Karate is a form of martial arts, of self-defense.
It's also a means of learning discipline, control and balance.
Jean Cano, owner of Shorin Ryu Karate - Do, 146 W. Fourth St., is seeking to impart some of these components to those he instructs at his newly opened downtown karate school.
Jean Cano demonstrates bowfighting in his city studio.
"It's self-control. It's a way to build confidence, being able to connect the body and mind," he said.
Cano, a native of Venezuela, has been practicing karate since he was 6 years old.
Like many who become interested in martial arts as kid, he was fascinated by Bruce Lee movies.
Shorin Ryu Karate - Do
146 W. Fourth St.
He earned a black belt at 15.
He also holds a fourth degree black belt in karate and a second degree black belt in Kobudo (weapons).
Although he has instructed children and adults in karate, he never had his own school until now.
The decision to open one, he said, did not come so much out of commercial interests, as out of his deep sense of passion for karate.
He and his wife, Dr. Tamar Baitel, an emergency room physician at Jersey Shore Hospital, came to Lycoming County from New Jersey.
But it was after conferring with Kyoshi Robert Herten, the longtime karate trainer who serves as Cano's mentor or sensei, that he felt it would be a good idea to start his school.
He feels that downtown Williamsport is a good place for it. And he's eager to teach others about karate.
"Anyone can benefit from karate," he said.
There is no age limit. His classes are for both children and adults. Cano said although he has a black belt, he's forever learning. He said karate should not be misunderstood as violent mixed martial arts.
And he's not out to teach people to embrace the martial arts acrobatics as seen in Jean-Claude Van Damme films.
The purpose, he noted, is to work at a level that is comfortable, yet challenging to the student.
"You are learning to defend yourself, but you also have respect for everybody," he said.
He's happy so far with the school. The benefits of karate are many, he said. For example, kids enrolled in his classes will not only learn karate, but receive a good cardio-vascular workout.