This post is sponsored by PAK’s Karate & Fitness Ponte Vedra, but all opinions are 100% my own. 

“Hup! Joon be.”

One quiet command in Korean from Mr. Bill leads a room of eight students to simultaneously step into ready stance and stand, quietly awaiting instruction. I decide maybe I should teach all my kids Korean. Or at least sign them up for Karate.

Paks Karate St Augustine

“Keema chasee. Horse riding stance.” Mr. Bill’s instruction is only just above a whisper, but everyone moves to the new position while he steps forward to adjust one student’s stance with a brief encouragement. The whole time, the class of mostly elementary students waits.

I start wondering if we can apply this to bedtime routines somehow. Why don’t my kids listen like this at bedtime?

Karate Instructor

“It’s because they want to learn,” my 9-year-old, Andrew, said. “I don’t really want to go to bed, though… but if you say I can go to Karate, maybe it might work tonight at bedtime.” Andrew saw quickly how to work this to his advantage! LOL. He and I joined the introductory class at PAK’s Ponte Vedra together and have enjoyed every moment… even the slightly awkward ones when I look around at my classmates who are 26 years younger than I am.

Karate is about respect, family, strength and self-discipline. Bill DeGrafft, the owner and primary instructor at PAK’s Ponte Vedra, has taught ages 4 through adult for eight years. {For the uninitiated, PAK’s is Korean, so you say pocks, not packs.} PAK’s Ponte Vedra opened at US1 and CR210 in 2014, and he runs 14 classes weekly.

There are many martial arts styles and classes. One thing that I found unique to PAK’s Ponte Vedra is the approachable introductory class. Since the only martial arts I know is what I learned from Karate Kid back in the 80’s, I figured I should start at the beginning alongside Andrew. It was a very, very good choice both for the basic instruction and because we had a fun experience together!

“We do this class so students who have no martial arts background don’t feel out of place when they move into a class with their age group,” Bill told me. I can understand why… these fitness classes are a lot more than fitness kickboxing. As soon as students have mastered the basics, they join the class that fits their age and ability. The “big kids” have forms classes and sparring classes. See PAK’s Ponte Vedra’s schedule here.

paks ponte vedra

The intro class we joined had five elementary students, a middle school student, and a mommy… that would be me. We learned “forms” and worked with punching bags for an hour twice a week.

My favorite part of the class? Roundhouse kicks to a bag that could take all I gave it. That felt great. But my second favorite day was watching three fellow students earn their first belts. Their pride was evident as they bowed to Mr. Bill and thanked him. I love the respect that is built into the program! Andrew’s favorite was side kicks because he “already knew them and they were fun.” I laugh about that because he still hasn’t learned how to lean over and kick with proper form… but Mr. Bill is allowing him to learn a little each week. He corrects the students without belittling- modeling the respect he teaches and expects. I’m grateful to have found this safe place!

paks kick2


We both liked it when Ms. Clarissa was there to help- her background is in early childhood education and her love of kids comes out when she teaches.

The adult Tang Soo Do class is an 1 1/2 hour fitness class. Whatever your martial arts needs, PAK’s Ponte Vedra has it covered. And if you are still looking for options for summer camps, they still have limited availability during select weeks of June 20 – 24, 4 July 11-15,  July 18-22, and  July 25-29. For more information visit PAK’s Ponte Vedra or call 904) 829-8087 to register!


  1. We love Bill! And the Paks crew! My son was not thrilled that I signed him up for any camp during the first week of summer when I had to work. After 2 days he had so much fun he asked me to send him more. He had a blast and was busy and engaged the whole time. Bill is so patient and kind and I loved knowing he was getting a positive and fun experience!

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