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Davis Square Martial Arts Teaches Different Paths to One Outcome

By Kelly Church

At Davis Square Martial Arts, teaching Kung Fu and Tai Chi in a positive learning environment is key. The Somerville, MA studio offers classes to students of all ages and experiences levels, including martial arts classes for young children to help them build self esteem, discipline and physical strength, among other things. Owner of Davis Square Martial Arts studio Mark Carletti says these ancient Chinese movements have both practical applications, like self-defense, and philosophical benefits.

"Tai Chi and Kung Fu are both Chinese martial arts that include self-defense applications and stem from Taoist philosophy," Carletti says. "Tai Chi starts out slow to develop refined technique and feeling. As the practitioner improves their technique, speed and explosiveness can be added to the movement. Kung Fu starts out fast and physical, and over time the student works to slow down and improve their technique."

Carletti relates the difference in these two forms of Chinese self-defense to climbing a mountain. The end result is the same, but the process to get there is two drastically different approaches and mentalities.

"One side of a mountain can be all trees and another all rocks, so the journey or path to the top will be very different," Carletti says. "However, the closer to the top you get, the view will become more and more similar. Tai Chi is an internal art that eventually becomes more external, whereas Kung Fu is an external art that over time becomes more internal. Although the final product of each may be similar (like the view of the top of the mountain), the path taken is very different."

Carletti says that Kung Fu is great for people of all ages and athletic abilities, since classes allow you to move at your own speed. Each student should feel challenged, but as their own bodies are comfortable. Classes will enhance every students strength, flexibility, balance and coordination levels gradually. Carletti says as students improve, so does their "confidence, determination and focus" in class. He also believes that Kung Fu allows students to lead more balanced lives.

"Both arts have components of Yin and Yang (soft and hard, slow and fast) and are guides to mastering the human mind and body in an effort to becoming a better human being," Carletti says.

Davis Square Martial Arts is open to students of all ages and experience levels. Right now, Carletti says, the youngest students are three years old and the oldest are in their 70s. He says that whether you're coming to the studio with tons of experience or no experience, they will find a program that works for you.

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