By Nate Marrero
Throughout COVID-19, there were some dark days for Kenpo Karate Chophouse. The martial-arts studio was forced to close its Lakeside Village location early in the pandemic. Then, the studio and owner Randy Kuhn struggled through nearly a year of delays in securing PPP funding.
But as is often the case for those who persevere, there are brighter days ahead for Kuhn and his passion project.
Kenpo Karate Chophouse is set to be among the first tenants at The Mark, a new plaza planned near the soon-to-open Horizon High School.
“The money came in in February,” Kuhn said of his PPP funding. “So I went back to the … landlord and I said, ‘Hey, can I move back into my space?’ And she said, ‘No, somebody signed a lease last week, but we’re opening a new plaza next to the new high school. Do you want to reopen there?’ And I said, ‘Absolutely.’”
Along with it being on the same road as Horizon High School, there are about 40,000 residents within 3 miles of the new location.
Kuhn first started training in Kenpo in 1991. Now, 30 years later, it has become a major priority in his life. With three daughters, Kuhn realized the importance of teaching them self-defense for whenever a situation may occur.
“I’m an accountant,“ Kuhn said. “That’s completely different worlds, and then I decided with my three daughters, two at the time, I need to teach them what they need to do to address situations in their life.”
Along with being an instructor, Kuhn teaches accounting classes online for 16 universities.
Kuhn started teaching American Kenpo Karate in 2016 and officially opened his first studio in November 2017.
As Kuhn waits for the new studio to open, he began teaching self-defense classes for free at Independence Elementary park.
“One, to gain interest for people who have no familiarity with it,” Kuhn said. “It’s kind of a, ‘Try it out and see what you think while we’re waiting.’ … I have no expenses (from teaching the classes in the park), so I’m not going to charge them. (I’m) donating my time, (and) this seems to help spark an interest.”
When Kenpo Karate Chophouse opens in November, there will be five programs for students ranging from 5 years old to adults, as well as self-defense classes for girls and women. Kuhn also hopes to start homeschool classes once the studio reopens.
“From a numbers standpoint, I would like to get it to 100 students, the first year, that are registered in karate,” he said. “We had 200, right before the pandemic. I would like to get back to half of that. I like to get the kids back into the tournament and competing again.
“My goal is to expose as many kids and adults to karate and martial arts as possible,” he said. “Again, this is not about fighting. It’s about peace and calm in your life, and gaining confidence. Karate is not about fighting. In life, defending yourself is part of it, that has nothing to do with fighting at all, and a lot of people don’t understand that. If I can have them for one year, I can get that through.”