Martial Arts Build Muscles and Confidence
Jody Kerzman
These days we talk a lot about eating right and exercising. It`s especially important that our children learn the importance of healthy habits.

But exercise doesn`t have to mean running laps or even walking. Something as simple and as fun as dancing can provide an excellent workout. Just ask the kids at Bismarck`s Solheim elementary. They are learning the Korean Sports Dance, and the traditional dance is helping them build muscles and confidence.

It`s a dance that Cameron Schmitz thought he`d never master.

"We practiced every move," says Cameron.

And with a little practice, he`s now dancing like a pro.

"Once you learn it it`s not so hard," he says.

It is called the Korean Sports Dance.

"You do a lot of fast steps," says sixth grader Mariah Eriksen.

Fast steps that equal an overall body workout that`s also a lot of fun.

"They love it," says Mike Porter.

Mike Porter is a red belt in Tae Kwan Do, one step away from a black belt. He`s also a physical education teacher. This year, he`s brought the martial arts into his classes.

"What a wonderful opportunity to take another ethnic and cultural dance and bring it to our kids. Koreans are really big into health and fitness and this is one they`ve incorporated with flexibility, coordination, timing, and rhythm," says Porter.

These sixth graders have mastered seven of the dance`s 24 segments and are eager to learn more. And so is their teacher. Next week, Mr. Porter will travel to Korea. He`ll spend ten days there, competing for three titles and certifications. He also hopes to learn a few more dance moves to bring back here, to gym class.

Porter will be representing the United States, the International Black Belt Federation and the local Ehrmantraut`s academy in Korea. His instructors, Kris and Ben Ehrmantraut, have both taken the same trip and are triple masters in three disciplines. But the best part they say is seeing kids practicing the Korean Sports Dance on their own.

Well looks like they are promoting it as dance. Is there actually a national Korean dance?