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Mount Pleasant Instructor Says Martial Arts Teach Life Lessons

MOUNT PLEASANT, N.Y. – For more than three decades, Sensei Dayton Guinee has taught martial arts to residents of all ages in Mount Pleasant.  Throughout the years, he cites a variety of reasons for why his teachings have been such a success in the town.

“There’s something for everyone in martial arts,” Guinee said.  “Some people do it because they want to learn how to defend themselves, some people join because they want to learn discipline.”

Guinee’s school of martial arts, American Heritage Goju Karate-Do, was brought to Mount Pleasant in 1980.  To this day, he and his team of instructors teach courses throughout the year at the Mount Pleasant Community Center in Valhalla.  The ages of his students range from 6-years-old all the way up to adults.

Guinee, a resident of Mount Pleasant himself, said that the support he receives from the town is tremendous.

“There’s such a great community here in Mount Pleasant and the support of the parents here is great” Guinee said.

A typical class in the American Heritage school can feature around 18-20 people.  With a large majority of his students being younger individuals, Guinee recognizes the growing presence of bullying among that demographic and that learning self-defense techniques can be crucial.  However, he believes bullying is not just limited to the school yard.

“There’s bullying all around us, it can be in the work place, it can be anywhere in real life,” Guinee said.  “Whether it’s someone talking to you the wrong way or putting their hands on you, it’s important to know how to properly act when you’re put in that situation.”

The American Heritage School also teaches more than just punching and kicking.  Many aspects of life such as confidence, discipline and leadership are also incorporated into the lessons.

“In other sports, you learn a few moves and how it relates to that sport or game,” Guinee said.  “With this we hope that it can relate to all different areas of their life.”

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