Twenty-one year old Jared Dodley is not unlike other busy young adults his age. He is a full time student at Cal State University Northridge and has been practicing taekwondo for nine years now.
There is one remarkable difference between Dodley and other people his age though. He already owns his own karate studio in Santa Clarita.
Bright Star Martial Arts is a unique place for more reasons than just having a young owner. Around half of the students there are special needs and Dodley is proud to be able to instill a greater sense of confidence in these children.
“All my students keep me going,” he says.
Dodley is also unique with his ability to toe the line between friend and instructor with his karate students. They banter and joke together but Dodley is still able to command the respect that is necessary to be an instructor. His students bow when they greet him and listen when he speaks to them.
One such student was 11-year-old Joey Jinkins who has been doing karate at Bright Star for three years now. Jinkins was having a blast on Saturday while breaking boards that Dodley held up for him.
“He’s actually really fun and motivational,” said Jinkins.
When Dodley begins to feel weary of being both a full-time student and a full-time karate instructor, he just reminds himself of the joy he brings students like Jinkins. That is all he needs to keep him going.