Kicking for Christ
A longtime Newton dojo is kicking its way into a new facility.
Newton Martial Arts, which is celebrating its 20th year in Newton in 2011, is planning to open a new facility in one of the Alman Furniture Co. buildings near downtown Newton. NMA’s current facility at 23 E. A St. will remain open, but Soke Paul Langford said the addition will provide some much-needed breathing space for the group.
“We like Newton. We’ve been here a long time and it’s been good to us,” Langford said, adding that the NMA board looked at other possible locations outside the area, but decided Newton would best serve the group.
NMA is in the finalizing process of obtaining the facility, and Langford said he hopes to open the dojo in early-to-mid November.
The facility will have about 4,000 square feet of space, which Langford said is enough room for a growing adolescent and adult clientele. The group currently has about six instructors and 25 students ranging in ability. There are junior and senior divisions, and Langford said they start taking children at age 6.
Throughout the years, what has made NMA different is its atmosphere.
Langford said NMA has strived to provide a Christian and family environment for its students since the day it opened its doors 20 years ago. Instead of just teaching “kick and punch,” Langford said he tries to educate his students on a moral structure and code of ethics that helped him grow when he started karate at age 7.
“The principles we go by and beliefs are Christian-based,” Langford said, “and we try to stick to that.”
Langford said that though NMA instructors and some students are Christians, it is by no means a requirement to be a part of the group.
One of the group’s instructors, Shihan Jesse Boyd, is the founder and president of Full Proof Gospel Ministries, a non-profit organization that prints and distributes Bibles around the world. Boyd has been to more than 50 countries spreading the word of Christ and NMA’s style of karate to individuals around the world, Langford said.
“He has used martial arts as a bridge to spread Christianity to other nations,” Langford said, adding that Boyd is currently in Katmandu, Nepal, acting as a missionary.
Jimmy Randall, a third-degree black belt and instructor at NMA, agreed that martial arts can be a tool to teach students life lessons. Randall teaches a children’s class at NMA on Tuesday and Thursday nights, when the group meets.
Though he’s been practicing martial arts since 1984, he said the style, art and never-ending lessons keep bringing him back.
“It’s the passion of the art and knowledge I get to pass on to younger people that keeps me doing it,” Randall said. “My children’s class has been a blessing to me.”
Randall’s love of martial arts even trickled down to his children, Kurtis Pittman and Brooke Randall, who also take classes at NMA. A style of their own Langford formally established Teashikido Karate, the style taught at NMA, in 2005. It is an eclectic style rooted in the traditions of four other styles, Langford said. As part of the style, Langford teaches a code of ethics as well as theory behind the style to his students.
“We’re not only about the kick and punch, but we also teach the culture and theology behind what we do,” Langford said, adding that they usually have additional instruction during a cool down time.
NMA meets Tuesday and Thursday nights in its facility in Newton. For more information about the group, visit newtonmartialarts.com.