Let’s be honest. Most 21-year old men are pretty irresponsible, especially if they are College students. I know I was. The life of a typical 21-year old student consists of drinking, girls, sport, and, just occasionally, a bit of studying.

Which is what makes the story of Jared Dodley all the more impressive. Because he is a 21-year full-time student at California State University, Northridge, but when he isn’t studying, you won’t find Jared in the student bars. You will find him in his own martial arts studio.

Jared Dodley and Bright Stars Martial Arts Studio

jared dodley martial arts studio

Jared Dodley first got into martial arts nine years ago, when he tried his hand at taekwondo for the first time. From that point on, it has been a central part of his life, so much so, that less than a decade later, he is the instructor, inspiring young people as lead instructor and owner of his own studio.

Jared is a fully-qualified instructor these days, endorsed by the American Taekwondo Association, and his studio is called Bright Star Martial Arts Studio. Here he teaches children from the age of three all the way up to adulthood, alongside four other skilled, and equally youthful, fellow coaches.

Bright Stars breaks it teaching up into four groups. The youngest children join a Tiny Tiger Group, which teaches basic self-defense skills, while the youth group caters for 7-12-year-olds and will give them the core skills of Songahm Taekwondo, as well as teach sparring skills and introduce some weapons training.

The teens and adults programme builds on that to allow students to develop their skills to reach their full potential in Taekwondo and all Mixed Martial Arts.

More Than Just Martial Arts in Bright Stars Martial Arts Studio

jared dodley martial arts studio

But there is so much more to what Bright Stars Martial Arts Studio offers than simply martial arts skills. The Tiny Tigers are put through the American Taekwondo Associations Kidz ‘n Power Child Safety Training which equips them to deal with issues like bullying.

Older children are also taught key life skills during their classes including goal-setting, perseverance, integrity and respect. For older learners, there is the chance to do fitness classes and lose weight as well as build skills.

But the aspect of teaching which Jared is most proud of is their special needs groups. Bright Star Martial Arts Studios estimates that around half of their students are special needs and they tailor special individual programmes to suit their unique abilities and goals.

They offer a therapeutic service which has help children with challenges as diverse as physical disabilities, autism, and developmental delays. The aim is to empower the child and help them progress at their own rate, whether that is through individual classes, in small groups, or as part of the regular mainstream classes.

The progress that special needs students make is obviously something that Jared Dodley and the whole Bright Stars team is incredibly proud of. But the question that leaps to many people’s mind is, how on earth does he do it?

Just How Does Jared Dodley Do it?

jared dodley martial arts studio

Being a full-time student, running a business, and working as an instructor sounds like too much for most people. But as Jared  Dodley told local media outlet The Signal, “All my students keep me going.”

It is clear that Taekwondo and the Bright Star Martial Arts Studio is a labour of love for Jared. And it’s amazing how much easier work can become when it is something you really care about.  And what better motivation could Jared ask for than the hordes of adoring young students who he teaches every week.

“He’s actually really fun and motivational,” one student, Joey Jinkins, told the Signal. The relationship Jared cultivates between himself and the students is as much friendship as a teacher-student one and the fun and laughter they enjoy together must make the job a bit easier when he’s been sat up all night studying for his mid-term.

It’s not for everyone that’s for sure. But as all martial artists know, when the bug bites it really get you and Jared’s passion and commitment is certainly not unique.

But at his age, it is nonetheless remarkable and shows how martial arts can inspire and drive an individual to give something back to his community through the martial arts they love so much.

Bright Stars Martial Arts Studio
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