PORT HAWKESBURY: All four branches of Larade Tae Kwon Do are now open and ready to teach the way of the hands and feet to locals interested in martial arts.

Kempie Larade, who is planning to be tested for his seventh degree black belt in May of next year, is the lead man at all branches.

Mondays and Wednesday have classes in Port Hawkesbury, with a 6 p.m. youth class and a 7 p.m. adult class. In St. Peter’s, the club meets every Tuesday with the same class times as the Port Hawkesbury club. On Thursday, the St. Peter’s club also meets for an hour at 6 p.m., with both kids and adults taking part.

Larade can be found leading classes at the Port Hawkesbury dojang (2 MacIntosh Ave, Unit 6) and the St. Peter’s dojang (East Richmond Education Centre gym). However, he has some backup when it comes to the two other venues.

Dobson Boudreau leads classes in Arichat (Tuesday, 6 p.m. to 7 p.m., and Saturday, 10:15 a.m. to 11:15) and Junior Morrison is the man in Chapel Island (Friday, 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.).

Both are second degree black belts.

“The new clubs are getting more students all the time now,” Larade said. “And so long as you are registered at one of the clubs, you can train at all four for no extra charge.”

Registration is taken the first week of every month, and anyone looking for more information can call Larade at 631-5538 or visit Larade Tae Kwon Do on Facebook.

Larade said he thinks his brand of Tae Kwon Do offers a lot for locals, as participants will get trained well with the option of attending tournaments. With that, the group is visited by Grand Master Chong Lee from Montreal every year. Master Bob White from Dartmouth is also a regular at the club, in terms of hosting seminars.

The club has produced a number of black belts, with more black belt tests expected next May.

“We’re cranking them out pretty good,” Larade said. “And we’ll crank out a few more on May 2. We got a few more going for first dan and a couple going for third dan. I’m hoping to be going for my seventh as well.”

While belt promotion is very nice, Larade said the health benefits of the Tae Kwon Do workout can’t be overlooked. People looking to get in better shape can be helped out at the dojang and, in terms of athletes looking to test their fitness from a new angle, Tae Kwon Do offers great things for them.

“If people are looking at increasing their conditioning for another sport, like dry-land training for hockey, Tae Kwon Do is a lot of leg work and encompasses cardio, both aerobic and anaerobic, so you get both quick bursts of speed and the long-drawn out cardio,” he said. “The flexibility part of it is awesome too.”