By Aaron E. Looney
Special to The Advocate
June 23, 2012
“They really love it, and we want to give them as many opportunities as we can to grow with it.” Darin Morgan, American Karate Academy head instructor
PRAIRIEVILLE — Area martial arts students and instructors showcased their respective forms during a benefit event held Saturday at the Greater Baton Rouge Flea Market.
The annual “Martial Arts for St. Jude” event also featured a raffle, bake sale and cake walk to benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
During the midday event, “Team Davila,” made up of Baton Rouge-area martial arts groups Two Keys Self Defense, American Karate Academy and The Academy of Martial Arts, performed demonstrations of forms, combat skills and board breaking.
The martial arts forms of tang soo do, tae kwon do and instructor Michael Davila’s hybrid form of tang soo do were represented, as well as self defense techniques.
“This is a great way for the students to participate further in martial arts,” said Darin Morgan, head instructor at American Karate Academy. “They really love it, and we want to give them as many opportunities as we can to grow with it.”
The program concluded with Davila breaking five of seven flaming wood boards with a downward fist strike.
As mixed martial arts have come into popularity in recent years, Davila said his annual event is meant to showcase traditional martial arts forms.
“Traditional martial arts are going by the wayside, being overshadowed by MMA” he said. “My goal is to bring us back to the forefront. It’s for all ages and can be a team sport, and you can have a lot of fun with it.”
Demonstrating the different forms of martial arts were students as young as 5 and a 60-year-old grand master, Larry Billingslea.
Davila said the annual event provides area students a chance to learn more about St. Jude and raise money for the research hospital.
“Every child saved at St. Jude means children saved around the world — a director result of cutting-edge research and treatment that set the standard in treating deadly childhood diseases,” Davila said.