Air Force Children Get Defensive With Kajukenbo Class in Japan

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MISAWA AIR BASE, JAPAN — One of the many unique opportunities available to military children is the kajukenbo karate class offered at Misawa Air Base in Japan. A hybrid martial art that combines karate, judo, jujutsu, kenpo and kung-fu, kajukenbo is helping these military children stay fit.

Children ages 6 and up come Tuesdays and Thursdays to work with Russell Sparks, the class leader. One participant of the class, Jarrell Abram, has lost 10 pounds while taking the class. A handful of adults also take the mixed-martial arts class.

Kajukenbo is a defensive discipline that traces its origins to 1940s Oahu, HI, where locals created the fighting style to defend themselves against drunken sailors.

“I think it's important parents and the military all realize we have a lot of kids here, and we need to have programs that help support them and help them to better their self-esteem and their own abilities that they have,” Sparks says.

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