EAST MEETS WEST
Written by David Jacobs
Photos by Alicia Santistevan
Nine years ago, Gregg Berggren got his first taste of martial arts. He’s been hooked ever since. “It was kind of something I always wanted to do but never did, and then I saw my son doing it and having fun,” the Carson City resident recalls. “It’s good exercise, and at the same time, when you are exercising, you’re leaning self-defense.”
Berggren also enjoys the camaraderie.
“We have a lot of fun when we are doing it,” he says.
He participates at sierra Jujitsu and Karate, a Carson City dojo, where John Chatwood is head instructor.
The majority who start off in the martial arts are children, Chatwood says.
“But what we’re seeing here, surprisingly, is a lot of folks in their late 30s and 40s. a lot might be in an office situation where they are sitting too much, and they’re looking for a sport or activity where they can get themselves in shape, learn a little bot more self discipline and pick up some self-defense skills,” he says.
Chatwood was recently promoted to the eighth-degree of Shinto Yoshin Ryu Ju-Jitsu, a martial arts style featuring blocking and striking.
“Only a handful of people in the country ever get to an eighth-degree, and very few become head of a system.” he says.
He senses more interest in te martial arts compared to 25 years ago.
“I think the martial arts have become much more accessible to people. It’s no longer a ‘beat a person into the ground art,'” Chatwood says.
Interest also is on the upswing locally.
“We are bursting at the seams with students,” says Chatwood, excited about the new expanded facility off Research Way.
Chi Duong of Chi KwanTae Kwon Do, off North Deer Run Road, says many who call about instruction follow the news.
“They are aware of their situations – self awareness. They want to be safe and not at risk in their minds,” he says.
This is different than 25 years ago when he saw people learning martial arts or self defense for the art.
Duong handpicks his students.
“If they talk about using it for some violent things or revenge, I do not accept them.”
His students also must read books and write essays. “A lot of people, when they set their mind to violence, do not want to take the time to read books or write an essay. I can stop those people before they even think about taking classes.”
For more information contact Sierra Jujitsu and Karate 882-8821 or Chi Kwan Tae Kwon Do at 885-0547.