Martial arts studio wants to give back and be part of Bellefonte community
While two new martial arts studios have opened up recently in downtown Bellefonte storefronts, each offers something different for community members looking to stay in shape and learn self-defense.
Summers Martial Arts and Personal Defense, owned by Centre County couple Terry and Nicole Summers, moved from its location on Benner Pike in State College to a space at 115 N. Allegheny Street in early March. And in early April, Raptor Academy of Martial Arts moved from a location in State College to a studio at 220 W. High Street.
“I’ve always kind of felt that Bellefonte has been understated,” said Tang Soo Do Master Terry Summers, a Bellefonte native. “There’s a lot of potential in Bellefonte. I just thought I wanted to be part of that.”
At Summers Martial Arts, Terry Summers and several other internationally-certified instructors teach classes in Tang Soo Do, a Korean-style martial art, and self-defense.
Their studio tries to create a “very supportive and encouraging atmosphere,” said Nicole Summers. “We are not a smash-you-into-the-ground martial arts.”
The mission of Summers Martial Arts, said Terry Summers, is to teach people how to defend themselves and “encourage people to be stronger individuals.” Tang Soo Do is a community oriented activity, he said, and the couple would like to instill values of respect and confidence in their students so that they are free to enter competitions or pursue martial arts education around the world.
At the new location, the Summers offer a Tiny Tiger program, designed to teach young children coordination and martial arts basics. Among the regular offerings are classes for kids that allow them to move up the Tang Soo Do belt system and classes for adults, which are taught separately.
They also offer themed birthday parties, with karate games and a mini-karate lesson.
For now, the Summers are enjoying the new location in Bellefonte, because it brings more foot traffic and gives them more visibility, said Terry Summers. They said they plan to stay there for the foreseeable future.
For more information on classes, visit summersmartialarts.com.
At Raptor Academy of Martial Arts, the class offerings are a bit different.
Brazilian jiu-jitsu and Judo — both grappling martial arts — dominate the schedule.
“The beauty of jiu-jitsu is that you can go 100 percent and have 100 percent intensity trying these techniques, and then people tap, or they’re just positionally controlled,” head instructor Jeremy Guillard said. “So you know whether or not you’re capable of doing these techniques and because of that you develop that confidence.”
Manager Jess Buckland said though the business is just starting out now, they hope to add kids’ classes in submission wrestling, Brazilian jiu-jitsu and judo.
Guillard, who has been training in the grappling martial arts for 10 years, said Raptor grew out of a local group of people training in Brazilian jiu-jitsu that he and Buckland decided to turn into a business last summer.
“I believe really strongly in the power of (Brazilian jiu-jitsu) for women,” said Buckland, who has been training for five and a half years. “To change their relationship to their bodies, and how they see themselves and experience strength and power, and it’s just basically a spiritual practice.”
Anyone can try the martial art, she said, because it blends fitness, self improvement and self-defense in a way that builds confidence.
“The little guys can learn a lot and feel confident, and that’s what’s protective for people. You learn you don’t want to be in a fight, and you learn that you can be in control of your body,” she said.
Both Buckland and Guillard are happy to have the new location in Bellefonte because it’s in the heart of downtown close to Talleyrand Park, where many kids and their parents flock on nice days.
“We want to bring opportunity for families to have their kids learn something; we want to contribute to fitness and fun and self defense,” said Buckland.
At the end of the day, everyone who trains at Raptor has a family and a different job, so the studio has “a very low pressure family sort of atmosphere,” said Guillard.
For more information on classes, visit www.raptorjiujitsu.com.