Randy Kuhn, a professor at Stetson University and resident of Keene’s Pointe, is excited to take his lifelong passion for American Kenpo Karate and share it with children around West Orange.
WINDERMERE Randy Kuhn’s journey through the martial arts began more than 30 years ago, when Kuhn was a teenager — and it started because of a bully.
“The bully said a derogatory comment about my mother, and that pushed me over the edge,” Kuhn said. “I put him in the hospital, and my dad said, ‘OK — we’ve got to talk about this.’ … He wanted me to start taking martial arts.”
As luck would have it, the physical-education teacher at the high school Kuhn attended also taught karate. Kuhn got involved, beginning a decades-long journey in the martial arts that ebbed and flowed alongside his studies in college — from his years as an undergrad at UCF to obtaining his doctoral degrees — through a career as a certified public accountant that included high-profile work on the scandals involving Enron and WorldCom.
Kuhn — who lives in Keene’s Pointe with his wife, Angela, and daughters Alyssa, 13, Jillian, 10, and Callie, 1 — has been a college professor since 2005, and with his latest position at Stetson University in DeLand set to require him to be on campus just two days a week, the longtime student of American Kenpo Karate recognized an opportunity.
“As a college professor, I have a lot of (scheduling) flexibility,” Kuhn said. “I look at my schedule, and I’m like, ‘The girls are getting older and they really need to learn the martial arts. Their father is about to be a third-degree black-belt, so it’s time.’”
That realization has led Kuhn and his wife to sign a lease in the under-construction Westside Shoppes, adjacent to Horizon West’s Lakeside Village development. There, he hopes to have The Kenpo Karate Chophouse up and running by January 2017.
Until then, though, the second-degree black belt is happy to train interested students — for free — alongside his daughters at his home.
“Anyone who wants a head start — I’m training them for free the next six months,” Kuhn said.
Part of his inclination to take the leap and open a business has to do with Kuhn’s belief in equipping children and teens with the ability to defend themselves — either against a bully or against a predator. That is why Kuhn is so big on American Kenpo Karate, which he said is best-suited to self-defense because of its focus on close-quarters fighting that actually occurs in real life.
“The whole purpose of Kenpo is to defend yourself,” Kuhn said. “In real life, what’s really going to happen? (Attackers) are going to be up close. How do you manage those real-life situations? That’s what Kenpo is designed for.”
With video of an attempted abduction at a convenience store going viral recently, Kuhn said it is imperative to equip kids with the moves to defend themselves — and the discipline to know when to act.
“I have three girls; it’s important that they understand the situations that could occur and how to react in those situations,” Kuhn said. “It helps you with the self-confidence to deal with adverse situations.”
Kuhn also is seeking adults interested in becoming part-time instructors —whom he will train for free — once the gym opens. Furthermore, once the studio open, Kuhn’s wife, Angela, also will offer classes during the day for stay-at-home moms and for children with disabilities such as autism. Kuhn plans to offer need-based scholarships as well as “hero” discounts to police, firefighters, emergency services personnel and teachers.
Contact Steven Ryzewski at [email protected].