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Kopp shares Buddhist way of life



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Mark Kopp demonstrates a breathing technique. (click for larger version)
January 26, 2011 - Working in construction, Independence Township resident Mark Kopp moved frequently. A martial arts student, that meant a new dojo almost every year.

"I got a lot of experience in many different arts," said Kopp, 30. "I developed the best practices of all different sensei, taking what works best for me."

He plans to share what he learned in a new class, Buddha Fitness, offered through Independence Township Parks and Recreation.

The six-week class includes Japanese kneeling style meditation with emphasis on proper posture, movement, and breathing.

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"Lots of people don't breath correctly that's the most important thing I learned in life," said Kopp, who grew up with asthma. "I was breathing with my chest instead of the diaphragm."

It also includes full-body workouts with some Karate-do exercises, but no competition or fighting.

"This is not about fighting, it's for defense against life," he said. "You won't learn how to fight off a mugger. Modern times call for modern warriors. The battle isn't physical, it's spiritual."

Students should expect to work hard, no excuses accepted, he said.

"Plan to sweat," he said.

Kopp grew up in Ortonville and moved to Independence Township from Royal Oak a year and a half ago.

He studied Zen Buddhism after graduating from Ferris State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Construction Management Technology, in 2002. Living in Royal Oak, he studied ShitoKan with Dr. Jerry Aiello for four years.

"I hate gyms. I joined a gym and never went," he said. "In martial arts, it's not the same thing over and over. It's dynamic, practicing with other people. It keeps you on track and motivated."

Classes are three days a week, Monday, Wednesday, and Fridays, 7-8:30 p.m., at Carriage House in Clintonwood Park. Sessions start Jan. 31, March 14, and April 25, $60 for residents, $70 for non-residents, and $50 for 50 and up.

For more information, call 248-625-8223.

Phil is editor for The Clarkston News. He is a veteran of the first Iraq war, having served in the U.S. Army.
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