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This teenage martial artist creates videos to help superhero seniors stay active while in quarantine

Andrew Cuomo

Jeffrey Wall, 15, is just as compassionate as he is fierce. The accomplished Tang Soo Do Korean martial artist is helping his community stay fit during the coronavirus pandemic. While he shares his love of the sport with everyone, Wall holds a special group of students close to his heart—senior citizens.

“I felt like they don’t get that much love and attention. I want to make them feel like I’m their grandchild,” Wall explains.

Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, Wall taught karate at a local nursing home. He named his program Golden Age Karate and refers to his students as “Super Nanas” and “Super Grandpas.”

“It makes me feel joyful and excited to see my seniors — and just love on them as well,” the teen instructor says. “And my seniors feel the same way. To see their faces light up is the best feeling in the world.”

Caring for “super nanas and grandpas” in a pandemic

With social distancing, Wall had to get creative. He realized shelter-in-place orders meant his senior students would be isolated from those they love—including him.

With classes canceled and not knowing when he would return, Wall started posting classes on YouTube. He also ramped up his Instagram page to remain digitally present to his students.

“They have computers at the nursing home—and they have phones.”

Wall says the transition to online class has been smooth but he’s eager to get back to one-on-one sessions with his students.

“I really like being hands on and seeing my students face to face.”

Wall’s students miss him, too.

“Many of them were really sad. Some of them need me to be there as a companion; it gets really lonely in the nursing homes.”

Love on display

Now finished with school for the summer, Wall is working hard to create content online. He says posting his videos on YouTube has helped expand his audience to all age groups. But his heart remains with his beloved seniors.

In between his filming and working out, Wall is also creating fancy love notes to his class until they can meet again.

Followers of Wall’s Instagram account generously donated cards, art supplies and ornaments to help make his seniors feel cared for while quarantined.

“It feels really good to know people across the world see me and want to help in any way they can. It’s just amazing.”

The celebrated teen has received messages of support from London, Nigeria and India.

Serving at any age

For this Ohio teen, the idea to create Golden Age Karate started with a simple desire to make a difference.

After earning his black belt at 13, Wall sought a way to use his training to benefit for the community. After an interview with the nursing home, he was on his way.

After his first class, Wall says the students wanted him “to come back every day.”

“First I got to know my students well, and they got to know me well,” he said.

“I taught all my student how to bow in,” he explains.

His love of the discipline began when he was 6 years old.

“I had never done anything at all,” Wall recalls about his first time on the mat. “I did a kick and my leg went all the way up and he (Wall’s instructor) said ‘Yep, this is for him!’ — I surprised myself.”

When compassion begins at home

Wall credits his parents for teaching him the value of kindness and compassion.

“My mom is a nurse and that’s her job to care for other people,” he says.

“My dad owns a business and he always had to interact with people and was always nice to them. I learned from that.”

He says his parents also taught him the importance of respect and equality.

“We don’t tolerate meanness in this house—or disrespect,” Wall laughs.

Kicking toward the future

After high school Wall wants to attend college and study business management. He is also open to starting a business of his own. But the young instructor is very clear about one thing: caring for seniors is a major part of his plan.

Wall hopes Golden Age Karate will inspire others to get involved in their communities while championing equality for black teens like him.

“We’re all equal and should be treated that way,” he says.

“Many people feel like we’re savages or bad—but, we’re educated and can help people just like the next person.”

Wall has big dreams of bringing Golden Age Karate to a global stage. He also hopes it will be a household name in the United States. He plans to register Golden Age Karate as non-profit organization as well.

Until then, Wall eagerly awaits the day he can see his superhero seniors again.

Article Topic Follows: US & World

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