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Karate club launches for Bath Iron Works employees, families

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Karate club launches for Bath Iron Works employees, families

BATH – Bradley Krehel lives by the adage that a person should “leave more than you take,” and he is exercising that notion through the Bath Iron Works Karate Club.

Krehel, a certified instructor, founded the club as a means of sharing his decades of martial arts experience with his fellow BIW employees and their families. Classes, which are free for BIW workers, are held at the Universe Gym at 361 High St. Thursdays from 6:30-8 p.m.

The club began last October with four students, and that number has gradually grown.

“The new year brings more excitement, people want to get in shape,” the Harpswell resident said. “Little by little, the pebble’s been dropped in the pond, and we’re starting to expand now.”

BIW’s recreation association sponsors the club and pays for the insurance, said Krehel, a planner in the shipyard’s master scheduling department.

Krehel, who has earned five black belts and been an instructor since 1997, started taking Judo classes at the age of 7 and earned his first black belt in that art.

At Southern Connecticut State College he first encountered Cheezic Tang Soo Do, and he’s been doing it ever since. His club is focused around Tang Soo Do, a Korean martial art which takes its name from China’s Tang dynasty, while “soo” means “open hand” and “do” is a way of art or life, Krehel explained.

His classes open up with calisthenics and stretching, followed by forms, self defense and free sparring.

“BIW is very health conscious," Krehel said. "I’ve been here for three years, and constantly they’re sending e-mails trying to get you involved in walking, exercising and physicals. So I figured, what better way than to tie (in) Tang Soo Do … and offer it to BIW employees and their families?”

He noted that martial arts and shipbuilding have similar tenets, such as perseverance, integrity, self-control, obedience, safety, humility and discipline.

Although Krehel is there to teach his students a Korean martial art, he said they are also picking up on the language, as well as experiencing exercise, health, fitness and camaraderie.

“The nice thing about Tang Soo Do is, what you put into it you get 10 times back,” Krehel said. “You can do it for exercise; you can do it for competition … (and) to get out of the house in the winter time.”

To learn more about the club, call Krehel at 729-5372.

Alex Lear can be reached at 373-9060 ext. 113 or alear@theforecaster.net.