Oak Ridge Martial Arts Academy is celebrating its return to the place it all started.

Matthew VanWolput started the academy 17 years ago in a strip mall on Berkshire Valley Road. He and his wife, Katherine, moved the school, then moved it back and invited his students and the public to a new ribbon cutting on Saturday, September 28.

VanWolput, who has been training for 24 years, was also celebrating his fifth degree black belt. He has lived in Jefferson Township for 42 years.

Students great their sensei with a bow. (Photo: Jane Primerano)
Some of the smaller martial arts students dress as a dragon for the reopening. (Photo: Jane Primerano)

The school serves more than 200 families from the area, VanWolput said. Children and adults take classes. He also has a contract with Catholic Charities Diocese of Paterson Department for Persons with Disabilities and has recently contracted with the West Milford Township School District inclusion program.

Kicks are part of the routine. (Photo: Jane Primerano)

Classes are available for children 3 ½ to 5 or 6 to 9, teens 10 to 14 and adults, as well as a woman’s cardio kick class, according to the website.

The grand re-opening included demonstrations by the youngest students and some of the half dozen instructors who work with VanWolput.

Demonstrations included punches. (Photo: Jane Primerano)
Photo: Jane Primerano

Information on classes can be found at oakridgemartialarts.com.

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Jane is a veteran journalist with years of experience in municipal, police and court reporting as well as feature writing. She is a native of the Lake Hopatcong section of Jefferson Township. A true Jersey Girl, she loves the beach as well as the lake, horses and classic cars. She lives in Warren County and has three grown children. She can be reached at jane.primerano@thejeffersonchronicle.com.