PIQUA — A karate school in Xenia has expanded to open a location in downtown Piqua, giving kids and adults the opportunity to learn self-defense, discipline, and confidence through Okinawan Shorin-Ryu karate.
“One of my students, he lives in Piqua… We realized there was no school here in Piqua,” said Doug Yates, owner of Doug Yates Karate. “Now we are officially in Piqua.”
Located at 411 Main St., Doug Yates Karate is a part of the Akari Ki Karate Federation. Yates, an eighth-degree black belt, has been teaching since 1976 and became a first-degree black belt in 1975. He went on to win a gold medal for fighting in the Goodwill Games in St. Petersburg, Russia, in 1994 with the U.S. fighting team. Yates defeated the Russian heavyweight at that time 5-1.
Master Sensei Wayne Riehle, a seventh-degree black belt, will be teaching students at the Piqua location.
“I just feel that this is something Piqua needs,” said Riehle, who has been practicing karate for 46 years. “We have an awesome opportunity here.”
For those unfamiliar with karate, students will receive colored belts as part of a ranking system that shows whether a student is a beginner, an expert, or somewhere in between. Beginning with white, the belts denote the level of skill and knowledge each student has in karate. Yates explained that students will learn stances, blocks, strikes, kicks, self-defense, and more. Students will memorize and practice various katas, a training exercise that is a compilation of various forms of blocks, strikes, kicks, and so on.
“They also learn karate weapons,” Yates said.
Students will also learn kumite, or freestyle point-fighting.
“Within all of that is competition,” Yates said.
Students can compete through the Miami Valley Tournament Association, accumulating points through various competitions in local tournaments they hold to compete to be one of the top three champions in the area.
Students can also compete through the U.S. Karate Federation, competing regionally and then nationally all the way up to the Olympics.
“One of my students (Nicole Fisher) is on the U.S. team,” Yates said.
Yates’ son, D.J., also has competed on the U.S. team. Overall, Yates’ students in Xenia have won 407 medals in national and international competitions since he has been teaching.
“It’s been very successful,” Yates said. “If they want to compete, we have local events all the way up to national level.”
Competing is not a requirement for students. Yates explained how these karate lessons can be applicable to people who are both serious about the craft as well as those who want to learn basic karate and self-defense, gaining the benefit of physical exercise and self-confidence along the way.
“The students will learn an array of things from basic karate, which develops self-defense, self-confidence, learning how to handle situations without resorting to fighting, learning to have courage to walk away, not give in to peer pressure. Also, on the flip side, it also helps them to, if something happens, they can defend themselves and know when to stop and to get away — that’s our mission,” Yates said.
This also provides kids an activity to do for physical exercise as well as to develop discipline and camaraderie with other students.
“I’ve seen so many amazing things,” Yates said. “From kids who are shy and bashful become more assertive yet respectful. I’ve had kids who are literally bouncing off the walls because of energy and you eventually get them right back to where you want them to be.”
Yates’ karate school will be holding classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 6 p.m. for kids and 7 p.m. for adults. For more information or to sign up for classes, contact Yates at (937) 372-2989 or visit dougyateskarate.com.
Reach Sam Wildow at firstname.lastname@example.org or (937) 451-3336
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