“Starworld Academy of Martial Arts & Fitness comes under New Ownership!”
By Derek L. Stalling
As a writer, I’ve had the privilege of penning many articles for several newspapers about the Community Service, Enthusiasm, Exploits, and Professionalism of Starworld Academy of Martial Arts & Fitness (AMAF). As a parent; I am so very proud of who they are, what they do, and how they do it. They have helped my children immensely with their discipline, focus on education, and maturity. This school has become a real Sierra Vista institution! They’ve won numerous State, Regional, and World Championships in their style of Korean Martial Arts known as Tang Soo Do (pronounced Tung SU DOE ). They are a family oriented, family focused, and family operated business…but for them it is about what they give to their community, their students, and their association; The World Tang Soo Do Association (WTSDA) which they are most proud of. Now, Starworld AMAF will move into a new chapter; “a changing of the guard so to speak,” and become a “Family Owned as well as Family Operated” Martial Arts Academy; where spreading Tang Soo Do throughout the world through unity, brotherhood, and professionalism with self-defense and physical fitness are expected by products.
In May 2015; Starworld AMAF will come under new ownership, with Mr. Kent Thomas and his wife Mrs. Lupe Thomas taking over as Owner and Chief Instructors of the studio. Both the Thomas’ as well as their oldest child Maria, and Son Steven are senior 3rd Dan (3rd Degree) Black Belts in Tang Soo Do. Mrs. Thomas is also the World Tang Soo Do Association West Coast Director of the associations Ki Gong program, and leads the Ki Gong and Tiny Tigers – Little Dragon programs for the studio. The Thomas’ have studied under Senior Master John R. Williamson, 6th Dan Masters candidate, for some 16 years, and are “Lifetime Members of the World Tang Soo Do Association.
Senior Master John R. Williamson, 6th Dan Masters candidate, and Region# 2 Director of the WTSDA first opened Starworld on Fort Huachuca while on Active Duty over 22 years ago. The Thomas’ have been instrumental in Starworld’s growth and transformation into new forms, shapes, and sizes through the years, culminating with their new location at: 4341 S. Highway 92, Sierra Vista, AZ 85650, next to the Uptown Theater. Senior Master Williamson will remain an integral part of the studio, and will be seen and interact with the students as usual. His support, guidance and input will always be important to the studio and all who study there. A family type connection is one of the most treasured attributes of the World Tang Soo Do Association. Like the yin yang symbol, a balance is maintained by some things changing, while others remain the same.
Mr. Kent Thomas is the Chief Instructor of Starworld, after retiring from the US Navy, and Mrs. Thomas, co-Chief Instructor tempered by 16 years as a Montessori Teacher; their youngest child Steven is a Graphic Design Artist, senior 3rd Dan, and their oldest child Maria, also a 3rd Dan; currently runs her own WTSDA Certified Martial Arts Club in Portland, Oregon. Mr. Thomas has big plans for Starworld AMAF; first changing the name to Starworld Academy of Tang Soo Do. As with Korean Tradition, and in the tradition of Tang Soo Do; when a new studio is started, it takes on either a portion, or similar name of the parent studio out of “Courtesy and Respect;” which are also two of the tenants of Tang Soo Do. But as someone; along with the other parents of their students who overwhelmingly support the Thomas’, I would recommend that you be on the lookout for new and exciting opportunities, options, and a lot more community service from the Academy of Tang Soo Do and their students!
Over past years; Starworld AMAF has received numerous accolades from Fort Huachuca, the City of Sierra Vista, and Cochise County. Numerous Mayors have presented City Proclamations to Starworld AMAF for their community based efforts and projects such as Anti-Stalking Awareness Month, Anti-Bullying Month, and Defense of Self Seminars they’ve given and presented to the public for little or no expense! These are just some of the things they have done, and will continue to do for our city and our community.
“I have big plans for our school in these coming months; and as the year’s progress. We are going to start focusing more on Tang Soo Do, Ki Gong and Tai Chi, not only as viable forms of Martial Arts; but also as ways to help keep oneself mentally and physically fit;” said Mr. Kent Thomas. “We accept students starting as early as four-years old; and we have had students as old as 87 years old. Where athleticism is the key component in a sport, traditional martial arts (such as the Korean based Tang Soo Do) is not a sport, martial arts requires that a person learn techniques that are outside their “comfort zone,” and through practice and repetition, the athleticism is cultivated. We support many different clubs and organizations here in our community; and we plan to do so much more. I am currently working on expanding our hours of operation, as well as developing a Scholarship Program to help those who may not be able to attend our academy; whether due to circumstance or happenstance, there should not be obstacles to learning about Tang Soo Do, Tai Chi, and Ki Gong,” said Mr. Thomas.
Mrs. Lupe Thomas added; “Ki Gong and Tai chi are a gentle way to fight stress. They help reduce stress and anxiety, and they also help increase flexibility and balance.” I asked Mrs. Thomas to explain more about Tai Chi & Ki Gong and she provided this feedback; “Often described as meditation in motion, Tai chi and Ki Gong promote serenity through gentle, flowing movement. Both practices have many different styles. Each style may have its own subtle emphasis on various principles and methods. There are also variations within each style.
Some may focus on health maintenance, while others focus on the martial arts aspect. Ki Gong and Tai chi are low impact and put minimal stress on muscles and joints, making it generally safe for all ages and fitness levels. In fact, because both are low impact, they may be especially suitable if you're an older adult who otherwise may not exercise. People may also find Ki Gong and Tai Chi appealing because they are inexpensive, require no special equipment and can be done indoors or out, either alone or in a group.”
So don’t miss out on all the excitement! Make sure you are part of one of the no obligation trial classes that will be happening! Call Starworld Academy of Tang Soo Do now and schedule your class! 520-378-0047.
See You Soon!
Photo By: Rebecka Webb