By: Christy Means-Smith | Category: Special Interest | Issue: September 2006
Dale “Apollo” Cook and one of his students
“Focus your mind, focus your eyes, focus your body, sir!”
This is the chant for all beginning students at Tulsa’s most popular martial arts school, Apollo’s Karate. At Apollo’s, concentration is the name of the game and parents will be pleased to know that the discipline their children learn under the tutelage of Apollo’s instructors carries over to their school performance.
“In my classes, kids learn that concentration and self-control are like muscles that can be developed,” says Dale “Apollo” Cook, owner of Apollo’s Karate. “Students develop the confidence to stand up for themselves when they must, to walk away from a fight when they can, and to raise their hand in math class and ask when they don’t understand. Karate kids get better grades because they practice their concentration skills two times a week in a safe, fun, environment where they are challenged to be their ‘black belt’ best in all areas of their life; at school, with family, with friends, and in other sports.”
Cook goes on to explain that the key to success at Apollo’s is positive motivation. For every belt, there is a lesson, a challenge and a reward. At Apollo’s, lessons include life skills such as concentration, goal-setting and respect. The challenge is the mastery of the martial arts techniques, and the reward is the new belt they get on test day after performing and breaking a board to prove their power and technique. Again, this type of dedication to the sport will encourage kids to excel in many other areas of their lives.
“Mastering the moves is fun, but requires focus, the same focus it takes to do homework, or study for a test,” says Cook. As each student moves up in belt rank towards their black belt goal, they progressively develop tremendous concentration skills.”
Some parents may be concerned that their child may become more physically aggressive as they acquire martial arts skills. Cook is quick to assure them that the focus of Apollo’s Karate is to provide positive assurance.
“All of that goes back to the instructors and the spirit of the school. At Apollo’s, our children are taught that karate is for defense only, never offense, and that to practice at school or on friends or family is forbidden,” says Cook. “Stated plainly, we teach kids not to fight; we build their self-esteem to the point that they can walk away from violence and still feel good about themselves.”
Apollo’s Karate has been in business in Tulsa for 25 years. The gym was founded in 1980 by Cook, a Tulsa native and world kickboxing champion, after a successful professional boxing and kickboxing career which included 150 fights and five world titles. Apollo’s Karate now has four locations and over 1,000 happy students.
101st & Memorial, Tulsa, OK
1137 S. Aspen, Broken Arrow, OK