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Spreading skill and discipline
By MARGO HORNER
They bow to their parents, say yes sir and yes maam, and politely shake each others hands.
More than 100 students in classes at World Mission TaeKwonDo learn discipline and good manners as well as martial arts.
And they learn it all for free.
Taekwondo master Tae Son, with his wife and family, offers free classes throughout the week to folks around Federal Way.
The family donates about 20 hours of instruction each week and local churches, including Our Saviors Baptist Church and First Presbyterian, allow the group to use the facilities for free. Parents who can afford it bring snacks for the whole group.
The free classes make it possible for many families to enjoy taekwondo without the price tag, which at some local studios is as much as $200 a month for weekly classes.
A certified Christian missionary, Son has made it his mission to spread discipline and athleticism to as many children as possible, regardless of their inability to pay.
He doesnt push religion on his students. Besides a brief prayer at the start of each class, religion is rarely mentioned.
Son wants everyone to feel welcome, regardless of their religion, said his stepdaughter Shelly Loving, who interpreted for him.
World Missions main goal, Loving said, is to provide a positive, safe environment for kids who might otherwise be hanging out on the streets.
It keeps everyone off the street. It keeps them from getting into trouble or something they shouldnt be doing, Loving said.
Indirectly, Sons classes are contributing to a reduction in petty street crimes, such as graffiti, committed by juveniles in Federal Way, said Ben Silva, special agent for the United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
Its beneficial to catch youth early and give them an alternative to hanging out on the streets, Silva said. Discipline and respect learned early will make a child less likely to commit crimes later, he added.
This type of program is going to benefit the community a lot, said Silva, whose 7-year-old son attends Sons classes at World Mission.
People having difficulties communicating with their children might want to bring them out here, he added.
Although not certified counselors, the instructors at World Mission often find themselves offering informal counseling to children with problems at home, in school or with their friends.
We just lend an ear and a helping hand, Loving said.
For 11-year-old Tyler Hill, the people at World Mission are his second family, said his mother, Dierdra Calmes.
Its a very fun class, Hill said. Its a loving environment and its fun.
Dave Holtz, whose two children both attend classes at World Mission, said his son Ryan has developed more self-esteem since joining the class.
He used to be really shy, and this has made him a little more outgoing, Holtz said. You can just tell in the way he carries himself that this has made him a little more confident.
Contact Margo Horner: firstname.lastname@example.org or (253) 925-5565.
Find out more
For more information about World Mission TaeKwonDo, call Shelly Loving at (253) 486-2227. The group is also looking for community service opportunities suitable for children ages 4 through teenagers.