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Bringing Out Your Inner Ninja

After school programs at Kees Tae Kwon Do in Vernon and Kelowna keep kids busy, focused and disciplined.
September 17, 2018 - 12:00 AM

Watching martial artist and actor Jackie Chan on the big screen jumping, kicking and spinning his way through epic battles with precision and focus was all it took for Trevor Warkentin to be drawn into the art of Tae Kwon Do.

But there is far more to Tae Kwon Do than the high kicks and coloured belts.

"I was always in awe of martial arts, watching Bruce Lee, but it's also about focus, discipline, respect, concentration and self esteem," says Warkentin, a sixth degree black belt Tae Kwon Do instructor and owner of Kees Tae Kwon Do in Vernon, Salmon Arm, Lake Country and Kelowna.

The Korean martial art really isn't that ancient; first developed in the mid 1900s as a national sport in Korea, it's now an Olympic sport.

Tae Kwon Do, which translates to foot, hand, the way, has gone through transformations over the decades as Brazilian Jujitsu and Judo have come along. But it’s the art of traditional Tae Kwon Do hand and foot fighting that has held Warkentin’s interest for 33 years, 22 of those as owner of his four schools.

“It’s fun, social and a positive environment and students learn integrity and responsibility,” says Warkentin, whose grown children are also highly trained in the sport of mind, body and spirit balance and connection.

Tae Kwon Do provides tremendous fitness and teaches self defense strategies for adults and children. Increased flexibility is achieved along with coordination, weight loss, stress relief and muscle development. For kids in particular, confidence is raised along with listening skills and respect. These disciplines tend to spill over into other areas of life at school, home and during other extracurricular activities, according to Warkentin.

“A student who is shy, will become more confident. A lot of our students go on to be very successful in other areas,” says Warkentin.

The teen and adult programs at Kees provide a challenge along with fitness and strength. Teens are encouraged to participate in programs that develop their personal interests and talents. The Leadership Program and the Competition Teams can do just that. The Kees Competition Teams learn Olympic style Tae Kwon Do from some of the best coaches in Canada, says Warkentin. Basic self defense classes and kick boxing are also options for adult students.

There are many students who participate as a family in the 40 various classes offered each week. Student ages range from three to 70 years, with about 60 per cent being children.

For kids who participate in Kees’ after school programs, getting to class is now much easier with the after school programs that see Kees instructors  pick kids up from school and bring them to the studio for training until parents retrieve  them after work. The program runs from 3 to 6 p.m. during the week and is offered in the Kelowna and Vernon studios.

To get a better idea of classes, days and times visit www.keesokanagan.com

Sponsored By   Kees Tae kwon do

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