Meeks marks 30 years of teachingPublished 9:09pm Friday, June 3, 2011
What began as a personal venture for Larry Meeks turned, first, into a hobby and then into a small business.
“A very small business,” Meeks said, laughing. “You can’t make a living teaching martial arts.”
Meeks is the owner of Meeks School of Karate located at 311 South Three Notch Street in Troy. The “very small business” recently celebrated 30 years in business, which is no small accomplishment.
But Larry Meeks’ fascination with and belief in the martial arts started in the 1970s in an effort to find a sport in which he could excel.
“I played sports in high school and college but I was just a mediocre player,” Meeks said. “I wanted something that I could excel in. I wanted a sport where you were responsible for your actions and mistakes. That sport was martial arts.”
Meeks said the martial arts are a well-rounded exercise program and a lifestyle.
“Martial arts are not what you see on television or in the movies that cater to young folks who want a lot of action,” he said. “And, martial arts aren’t just something that we do on Tuesday and Thursday nights. They are a lifestyle based on healthy eating and exercise.”
The business aspect of martial arts developed out of the desire to work out with others.
“It’s not fun to workout by yourself so I began to included friends, neighbors and anybody who wanted to join us,” Meeks said. “We needed a place to work out so I rented a building. To pay the rent, I had to charge a little. One step at a time, the martial arts became a business.”
At Meeks School of Karate, students learn Hap-Ki-Do, which is the Korean form of the art, and Gracie Justu.
“We teach a complete martial arts program to women and men, boys and girls, people of all ages, six to 66, and from all walks of life,” Meeks said. “The women do everything that the men do. We go a little lighter on them but women make great students. We have several women that men would be making a terrible mistake in thinking the women were less than them.”
Because of the nature of the business, Meeks said there is a turnover in students.
“The younger kids sometimes decide that the martial arts require more than they want to put into it or decide it’s not for them because it’s not like it is on television. We stress good eating habits and exercise and work toward that.”
Most of the adults “stay with the program.”
“I’ve got one student who has been with me for 20 years and several who have been here 10 years,” Meeks said. “A lot of the students have been with me three or four years. The people of Pike County have been very supportive and I appreciate that.”
In today’s world, Meeks said that it’s important for people to know how to defend themselves. The martial arts teach that.
“Especially with so much bullying now, kids need to be able to stop it if it comes their way,” he said. “The martial arts are also a good way to develop social building skills and to learn how to deal with people.”