New self-defense class focuses on people who are hard of hearing or deaf

In this karate class, all eyes are on teacher Missy Keast and her interpreter, Akili Moore.

"I've been doing sing language for a very long time -- it's been about 10 years now," Moore said.

Keast is deaf and so are most of her students.

"Most of the people are in awe and they're just shocked about the karate classes in there and they're like, 'what are the things that you learn?'" Keast said through her interpreter. "It's a challenge to teach those people who have no background, but it's a wonderful experience.

The classes, which are taught at the Peaceful Warrior Karate Studio in Phoenix, run for six weeks. Instruction focuses on the basics of karate and self-defense.

The course is designed for people who are hard of hearing or deaf.


"Maybe 10 years ago, I was sitting and thinking about things that I can do and it just came into my mind that I should take karate," Keast said.

Keast was fortunate enough to wander into the Peaceful Warrior Studio, whose owner happened to be well-versed in sign language. It was an opportunity for her to learn and eventually teach a sport she quickly fell in love with.

"Some advice that I would give if you need to have some exercise and a toned body, go ahead and come to this karate class because it's so much fun and you will get your exercise in," one student said through Moore.

Feedback on the class has been tremendous and the students are just as grateful as Keast was when she first started.

"And I just say it's really a powerful journey of self-confidence and finding things out about your own soul -- it's amazing," Keast said.