BY JAMES HARPER
When Tony Cowell isn’t driving trucks for a living, the Daytona Beach resident is teaching karate.
Cowell says he teaches karate to bring awareness about the sport and to get more of the community and inner-city children involved in something that’s productive and worthwhile and keeps them off the streets.
“I consider all the students as my kids whenever they are in my presence. They are my kids. I protect them. I look out for them and I teach them,” Cowell said, noting that he has been practicing karate for 40 years and teaching it for 15 years.
Cowell also teaches a self-defense/exercise class for women.
He says karate is an individual sport that builds confidence and self-esteem in all areas of life – whether it is for other sports or for a physically demanding job.
His classes are taught on the third floor of Master’s Domain Church of God in Christ on Bay Street. The pastor of the church, located in downtown Daytona Beach, is Superintendent Derrick Harris. Cowell says he is looking for a new location that is more visible to the public.
Cowell was born in Brooklyn, New York, and came to Florida in 1989.
He started out in Miami than eventually made his way to Daytona Beach.
He had been a single parent for almost 20 years until he met Sharonda Irvin, whom he calls his best friend. She works as a recreational leader at the John H. Dickerson Center. They were married a year ago.
Upon arriving in Daytona Beach, Cowell met Larry Jones and Kareem Brown and begin working out with them. He became a member of karate teams.
“Karate teaches me to be more self-aware about my surroundings and the people that I come in contact with,” he explained.
Cowell says karate works on the physical and mental aspects of the body asa whole.
“It teaches you respect, confidence and is a builder of self-esteem as well,” he continued.
Cowell said those who participate in his class will get a good workout and knowledge of the sport. There also are competitions across the state such as the Gator Nationals held in Daytona Beach.
“We also compete in tournaments outside of the state,” he added.
The cost of his classes ranges from $65 dollars per month for one child to $165 for five ore more children. Classes take place Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. for younger kids.
On Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., Cowell teaches the women’s self-defense/exercise classes.
For more information, 386-236-9263 or send an email to CowellS@CODB.US.