For Tyler Tetrault, his love for karate was born when he was 15, under less than favourable conditions.
“I got mugged. I pretended to do karate and it didn’t work,” said Tetrault. “My dad and his best friend did karate, so I decided to go with them after that, and I quickly got competitive with it.”
Five years ago, Tetrault saw that there was a need for a proper dojo in Golden. While karate already existed here, the training conditions were less than ideal, as training sessions took place in a school gym. However, karate is a non-profit, so there isn’t much money available to create these facilities.
The Tetrault’s found an elegant solution – find another business to run alongside the dojo, which could help pay for the facility, but also benefit from its use.
“We looked at what was needed in the community, and child care was one thing we noticed,” said Tetrault. “We have three boys, so we understand the need for childcare.”
The Tetraults just finished major renovations to their child care/dojo facility after receiving grant funding from the Columbia Basin Trust and the province of B.C..
“Our concept was to expand the daycare and build a new gym space, because the daycare uses the space during the day, so as a side effect, the karate club also gets a new space,” said Tetrault. “The government thought it was a great idea, and that the system we’ve had for daycare worked really well.”
This summer, the Tetraults spent seven days a week, and up to 14 hours a day, renovating and building the dojo. They’re just now putting the finishing touches on it, and are ready to unveil the new space on Saturday.
“Our youngest went back to school in September, and when asked to draw a picture about what he did for summer vacation, he drew watching his dad do dry wall,” said Tetrault. “Having this project completed, there’s no word to describe it.”
The karate club runs classes on Monday and Wednesday evenings from 6 to7 p.m. for kids, and from 7 to 8 p.m. for teens and adults. Friday nights at 7 p.m. they offer courses for green to black belts. They’re just getting ready to start up their Little Ninjas program for kids aged 4 to 7 on Saturday mornings as well on January 4.
“One of the greatest satisfactions we have is when we bring all the kids to attention, and they all kneel down, close their eyes and meditate,” said Tetrault. “I can feel parents watching on in shock and awe that their child is kneeling quietly and meditating. The parents have never seen it!”
Because the karate club is run by volunteer instructors, the cost for their programs are relatively inexpensive. Unlike other seasonal activities in Golden, the dojo is open year round for all those who want to give karate a try.