POCATELLO — Any assailant who would dare to threaten Amy Bowman with a knife might in all likelihood be making a grave mistake. Five and a half years ago, the 40-yr-antique Pocatello girl worried she’d be helpless to guard herself or her kids in opposition to an attacker. That turned into earlier than she became a scholar of Scott Southwick and went on to earn a first-degree black belt in taekwondo. Throughout the past 22 years, Southwick’s martial arts training has given hundreds of East Idaho college students — each youngster and adults like Bowman — self-self belief and a feel of protection.

Bowman’s kids have been the first to sign up for instructions at Southwick Blackbelt Academy, which opened in 1996 in Pocatello and has considering introduced faculties in Ammon, Idaho Falls, and Blackfoot. “I’ve by no means been a notable athletic character,” Bowman said. “I desired to (join) due to the fact simply with the manner our world is, I in no way recognize if I’m going to be in a state of affairs in which I need to guard myself or my youngsters.”

She’s come to an extended manner in a brief time. Bowman is now confident she may want to disarm an attacker wielding a knife, and she or he’s taken different seminars on protecting herself towards an opponent with a gun. She also does not fear for her youngsters, knowing that if they come across a schoolyard bully, it’s in all likelihood because they are status up for someone else.

“They have that self-assurance and schooling, and they’re capable of using it within the real world,” Bowman stated. Her master trainer, Southwick, is a 7th-degree black belt. Southwick and one in every one of his students, Mike Orth, who runs a Pocatello pawnshop, are among a pair of hundred human beings inside the international to had been inducted by using the International Martial Arts Council into the Black Belt Hall of Fame.

Southwick can perceive many of his more youthful students who come to his school having been victimized by bullies. As an 8-yr-vintage, bullies robotically beat up Southwick until he, in the long run, started out taking kung fu classes from a person at his church.
The rest of his adolescence tale is anticlimactic. There was no defining second when he had to face his tormentors and were given to apply his kung fu information to turn the tables on them. Somewhat, the bullies, without a doubt, shied away from him as his self-assurance grew. Southwick’s students have suggested similar studies all through the years.

“Bullies always search for clean goals,” Southwick said.

About 150 college students are now enrolled in his Pocatello school on my own, and Southwick has had a couple of hundred college students graduate with their black belts throughout the years. He commenced his commercial enterprise as a small membership, at the encouragement of a former instructor upon returning from active duty with the U.S. Air Force.

His dojo offers training in eight unique martial arts: taekwondo, tai chi, Bagua, grappling, gumbo, kung fu, escrima, Hapkido. He stated this system is transformative for the scholars who stick with it, imparting them the talents to succeed in other aspects of their lives.
“I’ve watched younger girls come into the program who have been emotionally bullied by way of fellow youngsters,” Southwick stated. “They had been nobodies. They suppose they have been on the verge of suicide, and they’re going thru this system and the following aspect they recognize, they are student frame president.”

He believes self-confidence received via getting to know the martial arts and classes in “non-secular balance” also taught via this system — have led college students to stay out of the problem, head directly to college, and to grow to be community leaders.
“Success simply follows our students, the ones who live with it,” Southwick stated.

Southwick’s wife, Pia, has additionally made waves inside the martial arts. About a month in the past, Pia has become the vicinity’s first woman martial arts master, passing the look at before the U.S. Grand Masters Council to earn her fifth-diploma black belt.
Orth, an owner of Mad Mike’s Pawn Shop in Pocatello, started taking karate as a baby from an aged Japanese guy, stimulated via martial artist Bruce Lee’s films.

“It was more of a spiritual journey with yourself, mastering honor and all of the things that come with honor — self-esteem and integrity,” Orth said. Orth worries the spiritual element of his sport, and its historical emphasis on stability and integrity has been lost lately, given the growing reputation of Mixed Martial Arts preventing matches. Orth has located those values, nonetheless the front and center at Southwick’s school, where he continues his education.

A couple of years ago, Orth, who is on course to earn his black belt in tai chi in the year, became the first individual ever to be inducted into the Blackbelt Hall of Fame without primary incomes a black belt. Orth said he become selected to the corridor of fame primarily based on work he is carried out “behind the curtain” to boost the sport, including organizing martial arts tournaments in Las Vegas.

Orth and his mentor, Southwick, are in the desirable organization as contributors to the corridor of reputation, including martial artist and movie actor Chuck Norris.
“It’s given me stability,” Orth stated of his involvement inside the martial arts. “It’s guided my existence via honor, honesty, and integrity.”