MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Features

May 9, 2007

Karate kids

Martial arts builds confidence, discipline, flexibility, coordination

Riley Huston, 6, watched with great interest as kids warmed up for their Wednesday night karate class at Flex Time Fitness on South 32nd Street.

She had on her white karate outfit (called a “gi”) and a bright yellow belt showing her rank. Her mother, Jennifer Huston, 28, gently encouraged her to join the other children.

After a few moments, Riley decided she was ready and joined approximately 30 other children, ages 5 to 15. After some stretching, they went through a series of practice moves including kicks, punches and proper ways to maintain balance, agility and efficiency.

“She’s really shy,” Huston said. “She has been taking karate for seven to eight months. She’s a lot more confident; she feels better about herself. She can approach more people. She has come out of her shell. She’s also louder; I’m not sure if that’s a blessing or not.”

Huston and her husband, Jeremy, a 30-year-old firefighter, also have two boys, ages 3 and 1. Jennifer and Jeremy formerly served in the U.S. Coast Guard. They learned the value of fitness and wanted to pass it on to their three children. Riley is the first one old enough to join a program.

“She’s asthmatic, and it has helped her asthma,” Huston said. “I also take karate. I’m a yellow stripe belt and she’s a yellow belt, so technically, she outranks me. Mainly the benefit of the class is just how good she feels about herself. It has a lot to do with the instructor.”

Chief instructor for the three-nights-a-week class is Jimmy Oban, 37. Oban has been in martial arts for 23 years, and an instructor for five. He’s a little reluctant to bring attention to himself, but talking about the kids gets him going.

“I firmly believe that if you are going to be successful as an instructor, you’ve got to be passionate and committed to what you do,” he said.

Text Only
Features
AP Video
U.S. Paratroopers in Poland, Amid Ukraine Crisis US Reviews Clemency for Certain Inmates Raw: Violence Erupts in Rio Near Olympic Venue Raw: Deadly Bombing in Egypt Raw: What's Inside a Commercial Jet Wheel Well Raw: Obama Arrives in Japan for State Visit Raw: Anti-Obama Activists Fight Manila Police Motels Near Disney Fighting Homeless Problem Michigan Man Sees Thanks to 'bionic Eye' Obama to Oso: We'll Be Here As Long As It Takes Bon Jovi Helps Open Low-income Housing in Philly S.C. Man Apologizes for Naked Walk in Wal-Mart New Country Music Hall of Fame Inductees Named 'Piles' of Bodies in South Sudan Slaughter SCOTUS Hears Tv-over-Internet Case Chief Mate: Crew Told to Escape After Passengers
Poll

Should a federal judge have the power to strike down Oklahoma's ban on gay marriage?

Yes
No
     View Results
Featured Ads
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Stocks