Thomas Jefferson

High School | Home of the Spartans

Just Kicking It

Posted 12/05/2016 by Macey Murray

Thomas Jefferson welcomes a new extracurricular activity with the first ever karate club. photo by Macey Murray

TJ has introduced a beginners martial arts club that has kicked off on the right foot.

For students and teachers who are eager to learn new martial arts defensive skills, TJ teacher Sean Silvers and senior Devin Mauro-Gallegos have created Karate Club, making it possible for beginners in martial arts. The club is new to TJ this year, and the members are enthusiastic to get right into working together and learn what to do situations that might require self defense. Senior Erik Stolz said, “I like that the club not only teaches you martial arts skills but the culture behind it, which is something I’ve never done before.” Martial arts is not only about self defense skills, but a set of combat traditions and mental and spiritual development, which the group of white belts (beginners) will learn about through this club.  

The first meeting had a larger than expected turnout at 15 people, including most of the English department teachers and a large group of students. The first meeting was very successful, and promised a lot of hope to Mauro-Gallegos, as he was only expecting 10-12 people. Assistant principal Andrew Skari stated, “We love having as many options for our students and staff members. There is definitely going to be a mix of kids and adults in there which is really cool!” The club’s main goal is to give the members a feel of what the club is about and encourage them to go to future meetings. It also provides a different way of exercise and encourages members to feel good about themselves.

Karate club meets every Tuesday in the dance room after school, and is still accepting new members. Anyone who does not have prior self defense or martial arts skills is encouraged to come. The club was formed to teach martial arts rookies how to utilize certain skills in unexpected attacks. Mauro-Gallegos explained that he wanted to start this club “due to the increase in assault statistics in youth demographics.” This club will not only provide a place to learn and progress one’s skills, but a place to make friends with people with similar goals or hobbies.

The TJ community is very supportive of this club, and is looking forward to its presence for years to come. Silvers explained, “The club is really fun and a good workout. Also, Devin is a great instructor who really knows what he’s doing and takes feedback well.” This club is certain to go far under his leadership, with an ambitious group of students and staff. Along with the support from the TJ community, hopefully this club will become a long standing tradition.