New Studio Space

Activities building addition hosts yoga, karate, conditioning and self-defense classes

The Activities building at Inver Hills Community College opened a new studio space for spring semester 2017. The 3,000-square-foot studio provides the ideal setting for self-defense, yoga, conditioning, tai chi, karate and other wellness-related classes.

Paul DeMuth, operations director at Inver Hills and Dakota County Technical College, reported that the studio features a steel roof instead of cedar shakes, a full sound system and 2′ x 2′ foot rubber-tile flooring, the latter providing noise reduction and a softer surface for working out.

“We didn’t build the studio into the earth, which makes the structure different from other buildings on campus,” Paul said. “This approach avoids damage from moisture leakage.”

Paul added that the new studio complements the recent renovation of the Activities building, a project that included a range of significant improvements.

“The gym was completely remodeled with a new floor, new baskets and backboards, new scoreboards and new bleachers,” Paul said. “We updated the weight room, remodeled the women and men’s locker rooms, installed a state-of-the-art sound system and put in a new elevator.”

New studio gallery

Home turf for fitness

Kathy De Deyn, health and physical education faculty at the college, welcomes the new studio as a definite plus for students, staff and faculty.

“We have needed this multipurpose room for many years,” Kathy said. “The studio was proposed when we built Heritage Hall around fifteen years ago, but the project was cut for budget reasons.”

Kathy noted that the studio offers a more private environment for students, which is essential for courses like yoga and karate, in-depth activities that needed a home of their own.

“The studio allows us to have many different pieces of fitness equipment on hand to quickly move through a variety of exercises during courses like Conditioning, Weight Training and Lifetime Fitness,” Kathy said. “By having this new room, the gym is now open for other activities for our students like open basketball and volleyball.”

Karate class gallery

John Gavnik, karate and self-defense instructor

John Gavnik

John Gavnik

Born and raised in St. Paul, Minnesota, John Gavnik began his martial arts career in 1972. John earned his first black belt in Renshinkan karate while in the Marine Corps stationed in Okinawa. He then earned his black belt in Shōrin-ryū karate in 1988 from Grand Master Richard Smith, a former Inver Hills karate instructor. Shōrin-ryū, or Okinawan karate, is considered one of the more natural martial arts styles. Today, John is a fourth-degree black belt in Shōrin-ryū.

John started teaching karate and self-defense courses at Inver Hills in 1980, working under Richard Smith. John believes the myriad styles of martial arts complement each other. His teaching philosophy focuses on versatility and adaptability, a balanced method that blends groundwork and striking. He teaches self-defense with an emphasis on informality and practicality, using the environment to replicate real-world situations. He considers the new studio a boon to his students.

“I’m very happy with the new space,” John said. “The sound is much better—no echoes. The mirrors are great for working on forms. I like how we have ready access to all the equipment we need.”

John and his martial arts assistant, Jade Helsper, a first-degree black belt, journeyed to Okinawa in the summer of 2016 to study Shōrin-ryū in the dojo of Maeshiro Morinobu, a ninth-degree black belt. Below are some photos from that adventure.

Yoga class gallery

Christine Petrich, yoga and conditioning instructor

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Christine Petrich is a health and movement educator who believes healthy choices have the power to transform lives. She has taught in a wide range of locations from K–12 schools, colleges, community-based programs, fitness centers, juvenile justice facilities and prisons. After working in Public Health Research at the University of Minnesota for more than nine years, Christine realized her heart was in teaching; she has spent the past five years teaching health and exercise science courses at Inver Hills Community College and various Minnesota Correctional Facilities.

Yoga classChristine has also worked as a personal trainer, Pilates trainer and group fitness instructor for more than 15 years. Her belief is that health education be engaging, meaningful and accessible to all people. By encouraging small, healthy choices, Christine helps people find joy and possibility in the pursuit of their own health and wellness.

“I’ve always dreamed about having a nice studio space,” Christine said, “but I never imagined having something this amazing. The sound is great—my students can hear me. The space promotes working in small groups and customized workouts, which provides a much richer experience. My students love the privacy and having all our equipment in one place.”

Christine has a Master of Education in Kinesiology and a B.A. in Women’s Studies from the University of Minnesota. She is pursuing graduate studies in health through Bemidji State University. In her free time, she enjoys aerial arts, snowboarding, gardening, biking and being outside.

To learn more about Health and Physical Education courses at Inver Hills, contact:

Kathy De Deyn
Health and Physical Education Faculty
651-450-3544
Office: Activities Building 213

For more information about Fitness and Recreation at Inver Hills, contact:

Tom “Bo” Johnson
Director of Recreational Sports
651-450-3676
Office: Activities Building 212

Yoga in Inver Studio

For more karate and yoga photos in the new studio, visit the albums below on Inver Hills on Flickr.

Karate Class in New Studio

Yoga Class in New Studio

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