Perhaps it's the uniform, the physical workout, or even the opportunity to work as a group that attracts parents and children to martial arts classes. However Grand Master Giwon Lee, who instructs students at the newly opened Martial Arts United, said it's more important that his classes help kids and adults to aim the goals of: "Ideal higher. Mind Wider. Think Deeper."
The concept is part of true Korean Tae Kwon Do, and is not always stressed at other such schools, according to Lee.
"The art is to teach respect for other people, other cultures, and is more philosophical, which is how I learned Tae Kwon Do in Korea," Lee explained.
Lee was born and raised in the province of Chalabuto, Ko Chang, South Korea, the oldest of four, and therefore a lot was expected of him. However, Lee was bullied at the age of 11 years old by another boy who took martial arts. Not knowing what to do, he didn't fight back, but soon after joined a Tae Kwon Do class as means for self defense.
He impressed upon himself then, much as he does his American students now, that Tae Kwon Do and its philosophy should be practiced with respect and dignity, unlike the bully from his past.
Lee has been an instructor in the United States since 2001, teaching in Virginia and Houston, TX. After teaching in Wisconsin from 2007-12, the closure of the company he had been working through caused him to begin his own school at 17495 W. Capitol Drive in the Capitol West Plaza. A loyal following of students has already built the class enrollment to about 50, with enthusiastic parents also helping out.
"The majority of parents here at the studio are also volunteers," explained Buena Wendt. "It really is a community environment of involved parents, where you're not a customer, you are family."
Parent and also student Alan McGinty explained that "as a parent, I appreciate the emphasis placed on respect and how kids are to talk to others. You don't often see that taught, and it does make a difference beyond the class. It translates to how they act in school and how they do on their studies."
He said the "Ideal higher. Mind Wider. Think Deeper." mantra has been just as helpful for him as an adult.
"The concept really comes down to thinking before you act, which everyone can learn from," McGinty said.
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