Town’s Eagle Karate Systems school touts family-based training

Larry Hartsook, owner of Eagle Karate Systems, has opened a martial arts school in Farragut geared toward bringing families together.

“It’s a family environment,” Hartsook said. “Through the years, I’ve had couples that were divorcing and ended up not [divorcing]; I’ve had families that were falling apart because dad’s too busy or mom’s too busy. That was corrected.

“And I’ve had abusive situations,” he added.

Hartsook opened Eagle Karate Multiple Arts School, 11214 Outlet Drive, bringing with him more than 45 years of ongoing training in traditional martial arts from Japan, Korea and U.S. Army Special Forces Combatives.

He chose the Outlet Drive location because of its vicinity to Cotton Eyed Joe, with which people are familiar, Hartsook said.

The Farragut school is the seventh Eagle Karate Systems’ school he has established. His other locations include three in Atlanta and one each in Houston, Honolulu, Heidelberg, Germany and Madisonville.

Eagle Karate offers five primary styles of martial arts, which include Korean taekwondo; hapkido, which Hartsook said is an excellent street self-defense art [think Steven Seagal] and tae ki jutsu, which is a mix of the three martial arts of taekwondo for conditioning, hapkido for street defense and danzan ryu jujitsu for ground defense.

Using those styles, Hartsook offers Triad Tigers, a 30-minute program for children ages 3 to 5, and family classes in which the whole family can participate in one class.

The family classes have students from youngsters to grandparents — ages 6 to 78.

“We all train together because we all live together, and the reason [the classes] work so well is, No. 1, it gives the family something to do together,” he said. “I really don’t know of any other schools that do that. I’ve done it for 25 years.”

Secondly, the class is another bonding platform for the family, Hartsook said.

“What happens in a family environment is typically the guys pick up on the self-defense part,” he said.

“The women pick up on the forms because women like to dance. The kids pick up on language rapidly — much better than adults,” Hartsook added. “So what happens, over a short period of time is, as the family leaves here [the family members] are working at home together.”

Eagle Karate has full, one-hour classes while many others have from 30- to 35-minute classes, Hartsook said.

It also has a solid, rapid exercise program, which will condition students and is very challenging, he added.

Additionally, he said the classes are reality-based so a student can defend himself or herself in a real situation.

“The techniques you learn here are designed [so that] the longer you stay, you will get to street speed and [the techniques will] become muscle memory,” Hartsook said, “Because, if you have to think of a technique, you probably are already hit.”

The school’s main motto is, “You are as you train.”

“Isn’t that the same in all of life?” Hartsook asked, then added, “If you don’t put into something totally, you don’t get anything out of it.”

The other motto he emphasizes, especially with young people, is, “We train to never fight.

“Now that doesn’t mean we can’t fight,” he added. “They are taught to talk their way out of a situation. If that doesn’t work, they are taught to run. They can put their egos in their pockets when they are running. There’s no shame in that.

“But if there is no way out of [a fight] and you commit, it’s full force.”

All Eagle Karate instructors are annually certified, which means they have the normal background checks one would do for such businesses as daycare centers, he said, adding the instructors also are taught how to motivate people — not mandate things.

Hours are from 6 to 9 p.m., Monday through Friday. After-school programs also are offered.

“You can come all five days a week, and there’s no additional charge,” Hartsook said. “Contracts are not required.”

For more information, call 865-522-4616.