Karate training goes beyond the mat


Students line up for a karate class at professional karate schools in America.

Photos courtesy of Beth Deese

HAMLET – Co-owners Beth and Jason Deese have been leading professional karate classes in America for over a year and just celebrated the opening of their new location in Hamlet this Saturday.

They rented a gym at Highland Acres Church of God for meetings twice a week, as well as classes held in Bennettsville last year. Their program grew to an enrollment of 140 students who needed an official space to call home. PKSA Central NC now operates out of the old Hamlet High School and the current La Cabana building after the Deese family completed renovations over the summer.

The founder and owner of Michigan-based PKSA is Rich Collins. He’s a friend of the Deese family, who just returned to Richmond County after eight years in Michigan. Seventh degree black belt, Collins encouraged them to open a store in North Carolina.

“After a little while we thought, ‘Yeah, that would be fantastic and a great way for us to get to know people in this community,’” Jason said.

Jason himself has seven years of karate experience, during which he earned the title of Cho Dan, or first degree black belt. He was a pastor for over 20 years. He added that a “heart of ministry” guides their courses.

They said the whole family can enjoy their classes and put confidence and discipline in the lives of the young participants.

“For us it’s no big deal,” Jason said. “When our students hit the ground and start training, the parents stay and watch. They love to be a part of it.

An orientation class is a 15 minute lesson that teaches the basics and offers the option of joining a full class.

“We want their very first class to be very positive,” said Jason. “We build people from the inside out. “

All skill levels are welcome at PKSA. Many courses offer the opportunity for parents and their children to train together. Deese’s daughter is a red belt and an instructor at the facility.

“We have a lot of students who started out as adults,” Beth said. “There is no age group.”

Jason said he not only heard from parents about the difference it made in children’s lives, but also saw it with his own eyes.

“We have students who weren’t confident when they first walked in,” Jason said.

After a few lessons, Jason said that these shy students put themselves fully into each lesson.

“They learn to control their emotions and their bodies,” Jason said, adding that parents are amazed at the better grades and focus parents see in schools. “That’s what they tell us.

PKSA now offers yoga on Wednesday evenings, as well as a weapons class. Beth called them a full-service dojang, or training center.

Beth said parents in the community were grateful that their classes inspired such a positive change in their students. PKSA students participate in national tournaments against other competitors.

“There’s this idea that karate is super aggressive and teaches fighting,” Jason said. “As a primary instructor, I am always concerned about the type of person my students are becoming. “

The credos of personal development, inspiring students to think positively and find ways to become a leader instills skills far beyond self-defense.

“It’s not just what’s happening on the ground. I think about these kids becoming teenagers and how they’re going to lead their lives, ”Jason said. “As citizens of this community, we train these students to be model citizens.

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Contact Matthew Sasser at 910-817-2671 or [email protected]


Kristen T. Prall

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