Blue Life Karate Celebrates 28 Years in SOMA by Offering ‘Free to the First 28 Families’ Karate Special

by Blue Life Karate
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From Blue Life Karate

Blue Life Karate, Maplewood’s oldest, continuous martial arts school, will celebrate its 28th year as an award-winning business dedicated to teaching karate and inspiring students of all age levels throughout Maplewood, South Orange, and northern New Jersey. Their anniversary takes place on April 4, 2021.

In celebration of its 28th anniversary, Blue Life will offer a children’s karate special for the first 28 families to respond: three classes with a uniform at no charge. This includes every child in that household. To register, call or text Sensei at 908-967-8132 or email

Located at 1882 Springfield Avenue (at Prospect Street), Blue Life Karate is led by Shihan Durand Howard, who grew up in nearby East Orange. Howard — who goes by “Sensei” to the Blue Life community — is a ninth-degree black belt and a three-time world champion for the World Karate Union and was inducted into the U.S.A. Martial Arts hall of fame. Sensei’s two children began their studies at Seth Boyden Elementary and graduated from Columbia High School. 

In addition to offering karate to children between the ages of 3 and 18, Blue Life also offers classes for adults of all ages. Adults age 18 and older can study Pekiti-Tirsia Kal, a Filipino combat system for self-defense and led by Shihan Durand Howard. Classes are held at Blue Life Karate and you can view the website for all registration information.

Blue Life serves as a vital hub for children of all ages, beginning with the Little Ninjas class for children between ages 3-5 as well as a beginner class for ages 6 and up. The classes introduce students to both the joy and rigor of ninjitsu karate.

“It’s been really hard to give our children opportunities to grow, learn and socialize for over a year now; this was something I really took for granted before the pandemic,” says Mousumi Betzer, whose nine-year-old son has been studying with Sensei since 2018. “Blue Life Karate has been the one place where my son has been able to experience consistent growth over the past year, both in his training and socially. It’s what has allowed me to feel some peace for him amidst so many missed experiences due to the pandemic.”

“In addition to the strength and focus that students gain, Blue Life offers an incomparable opportunity to teach students how to be mentors,” says Donny Levit, whose seven-year-old son has been taking classes for over a year. “Students who progress through classes are offered the chance to assist Sensei as a joshi – providing them with a chance to learn the values of leadership.”

“[Shihan Durand Howard] is producing quality students and creating a bond that the martial arts community can connect with,” says Grandmaster Jessie Bowen, who founded the American Martial Arts Alliance Foundation. “Blue Life is the only school in New Jersey that has been selected for our [martial arts school of the year] award.”

Read how Blue Life Karate became an invaluable hub of comfort and focus for many students who studied via Zoom during the earlier months of the pandemic.

Open enrollment is available throughout the year.

Blue Life Karate is located at 1882 Springfield Avenue (at Prospect Street) in Maplewood. For questions about all classes, call or text Shihan Durand Howard at 908-967-8132. All class information is available at

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