Shinka Dojo opens, combines martial arts with life lessons

February 12, 2024 | 12:10 am

Updated February 11, 2024 | 11:16 pm

Photo by Josh Kelly

Shinka Dojo opened its doors at the end of 2023, and owner Zack Stewart is excited to bring the benefits of martial arts to his hometown of Owensboro after leading a school in Nashville.

Stewart said he and his family moved back to Owensboro last summer and began looking for a place to set up the school. He eventually landed at The Thatch, located at 1729 Sweeney Street, and began preparing the space.

The school teaches the Japanese style of Kudo Daido Juku – with programs for ages 5-7, 8-12, and 13+. Stewart said there are numerous benefits to training in martial arts at each age.

“We do a style that combines with some traditional things but has more modern practicality and combat sport elements. It allows for physical and practical training, and it can be adapted to any age,” Stewart said.

He said the lessons maintain a consistent challenge based on the subject’s skills and expectations.  Even though there is an element of challenge, the class keeps its motto close: “Never give up.”

“You don’t have to be a fighter to do the class, but you’re learning how to have that fighter spirit,” he said.

Stewart has been teaching for numerous years and practicing martial arts since childhood. Over time, he learned the benefits of the fighter spirit can show up in different ways.

For some, it manifests in increased discipline; for others, it raises their attentiveness to their surroundings.

Teaching the community is a large reason Stewart enjoys martial arts. Oftentimes, he said, people have the notion that martial arts is like what is shown in media with UFC fighting or fantasy movies. He said in reality, it’s somewhere between that.

Stewart said a large part of the classes will focus on the life-enhancing part of martial arts. 

“We’re not going to train them to dodge a sword or have the training be so out of range the average person can’t jump in and just do a class,” Stewart said. “Ultimately, most people aren’t interested in competition or fighting. If they’re adults, they likely want to be healthier, and a parent will likely want their child to be more disciplined.”

The school has classes three times a week per program, and he asks they attend two each week. To learn more, contatct Shinka Dojo on Facebook.

February 12, 2024 | 12:10 am

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