If you’ve driven through the traffic circle in Old Towne Orange, then you’ve no doubt seen the PaKua studio located on the corner where Plaza Square meets W Chapman. Since 2009, this location has provided the Plaza with a little extra energy, what with all the Martial Arts, Yoga, Acrobatics, Tai-Chi and more happening behind their big glass picture window.
Earlier this year, my dad suggested that I put my 6-year old son into some sort of Karate and that he would even pay for it (thanks Phil!!). I thought this would be a great opportunity to check out this PaKua studio right here in town. When we first started, I took my son, my 3-year old daughter and my 4-year old niece for a trial week to see if they would like it before signing them up. I have to say that it was pure comedy watching these 3 youngsters running around doing something they’d never done before. In the end, the 3-year old needed to wait perhaps another year or 2, the 4-year old took a pass and my son was completely IN! It has been amazing watching him grow over the last several months.
I only recently had the opportunity to sit down with owner, Master David Clawson, to learn more about him, his philosophy and what PaKua even means. His career in martial arts started after 2 years of boxing in college when he moved to Garden Grove and went into a video store that was going out of business. One of the videos he took home that day was Karate Kid. He watched it and you could say the rest was history. At 21 years old he started taking martial arts while still in college and after 2 weeks, the Grand Master of the studio David was studying at asked him if he wanted to study under him and learn all of the aspects of PaKua…to which he said ‘Yes.’
Within a few months he was teaching at 8 different centers in Orange County from senior centers to elementary schools. On his 23rd birthday he opened his first studio on Chapman near Main. He was there for 8 years. He opened a second school and in 2009 he moved both schools to the Plaza location. He now has schools across America that he helped to get off the ground in Florida, Arizona, Albuquerque, Portland, Idaho, Colorado and New York.
For those of you, like me, that have no idea what PaKua actually is, I now know just enough to share with you. PaKua is the understanding of life and relationships. It’s how to better understand anything that comes to you and to understand your experience…it’s a Chinese philosophy about finding the good in everything, every situation, first. There’s much more to it than that, but that’s my ‘in a nutshell’ explanation.
At the PaKua studio in Old Towne, Master David teaches this philosophy, this art, through his Martial Arts classes, he teaches it through his Yoga and Acrobatics classes, and each and every class that is taught there. They teach about relationships and that we are all somehow connected.
The last thing I want to tell you about this PaKua studio is that it’s been created as a family environment. Children and parents are always welcome. There are classes for all (I’m going to give their Yoga classes a try). You will often find Master David with one of his own children, as well as his wife in the studio. He was inspired to create this environment because the first school he went to felt like a family and he wanted that for himself. He always tries to make everybody feel like they are part of the family and I think he succeeds in that!
PaKua is located at 55 Plaza Square in Old Towne Orange.
Thanks to Travis Botham Photography for all the great photos, here’s more:
Last Updated on May 24, 2023 by Pattie Cordova