On Saturday June 28th, two local martial arts instructors, shurfu (Instructor) Umar Arrastia, 35 and shurfu Eric L’Ecuyer, 37, were inducted into the World Karate Union Hall of Fame under the Instructors of the Year category. The inductees are two of the three founders of Dragon Gate Kungfu Academy (the third founder being shurfu John Bradley), located at Giguere’s in Cherry Valley, MA, where they teach Kungfu, Tai Chi, Grappling arts, and Chinese weapons. shurfu Umar and shurfu Eric have been studying martial arts for twenty-seven years, and hold black level ranks in Kenpo Karate, Tae Kwon Do, White Dragon Kungfu, Heavenly Dragon Kungfu, and Tai Chi. They have been teaching on their own since 1993, and are long-standing members of the local community, having operated schools with shurfu John in Southbridge and Worcester, prior to moving the school to its current location at Giguere’s.
Dragon Gate Kungfu Academy is renowned both for its youth-focused programs as well as a strong offering of adult programs. The youth programs concentrate on self-discovery and developing in youths a strong sense of personal growth. In addition to the traditional martial arts programs, other youth programs include the Scholar Program and the Kid Power Program, reinforcing the importance of academic excellence, and focusing on child-safety, including bully-busting and anti-abduction. The youth programs developed at Dragon Gate are perfectly suited for the youth-focused, family-friendly facility at Giguere’s. The adult programs range from beginner to advanced experience, and include Kungfu, Tai Chi, weapons, and grappling, among others. Ultimately, all Dragon Gate programs are designed with respect, responsibility, and safety as primary objectives.