NEWAYGO COUNTY, Mich. — For nearly 25 years, Frank Ferrier has been spending his summers passing on martial arts knowledge to students of all ages in Fremont Lake Park.
The Marine Corps veteran and 7th Dan Black Belt holds free classes twice a week, typically drawing between 20 and 40 students per class.
"I try to teach them whatever I can," said Ferrier. "And, I try to make them better than me. When they can knock me down, I get excited...if they learn one thing that will help them from getting hurt, that's great."
Ferrier, who has reached Master level, has been involved with martial arts since he was a teenager.
The classes teach self-defense skills and basic techniques, along with what Ferrier calls "street moves."
Students also learn important lessons in discipline, patience and respect.
"They learn to be quiet; they learn to sit still," Ferrier told FOX 17 News. "They learn to bow is like a handshake. And, they find out that I will give them just as much respect as they will give me."
"When they achieve something, you see that little glimmer in their eye, and they get excited... They're excited that they can accomplish something they never thought they could do, and that's makes it all worthwhile."
Ferrier estimates he's taught around four thousand students so far, with no plans of stopping anytime soon.
"I tried to retire a couple years ago," he said. "I had one of my black belts take over. But, I was there every class watching. I just couldn't stay away."
Although the free classes have wrapped up for the summer, Ferrier teaches classes at the Fremont Community Rec Center during the winter.
As the FOX 17 and Lake Michigan Credit Union Pay it Forward Person of the Month, Ferrier is receiving a $550 prize.