For some, Tae Kwon Do is a relatively new sport. But for others, like Ken Anderson, it has been a part of their lives for a long time.
“I have been teaching [Tae Kwon Do] for a total of 16 years,” noted Anderson, owner/operator of the local Tae Kwon Do school.
After owning and operating one in Stratton for a number of years, Anderson moved his life—and business—to Fort Frances. He now teaches regular classes twice a week in the high school gym.
He’s been teaching classes with around 25-30 students in Stratton since 1989, and he still teaches classes once a week there.
“I grew up in Stratton and when I lived there, I never had the opportunity [for sports like this],” noted Anderson. “When I moved back here, I was a qualified instructor so I started a school.
“All the young guys out here [in Stratton] bugged me until I did,” he laughed.
His classes run Monday and Wednesday from September to May. The beginner class runs from 7:30-8:30 p.m., followed by the adult one from 8:30-9:30 p.m.
Anderson stressed he teaches his students the five tenets, which are courtesy, integrity, perseverance, self-control, and indomitable spirit.
In recent years, with national coverage from events such as the Olympics, he said Tae Kwon Do has become more of a well-known sport but also stressed it is really a well-rounded way of life.
“People take it for varies reasons like self-defence, discipline, and confidence,” he remarked. “It is a very well-rounded sport. It makes you stronger and gives you more endurance.
“I keep it hard but I don’t want to kill anyone,” he laughed.
“There are so many things you get from it,” he continued. “The Oriental lifestyle is just different. I try to keep the class as traditional as I can without scaring everyone away.”
Anderson became involved in Tae Kwon Do in Edmonton nearly 20 years ago under Master Am Lee (originally from Winnipeg who has been involved in Tae Kwon Do since the early 1970s).
After training with Master Lee for four years, he achieved his Level 1 black belt in 1981, packed up, and moved to Thunder Bay to start his own school.
Since Anderson began training people in the art of Tae Kwon Do, he has produced 18 black belts.
“Tae Kwon Do literally translates into the art of ass kicking but it is much more than that,” enthused Anderson.
He stressed anyone can join his class at any time. There is a $25 a month fee for those interested in trying it out.
For more information or to join a class, contact Anderson at 274-3572 or 483-5575.