The Champaign Family YMCA is starting karate lessons at the beginning of 2020. Classes will run at the Y on Wednesday nights at 6:30 p.m. Registrations are now being taken at the Y Welcome Center.
Instructor Noel W. Vallance was born in Xenia in December of 1970. He began studying the martial arts in 1988 in Urbana at the Shotokan Tiger School of Martial Arts run by Sensei Keith M. Barrett. In November of 1991 he obtained his 1st degree black belt in Shotokan. He continued to train in Urbana and acted as the senior instructor until moving out of the area in the fall of 1993. In 2014 Vallance was promoted to 4th dan black belt in Shotokan. In 2015 he began training with Master Carl Davis in Springfield. In September of 2017 he opened the doors on Vallance Martial Arts with his wife, Stacy, in Springfield. In December of 2018 he was promoted to 5th Dan in Shotokan Karate-do and presented with the title of Renshi by Master Carl Davis. In addition to running Vallance Martial Arts he continues to train under the mentor-ship of Soke Carl Davis. He also trained and holds kyu ranks in TaekwonDo, Pangai-noon, and Aikido. He regularly teaches self defense workshops where he stresses the importance that the best defense is being aware of your surroundings.
“I believe in leading by example and that everybody has something to teach as well as something to learn regardless of rank or style,” Vallance said. “Martial Arts is more than just a single style such as Shotokan, Taekwondo, Judo, etc. It is an understanding of the human body, both physical and mental. We train to be better in all that we do, both inside the dojo and in the rest of our lives. It is not about rank or the color of your belt, it is about striving to do your best and passing what you have learned onto others. We all fall down, get hit and kicked, we all make mistakes. It is up to us as individuals to decide what we do next.”