The Bel Air outpost of the U.S. Taekwondo Academy consistently turns out champions on the national taekwondo stage and acts as a local pipeline to the highest levels of the sport.
But the Changs, the family behind the academy, believe that building champions is only one part of what makes their school successful.
“We preach the idea of ‘family’ in all of our programs,” says Senior Master Yong Seong “CJ” Chang, a World Taekwondo Federation sixth-degree black belt and the son of the school’s founder, Grand Master Se Yong Chang. “We give the love and support parents would give their own children.”
Fostering this notion of family helps the school’s teaching staff instill respect and discipline in students, Chang says. And from there, students gain confidence in their skills and their lives.
The academy instructs students as young as 2 through adulthood; they have students in their 60s. The school’s goal is to help students at every age stay physically fit and grow mentally. For “Little Ninjas,” this means learning social skills and boundaries. Older children might explore self-defense, anti-bullying and core values that will help them succeed as adults. Even the oldest students take away important lessons about discipline and confidence.
But studying there is not all work and no play. “We view our school as a place where students can come and learn, have fun, make friends with people from all walks of life,” says Chang. -- Kit Waskom Pollard | For Harford Magazine
109A North Main St., Bel Air1301 E. Churchville Road, Bel Air443-243-4124ustachang.com