John Laroda, Stittsville’s own Karate Master, offers training at Pro-Style Martial Arts

This past January, Pro-Style Martial Arts moved its business to Stittsville, at 1 Hobin Street. The club originally opened in Kanata in 1994. Owner John Laroda chose to move his business to Stittsville to bring it closer to his home.

Sadly, due to the ongoing pandemic and the resulting provincial restrictions, John has had to close Pro-Style Martial Arts a few times. Naturally, this has had a negative effect on the business. John was happy to welcome new students to his club following the move to Stittsville, but some of these newcomers were lost as face-to-face classes could no longer happen. John continues to offer classes online, but admits that they are not the same, especially as he prefers to be more hands-on in teaching proper forms and techniques. As such, John is eagerly waiting to be able to reopen the club’s doors.

(The inside of Pro-Style Martial Arts, located on the corner of Hobin and Main Street. Photos: Submitted by Mandy Hambly.)

John has been studying martial arts for years now. His interest came from watching lots of Bruce Lee. John worked hard to pay for his lessons himself and believes that his life would have gone down a very different and dark path if it weren’t for martial arts. Having been a member of Team Canada for 8 years, and going on to become a Master of Karate, it’s clear that John’s determination and hard work paid off.

“I enjoy what I do,” John says about teaching. His students range in age from 3.5 to 62 years old. While John says he is happy to see a kid throw a punch or a kick, he doesn’t believe teaching martial arts is teaching to fight, but rather teaching self-defense. John is teaching martial arts to teach his students “to be smarter rather than to fight,” even stating that he has never been in a fight outside of competitions. As a whole, martial arts is about respect, which John stresses you must earn, as “you can’t buy it.”

(Master John Laroda with Lucy Hambly testing for her black belt.)

“Martial arts is for everybody,” John believes. This philosophy is clear as John ensures he is asking questions and getting to know each of his students. “I want to know you. I ask questions to make sure we can reach your goal.”

John’s passion for martial arts is evident. He truly believes in the value of teaching and training this discipline to students of all ages and abilities. John is looking forward to the day when he can resume classes at Pro-Style Martial Arts, and always welcomes newcomers.

(Master John Laroda and students preparing for Black Belt Grading.)

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