Martial arts training program opens in Calico Rock School District

Photo: Instructor Evan Stephen, recently promoted to first degree black belt.

Photo: Little Warriors Taekwondo class.

Photo: Instructors Mark Stephens, Kevin Coulter and Evan Stephen.

An initiative between the Calico Rock School District and the Izard County Sheriff's Office is bringing a self-defense program to students in grades four through 12. A recent expansion is allowing those in grades one through three to participate.

The Kids Initiative ALERT program is designed to instill good leadership traits, as well as good citizenship through martial arts training, specifically Yoshin Ryu Jujitsu. The member students will also obtain self-defense capabilities along with much needed physical exercise.

KIAP has no fees to the student members. Expenses are being covered by area businesses. The only member requirements are grade levels and being a student in the Calico Rock School District. The Calico Rock School District participates in School Choice, a K-12 public education options program.

KIAP has about 30 member students in the original program. A recent expansion with a Little Warriors Taekwondo class has allowed approximately 30 first through third graders to join.

Several students have completed promotional belt testing at different levels, with more preparing for future tests.

Chief instructor for the program is Mark A. Stephen, sixth degree black belt in Yoshin Ryu Jujitsu, third degree black belt in Taekwondo.

Assistant instructors are Kevin Coulter, second degree black belt in Taekwondo and first degree black belt in Yoshin Ryu Jujitsu, and Evan Stephen, first degree black belt in Taekwondo and blue belt in Yoshin Ryu Jujitsu.

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