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Karate group excited about new venue

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Ninjas will soon be taking over the Sturgeon Heights Community Centre this fall.


But fear not as it’s Winnipeg West Karate that will begin offering classes at the new community centre starting on Sept. 17, for people of all ages.


Sensei Joel Crisp is looking forward to teaching in the new facility, having previously offered classes at St. James Assiniboia Centennial. At Sturgeon Heights, Crisp is able to offer his students a better environment in which to learn.


"It’s a brand new, state-of-the-art facility that is a step up and allows us the time slots to provide more classes," says Crisp, who established WWK in 2004.


Crisp, whose rank is yondan (or fourth degree black belt), started practicing karate in 1980 when his family moved to St. James from southern Ontario.


"It was one of those things where I was new in town and my mom said that I should look for something to do," says Crisp, who was trained by sensei John Selinger and teaches traditional shotokan karate.


He says the classes are fulfilling because even though you might struggle during the class, when it’s over you have a sense of accomplishment. To him, it’s one of the best parts of teaching.


"There’s nothing like seeing a student, who might start out as clumsy, come up through the levels to black belt," says Crisp, whose WWK is a member of the Japan Karate Association.


The class for five to seven-year-olds, called Little Ninjas, is a fun way to introduce karate to kids where they aren’t pushed as hard as some of the more advanced classes. Crisp says he usually starts seeing changes in his students after two months of practice.


"Their focus is a lot more concentrated and they start to see the limits that they’ve put on themselves aren’t real and they can do things they never thought they could," he says.


Crisp says karate instils a sense of loyalty, respect and humility that serves people well whether they are training or not.


"It’s a natural high, like you walk the edge of a cliff and you get out alive," he says. "Your body aches, but you feel great afterward."


To register for classes, download a registration form at www.winnipegwestkarate.ca and drop it off at the community centre (there will also be a registration day in early September at the centre). Anyone interested in registering for the children’s class are advised to call (204) 793-8627 and reserve a spot.


Trevor Suffield is a community correspondent for St. James-Assiniboia. You can contact him at trevorsuffield@gmail.com.

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