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Dear Chang’s/Sir,

I am writing you today in an attempt to convey how meaningful the practice of Taekwondo has been for both my young son and myself. Upon discovering your new location over two years ago I wandered in and decided to give it a try. How could I say no to a $99 sign up special including a free uniform? As a plus your Do Jang was located convenient to both work and home. At that time I was carrying a good deal of extra weight and had a general lack of cardiovascular health. Other attempts at exercise were never regular enough and I wasn’t motivated to do it alone.

Upon beginning training with you I found that I did not have good balance, was not able to coordinate moves very well from right or left, and had very little flexibility. I found the workouts appealing as they contained a healthy mix of stretching, cardio, focused moves and forms, self-defense, and learning about the tradition and philosophy of the martial art. Having a teacher/mentor leading the class motivated me to improve and stay with it. Slowly my body became more comfortable and gained strength. Moves that seemed rather impossible for my 40 year-old frame now started to seem within reach- if I continued to show up and persevere.

Today I am a proud brown belt and recognize that I am still at the beginning of this experience (I am still only a slightly higher belt than those of the other beginners). The moves are feeling clearer and more familiar, my spirit is guiding my mind and body more. I feel more confident and even-tempered. Physically I have lost weight and become stronger which has the beneficial effect of improving my self-confidence.

Shortly after I signed up my son was allowed to join a children’s class- even though he was only three years old at that time. He was a bit confused at the beginning but he is good-natured and did his best (at 3 he did not have the cultural conditioning of watching martial arts movies or similar). The patience and care you and other instructors give all the children is truly remarkable. My son has found a great deal of fun in these classes, as have I, and he is happily learning many important tools for life.

Now my son is also a brown belt at five and a half years old! We share this experience at home and talk about Taekwondo often. We enjoy playfully sparring with each other and my son is excited to go to class even after his busy day at school. He is learning about deferred gratification and that to get some things you have to practice and earn the reward. He is also mindful of the ways that the philosophy fit into other aspects of life as he deals with school and family. Taekwondo reinforces that people should have courtesy, respect, and self-control. It is teaching us both how to have discipline while keeping our spirits high.

Thank you for the steadfast teaching and mentoring of us both. We look forward to many more years of good mental and physical health together with you and our classmates!

Doug Fogelson

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