Posted: October 29, 2012 at 5:57 pm


Tae Kwon Do By Tony Artice


By Sean Cahill, Alexis Frizelle-Taylor and Tillie Lee

Phil Phillips started training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu at Ground Zero Fighting Systems for fitness, to relieve stress and defend himself.

“Morgantown is crazy,” the WVU junior said. “You need to be able to defend yourself, but at the same time, don’t look for a fight.

Phillips has been training for four weeks.

“The first two weeks were brutal. Technique is important, I got whooped but now I know better,” Josh Fowler said. Fowler teaches Jiu Jitsu at Ground Zero Fighting Systems at the Mountaineer Mall in Morgantown.

Mary L. Wolk is coordinator of the Lifetime Activities Program, a program that offers wellness and fitness classes to the Morgantown community.

Students practicing their round-house kicks

“(Physical activity) is something you want to do for a lifetime. You don’t want to do it for 3 months or 6 months and then stop. (The program) hopefully will instill in everybody that the benefits you get from being active, that they’ll continue,” Wolk said.

The program offers all types of innovative classes but the most popular are swimming and martial arts.

Tony Artice has been teaching Tai Kwon Do for 20 years and teaches both WVU students, and Lifetime Activities Program participants.

He said that mixed martial arts has seen a surge in the last few years. He now has to turn people away from his classes for both WVU students and Lifetime Activity Program participants.

Vladimar Jean-Philippe says when he started Tai Kwon Do Artice suggested he also take yoga and kickboxing.

“Previous weight lifting left me tight, muscle-wise, it restricted my range of motion so I was slower and it made my moves heavy. It was best decision I’ve made so far,” Jean-Philippe said.

Wolk said Artice can teach participants a skill that they may not have learned and give them an opportunity to learn something new. She hopes classes like Artice’s will inspire people to stay motivated.

Artice observing his Advanced Tae Kwon Do class

“Tai Kwon do is a great form of fitness. There will always be the new fitness craze, like P-90-X or Insanity, but I think it’s better than all those because its the most consistent form of exercise, it’s been around forever because it works,” Jean-Philippe said.

Josh Fowler has been teaching Jiu Jitsu at Ground Zero for seven years. He said Jiu Jitsu has grown in popularity since the early 90s when it was first televised on UFC.

“That got people interested but it really hadn’t formed as a sport, there were no rules, everything was legal back then,” Fowler said.

“Those who start because they want to fight are the ones who stay in it the shortest. They don’t realize how much goes into it. They may say they want to fight in a year but when they haven’t trained it’s nearly impossible.

“They’re delusional, you have to train at least 5 times a week for a year,” he said.

Ground Zero also offers kickboxing and boxing classes but Fowler said Jiu Jitsu is the most popular.

“Jiu Jitsu wiil initially have you so sore in places you never knew you had,” he added.  Fowler said he also teaches themed classes currently the studio is offering zombie survival.

“A lot of people joined because they want something new instead of running/biking/swimming/lifting all the time.”Fowler said ages vary at Ground Zero. He said their ages range from 4 to 54 but the average is mid-20s.

“I have students that are 75 trying Tae Kwon Do for the first time,” Artice said. He said there is a big misconception that martial arts takes a lifetime to master but students can become advanced in as little as two years.

“I never thought in a million years I could kick someone in the face and now it’s like second nature,” Jean-Philippe said. “In forms of fitness, it’s up there, if not the best. I am a strong believer in Tai Kwon Do.”

Students wanting to take a martial arts class can do so at the  WVU Student Recreation Center.  The Lifetime Activities Program and its available classes can be found on their website. Ground Zero Fighting Systems can be found on Facebook and at their website here.