Van Brunt Street

Van Brunt’s new martial arts academy opens tomorrow, by Nathan Weiser

Claudine Missale gets ready for the new Van Brunt Street facility.

Kids and adults interested in martial arts, and more specifically Chung Do Kwan Taekwando, are now in luck: Mission Martial Arts is opening a new 2,600 square foot facility on 356 Van Brunt St. on Saturday, September 9.

Mission Martial Arts has had a location at 517 Henry Street for 11 years and the owners thought that Red Hook really needed a place for people of all ages to learn and practice Tae Kwan Do. Claudine Missale, the owner of the Red Hook location, grew up in Carroll Gardens and also spent a lot of time in Red Hook.

Missale brings 25 years of training and over 10 years of professional instruction for children of all ages (2.5-14+) from the main location on Henry Street as well as other schools around Brooklyn and Manhattan. She has a reputation for well rounded, accessible instruction, personal attention and a positive learning environment.

The new location, Mission Martial Arts Children’s Center, will be having their official grand opening on September 9 from 11 am until 4 pm. If you pre-register for classes, you will get $80 off the first month and a free uniform. This offer will go until the end of the grand opening.

There will be giveaways for those at the Children’s Center on September 9. Everyone present will be entered into a raffle to win a Mission Martial Arts t-shirt (worth $20), the fall bundle consisting of a hoodie, a knit hat and tote bag (worth $60) and a free year membership (worth $1,800). The winners will be announced right before the ribbon cutting.

At the grand opening, the plan is to have board breaking seminars as well as special practice and belt test that will be led by the headmaster of the world martial arts association, Dr. Michael T. Dealy. Those at Mission Martial Arts will also have the opportunity to be introduced to the staff and instructors of the Children’s Center.

“We noticed there was nothing around here for children to do,” Missale said. “We felt the need. Most of the kids that I speak to in this neighborhood say that they have done karate at one point but that they were tired of going all the way to Park Slope or even to Carroll Gardens.”

Missale thinks that it is hard for the kids when they get older and want the independence of going to class by themselves to have them go through the public housing developments or over the highway. “So, there was a need for a local children’s center in this neighborhood, and I am honored that I have been able to open this place up and provide for kids,” Missale said.

The studio specializes in non-contact martial arts. The biggest age group that they teach is 7-13 year olds, but they also extend to having classes and instruction for toddlers and adults.

“Right around the nine or ten-year-old age range we have the most kids because they have been practicing since they were four with us or have gotten interested because they are finally old enough to see the Marvel movies, and superheroes are on everyone’s mind now,” Missale said.

According the Beth Machlan, her daughter Lucy has been working with Missale for seven years. Lucy started with Mission Martial Arts in 3rd grade and she is now 15. She is even helping to teach those new to martial arts.

“When she started it was three times a week and then as high school and other stuff intervened it is more like two times a week and then special events on the side,” Machlan said. “Lucy is a black belt. She is a first degree black belt and she will be going for her second degree black belt this year.”

Each time she advances to a new belt Machlan feels like there is a sense of achievement unique to this activity.

“It such a different type of achievement from other types of sports that I think are focused on winning games,” Machlan said.. There is this sense of personal progress with tae kwon do that I think is really valuable, but at the same time it is not completely individual because there is that emphasis on family and guidance.”

Missale hopes that this location benefits Red Hook’s kids and their parents by providing a welcoming positive atmosphere for her sessions as well as for other organizations.

“Whatever the kids are interested in, if it helps us introduce them and their friends and families to martial arts then we are all about it,” Missale said.

Missale strongly believes that self defense is incredibly good and has many varied benefits for those that participate. “Not just for possibly having to defend yourself on the street if need be, but to get that foundation of dedication, hard work and a feeling of accomplishment in ways that has nothing to do with protecting your body from an aggressor,” Missale said.

Missale went on to add even more reasons that she has seen martial arts benefit young people and has even noticed that siblings have come away with a better relationship.

“Martial arts are so good for your education, for your health, for communication and to better relationships with your family at home,” Missale said at the new studio. “You almost have no choice in a martial arts environment to become a more supportive and compassionate person. We have seen twins come through the door and they have had a tense relationship, but over their journey through martial arts you see they become better communicators.”

The style of martial arts that they teach at Mission Martial Arts is non-contact. The kids as well as adults perform techniques that can be deadly and she doesn’t want the kids to take these techniques outside the studio and use them for any purpose. The techniques can positively affect the body, mind and spirit, according to Missale.

“You become a more compassionate person because you are training to not use these techniques over learning how to be punched in the face,” Missale said. “I am really uncertain as to why anyone would want to train themselves to be punched in the face.”

Missale is happy and excited to be one of the only female owners of a martial arts studio around and hopes to be someone that young women can look up to..

“Hopefully this inspires more women to get into these fields that might be intimidating for them because it is so male dominated,” Missale said. “Hopefully I can be a good role model for that as well.”

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