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A Warrior in a Garden

Photo taken by Laura Ault Photography

For many, the term ‘martial arts’ probably brings forth images of exotic combat styles used by movie heroes and elite athletes, but for Rochester Family Martial Arts, the ‘arts’ has greater meaning and a larger purpose that they share with students of all ages and skill levels. Through the teaching of martial arts, three-year-olds learn to hone their social skills at the same time as their bodies develop through physical activity. Older children learn respect, with an emphasis on anti-bullying, and develop goal-setting abilities that remind them that they can excel at something no matter their age, gender, or size. Teens learn the importance of self-esteem and how to address challenges and persevere through daily struggles. This is the age when learning how to resolve problems peacefully can be tempered with learning self-defense. “We teach our students that fighting is only an option when there are no other alternatives,” said Paul Schaeffner, Rochester Family Martial Arts owner/instructor. Adult students are instilled with the importance of the health benefits that martial arts can provide, including controlling stress and improving both joint health and heart and lung function. Martial arts is a physical discipline that can help people confront problems unique to their age in an unpredictable world. A young woman preparing for college is as likely to need to learn to raise her awareness of her environment and be ready to defend herself from potential threats as she is to concentrate on her studies. A young man may need to learn that focus and self-discipline can be more important than having a forceful personality on the path to becoming a leader in business, and in life. The benefits can even be an enhancement to aging students who are enjoying the extension of their ‘golden years’ like never before. “Our oldest student is 75,” Paul said, “and even she benefits from the physical routines and memory training. Rochester Family Martial Arts offers classes (and personal instruction) in Taekwondo (distance combat), Hapkido (close range), Brazillian Jiu-Jitsu (ground/grappling), and weapons training, with a focus on ethics and philosophy as an undercurrent to them all.

“The best defense is avoidance,” says Paul. “By teaching our students how to treat each other, we learn how to be good people.” And the advantage of shaping ‘good’ people through martial arts disciplines is succinctly summed up in a Chinese proverb: ‘It is better to be a warrior in a garden than to be a gardener in a war.’ Front student is Brandon Maish passing his black belt test.

Photo taken by Laura Ault Photography

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