Tag Archives: taekwondo

Community service-oriented martial arts studio opens in Flushing

| asuriel@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of KOREA Taekwondo

KOREA Taekwondo invited families and young martial arts masters to the grand opening of its first martial arts studio on Saturday in Flushing.

Taekwondo students, their parents and community leaders participated in the celebration by setting personal goals, after which they broke boards symbolizing their promise to break bad habits. The studio, located at 130-30 31st Ave., offers classes for adults, children as young as 3½ years old and joint family learning sessions.

Regina Im, executive director of KOREA Taekwondo, said that families will have happy memories of the demonstration and that martial arts are a beneficial skill for children to learn.

“We teach taekwondo in New York City public schools and at our dojang [studio]. We do this because we want to inspire, guide and educate our children,” Im said. “Our goal is to help improve our students’ physical, mental and spiritual being through self-discovery, so that they will develop the peaceful mind required for a happy life.”

John Choe, executive director of the Greater Flushing Chamber of Commerce, and Christine Colligan, co-president of Korean American Parents Association, were available at the event to speak with parents on the commitment to civic engagement that KOREA Taekwondo students learn in conjunction with their martial arts training.

In addition to physical education and martial arts training, the company also offers a range of Korean cultural classes and participates in service projects to clean up local streets and parks, beautify the neighborhood and reach out to local seniors.

Choe—a recently registered student at the studio—said that teaching children the discipline involved in martial arts is an effective way to instill positive values and focus in them. He believed that KOREA Taekwondo was the best studio in the city because of the community service ethic taught in its programs.

“It’s part of their DNA to serve the community,” Choe said.

Although this is its first storefront studio, KOREA has been teaching students in programs within the New York City public school system and other educational outlets since 2008. A total of 15,000 children have attended physical education classes with KOREA Taekwondo, including Flushing elementary schools P.S. 242, P.S. 163, P.S. 154 and P.S. 201.


Flushing school combats bullying through martial arts

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Chris Bumbaca


As schools nationwide implement anti-bullying tactics, the Veritas Academy in Flushing is combating bullying in an innovative and unique way.

While most schools lecture their students about bullying, the Veritas Academy has started a new way to repel bullying in school: taekwondo.

A moving-up ceremony was held Monday afternoon in the school’s auditorium for students who participated in a Korean elective class, in which taekwondo was held three times a week after school as a supplement to the class. Most students graduated from a yellow belt to an orange belt, while a handful ascended from a white belt to a yellow belt.

The class emphasized Korean heritage and tradition, and as much as the presentation was part of the anti-bullying campaign, it was also a celebration of Korean culture.

The ceremony included a showcase of an early childhood bullying-prevention performing arts program performed by the Korean Traditional Dance and Music Team. The musicians and dancers taught kids about the signs of bullying through an engaging performance filled with music and emotion. The dance, integrated with taekwondo moves, told a story about a girl being bullied by her peers and how she was able to overcome the obstacle through self-fortitude and the help of others.

“If students are educated and feel good about themselves and have self-esteem they won’t feel the need to bully,” founding principal Cheryl Quatrano said. “They’ll know what to do about it and help other students that are being bullied.”

Aside from the self-defense aspect of taekwondo, there is a large mental facet of the art. Regina Im, the executive director of “Korea Taekwondo,” the taekwondo school that taught the program at Veritas, stressed the importance of self-change to her students and the crowd.

She asked the children questions that correlated with the five main principles of taekwondo: respect, humility, perseverance, self-control and honesty, which are all traits essential in the battle against bullying.

“Are we able to change others?” Im asked. “Are we able to change ourselves?”




Girl with the Dragon Moves

| smosco@queenscourier.com

Photos by Crispin Brann

This is the year of the “Baby Dragon.”

Jada Skye is back on the Taekwondo circuit this year, defending her 42-1 fighting record. She is currently training for the state championship on March 31, followed by national qualifiers which will stamp her ticket to the 2012 Junior Olympics in Dallas, Texas on June 28.

Besides working on fighting skills, Skye’s team is also busy creating the Jayda Skye Rising Stars Foundation, which looks to enable aspiring children to pursue their martial arts dreams by helping them through financial obstacles.

Her dream is to be the youngest Hispanic athlete to make Team USA in the 2016 Olympics for Taekwondo. With devastating kicks and a solid work ethic, that dream might turn into a reality.

Breathing fire in the ring

| smosco@queenscourier.com


There is a brawling beast roaming the streets of Queens, fighting for her right to jump, punch and kick.

This past May, The Queens Courier profiled a rising star on the Taekwondo scene – nine-year-old Jayda Skye, whose fury in the ring earned her the nickname “Baby Dragon.” The Taekwondo child prodigy boasts a 41-1 record, a Black Belt, 300 videos on YouTube and, along with her father Jose, is currently creating the Jayda Skye Rising Stars Foundation, which aims to aide aspiring fighters looking to hit the mat.

“There are a lot of kids less fortunate than Jayda who might need help financially or physically,” said her father, Jose Irizarry. “We want to help kids who love martial arts, but maybe don’t have the finances for equipment or training.”

But it’s not easy creating a foundation out of thin air, and Irizarry needs help from his community before he can help pint-sized powerhouses like his daughter. He is asking anyone who might have knowledge about starting a foundation to contact him at 718-618-0664 or through his email, jaydaskye@yahoo.com. Irizarry can also be contacted through his daughters Facebook and Twitter pages.

“Eventually I want to get her a sponsor,” he said. “This kid is second to none. The work I have to put in to help her is effortless because she is just so talented. We are looking for sponsors who believe in making dreams come true for these gifted kids in the martial arts world. We believe her fighting skills are unique and the exposure created through a foundation will help her reach that status of a young champion.”

Jayda, a fourth-grader at P.S. 81 in Ridgewood, started Taekwondo at five-years-old. Now, four years later, she’s fighting independently under Team Jayda and headed to the New York Open in Mineola, Long Island on October 22; then it’s off to the Champions Open at Queens College on November 5. Her latest victory was first place in the 2011 Gold Cup at Queens College on October 8.

Beyond that, Jayda hopes to compete in the taekwondo’s U.S. Open and various international tournaments. But for now she will continue to train hard for local tournaments and prepare for state and national qualifiers in order to participate in 2011 Junior Olympics.