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Local martial arts instructor teaches self-defense and compassion

Posted at 7:15 PM, Aug 06, 2013
and last updated 2013-08-06 19:15:22-04

Chesapeake, Va. - At one Chesapeake martial arts studio, there is more than an emphasis on just learning how to do self defense training. You will also learn compassion.

It's a lesson taught from the top. The owner of South Norfolk Martial Arts is Master John Phelps.

Thanks to an email, we made a surprise visit. Right in the middle of his class, I shared that email I received that spoke of his generosity that detailed how he has changed the lives of so many youth in the community. Some have had some very trying circumstances in their lives.


Seven-year-old Landon loves the classes, but recently his mom Kim lost her job. She went to Master Phelps.

"He listened to my situation and he was like, 'Kim don't worry about it. I got ya.' And so I was under the impression he wanted half the payment and he was like, 'I got ya Kim.'"

When she realized he was giving her a break and her son could continue the classes during this rough time she was having, she told me she was so touched by Master Phelps' generosity, she wanted to cry.


There have been many others who couldn't afford these lessons that have increased self esteem, improved grades and helped to build character.

It was Shawn Eure-Hill who nominated him. She works with Master Phelps at the studio and says he doesn't turn kids away. "When I come to him, he's like, 'Bring em. Tell em to come.' He doesn't ask if they can they pay later, can they pay partial payment, he just says, 'Bring 'em,'" says Hill.

This is why we presented Phelps with a People Taking Action award and a $100 Visa gift card from our community partner Southern Bank.
Master Phelps says he was very surprised by the presentation and thankful.

He credits his upbringing for his generosity.

I asked him what does he get out of it and Master Phelps responded, "I actually see them growing becoming better people." 


He also opens his studio to community events and on Thursday August 22nd, 6-8 pm there will be a Zumba For School Supplies event at South Norfolk Martial Arts at 2401 Bainbridge Blvd in Chesapeake.

The public is encouraged to drop off school supplies to benefit nearby schools.