WAKEFIELD – Yoi. Rei. Hajime. Ready. Bow with respect and begin. It was like learning a new language in addition to learning a new choreographed dance in a whole new world. Except, it wasn’t a foreign language. It was commands used in karate. It wasn’t the waltz or the salsa. It was karate moves and fighting stances and it wasn’t a whole new world. It was Ichiban Karate Studio in Wakefield.
As I got ready to take my first ever karate lesson Wednesday night as part of the adult beginners class at Ichiban, I felt nervous and regretted my decision. Except for watching “The Karate Kid” series and “The Ninja Turtles” I really had no idea what karate was. Too add to my ignorance of the sport, I am not much of a fighter and the only thing I’ve ever hit was probably my pillow. Despite this, the instructors, students and welcoming atmosphere at Ichiban Karate Studio made all my qualms disappear.
Last Wednesday the Robinson Street studio just celebrated its 20th anniversary. Kyoshi (Leader) Chick Gavitt, the owner of Ichiban opened the studio in 1991 and has since served up to 10,000 students. Gavitt said 318 black belt students have graduated from his studio.
“It’s been a good 20 years,” Gavitt said. “It’s been everything I wanted and more. It created a family.”
A 28 year veteran in martial arts, Gavitt started training in karate as a freshman in high school to ward off school bullies who had been tormenting him since elementary school. Gavitt eventually began taking classes at a Westerly dojo, where he would begin teaching. Gavitt then decided to open his own dojo in Wakefield, where he could stay out of his instructors market.
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