Neighborhood Karate School Has Been Going Strong Since 1979 – Beacon Hill Times
Noah Lucia, owner and operator of Boston Budo, has been involved with the Beacon Hill-based karate school since early childhood, which was somewhat inevitable given that the program was the brainchild of his father, Duane Lucia.
“When I was riding, my dad was teaching karate at Hill House, and I was also going to Hill House, so I was pretending to be a ninja or Bruce Lee whenever I could run,” said Noah, now 37. year. “And as soon as my dad could get me in line, I got in line.
A lifelong community activist in the West End, as well as former chairman of the West End Museum, Duane established Boston Budo in 1979 and began offering classes through Hill House eight years later.
Noah, meanwhile, was diagnosed with ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) in third grade, but rather than put him on medication, Duane chose to immerse him in karate instead.
“I had trouble concentrating when I was a kid, so karate was instrumental in my concentration – that’s one of the reasons I think I benefited immensely from it,” said Noah.
Noah went on to earn a hockey scholarship to Norwich University, a private military college in Northfield, Vt. After earning an English degree, he spent some time in the corporate world before moving to Japan to teach English. Noah eventually returned to Boston and came to work at Boston Bodo alongside Duane around 2010.
By around 2012, Noah had taken over the reins from his father and become the de facto owner of the karate school, although there was no official passing of the torch per se.
“I then became more active in teaching and had just taken on the majority of the students and started managing day-to-day tasks,” Noah said.
Boston Budo teaches Uechi Ryu – a traditional Okinawan style of karate – with a modern approach that incorporates elements from other athletic, movement and martial arts disciplines. At any given time, between 1,000 and 1,500 students attend the programs Boston Bodu offers alone at 74 Joy St., as well as through Hill House and Florida Ruffin Ridley School at Brookline’s Coolidge Corner. The karate school also teaches a group of about 20 seniors, the oldest being around 80, at the Brookline Senior Center. Since Boston Budo’s inception, more than 10,000 families from across Boston, including Beacon Hill, the West End, East Boston, Charlestown, North End and Back Bay, as well as Brookline, have participated in its programming, according to Noah.
Karate worked for him as a kid, Noah said, and it can work wonders for many other kids too. Aside from boys wanting to emulate their favorite superhero or become a ninja, like Noah once did, kids gravitate to karate for a variety of reasons. These days, doctors also often recommend martial arts to kids who have trouble concentrating, having confidence, or being bullied, among other issues.
And while Boston Budo programs are generally open to children ages 4 and up, children as young as 2½ or 3½ have participated in Sunday Kiddie Karate in instances where their parents thought it might. be beneficial to them. “I’m impressed that they can keep up,” Noah said of his younger students.
Additionally, Boston Bodu’s programming crosses all barriers to include people of different backgrounds and ability levels.
“We teach all kinds of people,” Noah said.
For example, an autistic student whom Noah tutored privately made such great progress that he signed up for group karate classes and even competed in the biannual karate tournament Boston Budo sponsored on Sunday, June 5. at 74 Joy St.
Another student of Noah’s is an eighth-grade girl with what he describes as “a severe physical impairment in the lower leg” who also excelled in karate.
In fact, more girls are participating in their programming than ever before: of the 50-60 participants in last weekend’s karate tournament, Noah estimates that around 60% of them were girls, many of whom also won first place in a number of different competitions. categories.
“They listen well and are more focused early on than the boys,” Noah said of his girl students. “When they started to really learn some tools and start to surprise themselves, they feel very empowered. After a few lessons, you can see that a young girl has discovered something inside of herself, and that can be very stimulating.
Duane credits Noah for the large influx of girls into the program – something that never happened when Duane himself was the head of Boston Budo.
“The great thing about martial arts is that anyone can participate, so it’s not just the good athletes who get playing time on the field,” Duane said. “Everyone gets out of it what they put into it, so it’s a level playing field, and I think that’s the best thing about it.”
Perhaps more importantly, “no one gets left behind” in martial arts, according to Dune.
In addition to children with ADD, Boston Bodu also includes children who are on the autism spectrum or have emotional issues, among other issues.
“It gives them a sense of empowerment,” Dune said, “that they are wanted and belong.”
Martial arts also teaches children important values, Duane said, such as “standing up for yourself; to be creative; that being different is not a bad thing; and make up your own mind and not be swayed.
Duane added: “It helps put the world in perspective – don’t be sold on fad or fashion or some kind of propaganda.”
Martial arts also promote community building, as Duane sees it.
“Building community is one of the most important elements of martial arts and the brotherhood and sisterhood between [everyone involved] in martial arts, but the community is getting quite small in Boston and Beacon Hill,” Dunae said, adding that “community is moving away from family.”
Many parents have seen the benefits of karate through their children’s involvement in karate school, Duane said, so it’s not uncommon for parents to receive karate lessons in a room while their children at school. side do the same, or instead they are all in a class together.
On Saturday mornings, Boston Budo offers its family karate program, which has been running since the karate school’s inception and often includes a number of father/son and mother/daughter participants.
“It’s cross-generational, which makes it interesting,” Duane said.
Likewise, Noah points out that the benefits of karate are often the same for younger participants as for older ones.
“The benefits of karate for early childhood development are also the same for older adults – body awareness; mindfulness; reflected movement; mind-body connection; proprioception (i.e. your body’s ability to detect movement, action and location); and overall balance,” Noah said. “These things that are very important for young children become very important later in life, because as you get older, simple movement becomes a challenge.”
To learn more about Boston Budo, visit bostonbudo.com.