Thursday January 12, 2012
For the Wehrle family of South Burlington, TaeKwon-Do—the traditional, unarmed Korean form of martial arts—has become both a form of exercise and a way of life, and their family’s collective achievement in the sport is a reflection of inspirational dedication and hard work.
Parents Renee and Brian Wehrle received their black belts (the highest belt) in TaeKwon-Do in 2009, and their daughter Michelle (a sixth grader at Frederick H. Tuttle Middle School) received her black belt in 2008 and is now a second-degree black belt.
“Michelle started TaeKwon-Do when she was five years old through the South Burlington Recreation Department in a class taught by Master Sue Myers at Vermont TaeKwon-Do Academy,” recalled Ms. Wehrle. “We signed her up to help with self-confidence and to learn self-defense. She loved it. Brian and I started in 2006. We decided to join so we could have a common sport and activity as a family. It looked like fun and good exercise.”
Needless to say, TaeKwon-Do has proven to be much more. “We value this as a life-long skill,” explained Ms. Wehrle. “TaeKwon-Do is an excellent family activity. You progress at your own speed, and you get out of it what you want to put into it. It also fosters important conversations with your children about courtesy, integrity, perseverance, self-control, and indomitable spirit, which are the tenets of TaeKwon-Do.”
The Wehrle family still attends Vermont TaeKwon-Do Academy in South Burlington where “students are taught to continually strive to uphold the tenets while they are at the Dojang (their training space), as well as in their everyday lives.”
When asked what guidance she might give to families new to the sport, Ms. Wehrle responded, “I would say go for it! No reason to be nervous. Everyone started out as a white belt, and every black belt remembers what it was like. TaeKwon-Do students cheer each other on and are encouraging. It’s kind of like an extended family once you start practicing together on a regular basis, and it’s a skill that you can use through your whole life.”
SOURCE: Susie Merrick, Contributor