MARINE CORPS AIR STATION YUMA, Ariz. -- A free martial arts hand-to-hand combat class was held at the Old Town Yuma Self Defense Training Center for military service members and their families July 13.
The purpose of this event was to attract service members and their families to attend the classes, which are offered at a discount rate to military. The center also offers boxing, ju-jitsu, tai-chi and kick-boxing classes.
The school offers unit classes for military at a reduced rate and one-on-one training that will not interfere with the Marine Corps martial arts training that Marines receive, said Nay Meadows, grand master martial artist and director of the martial arts school.
Meadows said his experience as a former Marine is what influenced him to offer these services to military and their families.
In his time in the Marine Corps, Meadows fought in the Vietnam War and was stationed in Okinawa, Japan for about six years. Both of these experiences had influence on his success as a martial arts instructor, he said.
"I have a lot of respect for what the military does," said Meadows. "If it weren't for my career as a Marine, I wouldn't be where I am today. I've always believed, 'once a Marine, always a Marine.'"
Del Carr, Old Town Yuma Self Defense Training Center martial arts instructor and eighth degree black belt martial artist, said he began teaching at the center because he wanted to spread what he learned to civilians and military alike. Carr's experience as a former Marine also helped to shape him into one of the top martial artists in the world, he said.
In addition to reduced rates and special classes for the military, the martial arts school also has specialized classes for women and children.
"We think it is important to offer these classes to spouses and families of deployed Marines because we know how hard it is to be separated from a loved one and how important it is to relieve stress in a positive way," said Meadows, a tenth degree black belt. "It's also very important that they know how to protect themselves if alone in the home or in town."
Meadows said not only are the classes good physical training for individual service members, but the classes are also good for unit moral.
"Martial arts focuses on discipline and leadership, which are two things that are very important for Marines," explained Meadows, who has been practicing martial arts for more than 42 years.
The training offered to military service members and their families promises to have many positive influences on the health and life, said Meadows.