Sensei Brian Pena and his staff make up a group of people who are truly dedicated to giving you some of the best instruction in the martial arts you can find. At the same time they will help you develop your self-discipline while guiding you along your personal journey with Karate and life. I send both of my children and personally practice at The Karate Dojo. We look forward to and plan on being a part of this Karate family for years to come.
I am thankful to you for your leadership, guidance and support since I started Karate in 2007. In the Dojo I have learned about Patience, Discipline and Humility.
-I have learned to slow down, take the time to do anything well and better. By taking the time to teach each step and expecting the best performance, you have modeled Patience in a positive way and helped me improve shortcomings ranging from a weak memory, a poor balance to a lack of strength. I also realized that when I was more patient with myself I could challenge both my mind by reviewing over and over memory work, and my body by practicing often in a gentle way. Before I started Karate, any and every aspect of Patience , the constancy it requires, the resignation it asks for, was a big challenge for me. I physically resented the word as a form of threat urging me to be calm and considered it an impossible goal to attain. Karate training at the Dojo has encouraged me to "Give Out Before You Give Up". It has progressively strengthened my Patience by learning to endure pain and discomfort without complaining. I have also learned to listen better and wait more.
-The Dojo gave me the opportunity to train my mind over my body. Through the practice of obedience to a set of rules and the development of self-control, I experienced small successes and small setbacks along the way. That built self-confidence and strength. Also, although push ups were challenging for me, I tried to not consider them as punishment, but as "deterrent" and a manner to get stronger and to improve myself in a respectful way. Repetition contributed to connect my mind and body. Karate practice also gave me the chance to let all thoughts and worries at the door or at least behind when class started. When I stayed focused during class it relaxed my mind.
-As an adult, Karate has challenged me to adopt a student's state of mind to follow directions and to defer to more advanced students in order to progress. The practice of Karate has also helped me know more about myself -my strengths and weaknesses- Humility to accept my limitations (which vary) has allowed for a "personalized" training in Karate. Knowledge and acceptance of my capacities have been the basis to work at my own level and progress from there. During Karate classes I have practiced Humility and learned about Respect over and over, each time I bowed or listened with Respect. In life, even I am aware that have a more positive attitude and that I handle situation more assertively from time to time; I cannot acknowledge all the benefits I reaped because of my growth in Patience, Discipline and Humility because they are too many and they affect my life in so many areas at so different moments. However, there are two instances when I know that Karate played a direct and important role in my life. The first one was through the visualization of Kata Taigo 1 that guided me through a very difficult time. The second one was the moral strength I got knowing that I could count on you and the Dojo. That day, little by little, my mind constantly redirected to focus on the next step, I passed in front of the Dojo and arrived at destination. Driving back was a lot easier. Later, I felt accountable and appreciated that with your support I was allowed to give back with "Karate time". I am very grateful to you for all this.
Sir, very few people are blessed in this life doing what they were meant to be doing and loving every second of it. You are one of those few truly blessed. You prove this daily in your interaction with your staff and students. You prove this daily with your passion for your mission: Teach Karate at YOUR Dojo to the best of your abilities. You pour your heart and soul into this endeavor. That is the reason for your success. Not any Sensei before you or after you can say the same. You are unique and special and your students and staff realize this. May God bless you with continued success.
After my son had been attending classes in the youth karate program for a few months, Sensei Pena talked me into joining the adult Karate class. This was the best decisions I have made, not only am I in muich better shape, but I have become more confident in life. In the last few weeks I even have started down the difficult path of quitting a very bad habit I have had for the past 25 years - smoking. I know I could not have even started such a task without the skills I have learned at The Karate Dojo: Patience, Discipline, Respect and Humility - all of which are required in order to succeed in anything.
I have grown to love Karate in the last year, not only as a parent of a student, but as a student. Sensei Pena gets to know each and every student in his Dojo in order to help each individual in the unique ways they may require. He truly has made me a better person, and that is something it is hard to express with just a thank you, instead I do my very best in class and life with what I have learned from him.
Tonight was an experience I will not soon forget. However, it may not be what you think it is about. I know you are quite busy
and get all sorts of emails from people about this and that, but I have to get
this off my chest. So...I warn you the rest is mushy. I was not raised to have much belief in what I could do as a child. Wah...I
know, but it is true. As I got older there was always a fire in me for
certain things I knew I could and would do. Physical fitness has never
been one of those though. Once I had Toby, I found even more strengths
in me....or so I thought. I started karate and fitness with the dojo
honestly because my husband and I wanted to do something together. My
husband is a great deal of encouragement for myself, and until recently
he has been the only person in my life to really motivate me past what
I already knew about myself. Since I have been with the Dojo, everyone
has always been extremely helpful and supportive. I have never once felt
out of place or that I did not belong. I even got the notion out of my
head that " I
couldn't do something", Tonight put me in another realm of that
though. I felt very emotional and had to wait until I was home because
I did not want anyone to see that side of myself. Truth is having everyone
there to not only be supportive and caring, but to really push me to
improve myself and past what I think I can do--I have no words right
now - just girly mushy tears. It is not something I thought was in me
or that someone would help me find in myself. I want you to know that
everyone there has done this for me. I am overwhelmed, yet deeply empowered. Thank you, not just for pushing myself and family to be better, but for making
the Dojo a family. There's more support and encouragement there with everyone
than I ever knew.
