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story.lead_photo.caption - Photo by Bradly Gill

— By Bradly Gill

News Editor

Brian Dixon, owner of One Heart Dojo in El Dorado, told the Camden Noon Lions Club he was in the fourth grade when he was the victim of a violent crime.

“With me personally, I had an issue the majority of my life with severe social anxiety,” Dixon said.” When you’re a child, that messes with you. I was the kind of person that would tell myself ‘Well, I’m just an introvert. I don’t want to get out of the house’ and I would use words like introvert as an excuse to sit there and be miserable, because I didn’t want to be around people. The fact was I couldn’t trust anybody. I couldn’t go to a football game without wondering who the next person was that was going to do what those other people did.”

Dixon said he struggled with these thoughts until he started studying martial arts, specifically Isshin-Ryu karate. Isshin-Ryu means, one heart, and is the namesake of Dixon’s Dojo.

Isshin-Ryu originated in Okinawa, Japan and was brought to the United States in the mid 2oth century, according to

“In 1945, the last battle of World War II took place on Okinawa. Afterwards, American servicemen stationed there studied karate as a means of improving their hand-to-hand combat skills. A navy man, Robert Trias, who was middleweight boxing champion of the Pacific Fleet, came back and opened the first known karate dojo in America, in 1946, in Phoenix, Arizona,” the website reads. “After the Korean War, many American servicemen, especially Marines, studied karate with master Tatsuo Shimabuku, one of which was Don Nagle. In the 1950s, Don Nagle brought Isshinryu to America for the first time, followed shortly by Harold Long, Steve Armstrong, and Harold Mitchum, and others. The first Isshinryu dojo in Michigan opened in 1964 by Ken Pittaway, one of Don Nagle’s students.”

Dixon, a Camden resident, recently opened the Dojo in El Dorado and the majority of his classes will be held there. Dixon said that he offers private lessons as well, though with a slightly different goal than the larger sessions.

“These are something that’s quite a bit different and it’s a different approach, and it’s an approach I learned from the people that originally hired back in the spring, because this is what they do. Basically it’s private lessons, but it’s not about learning martial arts. The private lesson is using martial arts, as a curriculum, to solve something that’s making your life miserable,” Dixon said.

Dixon said that practicing katas,a detailed choreographed pattern of movements made to be practiced alone, and also within groups and in unison when training, gives a sense of mindfulness and is essentially a meditative practice

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