By Averi Lamont

Activities like karate are a fun way for both boys and girls to achieve fitness and focus. One of the greatest benefits of martial arts is that it teaches respect, self-discipline, socialization skills and helps bring families together.

Paradise Valley School of Karate has been successfully empowering this community for more than 35 years. Mike Wall, owner and sensei at Paradise Valley School, began his journey in Iowa where he was born and raised. He grew up in a small town where there were no karate schools. It wasn’t until he watched a Bruce Lee film that his love for karate began. He took his first lesson in 1972 and then in 1974 became a student of John Hutchcroft. He moved to Arizona in 1979 to train with Master Robert A. Trias and from there opened his own business.

Wall’s wife Heather began with Sensei Wall in 2005 and has created an organization called Moxie Up that teaches girls defense. The school is also staffed with many other accomplished and inspiring teachers including Tom Robbins, Cory Kahabka, Peter Sangiorgio, Sasha Jovanovic, Jack Cannada, and Robert Castro.

Paradise Valley School of Karate and Mr. Wall were recently recognized at the World Championships in 2017. One of their students in particular named this activity as a great success after taking months to just step onto the mat. Sensei never gave up and worked hard and slow to get her comfortable with the skills and lessons of karate. It was a true testament that every student that walks through their doors are met where they are and the passion they have for this sport and the community.

The school has an immaculate list of accomplishments both locally and nationally. To start, Sensei Mark Wall and Heather Wall are both on the Hall of Fame. Their school was also rated #1 in the nation in 2016, ranked #1 by United States Karate Association in 2017, as well as multiple students placing first place in national competitions.

The Paradise Valley School of Karate is a great asset to the Valley. It continues to expand its reach to many children and adults. It has created a safe environment for families to come and learn the art of karate, as well as teaching values of respect which can help further children in their lives.