World Class Taekwondo in the Windham Mall, next to Smitty’s, is so much more than learning punches and breaking boards. It is a place where children and adults learn respect, care, discipline and more.
|Grand Master Park|
Taekwondo is good for kids. It teaches self-confidence and self-esteem. Mentally, it challenges people who worry and deal with anxiety. It teaches self-defense, but more importantly, it teaches students how to depend on oneself. This is the key to having self-confidence and trusting oneself, said Grand Master Park, who owns and runs the school.
“Respect is best for life,” said Park. Park is originally from South Korea, where he was an Olympic training coach and represented the country as an ambassador, traveling to developing countries to teach Taekwondo. He speaks French fluently and is now an American citizen and chose Windham to be his home.
“I always teach and travel overseas as dispatch from government of Korea. That’s why I am a qualifying person,” Park said. “I was one of twelve Taekwondo masters chosen by Korean International Corporation Agency to teach to developing countries.” With 30 years of experience and as a seventh degree black belt, he is qualified to teach Taekwondo to students in the area.
Park lived in Portland, Oregon when he first moved to America, then he traveled across the country consulting with various schools until he arrived in Portland, Maine.
“It’s a beautiful and peaceful town. There’s the lake, ocean and forest. There are very gentle people here,” Park said.
World Class Taekwondo has three classes a day, all different levels divided by ages and abilities. On Wednesdays, there will be a junior class starting at 1:40 p.m. for those who get out of school at 1 p.m. on Wednesdays.
The school has strict rules from: I will obey my parents and I will be faithful to my spouse, to respect others, the environment and myself. There are also tenets of success with courtesy, integrity, perseverance, self-control and indomitable spirit that are put into each lesson.
“It’s more about building the whole person,” said Park.
The students are asked questions that make them think about what makes a good role model and what makes a good student. All of the students from three to seventy call Park “sir”. Taekwondo is used for self-defense and students are taught to walk away from fights.
The school is a melding of cultures where the students learn the Korean language fluently and are taught many customs during lessons.
Linda Potter is a blue belt, one of the highest in the school which just turned one. She enjoys doing Taekwondo with her husband who is 70 and the oldest member of the school. She is also a student teacher for the junior classes.
“My husband and I wanted to stay fit. We wanted sharp balance, flexibility and to have focus. This is a magic pill,” Potter said, who moved to the area recently. “Finding a community was a huge factor,” she added. “This is a remarkable place for community.” Potter is a retired teacher.
“She’s dealing with the soul. She is sharing her talent here,” said Park.
“It’s a wonderful thing for kids. A lot of children find this to be very powerful in building their self-esteem,” Potter said. “The level of quality she brings to Windham is unbelievable.”
Parents who watch the class will often join the class after a week or two.
There is rolling admission and students are invited to join any class they are qualified for at any time.
For more information on World Class Taekwondo and to see the class schedule, visit www.windhamtkd.com.