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Tae Kwon do brings families together

Staff writer

Although she didn’t feel well enough to practice herself, Lori Wheeler of Marion accompanied her husband, Jason, and son, Burton Harshman, to tae kwon do lessons Thursday in Hillsboro.

“It’s kind of been a family thing for us,” she said. “It’s a family time we can spend together and still learn something new to all of us.”

At Thursday’s lesson, Burton and more than a dozen other students practiced punches, kicks, chops, blocks, and combinations of those techniques, as demonstrated by their instructors.

Burton especially enjoys the martial arts lessons. He has always wanted to learn, but until recently, the nearest lessons were in Newton, Wheeler said.

“He hasn’t missed one single time,” she said. “He loves it.”

The entire family practices at home.

“It’s awesome,” 7-year-old Burton said of practicing with his family.

But the benefits of the lessons extend beyond fun, Wheeler said.

“I enrolled him (Burton) in this class to learn self-defense and self-control,” she said.

Virginia Stafford of Hillsboro and her 13-year-old daughter, Olivia, have also taken lessons together, although Olivia is more involved.

“She enjoys the challenge of learning the forms and sparring,” Stafford said. “It gives people confidence knowing they can potentially defend themselves. It gives them coordination, strength, and discipline.”

“It’s a skill,” Olivia said. “It seems like it would be good to know.”

Lloyd Anderson of Hillsboro, Larry Jenkins of Lost Springs, and Chrysta Lavery of Herington teach the lessons. All three instructors said they began learning tae kwon do in lessons with their children.

Anderson said his goal for the students is for them to learn self-control and confidence.

Tae kwon do originated in Korea. A practitioner’s skill is indicated by his or her belt’s color. White is the beginning level, followed by striped, then solid, orange, green, blue, and brown belts. The 10th and final belt is the black belt, of which there are 10 degrees. There is only one 10th-degree black belt in the United States, Jenkins said.

Lessons are 6:30 to 8 p.m. Monday and Thursday at Woods Wellness, 107 W. Grand Ave., Hillsboro. Even with the most expensive enrollment option, the classes cost less than $6 per session. For a family of four, they can average as little as $1.32 per person per session.

Last modified Nov. 17, 2010

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