Martial artists give back by teaching free classes in Gurnee, Illinois

Jonathan Kness of Waukegan, Illinois, is so passionate about martial arts that he offers free classes in nearby Gurnee to students of all ages, according to the Daily Herald. He practiced the sport for years and wanted others to have the same good experience he did.

Kness opened up a martial arts school, Kuk Sool Won with Timothy Seitz, a martial arts teacher at McHenry County College in February and funds the classes with donations and corporate sponsorships.

"At first, we thought about charging the students, but I thought it's not about that for me. I do OK," Kness told the Daily Herald. "When we start to teach, we get to see these kids grasp, comprehend and grow."

Kness said Kuk Sool Won teaches a variety of different movements, like kicking and punching, at the studio, so the children are never bored and come excited to every class.

Seitz, who lives in Palatine, Illinois, stressed to the Daily Herald that he and Kness welcome students of many different ages and socioeconomic backgrounds to their classes. He said they teach students as young as 6 years old and up to middle-aged adults.

One of the students at Kuk Sool Won is Kness' own daughter Ainsley who admitted to being a little confused when she first took the class.

"I like it a lot now," she told the source. "I just enjoy meeting all the other people who are here and I enjoy the activities we do. I like using the equipment a lot, but when [my dad] says we're going to do cardio, I say, 'oh no.'"

Kness told the source the martial arts classes are teaching his daughter how to protect herself.

"It's confidence for her, but as a parent it makes me feel so much more sure to know she is going to be ok," he said. "If she is not, she is going to scare someone to death."

Martial arts classes can help students to develop confidence
Another thing students will receive from these martial arts classes is higher self-esteem. Kness said he gained so much self-confidence from the sport and hopes the individuals he teaches do the same. According to the Willington Karate Club, martial arts is such a demanding activity that students feel a sense of accomplishment after they finish a class, increasing their self-confidence.