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Cartersville Martial Art & Self Defense

Extended closure of martial arts gym hurts children amid pandemic

Posted: May 27, 2020

This is a share of an article we found recently by Molly Levine and Sydney Basden published on Friday, May 22nd 2020

MOREHEAD CITY, Carteret County — With Governor Roy Cooper's decision to leave gyms out of phase two of reopening the state, one area martial arts studio says staying closed hurts more than just their wallets.

Phillip and Shannon Henry own Grandmaster Dong's Martial Arts in Morehead City say martial arts is a form of therapy for some of their students because 40 percent are on the autism spectrum.

“Some of them have even been prescribed by doctors to come here and train with us, to help them mentally deal with those problems," says Shannon.

She says martial arts helps children focus, build confidence, and grow their mental strength and stability, so the studio's extended closure has had a negative impact on them.

Elizabeth Fields says her nine-year-old daughter has ADD and has not been the same since in-person classes were closed.

"I can tell it’s bothering her a lot," she explains. "She’s not focused the last couple of weeks. She’s all over the place, and she just gets upset easily now."

Students also say they miss the structure of the in-person classes, along with all the fun equipment used.

“It’s so fun and I just want to get back into it," says Dylan, one young student, "and it’s hard doing it on the computer because you don’t get to kick at the bags or all the fun activities they do."

The owners say they were under the impression they would be allowed to open their doors on Friday, during phase two, but were devastated when they learned they could not. Now, they aren't sure when they will be able to reopen but hope it will be soon for the sake of the children.

“To have that structure turned on its head, not just in martial arts, but in their entire lives right now has really disrupted their way of life," says Henry.