Shelby County side-kicks enrichment with International Karate

Tony Frederick instructs his students on how to properly use nunchucks. (Contributed/Joe Antonio)

Tony Frederick instructs his students on how to properly use nunchucks. (Contributed/Joe Antonio)

By JOE ANTONIO/Sports Correspondent

Upon meeting Tony Frederick, an International Karate instructor, one would assume based on his tall stature and large build that he would make a great offensive or defensive football lineman — not a fifth degree Shihan black belt. However, karate runs in his family. “My grandfather was a Judo instructor in the 70’s and my dad started before I was born. It has always been a part of my life,” says Frederick.

Tony started taking karate lessons when he was five years old and by the age of 16 he was teaching classes in his father’s dojo once a week. At 19, he was venturing out on his own, gathering up his own clientele.

Tony assembles most of his students through the Shelby County and Pelham school systems, although he still teaches at his father’s dojo in Alabaster as well.  Each day of the week he is either teaching at Valley Intermediate, Creekview Elementary or Forest Oaks Elementary. The classes range from as small as five to as large as 30 students depending on the site.

Frederick described the most rewarding part of his job is when he sees his students grasp the concept and technique of what he is teaching.

“When I see their hard work come to fruition that is one of the most rewarding things about martial arts for me,” he said.

However, he still isn’t too old for lessons himself.

“I train under my father at the Alabaster dojo and with Mike Nichols in Centerpoint. Centerpoint is our home dojo,” he said.

Frederick believes anyone can take karate, and that it’s just about time and effort to make it work. In fact, he has successfully taught students from as young as five and as old as 70.

Frederick was also proud to reveal that at least 2-3 kids from his schools win first place in something during competitions and most of the others take home a trophy in sparring and katas. If you are interested in taking karate