(mother of Toby & Brooke, wife of Russell)
I want to thank all of you at the DoJo who have had a part in caring
for and teaching Zach over the past 3 years. THANK YOU!!! It is with
sadness that we leave the Karate DoJo. I can’t even put in words how
grateful we are for the love, kindness and security we have felt over
the years. It has been amazing to see how much Zach has learned and
grown since becoming a little ninja! There are many of you that have
had a hand in that and I greatly appreciate it!! Sensei, you have been
such an amazing role model for Zach. His love and respect for you is
great! As is mine and David’s.
Thank you again!
Zack Link's mother
I thank God for the people
He has placed in our life over the last year. You have shown genuine
love and concern not only to Dylan and myself, but especially to Eric.
Since I started fitness (and karate) I've improved my cholesterol TREMENDOUSLY
(as well as stress :) and since Eric joined your Dojo he has more focus & determination
than I've seen in a long while - more importantly has been alcohol FREE!!
Thank you for being a part of our lives and for allowing God to do His
work through you!!
When I grow up, I want
to be a mixture of three people. Grace Marie, Sensei, and Mrs. Smith.
I want to be a leader, a Blackbelt, headstrong, not afraid to give my
opinion, a person others look up to, a strong Christian, I want to make
something of myself, and I want to never give up. All three of you have
inspired me, and I wanted to thank you for it. All of y'all are amazing
people and I want to continue learning from y'all. I love you guys!
Student at The Karate Dojo
Had to share a story about
Cammie. She was swimming at her meet last night - doing the back stroke
and kept bumping into the plastic ropes and looked over and saw that
she was dead last and began to cry. She kept looking and kept swimming
until she finished. When her Dad asked her why - she said "Dad,
do I need to show you the shirt Sensei gave to me (NEVER GIVE UP)??" It
was the sweetest thing ever! Thank you for the wonderful influence you
have on my girls!
Graham & Cameron's mother
Sensei, there are times
when we are at the Dojo that I think how I wish we had been involved
with your program or known you "way back when." But after the
Carolina Martial Arts Open especially, I realized we will still be able
to say that, because even this far into your career, there is even so
much more greatness ahead of you! We feel so blessed to be able to have
Joel where he is, part of something that will only make him better. Just
remember, it is always good to show your human side too.:) Professionalism
and strength are traits that will keep people following you, but perfection,
though admirable to strive for, is unattainable. Thank you for everything
you have done and continue to do for our son. Your program has had a
huge impact on our lives already. Looking forward to the future! :)
Madison did dance for
4 years, Cheerleading, Gymnastics, Girl Scouts, and now Karate. She has
learned more from you these past months and progressed more in Karate
than any of the other "extras" she has tried. She LOVES and
Respects you and the Art of Karate. Thanks for caring and loving my baby
girl (and the rest of your students) the way you do! It means More to
this mommy than I can say!
I am not a parent, just a grandparent that is concerned for all of the
children of today, because most are not being taught values and respect.
I am so pleased that my grandson Jonathan is taking Karate with you and
learning the values and respect that are not shown much in today’s world,
as it was when I was growing up (in the middle ages).
The video was good but seeing your classes are better.
Thank You for Caring,
Barbara A. Turner
The Dojo has made many important improvements in my family's life....and
I am not even a class member. However, I love everyone there just the
same. T here is a great spirit in your Dojo! It is really helping to
motivate many people!!! My son has benefited from you and everyone there
in ways I will never be able to repay.
I want you to know I TRULY appreciate all of you.....YOU ROCK!!!
Ashley Fraley (Toby's mom)
We certainly enjoyed the Survivor Tournament this past weekend. Again,
thank you for all you do for Starling and the other children. From my
general observations, your DOJO competitors exhibit the mannerisms that
positively reflect on your teachings. They seem to be a notch above the
others in the way they handle themselves both while competing and during
the downtimes. Thank you again for being such a positive influence in
her life, especially now that she is entering her high school years!
Learning self-defense was only about 20% of the reason I wanted Ryan
to take karate. Learning self-discipline, respect and good sportsmanship
is far more important to me and I want it to be important to him. Anything
you can do to reinforce that is greatly appreciated. The primary reason
I chose The Karate Dojo is because I could tell from all the comments & profiles
on some of the students that these qualities are part of your teaching
My story started in 2004...I had reached my top weight of 288 lbs. After
trying many different attempts unsuccessfully, I was invited by a friend
to come to The Karate Dojo. I thought ok I will go and try it but there
is NO way I will ever be able to do this. Walking in feeling intimidated
by this little bald headed, long goateed man, it was much more than I
had anticipated. Never did he make me feel incapable of doing this, if
anything he was always encouraging and uplifting. Sensei always sat down
and said what can I do to help you reach your goal, what can I do to
help you. After 2 years of staying in the Dojo, life got busy and I fell
out...still using what Sensei taught I was able to maintain my weight
loss which is a total of 88 lbs. up to this point. I walked back into
the Dojo after being gone for 2 years and felt like I was walking back
in after only being gone for a day. Sensei still remembered my name and
never made me feel bad for leaving. Now after being out of the Dojo for
2 years I am back to accomplish the rest of my weight loss goal of 40
more pounds, and a healthier lifestyle. I do thank you for being the
person you are and having such a wonderful heart to care for...your not
just customers, but your friends.
"I wanted to let you know a couple of things (these are good, don't
worry). The first is how proud I am of Emily, not for making rank,
but for sticking with it and trying so hard, especially on her latest
test. I think her desire to continue speaks very highly of you, your
Dojo, and your commitment to your students. The second is Carlos. He
has grown a lot, especially in the last few months. Not only has his
karate improved tremendously, but he seems to have matured a lot as well.
Another testament to you and your Dojo.