SHELBY — For two months, Josh Boggs has been on the road back to normalcy.
His world could have been irrevocably shattered May 5 when a two-vehicle crash took the lives of two of his children, as well as his unborn child, and left his wife badly injured in a hospital.
Instead, the 42-year-old Shelby man has refused to surrender to the pain of his losses, including his own back and head injuries.
He fought successfully to get rumble strips installed near the intersection of Ohio 96 and Ganges-Five Points Road, the site of the crash, in the hopes no one else should ever be injured there again.
Boggs has helped his son, Bruce, as the teen-ager works through his own rehabilitation from accident injuries. He has been an almost daily visitor to his wife, Stacey, recently transferred from OhioHealth Mansfield Hospital to the Good Shepherd Nursing Home and Rehabilitation Center in Ashland.
On Tuesday, Boggs takes the next step as he resumes free martial arts ministry and training in the basement of the Shenandoah Christian Church, 5642 Ohio 13 North near Shiloh.
It’s a natural step back for Boggs, who began his own martial arts training 26 years ago and has earned a fourth-degree black belt. He will offer the classes for people of all ages and abilities each Tuesday and Thursday from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.
“It’s an opportunity to create an opportunity,” Boggs said. “There is no charge, no strings attached. The church is basically sponsoring us by giving us the location. Any donations or any funds we raise go into a church account that helps people. No one gets left behind.
“With the catastrophe we all went through, a lot of good people stood up to help us. A lot of good people. Hopefully, we can keep this trend going,” he said.
Boggs has not yet returned to work due to spinal injuries from the wreck.
“I am limited. I am not full go. But I have the means to start out with the basics. The Bible says iron sharpens iron. That’s something I really preach. It takes everyone working together to get better.
“For me, it’s going to be a lot of stretching and developing. I am not going to be doing throws or putting myself in a position to get hit. But I can still teach and I know I will have a lot of help,” Boggs said.
“I have to stay active without overdoing it. No heavy lifting or big turns. I can’t really (afford) to irritate it, but I can’t let my body get stagnant.”
Boggs said the church basement has handled more than 20 students in the past.
“I think a lot of new people are going to come out. Once it starts, people are going to see it’s an opportunity they may not have known they had before. We don’t do martial arts as a conquering event. We do it as a building, as a lifestyle, a purpose,” Boggs said.
“There are bullied kids, there are battered women, there are people battling depression … there are people who just want to try and to learn martial arts. I have seen it time after time,” Boggs said.
“Karate did a lot for me. I was the undersized kid with the big imagination. Growing up, I never thought I would have that kind of opportunity. Martial arts training was the beginning of me starting to think I could accomplish something,” he said.
“We don’t come in to beat on each other. We come in to grow and help each other get better. MMA has kind of skewed what martial arts is about. We respect each other and use each other to grow.”
Anyone interesting in participating can call Boggs at 419-566-8109 or e-mail him at email@example.com.
Or … they can just show up.
“Leave your ego at the door. Come in and be a part of something. Just come as you are. I believe that’s what Jesus is … come as you are. Just come in and learn.”