Karate program builds stronger kids, schools


By Dave Schwab

La Jolla Karate instructors are sharing martial arts lessons — and discipline with Bird Rock Elementary School students, all while helping out with fundraising.

“It’s a way, with the huge budget crisis in California, to build stronger, better, healthier kids and raise money in our schools,” said instructor Nay Flinn, describing Life Lessons/Character Counts Program she was offering to a group of energetic students in the school’s auditorium last week.

Nay said the program issues a karate “challenge” to kids to clean up their rooms or do something else responsible. In exchange, they can earn white belts when they’ve conquered those challenges.

“One hundred percent of the money goes back to the elementary schools; we take none of it,” said Flinn. “This program builds strong bodies inside and out. Strong bodies on the inside by making good choices. Strong bodies on the outside with exercise and karate techniques.”

“What we strive to do is not just teach the kids self defense and martial arts techniques, but how to be their best in life and build character, reinforcing what parents and teachers want to build: the whole person,” said Mark Truscott, who owns La Jolla Karate along with program director Ian Sheres.

Parents paid $69 for the four-session program, making checks out to the BRE Foundation. Sheres said the program has already raised $4,500 for the school

In the auditorium during a rendition of the Life Lessons program, Flinn introduced students to the discipline of martial arts. She taught them to bow and pay respects to instructors. Then she performed skits with student audience volunteers illustrating the right — and wrong — ways to greet people.

“This is the first of four hour-long sessions,” noted Truscott. “The first sessions are about etiquette, the most important part that we start with, then we shift the focus at the end to martial arts exercises and techniques.”

“We’ve done this life lessons program at 14 elementary schools and families are continuing to sign up,” added Truscott.

For more information about La Jolla Karate at 7838 Herschel Ave., call (858) 255-8383 or visit