Obstacle course at Scioto Audubon Metro Park offers free training

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EJ’s Warrior Karate Academy is taking advantage of the warm weather and free equipment at Scioto Audubon Metro Park to train for two national competitions in July.

Executive Director Sensei EJ leads his students through the free obstacle course at the Scioto Audubon Metro Park a few times a month. The training is intense but the results are worth it.

“It works on endurance, it challenges them,” Sensei EJ said. “It works on explosive power, we work on balance, confidence through the roof, it works a lot.”

When violence was growing in the community, Sensei EJ wanted to help.

“I'm not a football coach but I know martial arts and I felt like I could give back that way,” he said.

Sensei is giving back by providing classes to kids of all ages, adults, men and women.

They use the free obstacle course to train to compete and their lessons go far beyond the art of karate.

“We're like ambassadors of peace. We train through martial arts, fitness, some dance and they compete,” he said. “They study virtues of Bushido and we bring it back to the community.”

Those virtues include courage, honesty, loyalty and self-control.

Twelve-year-old Nasir Clay said he has been able to apply what he has learned through the Warrior Karate Academy in the classroom.

“It helps me focus at school because we have to focus here,” Clay said.

“They're building confidence in themselves,” Sensei EJ said. “You're seeing change in grades and how kids are carrying themselves.”

These are changes that have drastically improved many lives and have even resulted in some of the nation's top honors. The group just competed in Hampton, Virginia in the mid-Atlantic Karate Championships where they walked away with 12 medals.

“I'm proud of all of them,” he said. “They surprise me each time.”

In July, 11 students will travel to Reno, Nevada for the USA Karate National Championship and the US Team Trials. Three students will compete in the USA Tae Kwon Do Nationals in Salt Lake City, Utah.

The group is raising money for their upcoming competitions. If you would like to help, donate here.

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