The SVS Karate Club has been meeting weekly since Fall 2009. Most students are seminary children, but several adults have participated as well. The traditional Karate training conducted here is designed to develop positive character traits in students through working within strict guidelines while enjoying a fun atmosphere.
Students learn valuable self-defense skills; they learn to respect themselves and others, to practice self-control, and to coordinate their minds and bodies. Training gives children a sense of self-value and confidence, better health, and increases their ability to concentrate on tasks. All students are taught that the Karate techniques they learn are for self-defense purposes only, and they practice different methods to avoid physical confrontation.
A typical Saturday-morning class lasts for one hour. During the class, safety is paramount and a qualified instructor monitors the students closely. Students begin by bowing to the instructor (a traditional form of respect in martial arts training.) After calisthenics, designed to warm-up and strengthen the body, the class practices basic techniques —punches, blocks, evasive movements and kicks—while the instructor corrects each student's technique as needed. The techniques learned are then applied in practical exercises, consisting of working with a partner, practicing with hand-held foam striking targets, etc. The students frequently participate in fun activities, which help them learn the various techniques.
The instructor, third-year seminarian Fr. Michael Sakran, has trained in martial arts for 17 years, and has instructed children for 13 years. He holds a black belt in American Open Karate, a blue belt in Northern Shaolin/Northern Praying Mantis Kung-Fu, and has trained in self-defense skills as instructed by the U.S. Marine Corps while serving honorably from 1998–2002.