Like many extracurricular activities, martial arts can be both a fun and enriching hobby as well as a learning experience that offers its students lifelong lessons. And at Tibon’s Goju-Ryu Fighting Arts Karate in Stockton, they’ll get the added benefit of learning a unique fighting style from one of the best in the business.
“My history starts with four generations of ancestors who have been in the martial arts,” says Gene Tibon, Sensei at Tibon’s. Gene himself is the fifth generation, with his son and grandchildren making up the sixth and seventh generations, respectively. “The pride we have in our heritage goes back over several hundred years,” he adds. And, of course, Goju-Ryu, which is Japanese for “hard soft style”, has a long history as well. Combining the soft, angular redirection style of martial arts with the direct straight line of defense and offense, Goju-Ryu is a popular style that not only offers self-defense techniques, but numerous other benefits.
“One: the physical fitness and health benefits. Two: the discipline, respect, and self-dedication to achieve what they start. Three: learning a traditional martial art like Goju-Ryu Karate is the best of two martial arts.”
Those aspects, plus the passion that Gene has for teaching and for Goju-Ryu, has led to numerous success stories. 100% of Tibon’s black belt students graduate from high school, and 95% of the black belts also go on to receive a college degree. Many of these students become leaders in their classes, and some of his current students are even Olympic hopefuls.
“The students learn life skill development in applying their training, self-initiative, and desire to succeed at what they have started,” explains Gene. “I tell them, ‘Great on the dojo floor, great out the door!’”
At Tibon’s, classes start with beginner level students, who train by age, starting with ages 3 to 5, and continuing with 6 to 12. Classes for teenagers are from 13 years and up. The same breakdown in ages is applied to the novice/intermediate students, while advanced level students have separate classes. Athletes who are interested in competing at the international level also have development classes available.
“From the very beginning we set goals,” Gene says. “Each student has to write a new set of 10 goals and 10 accomplishments each year.”
But ultimately, he says, his own goal – which he is clearly accomplishing – is to teach his
students to be the best they can be.
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923 N. Yosemite St., Stockton