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A Resident Black Belt Introduces “Karate for Seniors” at Ashby Ponds

December 21, 2015

(Ashburn, Virginia) — It's almost a new year and not only a time of reflection, but also a time to consider adopting new resolutions and accepting new opportunities.   Take it from the residents at Ashby Ponds, who believe there's always a reason to try something new!

On April 1, 2015, the first class of "Karate for Seniors" convened at Ashby Ponds retirement community in Ashburn, Virginia.  The group, which includes seven students and a resident instructor, practices for one hour every week at the community.  These "karate kids" mean business; they've already earned gold tips on their belts, indicating progress with the art of karate. 

The "Karate for Seniors" instructor is no amateur; Ashby Ponds resident Roger Webb earned a 2nd degree black belt at age 75.  His first foray into karate did not begin until age 68, when he began taking classes at Lee District RECenter in the Franconia area of Fairfax County.  Four short years later at age 72, Webb earned his 1st degree black belt. 

"Karate is a wonderful way to combine fitness, balance, and memory skills," said Webb. 

Webb initiated the "Karate for Seniors" group at Ashby Ponds hoping to both share his appreciation of the art as well as offer others the opportunity to learn the skills associated with karate.  He affiliated with his former Master from Brown's Karate and was able to provide patches from the school for the students' uniforms at the community.

Webb's interest in athletics began at a young age and has stayed with him through the years.  As a college student, he was a member of the Florida State University gymnastics team from 1955-1959.  After college, Webb then went on to coach the University of Virginia Gymnastics Club for six years.  Now 78, Webb also competes in various track & field competitions including the 3000-meter and 5000-meter race walk.  In the fall of 2015, he participated in the Northern Virginia Senior Olympics, earning medals in race walking, shot put, discus, and Yo-Yo!  Webb also competed in the Potomac Valley Track Club's one-hour race walk; he has twice earned age-group gold medals in the event, which is an annual international competition.

About Ashby Ponds: Ashby Ponds, one of 18 retirement communities managed by Erickson Living, is situated on a scenic 132-acre campus in Ashburn, Virginia (approximately 30 miles west of Washington, D.C.).  The community is home to over 1000 residents and more than 140 resident-run and resident-driven clubs and groups, an indoor pool, a fitness club, transportation services, 24-hour security, and flexible dining options. More information about Ashby Ponds can be found at