Karate club teaches discipline

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    By Rebecca Ventura

    As the students shuffle gracefully back and forth in their stark white uniforms, it almost looks as though they are dancing on the hardwood floor of the Knight Mangum Building.

    But this is no dance class. Three times a week the Shotokai karate club meets under the tutelage of Matt Spackman, a BYU associate professor of psychology.

    The club started 12 years ago while Spackman was doing his undergrad at BYU.

    “I was one of the original members of the club,” he said.

    The club, one of the many martial art clubs on campus, is different from tae kwon do, which is mostly kicking. Shotokai karate is about half hand techniques and half kicking, Spackman said.

    “It”s really mental as well as physical,” said Jared Greenwald, a senior majoring in math and physics who has been in the club for about a year. “It”s something, if you stick with, that will really teach you to stay calm and collected in any situation.”

    Shotokai is defense oriented and teaches the student how to stay relaxed under pressure, Greenwald said. In practice the students always start slow and then increase the tempo as they become comfortable with the movements, he said.

    “It ingrains everything into you, makes it become part of you,” Greenwald said.

    Students interested in joining the club shouldn”t be worried about being inexperienced in martial arts. Club members are all helpful and encouraging and Spackman is careful to be sure students move at their own pace.

    “There are certainly fitness benefits, but there are other benefits,” Spackman said. “You can develop self-discipline, learn self-motivation. You can begin to develop skills to defend yourself.”

    For more information on the Shotokai Karate Club, students can visit the club”s Web site, shotokai.clubs.byu.edu.

    Practice schedule times and locations are posted as well as more information on the actual style of Shotokai karate and its history.

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