Q. At Pocono Crimson Dragon, your students learn more than just martial arts. What are your goals for your students?
A. The overall goal is character education. I want to make the unconfident kids more confident. The kids with low self-esteem gain that self-esteem. I want them to become leaders in life, and each child’s road to becoming a leader is a little bit different. Some children need more discipline, some need more confidence. Some need to be taught not to bully and some need to be taught to stand up to bullies. Some kids need to become more physically fit. Martial arts is really just a tool to teach children the skills that will help them become successful in life. One of the biggest things we practice is public speaking. Our students speak in front of a group of their peers on a regular basis to get them comfortable with being leaders. Martial arts is really just our secondary goal but we create talented martial artists. Our demo team is often asked to perform both locally and throughout the tri-state area.
Q. What aspects of Pocono Crimson Dragon set you apart from other martial arts schools?
A. One of the things that sets us apart is our ability to use positive reinforcement. The general conception of martial arts is to show no mercy. What we actually do is build relationships with our students. In order to create long-term sustainable changes in a child, you need to build a relationship with him or her first and use that relationship to help him or her make better choices. We found that our kids are performing better because of the relationships they have with their instructors. Remember parents, when you’re choosing an activity for your child, it’s actually more about who is teaching the activity than the activity itself.
Q. If someone is interested, what is the best way to experience Pocono Crimson Dragon?
A. Another aspect that makes us unique is that we give parents a 6-week long trial, often at a discounted rate. For MeSee readers, I will reduce the price by 75%. That’s 6 weeks of karate plus a uniform for just $17.25! This is a great way to make sure your child enjoys martial arts before making a substantial investment in the activity.
We also offer a 100% money back guarantee. For example, if your child participates during the first two weeks and isn’t enjoying it, give us a call and we’ll refund 100% of your money.
Q. How does Pocono Crimson Dragon reinforce the character building aspects of martial arts?
A. I enjoy martial arts because participants must build good character in order to advance. For example, students must do well in school to advance in our program. I have always thought it’s really cool to coincide being a black belt with being an upstanding citizen. Our students are humble, disciplined, and focused. This aspect of martial arts sets it apart from most other sports. It’s difficult at times to withhold a belt because of a student’s behavior, but it’s important to tip that moral scale.
Q. How did you become involved in martial arts?
A. Growing up I drove from East Stroudsburg to a small school in Tobyhanna to train with an instructor that I really connected with. I trained 6 days a week, 4-5 hours a day. I earned 2 black belts in under 3 years because of that relationship. It’s all I wanted to do. One of my biggest inspirations was my instructor.
Q. What inspired you to begin teaching?
A. While I was in college, I was running the Martial Arts program at ESU and working with some other local instructors. While giving a yellow belt test, a student gave me a soft kick to the chest. What I didn’t know was that the nagging pain in my chest was actually the result of a collapsed lung. Thankfully, my dad convinced me to get a chest x-ray. I ended up having emergency surgery to fix my lung.
Two weeks after I was released from the hospital, my Sensei called me and said he was looking for someone to take over his school. With the patch from the chest tube still on my chest, I decided it was time to focus less on myself and more on students. When I took over the school, we had 5 students. By the end of month two, we were up to 40 students. After six months and 60 students, we moved the school to a new location. At the grand opening, we doubled in size to around 120 kids and we have grown from there, adding space and staff. We’ve had steady growth ever since.
My anti-bullying movement is another reason I began to teach. I’ve reached over 10,000 kids with my anti-bullying assemblies, teaching students to fight bullies with their minds not their fists. I do them for free, and have done them for both school districts and private groups.
Q. Tell us about your anti-bullying work?
A. I went to the Martial Arts Super Show in Las Vegas. During part of the show they showed The Bully Movie, a film about the problem with bullying in places like schools. After the movie, they brought out two parents who shared a story about how their son committed suicide because of bullying. The whole room was completely silent. The parents asked for the martial arts community to make it a commitment to work to end bullying in our communities. This was one of the most influential moments in my career. I strive to do this and I know that I’ve made a difference.
From there I began doing local assemblies or schools and other groups. The workshop has 3 components which are confidence, what to do if you’re being bullied and what to do if you see someone else being bullied. This workshop includes the use of social media. You can’t shield your children forever so you need to teach them.
Since becoming involved in anti-bullying movement I’ve been named the “Upstander of the Week” by the Bully Movie, inducted into the World Karate Union Hall of Fame and named one of the Pocono Record’s 30 Most Influential People Under 30. The program is always free and I’m happy to discuss it with any interested groups.
Q. At what age can a student begin taking Martial Arts at Pocono Crimson Dragon?
A. Our programs are designed for each stage in development. 3 – 4, 5 – 6, 7 – 11, 12 +.
Mommy & Me Coming Soon
To learn more or to register, visit Pocono Crimson Dragon online or call today. To receive 75% off your initial 6 week trial use the code MESEE when checking on online.
Pocono Crimson Dragon
2657 Route 940 (Suite 106 – 108)
Pocono Summit, PA 18346