The Murfreesboro Parks and Recreation Department has introduced several different types of sports-related activities to area children during its Summer Program held at McFadden Community Center.
Bill Taylor shows the class how to block a punch. Photo/J. Davis (Murfreesboro Parks & Rec.)
Recently, the department invited Karate expert Bill Taylor to give the youngsters a demonstration of the sport and introduce the philosophy of the discipline to the girls and boys.
“I knew that Karate was a great way to teach children self discipline and help their confidence,” said Anne Gilmore, citywide athletic coordinator for Murfreesboro Parks and Recreation, who contacted Taylor. “I believed it would be a great, fun way to get the kids active with an aerobic workout.”
Extending the invitation to Taylor was something he has become accustomed to.
“In the mid-1980s after I retired from fighting, we started to give back,” Taylor said.
“Our outreach programs have taken me to the after school programs,” he added, “civic and church groups, companies, senior’s centers, and even the physically challenged. We reach out to all ages and abilities.”
Taylor said he became involved in the sport when he was 11 years old and quickly advanced.
By the time he reached 14 years old, he was teaching.
Progressing through the different levels of the sport led to fighting for national titles during his career, and he even made appearances on ESPN. He currently operates Bill Taylor’s Bushido School of Karate in two locations in Murfreesboro.
Taylor turned his focus toward the kids of the Summer Program and gave the youngsters a chance to watch, learn and practice some of the punches, strikes, kicks and blocks that make up the sport.
Jemarre Mendenhall got a chance to use some of the Karate techniques he learned from Taylor during the visit at the close of the program. He broke a board that Taylor held between his hands.
“It felt good when the board broke because I used the palm of my hand, and I had a good stance,” Mendenahall said. “The way he showed us how to do it made me think that I could do it. I like the blocking and the side kicks we learned too. He also told us to be respectful to our parents too. I learned a lot today and hope to take Karate lessons someday.”
Taylor is an excellent communicator, as the children were totally involved during his 45-minute program. They watched in awe as Taylor performed his fast-paced precision moves and listen attentively to what he had to say.
“I learned about discipline and respect today,” Valery Michel said. “I learned how important it is to have respect from beginning to end.”
Not only did the children learn different Karate methods and tactics during the program, they learned from Taylor the philosophy of the sport and how it can be a healthy choice to their physical well-being.
“My aim is to show kids that they do need to make good decisions at this age,” Taylor said. “Decisions they make now can have ramifications even when they are 50 years old.
“I also wanted to show them how a good work ethic will benefit them in school and life. If they develop good work ethics and learn how to make good decisions now, when they become an adult they will end up being able to do what they want to do instead of doing what someone else wants them to do.”