Downtown GCS gets a kick with new karate school

Students learn martial art more about self-disciple, self-confidence than fighting

By Nick Blank Staff Writer
Posted 7/17/19

GREEN COVE SPRINGS - Donned in their Gis, children were sparring, yelling and running around on the mats before a karate class started.

For black belt and teacher Timothy Campbell, it’s a …

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Downtown GCS gets a kick with new karate school

Students learn martial art more about self-disciple, self-confidence than fighting

Posted

GREEN COVE SPRINGS - Donned in their Gis, children were sparring, yelling and running around on the mats before a karate class started.

For black belt and teacher Timothy Campbell, it’s a welcome sight since karate has been hard to come by in Green Cove Springs. Campbell took over the school, now called Campbell's Karate School, in January.

Students strike punching bags and practice on each other. More students funnel in.

“With any other school, stretch exercises is what they would have them do. I let them do this. If you look at them, they’re doing what they’re supposed to be doing at this level,” Campbell said. “After the class, I have them do the same thing.”

His class has grown to 18 students in a short time. If this class hits capacity, Campbell’s daughter, a black belt named Sharron, took over the school, while he said he would open another.

Originally from Boston, Campbell served with the Naval Construction Force, or “Seabees,” in the 1970s, where he developed a boxing background. He was encouraged by his daughter about 20 years ago to partake in martial arts.

At the start of his training, he jokingly called himself the “Kramer of the class,” referencing the sitcom “Seinfeld,” where the eccentric Kramer character dramatically spars against children. But, Campbell said, the energy of the kids pushed him to earn his black belt. Now the entrance of the school is draped in tournament medals.

“They motivated me so much,” he said.

Campbell said he’s looking for a partner who’d like to use his gym for yoga classes.

Karate is part self-discipline and self-confidence. Campbell said there was nothing like watching a student progress.

“Remember the first time you broke a board? You got up there and you were scared,” Campbell said. “When you actually get up there and do what we teach you to do, you amaze yourself.”

Brayden Miller, 9, said he enjoyed practicing karate because it was useful and helped with self-esteem.

“It gives you more self-control, self-defense and it shows you more honorable ways to not get in a fight,” Miller said.

Campbell tells new students he teaches them how to fight so they won’t have to fight.

“You can defend yourself, but you don’t have to prove anything,” Campbell said. “Unfortunately, most kids have to do that, to someone, somewhere.”

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