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Webb takes martial arts class to Georgiana

More than half a century ago, Larry Webb got his kung-fu kicks by watching his older brothers prepare for the military.

“I was too young to train, so I sat in the back and watched my brothers train,” Webb said.

“I said that when I got older, I would be the master.”

Webb more than kept that promise he made to his siblings and himself.

Webb, now nearly 60, is a 10th degree black belt—the highest honor that can be bestowed upon a practitioner of karate. His title these days is Grandmaster (with a capital G) Larry Webb, head of Grandmaster Webb’s Karate and Fitness Fellowship of Christian Martial Arts Academy.

For Webb, some lessons only come with age.

“You can’t be a 10th degree black belt and be 40 years old. You’ve got to have some age on you,” he said with a laugh.

Every Tuesday and Thursday for the past few months, Webb has tutored 17 young students in the ways of martial arts at a small gym within Georgiana school.

But his lessons aren’t purely physical in nature; he’s spent just as much time expanding his students’ mental arsenal.

“We teach kids about coordination, focus, discipline and the importance of a good attention span,” he said.

“Karate is good, but education is No. 1 for me. I always tell the kids that you’ve got to have good grades. If you don’t have good grades, you don’t need to be coming to learn martial arts.”

The karate class is a joint effort between Webb and the Butler County School System.

“Mrs. Rheta McClain contacted me and said that they have a program for karate, so we got together and talked,” Webb said. “And we’re here.

“I enjoy teaching kids.  The first lesson you teach them is focus.  And after that, they need to listen. Listening is very important.  It’s just like in education.

“With martial arts, you do it until you master it.  You don’t just do something and then move on to the next.  It’s about repetition.”

Webb has spent the past three months drilling the five core tenets of karate basics into his students: stances, blocks, punches, kicks and strikes.

Those pillars he considered the building blocks of basic self defense.

“You put it together and that’s a well-rounded martial artist,” he said. “If you don’t know how to do all of that—if you’re not well equipped and physically fit, just run away and come back another day.

“I don’t care what degree of black belt you are; the basics are always going to be there.  Those are the foundation.”

A new slate of classes will begin on June 29 as Webb and his students plan to relocate to the FIW Community Center for a summer program.

The eight-week program, with classes on Tuesday and Thursday beginning at 3 p.m., will cost $130.  The cost includes a uniform and a T-shirt.

Though Webb’s students are all children, he stressed that anyone is welcome to attend.

“We take anyone ages 3 and up,” he said.  “As long as they’re potty trained, I can train them.”