Lee Brothers students participate in opportunity of a lifetime

Editor’s note: Master Sang Ho Lee of Lee Brothers Academy in Burlington organizes a trip every few years for students who want to be enriched in the cultural as well as training aspects of Tae Kwon Do. This year, 18 students and instructors traveled overseas July 1-13, spending three days in Hong Kong and 10 days in Seoul, South Korea, visiting museums, temples, forts and sampling cuisine.

Training was a part of the activities, too, as Holly Welch describes below.

Commentary by Holly Welch
Special to the Times-News

“It is never about how good you are in Tae Kwon Do, but it is about how much you love doing it.”

Grand Master Shin-Chul Kang said this to us as we sat in his studio. My mind was racing as I was trying to learn everything I could from one of the world’s greatest Tae Kwon Do masters.

We had just finished up training with Grand Master Kang and some of his higher ranking students. It was hard to believe that the two and a half hours we had trained were already gone. We soon had to say our final good-byes and head back to the hotel so we could get some rest for our big day training at Kukkiwon. I went to bed dreaming of what I had learned from Grand Master Kang and what was in store for tomorrow as well.

Excitement was the only emotion I could feel when we walked through the glass doors and saw the words “KUKKIWON World Headquarters” on the wall. We were finally here; I couldn’t believe that we had finally arrived. Now we were not there just to watch and observe this time, but we were here to train. This is a huge honor and privilege for us to train because very few people can even walk on the training floor.

Members of Lee Brothers Academy recently took a two-week trip to China and South Korea, where they learned about the cultures, traditions and Tae Kwan Do training methods. / Photo submitted

As we stood there, wide eyed with excitement, waiting to meet the Vice President of Kukkiwon, the only thing I could think of waswe are finally here;” I couldn’t believe that we were here and getting ready to train. I had to snap out of my dream world as soon as the Vice President came in and greeted us with a welcome. My very own Tae Kwon Do Master from Lee Brothers of Mebane, Master Donna Tilley — received the commendation recognition certificate from the Vice President and then he provided us with certificates that recognized each of us for training at Kukkiwon.

After the welcoming it was off to training. We did a few warm up drills and then worked on learning new techniques for better demonstration kicks. I was having such a good time that time itself no longer existed. Sadly it was soon time to take pictures and leave. We all had a great day at Kukkiwon. Training there was the perfect way of ending our trip to South Korea.

However not only did we have a great time training but also learning more about the culture and the history of Korea. We were able to visit the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) and look across into North Korea from a viewing area. We were also invited to meet the Mayor of Gwacheon City, which is the sister city of Burlington, take a tour of the city and have dinner with the Vice Mayor and some of the members from city hall. It was also fun visiting the Traditional Korean Folk Village and seeing a traditional wedding along with the way some Koreans used to live and how some still do. It was great being able to learn more of the culture and history of South Korea.

When I asked some of my fellow students and instructors what their favorite things about the trip were, they all responded “The training and cultural experiences, and to be able to share it with fellow students and our masters.”

Master Lee and Master Donna deserve a big thanks for working day and night so we students could have the experience of a lifetime and train in the World Tae Kwon Do Headquarters. It was an honor and a privilege to be able to train with the best of the best, learning more about the culture and being able to share it all with you guys. And it is true, it doesn’t matter how good you are at anything, it just matters how much you love what you’re doing.

Holly Welch is a rising ninth-grader at Burlington Christian Academy and a deputy black belt student at Lee Brothers Academy in Mebane.

 

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