Story & Photo by MC3 Dugan Flynn

A Sailor aboard USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) is instructing a group of Sailors in the martial art of Goju Ryu Karate.

Cryptologic Technician (Networks) 1st Class (IDW) Scot Mertz has been practicing Karate since the age of five and has been teaching the art professionally since 1996.

“It’s something to give back to people,” said Mertz. “It gives them something to do and focus on. It gives them a goal. It also helps them forget the fact that they are on a deployment for seven months.”

Mertz plans on covering all the material in this martial art up to the black belt skill level.

“That doesn’t necessarily mean that everyone will be promoted to black belt,” said Mertz. “But I’m trying to at least expose them to all the material.”

Mertz hopes to have at least one student achieve black belt during this deployment.

“I’ve been practicing for five years and teaching for two,” said Operations Specialist 2nd Class (SW/AW) Trish Duong, Mertz’s assistant. “I hope to get a black belt in Goju. It’s a different branch for me. It’s something new for me and I wanted to enhance my knowledge in different styles of martial arts.”

Members interested in the Karate class had to sign an injury waiver to join the class.

“This art is full-contact,” said Mertz. “I’m not going to be teaching the sparring and stuff, but Goju Ryu is typically heavy-contact.”

Duong said martial arts is beneficial not only for physical exercise, but for other areas in her life as well.

“Not only does it get the body in shape, but it also helps clear the mind from stress,” said Duong. “It helps with focus and concentration with school and work-related activities.”

The Karate Club meets on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 2000 in hangar bay one. For more information, email Mertz at scot.mertz@cvn74.navy.mil.

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