining confidence.”

RCMA offers a variety of programs, ranging from Junior TKD for ages 3-6 to Adult Martial Arts.

“In total enrollment we have around 210 students,” Ramos said.

Ramos said there are currently around seven people on staff, including three full-time and two part-time instructors.

“I think one thing we really emphasize is that we really like to take care of our instructors,” Ramos said. “We’re like one big family, especially because they’ve been with us for so long.”

Ramos recounted how two current instructors were themselves students there.

“It’s their career,” Ramos said. “It’s quite amusing to see them.”

Lead Instructor David Fuller loves his job.

“I love kids – seeing their faces shine,” Fuller said. “I was in their place once: not sure of myself, I was afraid to go out on the ground.”

Fuller said being on a team with other kids helps students gain confidence, learning the basics of kicking, punching and discipline. He likes to see children “light up”.

“Each person has to bring their own personality,” Fuller said.

Eden Couch, 11, is one of Fuller’s students.

“I love that you get to know leadership and build relationships,” Eden said.

Two of his classmates – Cade Feary, 12, and Holly Lemasters, 11 – also said they enjoy practicing taekwondo. During a Wednesday afternoon class, the three demonstrated a kicking exercise. Holly and Cade held foam pads on either side of Eden as she took turns punching repeatedly on each block.

Jannifer Smith is a program director at the Ramos Ramos Martial Arts Championship, but said for a long time she was “just a mom” watching her son Cannon train.

Cannon has been practicing taekwondo for nearly eight years, and Smith said he has gained confidence.

“Now he’s not afraid to try new things,” Smith said.

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