Everyone understands that physical activity is beneficial to one’s health. You set an example by exercising regularly, and you encourage your children to get involved in a sport or anything that will get them up and moving. But, is it enough just to get them physically fit while ignoring other aspects of their well-being? Is there an activity that addresses the total person? The ancient Korean martial art of Taekwondo does, and TRU Taekwondo fully embraces that approach.
Although the history of Taekwondo dates back more than 2,000 years, it was long a relatively unknown sport in the United States. Taekwondo gymnasiums began springing up in this country in the early 1950s, gaining popularity in the 1970s and becoming an Olympic sport in 2000. Reasons for its continued growth were the findings by adults, parents, doctors and teachers who noticed more than just an increase in physical strength, flexibility and balance in students of Taekwondo. They also became cognizant of positive changes with regard to self-esteem, self-discipline, focus, confidence, respect and other attributes of mental acumen.
When looking for an activity for his daughters, TRU co-owner Philip Averett was struck by this combination of the physical and mental. He was fortunate to find the right fit in instructor Master Martin Douglas. “Master Douglas taught my girls when they were young,” said Averett. “I watched as a parent…what he did in changing their lives. I had two different spectrums in personalities—my older daughter was very shy and timid; my youngest daughter was the opposite, boisterous, unfocused, undisciplined and not respectful, but not with bad intentions. Through Master Douglas’ influence, there was a big impact in helping, from a parent’s standpoint, with some basic themes. They trained with him for more than 10 years until they went to college. My oldest daughter is a third-degree black belt. She grew tremendously in her self-confidence, and because it was the main sport she embraced, it became part of her identity. My youngest daughter is a second-degree black belt, and her training enhanced the other sports she was involved in. It gave her focus and taught her discipline and respect. To this day she still says ‘yes, Sir’ and ‘yes, Ma’am.’”
Douglas and Averett talked about forming a 50/50 business partnership for many years, but the timing never felt right. In the spring of 2011, things started to come together, and although they made no specific plans, they felt one day they would work together. In April of 2012, Douglas led the opening of TRU Taekwondo. Under his leadership, the school grew, doubling its size by January, 2013. Averett became involved in the spring of 2013, and in just three years, they have more than 300 students and recently opened a second location. There is an obvious reason for this success and a student retention rate greater than 97%—it is more than just a business for Douglas and Averett, it is a family. “We are about more than just teaching kicking and punching,” said founder Douglas. “Our instructors (who are all Taekwondo Masters) mentor, encourage and stress accountability. We all live our lives as we teach. We meet with our teachers and a leadership team once a week—we have a high level of expectation from an instruction standpoint. We stress trust, respect and understanding in all aspects of our lives and our students’ lives.”
“Master Douglas and I were intentional about building and maintaining a team that embraces the same values, including serving not only our students, but our community as well,” said Averett. The TRU family is an extremely diverse group, but at the core, they are all good-hearted people that want to serve. Going into schools or out into the community to talk about staying focused and being respectful; dealing with bullying or adversity; or providing food or items during teacher appreciation week or other times during the school year, we never have to ask for volunteers. We have a presence in about 15 schools throughout the county.”
Along with traditional Taekwondo classes, TRU Taekwondo also offers fitness, weapons and demo classes. Children ages four to six can begin training in the Super Kids class. Other Taekwondo classes depend on age and ability. TRU Taekwondo is unique in offering their satisfaction-guaranteed promise and a free 30-day pass.
With classes to fit most everyone’s schedule, an activity the entire family can get involved in and all the benefits that come with it, you owe it to your family to visit a TRU Taekwondo studio.
TRU Taekwondo has two convenient locations in Winston-Salem: 5038 Peters Creek Parkway and the new studio at 5065 Country Club Road. For more information, visit the website at www.trutkd.com.