Moabites of every age can develop a new skill this winter: martial arts.
The Moab Recreation and Aquatic Center rolled out the new set of classes at the beginning of December, including Toddler Kung Fu, Karate for Kids and Martial Arts for Adults.
“It’s just the cutest thing to see little toddlers trying to do kung fu,” said Annie McVay, the City of Moab Parks, Recreation and Trails director.
Toddler Kung Fu, for ages 3-5, is at 9 a.m. every Thursday; Karate for Kids, ages 6-12, is at 11 a.m. every Saturday; and Martial Arts for Adults, for ages 12 and up, is at 6 p.m. every Monday. Classes are $3 for members, $5 for nonmembers.
“In the wintertime, it can be hard to find things to do and hard to stay active, so we wanted to have additional programming for the community,” McVay said. “Initially, the focus was on what we could do for kids, but then we realized that we can offer this programming for all ages.”
Right now, the classes are just for fun—you won’t be able to earn an official black belt, but you’ll learn beginner skills. Classes are low-commitment—instead of signing up for a series of classes, people can come as often as they wish.
McVay said the recreation center is still learning what the interest level in the community is, but so far, the classes have been popular: 18 students came to Karate for Kids on the first week it was offered. If popularity continues, the classes will keep going and possibly expand.
Dhyana Greene, the martial arts instructor, has been teaching martial arts for over 15 years. Greene says that her approach to teaching children versus teaching adults is much different. Children are “more naturally inclined to internal martial arts,” she said.
“They feel the chi, they know how to get down and get up, they have perfect body form. I don’t really teach them much,” Greene said. “All I have to do is ensure they don’t lose it.”
Teaching adults is different from teaching kids since every adult is different, she said. She’s found that people are drawn to martial arts for the defense component, but usually learn more from the spiritual component.
Greene said that she first started doing martial arts in 1988 after she was attacked and wanted to learn a way to defend herself. Through her practice, she learned that self-defense can also be achieved through spiritual means, she said.
“It’s been a journey of awakening my body, and it’s taken me on this incredible spiritual journey,” Greene said.
Greene has studied a number of both the external and internal arts, including Isshinryu Karate, Aikido, Judo and Tai Chi. She also teaches classes to children at the Moab Charter School and Helen M. Knight Elementary School.
McVay said the MRAC is looking for more ideas for winter programming and encouraged community members to reach out.
“We want to do as much as we can with the community,” McVay said.
Classes take place at the Moab Recreation and Aquatic Center (374 N. Park Ave). Toddler Kung Fu, for ages 3-5, is at 9 a.m. every Thursday; Karate for Kids, ages 6-12, is at 11 a.m. every Saturday; and Martial Arts for Adults, for everyone 12 and up, is at 6 p.m. every Monday. Classes are $3 for members, $5 for nonmembers.