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Traditions Martial Arts Studio

Weiser is known for football, basketball, baseball and rodeo, but unbeknownst to many residents, there is also a popular martial arts studio in our small community.
Traditions Martial Arts Studio is owned and operated by Weiser resident, Luis Negrete, and has been in business since 1996.
Master Luis Negrete, as his students refer to him, immigrated to the United States in 1990 from Mexico at the age of 19.  He had previously served in the Mexican military, and had some martial arts experience.  When he arrived in the U.S., he couldn’t speak any English and found employment as a field worker.  He found an opportunity to attend TVCC, and through classes and self-teaching, he managed to learn English and get his GED.  He also became a U.S. citizen in 1997, an accomplishment that Luis is noticeably proud of as he states that he was “the 1st student in a class of 20 to pass [the citizenship exam]”.  
Luis enrolled his son, Luis Enrique, in a martial arts class in Weiser at the age of 6.  The woman instructor encouraged Luis to participate also.  One day during training the instructor told Luis to kick her in practice.  He hesitated and said “No, I don’t think that is a good idea.”  She insisted, and as a result, sustained a knee injury.  Luis felt horrible.  Especially when the instructor never returned to teaching.  Mr. Negrete found another dojo in Ontario to take his son, and was once again encouraged to participate.  Luis trained side-by-side with his young son for 4 years, and at the age of 12, Luis Enrique and Luis both achieved the level of black belt simultaneously.  When the Negrete’s reached this training milestone, Luis Enrique told his father, “We need to teach in Weiser.  We owe it to Weiser.”  It was that prodding that became the impetus that started Luis down the path to begin a dojo in Weiser.  However, that path was a long one.  It took three years to get approval by both the City of Weiser and the Weiser School District to start the studio.  In the meantime, he taught classes in Ontario.  When the approvals all came through, Luis and Luis Enrique fulfilled their commitment to the community and began Traditions Martial Arts Studio.  During the time that the Luis was awaiting approval, a list of interested individuals was available at the Weiser Recreation Department.  When he went in pick up the list to start classes, there was 70 people signed up.  Sixty students showed up for the first class.  With only two instructors, one a young man, “it was challenging”.  Within two months, they were down to 40 students, and by 6 months, they had 20 consistent and dedicated students that stayed for the next three years.
Master Negrete teaches three styles of Korean martial arts.  His main style is Tang Soo Do, which is coordination of mind and body together.  The second style is Tae Kwon Do, which focuses on speed, power and control, and the last style at Negrete’s dojo is Hapkido, which Negrete describes as “manipulation of your opponent”.  Luis states that most dojos only train in one style.
Negrete explained that at Traditions Martial Arts there are ten levels of achievement to reach black belt status.  A students begins at white.  When a student moves on to an advanced level, their belt will have a black stripe on it to signify the advancement.  After white advanced, they move through the levels of yellow, yellow advanced, green, green advanced, blue, blue advanced, red and finally, the coveted black belt.  Master Negrete has trained seven pupils to the black belt level, 3 of which have been female.  Master Negrete, himself is a 4th degree black belt.  Negrete says that is typically takes 3-4 months of training to advance between levels, and there is a test to gauge the progress to earn the advancement.  Negrete has a firm understanding that every student is different, however, and although “he wants to see progress, he is not intimidating”, and lets his students work at their own pace, according to 65-year old student, John Schmitz, that recently reached the level of black belt.
Master Negrete makes it very clear that martial arts is not about fighting and violence.  Martial arts is about discipline, respect for yourself and your elders and personal character.  “Martial arts is a lifestyle”, according to Negrete.  He will take students from the age of 7, and has had numerous students well into their 60’s and 70’s.  Negrete doesn’t stop caring about his students when the class concludes.  He keeps track of their progress academically and he generally knows about any behavior problems well before the next class and addresses any issues with his students.
Traditions Martial Arts classes are held in the Pioneer School gymnasium on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6:30-7:30 p.m.  Master Negrete only holds classes in Weiser during the school year, and takes the summers off, but has recently begun a program in Payette that is held year round.  The Payette classes are held Mondays and Wednesdays from 5:30-6:30 p.m. at Fit City 24 on Main Street.  Master Negrete will accept at any time of the year, and encourages young people to get involved.  If you are interested in learning more about martial arts or you are ready to begin your training, you can contact the Weiser Recreation Department at 414-0301 or Mr. Negrete at 550-1545.

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