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Washington Karate Academy celebrates 35 years

The Washington Karate Academy celebrated its 35-year anniversary last week with a special class. David Warren, the academy’s owner and chief instructor opened the dojo in June of 1985.

Many students that came to the dojo then have come back to attend classes later on in their lives, and some came out to the anniversary celebration.

Warren said he has seen many students come and go and cherished their time at the academy.

Warren has been teaching students who made ranking grades back in 1996. Students that were kids then are now presently training in their 40s and 50s, according to Warren.

“This is a great feeling to know you can have students come back like this and start training again,” Warren said. “I’m very honored to have students come back and selected me again as their sensei (teacher).”

Although the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the dojo, Warren started back with just a few students.

“We are doing only weapons kata (forms) and empty kata and drills. At the end of the class, I promoted three students to their next rank, with two of my black belts attending,” Warren said.

Ryan Waters, of Florida, and Greg Berry, of Washington, were the black belts in attendance last week.

The three students promoted were Leana Hudson, who graduated to brown belt, first kyu; Mena Tankard, who was promoted to white belt, third kyu; and Jay Edwards, was promoted to white belt first kyu.

NEW BELTS: Leana Hudson (left) and Mena Tankard (right) show off their promotion cards with new belts last week at Washington’s Karate Academy dojo. (David Warren)

The class was quizzed and tested for internal information in their martial arts education.

“All of them had fun, and at the end of the class, the three thanked me for being their teacher,” Warrens said. “I am very thankful for having my school exist and continued for three and a half decades — 35 years! I hope I can continue for at least 10 to 15 more years.”

Warren’s classes are Monday and Thursday nights from 6 to 7:30 p.m., five miles outside of Washington. You can find Washington Karate Academy on Facebook or call 252-944-5278 for more information.