Lee Brothers students prepare to train in South Korea

A group of students and instructors from the Lee Brothers Academy in Burlington, Graham and Mebane will train in South Korea from July 1-13. / Photo submitted

Commentary by Holly Welch
  Special to the Times-News

It’s hard to believe that I was only 9 years old when I started Tae Kwon Do at Lee Brothers in Mebane. The reason I wanted to do martial arts is because, like every little kid, I wanted to be a superhero. When I first started I was nervous because I didn’t know what to expect, but my mom was always there to support me and help me to keep on going. Soon, I fell in love with doing Tae Kwon Do and never wanted to quit. Now I am 14 years old and have obtained the rank of black belt, in October 2011, and yes, I still love doing Tae Kwon Do.
   After I earned my black belt, one of my teachers at school asked me “what is your ultimate dream in Tae Kwon Do?” My immediate answer was “I want to go toSouth Koreato train and learn the culture and history better.”
   About a month later, I learned that Lee Brothers is getting another opportunity to go toSouth KoreaandHong Kongin the summer of 2012. Soon, I found myself in the first Korea Trip Information meeting with Master Donna Tilley (who owns Mebane and Hillsborough Lee Brothers) and nine of my friends that also attend Lee Brothers in Mebane.
   Later on, we began having cultural immersion meetings with Master Sang Ho Lee (who ownsBurlingtonand Graham Lee Brothers) and six of his students along with his wife and son who are also attending the trip as well.          
   While we are on the trip to Hong Kong and South Korea, we will be visiting many different places (most of which I can’t even pronounce correctly). We first plan to visit Kowloon City, Hong Kong’s very own Hollywood walk of fame that has statues and hand prints of many Asian martial arts film stars.
   Some of the South Korean places include Gwacheon City, which is the sister city of Burlington, the DMZ (Demilitarized Zone), the Korean War Memorial, market places, a viewing of a traditional Korean wedding, and visiting Kukkiwon, which is basically the White House of Tae Kwon Do.
   This year, we will not only be visiting Kukkiwon, but also have the honor and privilege of training with some of the master’s there. We are all very excited and ready to go to Hong Kong andSouth Korea. I’m really looking forward to visiting the market places and training in Kukkiwon. But most of all, I will be able to share this amazing experience with some of my Tae Kwon Do family and with my mom, who has been my biggest supporter ever since day one of starting Tae Kwon Do.

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

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