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Canku Ota

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(Many Paths)

An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America


October 20, 2001 - Issue 47


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 Fights Kept on the Mat


Rapid City Journal

EAGLE BUTTE -- Students of the Yellow Hawk Warriors Martial Arts Club in Eagle Butte reserve their fighting for classes and tournaments.

"On the reservation, fighting is just commonplace," instructor Corbin LeBeau Sr. said, but martial-arts students learn to avoid confrontations.

"When they walk away from a fight, they know that if they wanted to, they could probably do very well in a street fight," he said. His students also know that street fighting would reflect poorly on the club.

"They know the right thing to do," he said. "And I respect them all for that."

LeBeau started the club in 1992. His students train in a school gym. This year, he has 46 young students - 28 of them girls - plus nine adult students. "Four moms," LeBeau added. "I think it's a family activity."

Club instructors also train some Eagle Butte police officers in jujitsu. The classes also give cops and kids a chance to mix. "The kids begin to realize that the police really aren't their enemy," LeBeau said.

The club charges affordable class fees. That means it relies largely on donations to pay for tournament travel. Sometimes, club members sleep 10 or 15 to a room on the road.

LeBeau believes in using positive reinforcement. "Whether they win or lose, we all get a victory dinner on the club after a tournament," he said. "That's the only time they get to brag. After that, we don't want to hear it anymore."

Donations can be sent to the Yellow Hawk Warriors Martial Arts Club fund at State Bank of Eagle Butte, Eagle Butte, SD 57625.

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Canku Ota is a copyright © 2000, 2001 of Vicki Lockard and Paul Barry.


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