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Effingham Magazine

Yawn’s Karate & Fitness Center

Yawn’s Karate  & Fitness Center

Clif Yawn has been the face of karate in Effingham County since the 1970s. In 1976, he opened Yawn’s Professional Karate, and he founded the South Georgia Karate Circuit in 1979, serving as its president for 15 years.

He holds an 8th degree black belt in his specialty, Chito-ryu karate, given to him by his sensei, Sam Chapman, in Greenville, South Carolina.

A black belt is no small feat. The highest level, a 10th degree black belt, requires a lifetime of dedication to the sport—not just through personal practice but by teaching others as well. Clif is not one to boast about his achievements, but he says his proudest moment was receiving the Bridge Builder Award from Legends of Carolina Martial Arts in 2021, an award that acknowledged his contributions to the sport in the Southeast.

“He’s very passionate about what he teaches. He believes everyone should do martial arts for self defense and self esteem. He believes each and every person can learn from it and be a better person,” said Jeanne Yawn, Clif’s wife.

Practicing karate has many benefits beyond physical fitness, including building self-discipline, increased mental focus and increased self-confidence. Clif’s teaching methods have impacted many lives over the years.

While out and about, Clif often sees current and former students, a testament to the close-knit community in Effingham County. Because he has been teaching karate for more than 50 years, he has taught children and even grandchildren of former students.

The school has been a multigenerational affair for his family and others in the community. His wife, son, stepson and grandchildren have been active in karate with belts of varying levels. The Yawns are grateful for the community support that has been shown by naming them Best of Effingham.

At Yawn’s Professional Karate, no one is too old to learn self-defense, and karate is something the whole family can participate in together. Classes at Yawn’s take place every Monday and Thursday from 6:30-7:30pm for ages 4 to adult. All the students warm up together and then separate based on level.

For those who want to build their strength and stamina between classes, Yawn’s also has a 24-hour gym that is open 365 days a year with free weights, cardio equipment and other exercise machines.

250 Chimney Road, Rincon, GA 31326
(912) 826-5008 | Facebook: YawnsGym