Listen to this article here
Legacy Charlotte teaches children and adults to think before they react using martial arts and years of training led by Ajarn Jay Henderson.
Teach adult karate, teen karate, kids karate, body blow fitness and self defense Striking 4, Henderson is a second-generation Lotus black belt with over twenty years of martial arts experience. He began studying Lotus Self-Defense in 1991 with Jack J. Gentry at a West Charlotte Recreation Center in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Ajarn Gentry is one of the few American lotus practitioners to study directly under Ajarn Precha and earned the rank of black belt.
Also a future doctoral student, Henderson took the time to explain his program to the Black Wall Street Times in an exclusive interview where he admits that martial arts came at just the right time for him.
Legacy Charlotte took a lifetime to make.
“It was one of the things that saved me when I was a kid, I was fighting every day until I was 10. But then I took my first martial arts lesson and I knew I felt different,” says Henderson.
With over 15 years of teaching experience, Henderson is now Owner/Head Instructor of Legacy Martial Arts & Fitness, where he is dedicated to continuing the legacy of Lotus Self Defense.
Although he’s been training people for more than two decades, Henderson says he’s more focused on their minds than their bodies. Realizing that the world may not treat the children he works with fairly, he is sure that everyone feels welcome when they walk in.
“It’s all character development. I have a master’s degree and in my day job I’m often the only black person in the room…I let the kids know that the world there won’t be like it is here. So by teaching them about trust, we are also teaching them to treat people fairly and as equals.”
Because he was 10 years old when he discovered martial arts, Henderson says children ages 7 to 11 are especially vulnerable to making decisions and associations that they’ll likely be with them throughout their growing years. training.
“Most of the children who come here are not confident. They don’t believe they have an outlet for anyone to listen to them. Sometimes children only need one person to listen to them. I try to be that one person. When kids feel they are being heard, you can see their confidence grow.
Lotus Self Defense can mean the difference between life and death.
Understanding that summer brings more gun violence not just to Charlotte but nationally, Henderson says the Legacy Charlotte program can benefit people of all ages to resolve conflict without taking lethal action. “I want more people like us here. You learn so much about patience, breathing, decision making – many of us have never tried it.
According to their website, Legacy Martial Arts & Fitness is dedicated to the personal growth of themselves and their students and operates on the belief that what you learn and practice at the Dojo should be applied to everyday life.
When it comes to conflict, it stems from communication. Here we teach children how to communicate, speak clearly and confidently. All my children are black and brown, they are often told to suppress their feelings. Here, children from the age of 4, they will bottle it until you teach them to express their feelings. It’s all about communication. The way we communicate with them in turn helps them communicate with us and with the people around them.
Legacy Charlotte is built on a foundation of family and community
Above all, Legacy Charlotte is first and foremost about family. “Every nail, every 90lb piece of carpet, every paint. My kids helped paint these walls. Everything you see here we made. Nothing we have has been given to us. Everything was won. »
A member of the Masonic Lodge and Kappa Alpha Psi, Fraternity, Inc., Henderson credits his family and community for the accomplishments of Legacy Charlotte today. “It’s basic. My wife supported me from the start. We didn’t always know if we would make it and some days I wanted to quit but the kids in the community — it means so much to them. I’ve had kids from Charlotte, around state, out of state. People know you get more than karate here. He continued: “I have a young wife who has been coming here since she was 5 years old. She is 13 now. I’ve been in her life longer than she’s been alive.
Learn more about their story here.