World Renowned Martial Artist Visits Bridge City
One of the highest Masters of Taekwondo, 94 year old, Great Grandmaster Han Man Park of Seoul, South Korea visited the Ancient Martial Arts studio in Bridge City, Tuesday, April 15.
Among his many distinctions, Park is one of the original five Masters of modern Taekwondo and developed many of the forms used today. He serves as Vice-President of the Chung Do Kwan Federation, and is a representative of the World Taekwondo Federation both headquartered in Seoul. He is also a representative of the Kukkiwon, which was instrumental in Taekwondo becoming a recognized Olympic sport. Today, Park spends most of his time visiting studios worldwide.
During his visit, he made a number of belt and certification presentations at the Bridge City studio. Next, he will travel to Thailand before returning home to Seoul.
Studio owner Jon Church, along with, Colton Kennedy and Karla Obregon received 2nd Dan black belts and certifications for Taekwondo from Park.
“It is an honor to be presented this belt and certification by such a prestigious member of the martial arts community. Not many people have their belt presented to them in the traditional manner of having a Great Grandmaster tie the belt and read the certification in Korean, the language of the country where Taekwondo originated.” stated Church.
In order to advance from the 1st Dan to 2nd Dan black belt, applicant must be at least 15 years old and study the art for a minimum of one year between belts.
Church went on to say, “Many schools advance their students without regard to age or time spent studying and practicing, but since we are a traditional school our students are required to follow the strict guidelines set forth by the Kukkiwon.”
To earn their 2nd Dan black belts, Church, Kennedy, and Obregon have completed a series of nine separate tests in forms and full contact sparring.
Church also holds a black sash in several disciplines of Kung Fu and is the Kung Fu, Hapkido, and Tai Chu instructor at his studio.
In addition to the 2nd Dan black belts presented, Park also presented 1st Dan black belts and certifications to Ryan Lasont and Dawn Pilcher.
Kennedy and Pilcher are Taekwondo instructors at the Bridge City Ancient Martial Arts studio, along with owner, Church, and Head Instructor Master Honour Harry. Master Honour, as she is known, holds a 4th Dan black belt and Master designation. She also instructs Kung Fu and Tai Chu. Obregon is an instructor at the Ancient Martial Arts studio in Nederland.
All instructors have studied martial arts under Master Alan King of Ancient Martial Arts. King is a 5th Dan black belt and Master. He is the owner of the Nederland studio, which is located on Twin City Highway.
The instructors continue their studies through private instructions under Grandmaster Myong Hui Munoz. At 76 years old, Munoz, 8th Dan black belt, is one of the highest-ranking women in the world. She has studied martial arts for 70 years and owns martial arts studios in 36 different countries worldwide. Munoz is an integral part of Ancient Martial Arts and divides her time between the Bridge City and Nederland studios.
“We are blessed to have a Grandmaster available to us on a daily basis at our studio”, said Church, adding, “Not many studios have that honor.”
Ancient Martial Arts is located at 1597 Texas Avenue in Bridge City. Classes are held Monday through Friday, with an open class from 5 p.m. – 6 p.m., Taekwondo classes from 6 p.m. – 7 p.m. and Kung Fu classes from 7 p.m. – 8 p.m.. Cardio kick boxing classes have recently been added on Saturdays from 10 am – 11 am. A workout room is available for students to use. All ages are welcome, and everyone is encouraged to visit the studio during any class to see what is offered. You may contact the studio at 735-6577 or 299-0797.