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Martial arts class trains mind, body By Melissa RobinsonContributing Editor Seven year-old Symonne and her 9-year-old sister, Corrine, have the “eye of the tiger” during their karate class under the instruction of Al Galius of Galius Martial Arts-Kali/MMA. After only taking karate for three months, the girls look like finessed fighters lunging, kicking and punching air in a controlled environment. Their father, Stacey Pollet, said he wanted to find the girls a great way to get some physical activity, and learning self-defense was the bonus.George Cabana, an instructor for Galius Martial Arts-Kali/MMA at J.P. Moseley Recreation Center, shows several students proper technique during class. Photo by Melissa Robinson “I have definitely seen them progress,” said Pollet. “It’s also a great workout.” Nine-year-old Emily Garland just started the class and her mother, Brittany Garland, said she is already encouraged by what she sees. “I like it for the discipline and respect aspect, as well as the exercise,” said Brittany. The girls, along with several other students, ranging in age from seven to 16, are part of the Monday night class at the recreation center where they learn not only the physical aspect of an ancient martial art, but something even more important. “We don’t just teach physical, we teach self-confidence, self-esteem, and teach them how to respect people. We help them develop a strong mind and a strong body so they can have the confidence to make the right choices, because kids today are faced with peer pressure,” said Galius. “Our goal is to develop their character so they can become good citizens.” Galius teaches karate at Moseley Recreation Center in Stockbridge where his students learn the ancient Filipino art of Kali. With assistance from advanced student instructors George Cabana, Eugene Saniatan, Carlos Tubelleja and Mason Zahnd, students also get instruction in smaller groups, as well as one on one instruction. Born and raised in Hawaii, Galius has been teaching Filipino Martial Arts since 1993 and in 2000 earned his fifth degree black belt from the Lontayao Martial Arts School Organization of Hawaii. He said he has been teaching at the Stockbridge recreation center for approximately five years, instructing children and adults in traditional karate as well as self-defense. He said with children he focuses on the mind and the body, not only teaching them how to defend themselves, but giving them the confidence to make good decisions. He said respect is also a big part of the class, stressing respect not only during class but at home and school as well. “We put a lot of emphasis on education and take education very seriously and stress the importance of showing respect not only here but at home,” said Galius. “I’ve had very positive feedback from parents. Some of the kids who come here are very shy to speak up, so we teach them the importance of eye contact and how to speak up and look into someone’s eyes.” He said he asks parents to remain outside the class so as not to distract the students and that as students progress, they earn higher belts. Students are tested periodically to show they have mastered certain skills, movements and techniques. He said generally adults who attend class want to learn self-defense techniques and weaponry; however they can learn classical karate as well. In addition to teaching the traditional weapons such as baton, staff, sword, dagger and kali sticks, he teaches adults how to use common items for self-defense on the street, such as the use of keys and even a pen or pencil. “I also try to teach awareness of surroundings and how to be observant,” said Galius. “The class is for men and women who want to learn how to protect themselves and their love ones, while at the same time building self-confidence and a strong body and mind.” He said martial arts is an excellent workout, not only with strength training, but to improve balance, coordination, timing, speed and strength. Galius is open to forming private, small group adult classes for those interested and currently teaches an adult self-defense class on Monday evenings from 7:30 to 8:30. He said he is also open to teaching classes in other locations depending on demand. Cost for the classes range from $40 to $50 a month with no contract. For more information, contact Al Galius at 770-914-2445 or 404-805-5004 or through email at or J.P. Moseley Recreation Center is located at 1041 Millers Mill Road in Stockbridge.


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