Island kids embracing martial arts

Fri, 05/13/2022 - 1:00pm

Martial Arts develops a certain je-nesais-quois confidence that transcends sport. And Block Island has flocked to the chance to learn from a master with classes
overflowing with eager students.
It is a mindset that is quickly and invisibly applied to life’s many daily challenges. It becomes integral to what training in martial arts delivers as a byproduct, traits that begin to define how one approaches and manages everyday life.
Philip “Flip” Porter said initially “Block Island Recreation Director Dave Sniffen and I thought we might get a total of five or so kids to come out and give it a try.” In only its third week, classes now are held as many as four days a week with five times as many kids signed up. And there is even talk of adding a class for adults on weekends.
Porter is an international Kukkiwon-certified Taekwondo Master, 4th Degree, 1st Degree Kenpo Karate, 1st Degree Jujitsu, and brown belt Judo, with 30 years experience. While relatively new to the island he did hold some summer classes at Ball O’Brien Park that proved popular.
Porter instructs in taekwondo and other disciplines in a formal and age-appropriate way. Classes are now broken up into grades one through three, three through eight, and beyond. In addition, Porter said “anyone can schedule one-on-one training with me with just a phone call.”
Self discipline, confidence, and listening skills are integral to helping master basic kicks, punches, forms, rolls, and self-defense. “With attendance and a uniform required, one begins the path to a black belt and we hope to have our first test on that path in June,” noted Porter.
One frustration has been access to consistent facilities as they share the gym and school cafeteria with a host of other activities, some that bump them when they have to move inside due to weather. “Ideally we would have a dedicated facility or room the kids could get comfortable with to instill consistency and confidence,” expressed Porter, who is eager to have even more kids and adults join in participating.
A traditional taekwondo uniform needs to be purchased for each student. Interested candidates can visit to learn more and inquire about costs.