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Getting a kick out of Christmas

Kentucky Tae Kwon Do
collecting toys, food for the needy

By Ruth Wright
Staff Writer

CRESTWOOD, Ky. (December 2002) – Kentucky Tae Kwon Do and Fitness Academy Inc. will be “Kicking for Christmas” this holiday season.
The academy, located at 6441 W. Hwy. 146 in Crestwood, is accepting donations of new unwrapped toys and non-perishable food items for less fortunate kids and families in Oldham County. Members and staff of the academy will team up with the American Red Cross to distribute the items to those in need.
Sean Ramey, president and master instructor of the academy, said that the toys for tots and food for families program is one of the ways that Kentucky Tae Kwon do is working to “create champions in life” by showing kids how to give back to the community.

Sean Ramey

Sean Ramey

Ramey opened Kentucky Tae Kwon Do in Crestwood four years ago after cultivating a student base while teaching at a community center in downtown Louisville and at Power Moves in Prospect, Ky. Ramey said that he decided to open the academy after he witnessed the difference the art could make in people’s lives, especially children. A student of Tae Kwon Do since age 9, Ramey’s numerous first place medals and trophies line the walls of the gym as a testament to his personal success.
According to Ramey, students of Tae Kwon Do focus on self-improvement in all areas, not just physical acumen.
“It’s not just about coming in and kicking and punching,” he said. Tae Kwon Do is a 2,000-year-old Korean martial art, said Ramey. Translated literally, Tae means to kick or strike with the leg or foot; Kwon means fist or to strike with the hand; and Do means moral culture or way of life. While Tae Kwon Do is a philosophy of action, the practice and training of which is for self-defense, students of the art find that in a deeper sense it is a moral philosophy and code of conduct. Ramey said that his students are guided by six tenets: courtesy, integrity, perseverance, self control, indomitable spirit and victory.
Tae Kwon Do is considered one of the fastest growing cultures in America and is the most popular martial art. Tae Kwon Do debuted as a demonstration sport in the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul, Korea, and in 2000 gained full medal status at the Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia.
Ramey said one major advantage of Tae Kwon Do is that it can benefit anyone, regardless of their gender, height, weight or physical limitations.
Randy Anderson and his 12-year-old son, Matt, are both students at Kentucky Tae Kwon Do. Anderson said that the two started taking classes last summer after Matt was diagnosed with diabetes. Looking for a physical activity to enhance Matt’s health, Anderson said that they decided to try Tae Kwon Do.
“It was something we could do together,” he said. Anderson said that he and his son have really enjoyed attending the academy. “It’s more than just a place to go to work out,” said Anderson, who also likes the friendly atmosphere and social interaction.
Jessica Smith, a 15-year-old sophomore at Oldham County High School, also enjoys practicing Tae Kwon Do.
“It gives me something that other sports don’t,” Jessica explained. Jessica started attending Kentucky Tae Kwon Do three years ago and said that it has made a big difference in her life. Since starting Tae Kwon Do, Jessica said that her grades and social skills have greatly improved. Jessica was one of eight Kentucky Tae Kwon Do students who competed in the U.S. National Junior Olympics held in Minneapolis last July. The event is open to ages 17 and under and is considered a stepping stone to the Olympic Games. Jessica captured a gold medal at the event and was one of five of the eight students from Kentucky Tae Kwon Do named among the best in the nation at the competition. All eight students from Kentucky Tae Kwon Do who competed were honor roll students at school, said Ramey.
Completed just a little over a year ago, the Kentucky Tae Kwon Do facility includes a large main instruction room, men’s and women’s locker rooms and restrooms, an introduction room, a children’s playroom and an observation deck.
Ramey said that parents are encouraged to stay for children’s lessons, which can be viewed from the observation deck. The playroom adjacent to the observation area is set up to occupy younger siblings while parents observe. New students are given individual instruction in the introduction room for the first two to four lessons before joining a regular class. There is also an initial one-month evaluation period to determine if the program is suitable.
In addition to Tae Kwon Do instruction, Kentucky Tae Kwon Do also offers fitness kickboxing and women’s self defense classes. Monthly dues include full access to classes, which are held Monday through Saturday at various times throughout the day, both mornings and evenings. Ramey said that most students average two to four classes per week but can attended as many as desired.

• For more information on Kentucky Tae Kwon Do, call (502) 241-5910. For information about pick-up, drop-off or distribution of the toys for tots and food for families, contact Victor or Debbie Peak at (502) 222-3966. Donations will also be accepted at the academy.

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