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The student news site of Downers Grove South High School


The student news site of Downers Grove South High School


DGS students punch, kick their way into Taekwondo

Melo Medina
Addison Weinstein and Rae Hrubec pose after a difficult taekwondo practice.

Students demonstrate the loud shouts and swift movements in the signature dobok every student wear in the Kim and Kang Martial Arts academy

Korean and English merge into its own language as the instructor, or master,” shouts commands in English and Korean and his students follow them with no problem. Higher and lower belts help each other practice their forms and self defense creating a sense of community amongst each other.

Daekyun Kim is one of the owners and instructors at the academy. He has over 30 years of martial arts and has been teaching martial arts for over 15 years.

“Tae means foot or kick, Kwon means hand or punch and Do means art or way” Kim said.

He shouts for everyone to get in position and he shouts “take eight,” and his students shout back “take eight, sir!” Then, he starts to count “One. Two. Three. Four,” and on every number students go through their form in sync.

Taekwondo is a martial art that helps with both mental and physical discipline.

“Discipline is about self control and learning how to depend on herself or himself. Explaining it shortly, if you know the 10 articles of mental training, it will explain,” Kim said.

Taekwondo has a list of 10 values labeled “10 Articles of Mental Training” which students should learn and abide by.

The 10 articles of mental training are values Taekwondo students and instructors abide by

One of the students attending this academy is Addison Weinstein, a junior at DGS who has been doing taekwondo since he was 11 years old.

“I’ve been doing taekwondo for five years. I started because my sister wanted to do it after she saw it in a TV show, and my parents didn’t want her to do it alone,” Weinstein said.

While his sister has not continued the sport, Weinstein has stayed and has gone to be a first degree black belt. He started taekwondo in 2018 and in 2020 due to the pandemic they had to close down due to public safety.

“And they did it virtually for a while, which really really sucked because why would you want to do it virtually? So I stopped until they opened back up until a couple months later I joined back,” Weinstein said.

Before every belt testing, the students are given a sheet to rate their outside of class discipline. Parents are asked about their kids’ grades, organizational skills, how respectful they are to those around them and more, and at the end of the tests the instructors look over the ratings and ask the students to explain why they got said rating.

“When I was younger, I used to only behave well and suck up to my parents so they [instructors] wouldn’t make me do 10 push-ups in front of everybody. It’s a very effective strategy; it’s public humiliation, and I think that all kids should be subjected to that because it really works,” Weinstein said.

“But I think the biggest change is more internal. Discipline is very important and something that I really lost during the pandemic. I kinda gave up…so getting back to it, just the act of going twice a week is discipline enough, and while you’re there you’re not only training your body physically but also mentally. It’s also a way to get rid of a lot of stress because you get to hit things and scream loudly,” Weinstein said.

Another student that attends the classes is junior Rae Hrubec. They are a first-degree black belt as well.

“In a lot of ways, you can look at the physically convenient ways; I am more flexible now. I have found myself using my feet more to move things when my arms are full like opening doors, but mentally and socially you learn respect and how to interact with others and learn how to uphold yourself to certain responsibilities, and I think that really changed how I started doing things on my own, taking care of myself and my room more,” Hrubec said.

Taekwondo can be a very physically taxing activity but at the end of the day the physical and mental abilities that are taught will aid in the future.

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