Jim is pictured with the late Grandmaster Duk Sung Son, and in the bottom photo is in between fellow YMCA instructors, Steve and Bob, who were receiving their 6th Degree Black Belt certificates.
“I’ve studied Tae Kwon Do since I was in high school. My best friend in high school was a black belt in Karate and I was shocked by what he could do. I wanted to learn, too. We then had this new math teacher who also taught Karate. I tried his class and really enjoyed it. I trained under the late Grandmaster Duk Sung Son in the Chung Do Kwan style of Tae Kwon Do. When he retired, I taught his Manhattan Headquarters school. I also aligned with the other WTKDA American masters and formed the USATMA to continue Grandmaster Son’s teaching style. Through the years, I started and was Chief Instructor for the NYU Tae Kwon Do Club, taught Tae Kwon Do at Union County College and taught children at the Cranford Community Center. I started teaching at the Fanwood-Scotch Plains Y about 20 years ago. I had to stop when the Y closed due to COVID-19, but I’m excited to be back. There are many reasons to try Tae Kwon Do at the Y. First of all, it’s the quality. It’s not typical to find three instructors with so many years of experience. My co-teachers, Bob and Steve, have been my students for years. Tae Kwon Do is also great for families. We have so many parents who have started by watching their children in class and have then decided to join us; it’s a great workout for all ages as well as abilities. One of my favorite memories is of teaching a young man with special needs who became a black belt. He worked really hard and persevered, same as my other students receiving their belt. At his belt ceremony, his mother had tears in her eyes because of what he had accomplished. He passed all the black belt requirements, not a modified test! I also enjoy seeing the change in kids from the beginning of class to a few weeks in and the confidence they build. You see them develop strength and determination.”