[RYAN HERMENS | Taekwondo seminar Students prepare for a taekwondo exercise in the gym at McCracken County High School on Saturday. Some 170 students and about 40 instructors from throughout the country met for a national taekwondo seminar on Friday and Saturday.
Patience, respect, self confidence and protection are just a few of the many characteristics that teachers and students of traditional taekwondo say the practice has instilled in them.
Junior Grand Master Dennis Lewis leads taekwondo schools throughout the south, including the Lewis Institute in Paducah and the Warmath Institute in Mayfield. They’re a part of a larger association under Grand Master Tae Zee Park, a national and world champion who is a ninth-degree black belt, the highest level. The group has been holding an annual seminar for more than 20 years, but this was their first time in Paducah, and they plan to return, said Lewis, a seventh-degree black belt who’s practiced for 40 years.
On Friday, 17 students tested with grand masters and earned their black belts. Grand Master Rick Warren, an eighth-degree black belt from Chicago, explained that while there are various forms of taekwondo, the practice as taught under Grand Master Tae Zee Park is based on traditional taekwondo, which has a 2,000 year history, he said.
Despite the long history of the practice, Warren said there are still people who assume it’s focused on fighting. “There are a lot of misconceptions about taekwondo and martial arts, that it means bad guys are fighting all the time,” he said. “No. What we’re doing is channeling this traditional technique to help people live better lives and make a difference in their communities.
What motivates people to get involved with taekwondo is unique to each practitioner. Warren said he started as a kid because he was bullied. Lewis got involved because he thought it seemed cool when it turned out to change his life in ways he’d never expected, he said. Many go into the practice after their kids start classes. Others get involved for self-defense, to improve their health or for other reasons.
The practice involves far more lessons than simply mastering certain physical forms, the instructors emphasized. At the institute in Union City, Tennessee, Lewis said the leaders check on how their students are performing in school. The Lewis Institute also has a youth group in which students work together to help charities.”You’ve got to be active within your community,” Lewis said. “That’s part of being a good traditional taekwondo practitioner.”
One of those youths, 13-year-old Micah Haley of Mayfield, is the youth group president. He said the group this year is working to donate goods, food and other items to the Ronald McDonald House. “This is such a great charity. We do a lot of community service. We’re focused on giving back to our community,” Haley said.
His mom, Melissa Haley, said kids learn respect and patience through taekwondo, which can make it easy to identify a practicing student. “I can tell a difference between a child without martial arts and taekwondo, and a child with taekwondo. It’s amazing,” she said. “It’s yes ma’am, no ma’am, can I help, can I carry that?”
Master Instructor Betty Henderson, who instructs in Milan, Tennessee, made her 9-year-old student, Rydge Lytle of Humboldt, Tennessee, an assistant instructor last week because he’d earned the responsibility, she said. Lytle earned his black belt last year, which he said was a “crazy” experience. He said his favorite part of the seminar in Paducah was learning more self-defense techniques.
“In certain situations this could save your life,” he said. “It can protect you.” The Lewis Institute of Tae Park Tae Kwon Do meets on Mondays and Wednesdays from 7:15 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. at the Paducah Athletic Club.
Posted 4/10/2016 – Junior Grand Master Lewis
April 8th-9th 2016 in Paducah, Ky
The following is a sample of the topics that will be covered at this great event. These along with other topics that will be taught by Grand Master Park or Grand Master Warren, Junior Grand Master, Senior Masters, and Masters. Don’t miss out.
Advanced TKD Waist Power Used For Striking, Punching, etc.
Advanced 2 & 3 Step Sparring
Advanced Actual 2 on 1 Fighting Techniques & Standing Roundhouse Kick
Basic TKD History
Basic TKD Focus Used When Doing Forms
Jumping Front Kick
The cost of the seminar package is $70 per student which includes 5 authorized and approved Tae Park Tae Kwon Do Boards and a Certificate of Participation included with the cost. The boards can be picked up at the seminar.
Please mail checks , seminar applications, and medical forms by March 11th 2016. Please consult your instructor for the mailing address.
Posted 2/3/2016 – Junior Grand Master Lewis