Assistant Sports Editor
Shane Knight of Murray, Ky. was promoted to black belt and given his instructors certificate to teach Kenpo Karate this past December.
Knight was awarded his certificate from the Kenpo Karate Self Defense Institute of Aiea, Hawaii. Kenpo Karate is a self-defense system in which a person uses quick and rapid movements to overwhelm an opponent.
Tim Thornton, Knight’s instructor, said his interest in Kenpo Karate came from his dad who first brought Kenpo Karate to Murray State’s campus.
“Bob Myers brought it (Kenpo) over from Hawaii and my father, Elmo Thornton, started training,” Thornton said. “And, of course, growing up around it always inspired me to want to start training, and I did. But when I started college I started back training again because I had quit for a while, and I got my black belt while going to Murray State. “
Thornton said it takes most people five to six years to obtain their black belt in Kenpo Karate.
Kenpo Karate is about more than just self-defense; it is about uniting the mind, body and spirit together as one. The disciplines learned in Kenpo have helped Thornton to overcome many personal battles throughout his life.
“It helps you fight those inner-battles,” Thornton said. “We all fight those invisible battles every day and with starting back to school, I felt that that was the kind of strength I needed to make it through college. I had gone and gotten my GED, and after falling on a job and hurting myself and had to go back to school but I went and got my GED. So Kenpo helped me get through those invisible battles and gave me the strength to do things that I probably never would have done without it”
Thornton doesn’t like to boast about his Kenpo skills but isn’t afraid to use them if the time comes. When asked if he had ever used his skills in a street fight situation, Thornton replied humbly.
“Yes, yes I have, and needless to say it was successful,” he said. “I’ve never been the one to go out and start a fight but there’s been a couple times. I had a knife pulled on me in a situation- I put him to sleep. But, it’s not about being tough or anything. It’s a God-given right to protect yourself and your family. Whenever you learn arts like that it makes you want to be less aggressive, it humbles you.”
Thornton’s passion through Kenpo has become mentoring to his students and seeing them grow with as people who are humble, have good character and share the same spirit for Kenpo as he does.
“What I look for in training is mentoring,” he said. “I really like mentoring I was into the Big Brother Big Sister program and I really got big into mentoring. Last year, you know, the state cut it out and everything, but then started it back up under another name. But, through Kenpo I was able to continue that mentoring.”