New martial arts studio opening in DouglasBy Bruce Whetten
A new martial arts studio is opening up in Douglas this week.
Classes are now underway for the Elias Martial Arts which meets every Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
The group is currently meeting at a local residence but will soon be working out of MC Gym on G Ave.
Instructor Alejandro “Alex” Elias is teaching the class. Assisting him is Richard Walters.
Elias, who is origionally from Yuma, has been around martial arts since the early 1970’s. He has experience in kenpo karate. Korean martial arts, Chinese internal martial arts, Kajukendo and Kodenkan judo.
He taught in New York City for 11 years and was in Douglas for two years from 2002-2004 teaching at the old L&M’s Body Builders center on G Ave.
Elias says his mother and father were originally born and raised here before moving to Yuma. Linda Sproule of L&M’s offered him a chance to teach martial arts, he left then decided to come back and try it again.
The classes Elias and Walters will be teaching in Douglas are what Elias calls the Filipino Martial Arts. Elias is a fourth dan in the Flipino Martial Arts and an eighth dan red belt in kajukenbo, a third degree black belt in judo and jujitsu.
Filipino Martial Arts refers to ancient and newer fighting methods devised in the Philippines.
“They taught it in jungle war fare,” he said. “It’s geared for multiple attackers; they use long bladed weapons.”
Elias said the long bladed weapons will be replaced by sticks in his class.
“The movements I teach help you understand your surroundings,” he said. “This actually helps your peripheral vision in the mental sense as well as the physical eye movements.”
Elias said the spiritual balance in martial arts is something that has been ingrained in martial arts since the beginning.
“The idea of it was to take the person from a physical understanding of how the body works to a place where they understand the body then refine the persons mind by teaching them healing,” Elias said. “It takes them from the violent world and refines it to an understanding of human life. By healing you then get connected with human life then it starts to defuse what is going on in the violent world.”
Elias held a small public demonstration several weeks ago at the 10th Street Park. He’s planning on having another tentatively scheduled for March 9 also at the 10th Street Park.
Classes are $40 and open to adults. Since sticks are used Elias would like everyone taking his class to have a hat as well as eye protection.
Anyone wanting more information may call 520 507-1497 or 368-8285.