Brattleboro martial arts camp values traditional style


BRATTLEBORO — A local martial arts school has gone through some changes.

After taking over ownership of the school from his teacher Patrick Donahue last March, this will mark Matthew Butler's first time running a camp of his own there.

"We're going to play some movies. We're going to play a lot of games. We're going to talk some history and some philosophy of martial arts as well as work on some martial arts techniques," Butler said. "There's going to be a lot of activities. We'll be training outside, too, and maybe do a little bit of swimming."

His style is traditional and non-competitive. The focus is on training and practice of the mind and spirit.

"Things like etiquette and respect are big in traditional whereas modern is more for sport, winning and losing, and medals — not that there's anything wrong with that," said Butler.

Kids ages 6 to 12 can join in from 9 a.m. to noon. The camp runs from Monday, Aug. 15, to Friday, Aug. 19., and costs $199. A free T-shirt comes with admission. Experience is not necessary. Students of all levels are welcome.

Formerly known as the Brattleboro School of Budo, which has been around for over 20 years, White Crane Martial Arts took in the students. Butler, a Brattleboro native, has been working with Donahue for about that long and still does. Previously, Butler trained in taekwondo.

He said modern teaching styles have become popular because of Ultimate Fighting Championship and the mixed martial arts that participants in its fights practice.

"A lot of people are really focused on to that, so population in the school is quite low," he said. "But that should be changing soon."

Butler is currently promoting his classes. He teaches adults and kids three days a week. His website can be found at

There's a class for 3- to 5-year-olds held two days a week. And then there are students who are in their 60s.

Butler told the Reformer he enjoys his job "very much."

"I gain as much as the students do," he said.

Contact Chris Mays at or 802-254-2311, ext. 273.


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