In a time where more martial arts schools are offering a blend of different approaches, Lee McCurrach has held firm to one tradition.
The owner and chief instructor of the Texas Association of Shotokan Karate believes there are unique benefits to learning traditional karate that go beyond self-defense. The practice teaches discipline and discourages aggression, he said, and leaves a lasting imprint on those who practice it.
“The hard work and dedication that you put into karate needs to be put into everything you do in life,” McCurrach said.
McCurrach started the Plano-based karate school five years ago. Rather than using the language of customer and vendor, he calls the collection of students and instructors an “association” of karate learners that he numbers at more than 120.
The students range in age from 4 years old to 65, McCurrach said.
About 20 of the students participate in competitions, McCurrach said, but most of them are simply there for normal instruction.
“For us it’s not just about competition,” McCurrach said. “Don’t get me wrong—we do compete. We’re pretty successful at what we do. But our main art is karate. We’re here to teach.”
McCurrach, a native of England raised 50 miles northwest of London, first visited Plano while serving in the British Army, he said. His family had moved to the U.S. and sometime after his first visit, he said he decided to move to the country in 2006.
Much of what McCurrach teaches today he learned by studying with Japanese karate master Shiro Asano, he said.
“I try to teach how I was taught, and what I was taught,” McCurrach said. “Karate isn’t just about punching and kicking and self-defense.”