Ed Sharp has been teaching Muay Thai at the Seymour YMCA for eight months now.
“I’ve been looking and praying that I’d find somebody who knew the ground game who could come in and teach,” Sharp explained.
His prayer was answered in the form of a “Yogi.”
Glynn “Yogi” McGovern, a respected police officer for the Seymour Police Department with a long and very distinguished career in the law-enforcement field, has joined forces with Sharp.
“With Yogi here, we have the beginning of a full MMA (mixed martial arts) school,” Sharp noted. “This is an answered prayer, and I mean that quite literally.” McGovern concurred.
“I feel exactly the same way,” he said. “When I asked him to come in, his eyes just lit up,” Sharp said with a smile.
McGovern is well suited for the role, having trained for over two decades in his chosen art.
“I was getting ready, all set to start cage fighting, when (Hurricane) Katrina came and derailed all of that,” he said. “I never became a fighter, but I’ve been training ever since. It becomes part of your identity after a while.”
Growing up in Louisiana, McGovern found himself in a less than ideal setting.
“I came from a rough background, I guess you’d say,” he explained. “A pretty tough neighborhood.”
But he found the guidance and strength of character he needed through his study of grappling and striking.
“I will tell you this, if it wasn’t for martial arts and the discipline that it has taught me ... there’s a good chance I’d have ended up on the other side of the law,” McGovern said.
The two men have formed Fudoshin Dojo.
The name was drawn from the tenants of Bushido (“the way of the warrior”), a moral code developed by the samurai class of historical Japan. Fudoshin, in particular, is a state of equanimity of mind and calmness of spirit.
“There is a time to just sit,” McGovern said. “As you navigate this life, through a world that is growing more dangerous by the day, you’re going to encounter all kinds of trouble. Here you learn the discipline, the confidence you need to pursue the goal, no matter what it might be.”
McGovern fell silent briefly, as if reconsidering.
“I say you get confidence and discipline, but the truth is that this will teach you whatever it is you need to learn,” he said. “Whatever your weak points are, this will expose them and force you to work on them. It keeps my ego in check.”
He smiled broadly, then added, “When you come here, you get humbled. And then you come back. You begin to understand the science behind it, and off you go.”
“We’re hoping to attract a lot of people,” Sharp said. “We want to share that experience with as many people as we can. Finding a good student — it just energizes you so much. It’s such a beautiful thing to be able to pass on these gifts that we’ve both gotten from martial arts.”
For those concerned about physical limitations or the possibility of injury, McGovern offered the following, “The beauty of this practice is that there’s always a way to scale things so as to work on whatever you need to work on. Martial arts can fit into anybody’s life.”
And to concerned parents, “With the kids, we are very careful. We move very slowly with them to ensure their safety. The very first thing they will learn is how to throw and fall correctly. They’ll do that successfully literally hundreds of times before moving on to any technical stuff. It’s a very controlled, very safe environment.”
“We’re passionate about this because of what it’s taught us about ourselves,” Sharp said. “We consider it a sacred thing, because we know what it’s given us.”
Fudoshin Dojo conducts its Japanese Jujitsu classes on Mondays and Fridays at the Seymour YMCA at 315 East Center Avenue, with a kids’ class from 5 to 6 p.m. and the adults from 6 to 8 p.m.
Muay Thai classes are for adults only and meet from 6 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday evenings.
Any and all who are interested are invited to attend. The classes themselves are free to YMCA members; all others must pay the daily usage fee to access the facility.
For more information, call the Seymour YMCA at 417-935-2177.
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