Focus and Fitness

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Jeff Kash, owner of Laguna Beach Dojo-credit Sharael Kolberg
Jeff Kash, owner of Laguna Beach Dojo, offers martial arts classes for adults and children. | Photo by Sharael Kolberg

At Laguna Beach Dojo, students come for exercise, but leave with irreplaceable skills.

By Sharael Kolberg

 

Jeff Kash, owner of Laguna Beach Dojo, has been teaching mixed martial arts to a variety of ages and skill levels for nearly 20 years. A football injury in high school led him to physical therapy, where his therapist planted the seed about trying martial arts. It wasn’t until after college that he finally gave it a try, but he was immediately hooked. Kash eventually gave up his engineering career to teach martial arts full time.

“Martial arts classes were the first thing I spent my money on after graduating from college,” Kash says. “It is a true passion of mine and has helped me grow physically, mentally and spiritually.”

Kash is now a sixth-degree black belt and teaches Shaolin Kempo, a mix of karate, kung fu and jiujitsu with an added focus on fitness, self-defense and life skills. At Laguna Beach Dojo, he offers group and private lessons with students ranging in age from 3 to 81.

We sat down with Kash to discuss what his programs entail and why he feels martial arts is such an important activity to participate in.

 

Laguna Beach Magazine: What type of programs do you offer?

Jeff Kash: At Laguna Beach Dojo, we offer three programs: Little Dragons for ages 3 to 7 years, family classes for parents and kids to train together, and adult group or private classes. Age 5 to 6 is a great time to start. If they start at that age, they can earn a second-degree black belt by the time they graduate high school.

 

What kind of workout do you get from doing martial arts?

JK: Martial arts is a fantastic full-body workout. You will work muscles you don’t even know you have. It incorporates strength building, cardio and stretching.

 

What are some hidden benefits of martial arts?

JK: Self-defense, life skills and character development. The practice really helps you get to know your strengths, weaknesses and values. Students learn focus, discipline, grit, perseverance, consistency, respect [and] confidence. Business executives even go on to use these skills during meetings in the boardroom.

 

What should a first-timer expect?

JK: We offer a free introductory/evaluation lesson. No matter what age, physicality or limitations someone has, the workouts can be adapted to meet specific needs. The biggest step is walking in the door the first time.

 

Do you offer classes online as well as in person?

JK: We livestream all classes via Zoom. Members can choose to join us in person or do the class at home.

 

What do you enjoy most about teaching martial arts?

JK: Getting to know the kids and watching them grow up. I love seeing the growth of all my students and having a positive impact on people’s lives.


Martial Arts Must-Haves

Add these essential items to your gear list.

 

Maximize your workout at the dojo with these products, all of which are available locally.

uniform
A UNIFORM is the first thing you’ll need to get started, and a gi (pronounced “ghee”) from Laguna Beach Dojo features comfortable, loose-fitting pants as well as a wrap-waist top, prices vary, at Laguna Beach Dojo. (949-239-7489; lagunabeachkarate.com) | Photo by Sharael Kolberg
everlast gloves
Stay protected while sparring with Everlast’s 16 OZ. PROSTYLE ELITE TRAINING GLOVES, which are made from synthetic leather that ensures they last longer and a mesh palm for comfort and breathability, $54.99, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Fashion Island. (949-640-1107; dickssportinggoods.com)
billabong bottles
Stay hydrated while repping the Golden State with Billabong’s CALIFORNIA WATER BOTTLE, which comes in a variety of sizes and colors and is made by Hydro Flask so it keeps your water cold for hours at a time, from $39, at Billabong Laguna. (949-715-7732; billabong.com)
quicksilver tote_use
Carry your water, snacks, sparring gloves and more to and from your workout in the Roxy BE YOUR MUSE 3L WOVEN TOTE BAG, which is made from a durable canvas material and is spacious enough to fit all your gear, $40, Quiksilver Laguna Beach. (949-376-0245; quiksilver.com)
While some believe that you should perform barefoot, Jeff Kash, owner of Laguna Beach Dojo, recommends wearing Feiyue’s MARTIAL ARTS SHOES, which are known for their comfort, flexibility and traction, from $30, at Laguna Beach Dojo. (949-239-7489; lagunabeachkarate.com) | Photo by Sharael Kolberg
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