CORINTH, Miss. (WTVA) -- Phillip lee is close to his sixtieth year practicing martial arts out of corinth, Mississippi. He s taught and competed all over the country, his travels included consulting on various movies and attending arnold swarzenegger s martial arts festival, aptly named, the arnold sports festival. He s met the governator. Recently he was given the legend award from the american martial arts alliance, which is hosted by chuck norris. He s also survived open-heart surgery and two hip replacements, but he s never seen a year quite like this one.
"No, never had one like this," Lee said.
Phillip Lee owns Crossroads Martial Arts in Corinth. Where people of all ages come to practice martial arts. A discipline Lee says is necessary more than ever during the pandemic. Naturally there s been some changes to the practice. Lee's wife is a nurse, so she knows the drill. Each participant gets his or her temperature taken at the door. Masks or face shields are required. Which has been an adjustment.
"They don't like it, they don't like to wear the mask of course," Lee said. "But, I talk to them about a lot of things as far as emotions are concerned and so I talk to them about being respectful."
Lee talks about teaching respect, self-confidence, patience, all lessons helping his students get through these hard times a little easier.
"It's very meaningful, it's a good release, it's an excellent workout," Student Lee Roy Carman said. "It makes you really relax after every session."
For a lot of these kids, school is a big question mark, according to sierra parsons, practicing karate is the perfect stress reliever.
"Doing karate is helping a lot, you can spread your emotions and talk," Student Sierra Parsons, said. "It's not just the moving around and everything but he also talks to us like really well."
Lee has expanded his teachings to virual classes during the pandemic as well. To him, martial arts is his life's work, but at its core, he just wants to provide a positive experience for his students.
"Of the sports I was in, this had more of an effect on me because it brings out your inner strengths," Lee said. "It's something positive for the kids to go to, this and church, is one of the top things, in my opinion that kids can go do."
Lee also teaches adult classes at his practice in corinth. If you're interested in getting involved with martial arts either in person or virtually head over to his Facebook page here: Crossroads Martial Arts