HOMETOWN HERO: Chris Hovey is sharing his passion for martial arts in Bell

HOMETOWN HERO: Chris Hovey is sharing his passion for martial arts in Bell
Published: Aug. 1, 2023 at 7:38 AM EDT
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BELL, Fla. (WCJB) - “I love teaching martial arts. I love giving confidence to individuals who lack it. I love teaching people social skills, teaching them the skills they need outside of the kicks and punches” said Chris Hovey who founded Sansei Shuri International in 2017 after 30 years of his own experience in martial arts.

The school now has classes 5 days a week and serves 150 students of all ages.

“I’m in public high school. I’m 16″ said Sansei Shuri student, Ciara Shiminski “Being able to understand how to defend myself in any way possible is very beneficial to me as a girl and also being here personally is helping me get out of my comfort zone and be social.”

“It’s just far beyond the mat. They come in and you watch them go from here to here to here. It’s an amazing feeling” said Hovey.

That beyond the mat mentality is key to Hovey and seen through many community events in Bell and surrounding areas.

Some of these include 4th of July fireworks, easter egg hunts and fall festivals.

“What he does for the community is amazing” said Sansei Shuri student, James Merritt. “Within the community, Bell hasn’t had much going on so once he started coming around and doing stuff in the community you see everyone pull together. When were at these events people come up all the time and say I’m so glad he’s actually doing this for the community.”

Hovey and his team just returned home the US Open ISKA World Martial Arts Championships at Disney where they received some serious hardware. “We came back collective as a team with 51 world titles, right here from Gilchrest County. 51 ISKA world championships” said Hovey.

Any tournament they travel to is completely funded by fundraisers.

In November, they will be going to the world championships in Miami.

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