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A conversation with . . . Dean Houser

June 4, 2013

Dean Houser (left) is a martial arts instructor and offers his expertise to the Whitley County Domestic Violence Task Force. He is pictured with his wife, Tina. Photo contributed

COLUMBIA CITY — It wasn’t the 80s movie, “The Karate Kid,” that inspired Dean Houser, of Columbia City, to start learning martial arts.

A simple encounter with a “nice guy” convinced Houser to sign his son up for classes and eventually, Houser himself was hooked.

He now teaches various forms of martial arts and wellness in his studio, Living Arts, in Columbia City.

In addition to teaching structured classes, Houser offers his expertise to the Whitley County Domestic Violence Task Force.

Q: How did you get started in martial arts?
“I was introduced to a martial arts instructor named David Sink who was starting a school near my home in Ann Arbor, Mich. I really wasn’t remotely interested in learning martial arts, but David was a nice guy, and I wanted to show my support by attending his grand opening.

I ended up enrolling my seven year-old son and after about a month of watching him in his classes, I realized that I wanted to play too. It looked fun, something we could share and I was there anyway. That was 14 years ago, and I’ve been doing it ever since.”

Q: What drew you to lending your expertise to benefit the Domestic Violence Task Force?

A: “I believe that martial arts are ultimately about service to others. The Japanese martial arts are not about selfish goals; they were developed because samurai were called to a higher ideal of service and protection of their families and of their community. I think when you study a true martial art, rather than a sport, your character deepens and you eventually become interested in helping others.

The Domestic Violence Task Force has been kind enough to allow me to serve them, and it’s been a real honor for me to be able to do so in some small way.”

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