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Local man inducted into karate hall of fame

| Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012, 12:01 a.m.
Shihan Perry Culver (right) was recently inducted into the Tri-State Pioneers of Karate Hall of Fame. Presenting a certificate to Culver in recognition of the honor is Master William Kelley, founder of the United Martial Arts Federation. SUBMITTED

Perry Culver took his first karate lesson in 1981.

Now, more than three decades later, he's still reaping the benefits of a discipline that most people mistakenly believe consists of little more than physically overpowering an opponent.

Culver has owned and operated Culver Karate Club in Connellsville for the past 25 years, and he was recently inducted into the Tri-State Pioneers of Karate Hall of Fame.

“I was very pleased,” Culver said. “It makes you feel good that people notice the time and amount of work you put into something.”

Culver, 60, became involved with karate at age 27, and just four years later, he began giving instructions after earning his second-degree black belt.

Culver now holds the rank of sixth-degree black belt in Shotokan karate and seventh-degree black belt in the Ju Jitsu discipline of Mushindo Ryu Goshin Jitsu. He also holds the rank of Shodan second-degree black belt in Syu Sin Do.

“Karate has been about personal self discipline and having the ability to believe in myself and not be afraid to take on a challenge,” Culver said. “In addition to helping you get in shape and improving yourself athletically, karate also gives you the ability to defend yourself. Karate helps you to focus, to pay attention, it gives you an awareness and it helps your memory. It's not just about punching and kicking.”

Culver is also a member of the Kumite International Hall of Fame and has won several national championships, including the 2000 USA Karate Federation gold medal in fighting.

Recently, Culver retired from his position as an assistant district manager for the Pennsylvania Turnpike. He now has more time to devote to giving and receiving instruction.

“I actually train a lot more than I ever did,” Culver said. “I enjoy it just as much today as when I started.”

Culver and his assistants provide instruction for several age groups, beginning with 4- to 7-year-olds. There's also an 8- to 13-year-old group and one for adults.

According to Culver, anyone at any age can begin to study and benefit from taking part in karate.

“Whatever age they start is fine by me,” Culver said. “If they can sit still and listen long enough to gain something from it, that's fine by me. I don't really consider it a sport; it's more of a life experience. I think the most important thing is if a kid is only in it for the fighting, I'm not too sure they're in it for the right thing. We want to see kids learn to be above fighting and learn to protect themselves. We want to see them do better in school. Today, kids are sitting around playing video games all day. It's important that they get off the couch once in a while to go do something physical that helps condition their mind and body.”

For more information, contact www.culverkarate.com or 724-626-KICK.

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