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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    UA student shares passion through martial arts classes


    Courtesy of Scott Langlais

    Scott Langlais (center) has been teaching martial arts classes for UA students since 2010.

    Scott Langlais is a doctoral student in the department of East Asian Studies, who’s been teaching martial arts classes at the UA since 2010. His said his aim has been to provide students and the community with the opportunity to receive the benefits the dojo environment provides.

    Langlais said his lifelong dream was to study Japanese, learn karate and go to Japan. In sixth grade, he began to discipline himself in Shotokan karate, a style of martial arts, under the dojo-and-sensei interaction and environment. Throughout high school and college, he focused on self-study in the Japanese language; he double-majored in Japanese and linguistics, received an ESL/EFL teaching certificate and moved to Japan in December 1999.

    Having lived and worked in Japan for six years, Scott experienced firsthand the benefit of experiencing Japanese etiquette through peer-to-peer interaction in the dojo. Langlais said that he strongly feels part of his mission in life is to give back and provide guidance to young students.

    Driven by a thirst for knowledge, Scott said he left the country of his dreams and came to the UA to pursue a doctorate in Japanese linguistics. Here, Scott said he knew he’d be in a position to help students that share an interest in Japanese culture. So, he established a karate program in the department of East Asian Studies in an effort to give back and help benefit these students.

    “Anyone who takes my class will not walk out the same person,” Langlais added.

    According to Langlais, his classes allow students to practice leadership skills by having them teach groups of other students. Langlais said this helps a student to develop the physical, mental, social and psychological benefits of practicing martial arts.

    “There is a sense of camaraderie and trust in what we do,” Langlais said. “We’re all in it together. To grow together as a team. There are no expectations when it comes to skill. The only expectations I have are for you to train hard and honestly. I’m strict, but I’m fair.”

    Langlais’ classes are primarily for Japanese language students, but anyone can join. Langlais said that he would not have been able to accomplish what he has merely by being motivated. According to Langlais, it was thanks in part to the peers and educators that saw the passion and ability he possessed and who guided him in the right direction.

    “I want to make it clear that I don’t do it for the money,” Langlais said. “I do it because I love it and because I know that someone would have done that for me.”

    Langlais has continued to give his heart, passion and time to the entire Tucson community. He said he wouldn’t trade it for the world.

    On Saturday, Langlais and his students will be at The Shyann Kindness Project’s 5th Annual “Tri” for Acts of Kindness Sprint Triathlon/Duathlon and 5K Run/Walk. All entry fees go toward the Shyann Kindness Project, which is a Tucson-based nonprofit charity that serves “underprivileged, at-risk, and medically fragile children” in Southern Arizona, according to its website.

    On Nov. 1, Langlais’ group will be at the 50th Annual Western States Karate Championships charity tournament, which, according to its website, supports the community by promoting “a cultural exchange between Japan and the [U.S.]”

    This year’s charity tournament will support the 100 Club of Arizona, whose mission, stated on its website, is to provide immediate “financial assistance to families of public safety officers and firefighters” who are fallen or “seriously injured in the line-of-duty.” According to Langlais, these events are both open to the public.

    —Follow Cristien Keeme-Sayre @DailyWildcat

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