weather icon Partly Cloudy
RJ App
Vegas News, Alerts, ePaper

Karate instructor uses new school ways to reach kids

Hiro Karate was set to move to a new location Sept. 8: 8433 W. Lake Mead Blvd. The move was due to noise issues at its former location, where a dance studio shared a wall.

Hiro — which rhymes with hero — Karate has roughly 90 students, the vast majority of them teens or younger.

The change comes as owner/operator Hiroshi Allen, 42, was chosen by Deluxe Corp. as one of its 100 Notable Entrepreneurships for a Centennial celebration. In February, Allen was filmed for a “Shark Tank”-like small business profile to debut in September at smallbusinessrevolution.org/story/hiro-karate.

It’s been a twist of fate for someone who thought they’d never practice karate again after college.

Allen was born in Japan but grew up in Louisiana. That’s where his parents, Bob and Nikki, had their own karate studio. He started lessons at age 4.

“It was like going to school,” he said. “It was something you did because your parents told you to.”

Allen progressed through the belts, and by age 15, he began teaching at another facility that had lost its instructor.

“I taught alongside Doug Dominick,” he said. “He had to drive me there because I wasn’t old enough to have a license.”

Dominick, now an attorney in Shreveport, La., was the captain of the Northeast Louisiana University karate team, which Allen’s father coached.

Allen attended California Polytechnic State University and graduated from Northeast Louisiana University, intending to use his bachelor of science degree in microbiology.

Instead, he had an epiphany while talking with some of his students who were weighing the options of going to college or joining the military.

“I realized I really have an influence on my students,” he said. “… Some of them will email me, now that they’re adults, and tell me how karate helped (shape their lives). They have a greater sense of discipline, of time management — things they apply to other areas of their lives. I call it ‘My Tool’ — it’s how I convey not just karate but life skills.”

Allen has competed in various tournaments. As a U.S. National Team member, he is a seven-time national champion, beating out more than 80 countries. He made it to quarterfinals (finishing in the top eight) of International Olympic Committee-sanctioned events, Pan American Games, World Championships, World Cup, World University Games and Pan American Championships.

He also has coached five students who have qualified at the U.S. Team trials and competed on the Junior National Team, with two competing in August in Boliva for the Junior Pan American Championships. He has coached more than 100 U.S. National champions, Junior Olympic medalists and a U.S. Open medalist.

Allen came to Las Vegas in 2001 with his wife, Mary, a pharmacist. He opened his karate studio at the Las Vegas Sportspark, 1400 N. Rampart Blvd., soon after.

Mike Bellon of Summerlin, who has studied martial arts all his life, enrolled his son, Vincent, 13, in Allen’s school about eight years ago.

“What’s unique about Hiroshi Allen is that he’s found a way to combine the old school way of doing things — the tradition, the discipline — with the new school ways,” Bellon said. “Kids these days, if they’re not entertained, then every two minutes, they’re checking their phones, but he finds a way to teach kids a little differently, a way to keep this generation engaged.”

Allen said he has never had to use his skills to protect himself. Ironically, the only time he might have been in the position to need to use them, he was asleep: It was in July when a burglar broke into his house and stole items including his computer. Allen, his wife and their two children were asleep the whole time.

But one of his students, Shelby Fowler, 18, did have occasion to put her skills to the test. She was jumped by an assailant and instinctively struck back, sending her assailant to the ground, before she ran off.

Visit hirokarate.com or call 702-845-4475.

— To reach Summerlin Area View reporter Jan Hogan, email jhogan@viewnews.com or call 702-387-2949.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Susan G. Komen organization announces 30 grants

Susan G. Komen, the world’s leading breast cancer organization, has awarded 30 new grants to researchers at 18 leading institutions in the U.S. and Canada. The $14 million in grants support the organization’s mission to end breast cancer through funding two key focus areas: research to better detect and treat stage IV (metastatic) breast cancer and research to eliminate disparities in breast cancer outcomes.

Mob Month is back at the Clark County Library

For the fifth year the Las Vegas-Clark County Library District is making an offer some people find they can’t refuse. Mob Month is coming back to the Clark County Library, 1401 E. Flamingo Road, with events Tuesday nights in January.

7 ways autocomplete can get smarter

Autocomplete is one of the best (or depending on how hastily you push ‘send’ – worst) things in the world. We rely on it so much that Google plans to let us autocomplete whole emails. Here are seven ways predictive input can improve. 1. Recognizing names from previous emails Jakub Kokoszka has a tough name to […]

Movie posters might soon be based on your clicks

You may have thought you left Blockbuster behind, but the basic way we browse movies hasn’t changed all that much. We peruse poster after poster, kind of like walking the aisles of a ‘90s-era video store. That one poster image, meant to appeal to as many people as possible, is often all we see before […]

What I’ll be covering at NAB 2018

The National Association of Broadcasters show kicks off this weekend in Las Vegas.  The show focuses on new and emerging technologies and trends in relation to the media and entertainment industries. As it’s not open to the public, I’ll be at the Las Vegas Convention Center on Saturday, Monday and Wednesday to share some of […]