DALLAS -- Larry Shirley, the new instructor at Dallas Martial Arts, has lived here before. But this time he plans on staying for a while.
"I'm really happy to be here," Shirley said. "The people I've encountered have all been great people. I plan on being here for an extended time. I think the city and I can grow together."
Shirley lived in Dallas in the mid-1990s while working for Polk Community Living. He spent the last seven years working as a master pro in West Salem.
A couple of factors led to Shirley's return to Dallas. The West Salem location was lost to a construction project and moved to South Salem. Tim Habeck, the previous instructor at Dallas, elected to pursue a career as am emergency medical technician.
"I liked Dallas, and I liked the people here at the school," Shirley said. "I thought it would be a good fit.
"Things have gone very well so far. There's a great student body here, and we continue to take on new students. We're gearing up for our big tournament on Oct. 16."
Dallas Martial Arts belongs to the American Schools of Shao-Lin Kempo. Shirley has spent nine years training as a master pro and has achieved a fourth-degree black belt (10 is the highest).
"Shao-Lin Kempo is considered the original style that got everybody else going," Shirley said. "It's a 2000-year-old system. It's often called the grandfather art. There are four aspects of martial arts -- punching, kicking, grappling and felling -- and it teaches all four of them together."
Dallas Martial Arts offers both group and individual lessons for ages 4 and older.
"I'd like the students to come away with a sense of well-being and a sense of confidence about themselves," Shirley said."
Dallas Martial Arts recently moved from its previous location near Angor Realty to 170 W. Ellendale #105, next to Rite Aid.
"It's a bigger location, and we have a lot more parking," Shirley said. "You just can't beat the parking."