David Unger remembers the early years of his karate training in the backyard of his childhood home in Woodlake. David’s father, Marc Unger began the small school after parents requested he teach their children, “We called the sparing ring the ‘dirt hole’ because everyone would work out in that one spot it got so worn down it became a four inch deep hole. There was no way you could cheat because there was always dirt prints on our uniforms”.
Unger began his Karate journey at the age of five, only two years after his father began his school. Unger recalls training day and night no matter the weather conditions, “If there was frost on the ground we would still train”. Unger has now been studying Karate for nearly 23 years and finds that he is only now beginning to understand it. Growing up playing team sports he said the difference of team sports versus Karate is the freedom to be an individual, “Its hard to excel in many aspects of the sport your playing. In Karate you can have 20 different people stepping into the art of a style like Goju-Ryu and even though they are performing the same movements it’s still individualized to that person. It’s the same movements but they look different”, he went on to say, “It has a big mass appeal to everyone. You can accelerate at it for years, but still find that you learn new things”.
The Karate school has traveled all over Exeter. After moving the school from the Unger’s backyard they began using the old Exeter Police Station, where the Exeter Museum and Gallery currently resides. Before moving to a permanent location the class rented space at Capella Coffee House. Marc Unger bought a permanent building on West Pine St. where the school remained before he and his wife moved to Oakhurst two years ago. After finding a buyer for the building David began teaching the class by himself at the Exeter Church of God. Seven months later he signed a lease for the new location at 137 N. E St.
David Unger Karate estimated enrollment is roughly 25-30 students which has tripled since moving to the new location. With the new building came a new name; Marc Unger Karate officially became David Unger Karate on July 1, 2014. Unger offers beginner, advanced and adult classes. A new addition to the curriculum is the Kid Ninja program which begins on Monday, Oct. 6. Kid Ninja teaches children between the ages of four and five the basics of Karate. Class times are Monday and Wednesdays from 6-6:30 p.m. There is a $40 registration fee which includes the uniform, belt and patches your child will be earning throughout the program. Also only $40 a month. Unger will also be teaching four 45 minute women’s self defense classes on Saturday, Oct. 18, 25 and Nov. 1 and 8. The total cost for the four classes is $60.
At David Unger Karate students of all ages are able to learn the traditional Goju-Ryu system which originated in Okinawa, Japan in the late 1800’s. Unger’s father who is a master black belt was taught by tenth degree black belt Sam Price. Price created the Japanese-American blend of Goju-Ryu that the Unger’s have taught for over 20 years. Goju-Ryu translates into “hard-soft style” Go, which means hard, refers to closed hand techniques or straight linear attacks; ju, which means soft, refers to open hand techniques and circular movements.
Goju-Ryu incorporates both circular and linear movements into its curriculum, combining hard striking attacks such as kicks and close hand punches with softer open hand circular techniques for attacking, blocking, and controlling the opponent, including locks, grappling, takedowns and throws.
To learn more about David Unger Karate call 559-802-8208 or visit their Facebook at www.facebook.com/davidungerkarate.