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A Centralia class with an edge

Posted on Friday, February 9, 2018 at 6:34 am

Centralia has another option for fun, fitness and helping children improve their lives.

Sensei Rod Calhoun teaching a block to Chris Farmer, one of his students.

Sensei Rod Calhoun teaching a block to Chris Farmer, one of his students.

Rod Calhoun has opened a business of sorts that does all that in the second story of the Kinkead Pharmacy Building.

He has begun a Soshinkan Karate class there Tuesday and Thursday nights from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.

So far he has 13 students, from toddler to parents and room for more.

Studies show, Calhoun, who is CEO of a regional vending machine company, said that childhood involvement in martial arts classes lead to better grades, better health and better attitude among children.

His class is very one-on-one, very hands on.

When talking about it, the conversation always returns to children.

“As I work with children, the key things I like to see are respect, a healthy respect for authority and yourself. Not a blind but honorable respect. Honor and honesty. Honor others and making right choices. And lastly, awareness, be aware of your surroundings to protect yourself and those entrusted to you.”  

While he hopes to instill those in the children, he said they are also important lessons for us all to keep in mind. Another aspect, he said, is social. “Camaraderie and long lasting friendships built from working for common goals together.”

Calhoun and his family, wife Lisa and their three children have lived across the Midwest, from Illinois, to Arkansas to Iowa.

They picked Centralia, he said, in part, because of its central location and  because of the people.

“What attracted us? Well location was central to my job and we were looking for some land near a smaller town with some land. And the people are just good hearted and caring.”

Now that he is here, he hopes to be involved.

“I am open to anything that helps to truly connect people,” Calhoun said. “That is what makes a community.”

He is no stranger to being involved.

“I have been a volunteer coach, lead small groups in church, been a boy scout leader, a royal Rangers leader and assisted with social events,” Calhoun said.

Starting the karate dojo, club is his most recent example of involvement. “I enjoy training and sharing with other something that I enjoy. Martial arts gives me focus and continued goals, as it does for the students, young and old.”

When not teaching people physical and mental self-defense, to kick, punch, grapple, evade and fall safely, Calhoun does have a career.

A career, he said, full of mergers, takeovers and buy-outs, but he has loved it.

“I run a company. I see myself more like a teacher/counselor/sales person,” Calhoun said. “I love what I do because I am working with and serving people from employees, business associate, to clients, consumers and those that provide goods and services for my business. . .  It is a high-stress job, but I enjoy it.”

The third leg of the tripod that is Calhoun’s life is his family, especially his children.

• “My son Brett and his Arkansas state wrestling championship.”

“My daughter Cara especially when I walked her down the football field in Hallsville where she was one of the nominees for homecoming queen, especially after all the challenges she has overcome.”

• “My oldest son Brian when I attended his high school graduation because he did not enjoy school books but he focused and got it done.”

It comes back to community.

“There are many people here that encouraged us throughout the community and in our church, Rocky Fork,” he said. “We are forever grateful.”

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