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Goofy Suburbanites Turn to Taekwondo
June 9, 2005
Taekwondo exceeds mother’s ‘wildest dreams’
By Emilie Lemmons
The Catholic Spirit
Unathletic by nature, Mark and Lori Davis never dreamed they’d ever get a kick out of . . . well, kicking.
But that’s what they’ve been doing for the past two years. Lori earned her first-degree black belt in Taekwondo in January, and Mark plans to test for his black belt this month.
Their five children also are skilled in Taekwondo, with two black belts and three browns among them.
“Believe me, never in my wildest dreams would I have ever thought I would be doing this,” said Lori, 45, adding that she’s “not particularly thin,” and that staying in shape has been a challenge for the family.
Members of St. Helena in Minneapolis, the Davises first became interested in the Korean martial art when their son, Tim, now 11, took advantage of a 30-day membership at the Eagan ATA Black Belt Leadership Academy, a prize the family won at a church festival. The owner of the Taekwondo club is a fellow St. Helena parishioner.
“I used to take [Tim] a few times a week,” Mark said.
“There were a handful of adults there, but mostly kids. And I’m watching that, and I’m thinking, ‘Hey, maybe I could do that.’”
So Mark, now 50, talked his reluctant wife into joining him.
<img src="http://thecatholicspirit.com/Media/6.9.05.couple.jpg" align=right>A month later, their oldest daughter, Sarah, 13, joined. A few months later, the youngest three children signed up, and Taekwondo became a family activity.
For Lori, “It was something that I had never done before. I have two brothers and two sisters, and they were all very sports-oriented, . . . whereas I was more in the arts, the plays.”
Taekwondo, she said, is great exercise in a setting where “you’re not competing against anybody. It’s mainly goal-setting for yourself.”
The people she’s met at the club “are the nicest people you ever want to meet,” she added. Parents share similar values — goal-setting and learning life skills — and the club owners foster a sense of respect and integrity in the children.
Mark said he notices improvements in his aging knees due to Taekwondo, which emphasizes kicking and jumping more than its Japanese sibling, karate, which has more arm action.
“I just turned 50, and I’m probably in better shape now than I was at 40,” he said. “I weigh a few more pounds, . . . but I’d say I’m in much better shape.”
“One instructor said it adds 10 good years to your life instead of 10 crummy ones,” he said with a laugh. “When we’re in our 80s, we won’t be sitting there watching TV because we can’t move. We’ll be out kicking somebody’s butt.”
Wonder if that knee problem of his could possibly be mediated by some actual exercise.....