Edge­mere mar­tial arts acad­emy opens

Acad­emy now open for classes

The Dundalk Eagle - - FRONT PAGE - By NI­COLE ROD­MAN nrod­man@ches­pub.com Follow me on Twit­ter @Nrod­man_Ea­gle

Pas­tor/Grand Mas­ter Wil­liam Don­nell has com­bined mar­tial arts train­ing and prac­tic­ing his Chris­tian faith in a new style — Oshindo Karate — and now he is bring­ing that style to Edge­mere.

On June 10, Don­nell opened Shield of Faith Mar­tial Arts Acad­emy at 2231 C Lin­coln Ave., at the site of the old Ch­e­sa­peake Ter­race Deli. While he has just opened his first acad­emy, his ex­pe­ri­ence in mar­tial arts goes back nearly half a cen­tury.

Don­nell be­gan prac­tic­ing Taek­wondo at the age of seven. He had wanted to prac­tice Kung Fu, but did not have any­where to learn. He came across Taek­wondo and the rest is his­tory.

“Forty-six years I’ve been do­ing mar­tial arts,” Don­nell told the Ea­gle.

Join­ing the mil­i­tary while still in high school, he was sta­tioned in South Korea fol­low­ing his grad­u­a­tion. He was a red belt at the time.

“I was highly ex­cited be­cause that was the home of Taek­wondo,” he re­called.

Dur­ing his time in South Korea, he stud­ied un­der sev­eral masters and grand masters, earn­ing his 1st dan black belt dur­ing this time.

Re­turn­ing to the U.S., he stud­ied in Texas, Delaware and, even­tu­ally, made his way to Mary­land.

To­day, Don­nell is an 8th dan black belt in ShuriRyu, study­ing un­der Se­nior Grand Mas­ter Vic­tor Moore.

He also holds a 7th dan black belt in Taek­wondo Mookido, 7th dan Moo Duk Kwon, a black belt in Judo, a brown belt in Krav Maga and pur­ple belt in Kenpo, Hap ki do and Kung Fu Mon­key Box­ing.

He will be in­ducted into the U.S. Mar­tial Arts Hall of Fame dur­ing a cer­e­mony in San An­to­nio, Texas, later this month.

Not only has Don­nell stud­ied many forms of mar­tial arts, but he has cre­ated his own.

In 1985, he founded Oshindo, which means “the way of my self” de­fense. The form was of­fi­cially rec­og­nized by the CMAC coun­cil of grand masters and Don­nell him­self was ranked 10th dan and founder of the sys­tem.

Oshindo is in­flu­enced by sev­eral other styles, in­clud­ing Krav Maga, Hap ki do and Taek­wondo, though it has its own forms and tech­niques that set it apart.

In Oshindo, as in other forms of mar­tial arts, the tech­niques are to be used for self de­fense — to in­crease con­fi­dence and dis­ci­pline and al­low the stu­dent to feel safer should dan­ger arise. The tech­niques are not, Don­nell stresses, to be used to at­tack oth­ers or start fights.”

“We make it that peo­ple can learn and have self-con­fi­dence walk­ing down the street,” he ex­plained.

He added, “We don’t want to be the ag­gres­sor,” not­ing that he teaches stu­dents to first at­tempt to de-es­ca­late the sit­u­a­tion ver­bally, while em­pha­siz­ing that they “must be ready to de­fend your­self at a mo­ment’s no­tice.”

This should be done not pri­mar­ily through hit­ting but through “redi­rect­ing the en­ergy of a per­son,” by block­ing strikes, step­ping aside and wear­ing them out/dis­cour­ag­ing the at­tack.

A large part of Oshindo is spir­i­tual.

An or­dained pas­tor, Don­nell has de­vel­oped his style around Chris­tian prin­ci­pals.

The col­ors of the belts cor­re­spond to Chris­tian prin­ci­pals, and each rank has an ac­com­pa­ny­ing Bi­ble verse.

The first belt rank is white, for pu­rity, with cor­re­spond­ing verse of Ro­mans 3:23.

Fol­low­ing this are yel­low (“blood,” Ro­mans 5:8), green (“bap­tism,” Ro­mans 6:4), blue (“clean,” Psalms 51:7), red (“growth,” 2Peter 3:18) and black (“worth,” Rev. 2:10). The high­est rank is pur­ple.

For Don­nell, mar­tial arts and re­li­gion go hand in hand.

It’s all about im­prov­ing your frame of mind and strength­en­ing both body and spirit.

“When you start in mar­tial arts, you have a de­sire to learn some­thing,” he said, not­ing, “Through mar­tial arts train­ing, we train you not to be ag­gres­sive but hum­ble.”

Mar­tial arts, he noted, also helps de­velop dis­ci­pline and builds char­ac­ter and per­se­ver­ance.

While Don­nell is proudly a Chris­tian mar­tial artist, he does not re­quire his stu­dents to be Chris­tians.

“Do I push it on my stu­dents, no,” he said. “I don’t con­demn any­one for their re­li­gious be­liefs. This school is open to ev­ery­one.”

But for Don­nell, he sees in­struct­ing oth­ers as a nat­u­ral part of liv­ing his Chris­tian faith.

“I’m a mar­tial artist. I’m also a Chris­tian,” he said. “I put the two to­gether to help peo­ple.”

Don­nell is hop­ing to start by help­ing youth right here in Edge­mere, which he and his wife, Michelle, have called home for four years.

“We watch the youth around here,” he said, point­ing to in­stances where he has en­coun­tered kids block­ing traf­fic with their bikes, us­ing foul lan­guage on the street and other neg­a­tive be­hav­iors.

“When I see our youth go­ing crazy, I want to do some­thing about it,” he said.

Mar­tial arts, he said, teaches self re­spect, re­spect for oth­ers, hu­mil­ity and dis­ci­pline.

Michelle added, “We want to be a pos­i­tive in­flu­ence in our com­mu­nity.”

Cur­rently, Shield of Faith Mar­tial Arts Acad­emy of­fers classes for stu­dents ages 6 and up, in both group and pri­vate les­son for­mats.

Group classes are $100 per month, though they are cur­rently of­fer­ing a sum­mer grand open­ing spe­cial of $70 per month for Oshindo Karate, $60 per month for Com­bato Cane (self de­fense us­ing a cane) and $50 per month for Self De­fense, now through Aug. 31.

For more, call the acad­emy at 443-242-6044 or visit Shield of Faith Mar­tial Arts Acad­emy on Face­book.

COUR­TESY PHOTOS

Pas­tor/ Grand Mas­ter Wil­liam Don­nell in­structs stu­dents at his Shield of Faith Mar­tial Arts Acad­emy in Edge­mere.

Shield of Faith Mar­tial Arts Acad­emy just opened on Lin­coln Av­enue in Edge­mere.

Pas­tor/Grand Mas­ter Don­nell med­i­tates at Shield of Faith Mar­tial Arts Acad­emy.

Don­nell has stud­ied sev­eral styles of mar­tial arts.

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