Our student spotlight this week in on Michelle Baker! Michelle is an awesome Tae Kwon Do powerhouse who practices alongside her son Wilson. In addition to being a fantastic martial artist, Michelle is also a local artist and author. Michelle kindly included in her interview this invitation to her upcoming book launch: “I would like everyone to know they are invited to Malaprop’s for the book launch party of my new book, The Canoe. Saturday, Nov. 15th, 7 – 9 p.m. Please join me for a book talk, signing and tasty treats. It would be a joy to see familiar Sun Soo faces there. THE CANOE: Set over the course of ten days in 1912, this poetic portrait of love and loss follows two simultaneous stories: the coming of age of Bernie Kingston, the teenage son of a coffin maker who lives along the Chesapeake Bay and Katherine Chambers, a middle-aged Englishwoman leaving home for the first time as she seeks to recover from the loss of her husband and son. Written in journal format, their parallel journeys are told against the backdrop of the Titanic disaster and the communities touched by its tragedy.” The Canoe is available in store at Malaprop’s, and is available in print and ebook online via Indiebound, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Smashword.
Interview – Age: 47 Rank: White/Yellow belt Occupation: Author/Artist/Photographer
Why I practice: Having studied and practiced Qi Gong, I have always wanted to learn an additional martial art. When my son, Wilson, started at Sun Soo, I knew I would soon follow in his footsteps.
I practice martial arts because I believe life is a constant conversation between the light and the dark, and all that falls in between. I believe a martial arts practice gives practitioners the ability to choose more consciously, more intentionally, how to wake from, enter into or be in the light, the dark, and all the places in between.
This is also why I am an artist, and I believe each of us is an artist. Every moment is a creative act. We might have a set daily routine, but each moment is absolutely new, never to occur again; we can create a new experience within the repetition of our daily lives. A practice like Tae Kwon Do drives this home for me.
How long have I been practicing Tae Kwon Do: Since July 2014
What I enjoy most: I like learning the forms. I have a background in dance, and always enjoyed learning new choreography. The forms are new choreography to me. The learning is challenging and exciting. I also enjoy being part of a community. Being able to witness and support each other’s learning processes and achievements is a privilege for which I am very grateful.
Other hobbies/interests: I paint very large, abstract multi-canvas paintings. Some of my work can be seen at Gallery Asheville and Cafe 64, both in downtown Asheville. I am a photographer as well, and enjoying taking portraits of people.
Something people at Tae Kwon Do probably don’t know about me: I wrote and performed a solo show that toured across country for two years with three runs off-Broadway. The play is called Sole Survivors. I interviewed immigrants from Mexico and El Salvador, and created four composite characters who told their stories interspersed with the music of a live mariachi.
As an actor, writer, and former photojournalist, interviewing the people and writing this show was an absolute thrill to see how all my creative outlets could come together, be expressed, and shed light on and give voice to the stories we often never see or hear.
Our student spotlight this week is on Jennifer Marshall. Jennifer is an excellent student and friend here at Sun Soo. Ever since beginning her practice, Jennifer has attended classes consistently and has practiced on her own. In class, she always gives 110% and never seems to have an “off” day. Jennifer is quick to lend a hand if needed and can always be counted on to demonstrate controlled and respectful behavior. Jennifer is growing into an incredibly powerful and capable young woman and we are very happy that she is one of our students here at Sun Soo. Go Jennifer!
School: Enka Middle School
Why you practice: The main reason is that I love the community of the whole place
How long you’ve been practicing: 2 ¼ years
What you enjoy most about your practice so far: It’s a great outlet for my energy and it has helped me to focus better and think faster.
Other hobbies/interests: I like to draw and write. I’m also interested in biology, mainly zoology.
Something people at Tae Kwon Do probably don’t know about you: I have a pet snake and I’m in the school choir.
Favorite Tae Kwon Do moment: At one testing, Sarah and I were both sparring and we both did a solar-plexus punch. So we punched each other’s hands and it hurt, but we were both cracking up about it too.
https://www.martialartsasheville.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/Logo-Dark-Background-300x198.png00Ms. Goyerhttps://www.martialartsasheville.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/Logo-Dark-Background-300x198.pngMs. Goyer2014-10-22 11:51:202015-11-11 10:44:45Student Spotlight – Jennifer Marshall
Our student spotlight this week is on Tina Clark, who started her practice this year after spending many months watching her son Dylan practice from the lobby. She is a mother of 2 (13 year old daughter Sydney and 8 year old Dylan), and a wife of 18 years. Most recently, Tina’s husband Gren started his practice and just tested for his white-yellow belt! Tina is a sharp and focused practitioner who brings excellent balance and coordination to her evolving practice. Additionally, she is a great partner for any classmate, young or old, due to her amazing capacity to relate to others and make people feel safe. We are so glad that Tina (and fer family members) practice here at Sun Soo and we hope you enjoy Tina’s interview below!
Rank: yellow/green belt
I am a Licensed Professional Counselor which means I am board certified to conduct talk therapy to help clients with an array of issues that are often interfering with them living their best life. I own my own private practice but have worked in a variety of settings (domestic violence and homeless shelters, a rehabilitation hospital in the traumatic brain injury unit and a university student center). It is an honor and privilege to be in this line of work and yet it can also be an arduous career path where self-care is of utmost importance. If I don’t take care of myself then I won’t be able to take very good care of the people counting on me…my clients and most importantly my family.
So that explains the primary reason I practice Tae Kwon Do at Sun Soo. My son Dylan (who is 8 years old and a green blue belt) began practicing in the Spring of 2013. The more I watched his classes and witnessed the changes in him, the more I wondered what it would be like to be an adult student. I remember Master Morris mentioning that really cool things happen when parents practice with their children. I remained skeptical for a short time, worrying that I would somehow interfere with my son’s progress. It wasn’t until I watched some of the Saturday testings that I began to see what he meant. I saw a huge community of adults and students that supported each other with cheer, hugs and words of encouragement. I saw instructors and students fully invested in their school and I started to realize I wanted to be a part of that…not just sitting on the sidelines. I also realized that my life load was pretty heavy and I needed a healthy way to unload that heaviness. I also have always been happier when I was part of a team (athletic or otherwise) and I hadn’t been part of a team in some time. The final nudge came from my friend, colleague and Sun Soo black belt Nancy Fraser (who works in my building). She seemed to think it was just what I needed. The rest is history. I decided to ask Santa for a uniform and first month at Sun Soo for Christmas. Thanks Santa! I started in January of this year.
At first I felt overwhelmed and about as uncoordinated as I can ever recall feeling. Fortunately I felt surrounded by smiling supportive students and instructors who helped me learn to stop worrying and just keep going. I enjoy so many aspects of my practice 7 months into it. I absolutely love the community and the heart of this school. I love that my body, mind and spirit are getting stronger every class. I love the amazing friends I am making. I love watching the incredible contribution Sun Soo has made in my son’s life. He has grown up so much in the past year. I love that now we have gotten my husband Gren hooked too. Tonight he said that he “needs” to get to class tomorrow “it’s been too long since Monday.” I love the challenges ahead and the upper ranking students that show me what I am capable of with enough practice and perseverance.
I have many other hobbies and interests. I love rock climbing, horseback riding, canoeing/kayaking, playing soccer and lacrosse, hiking, drawing, photography, cooking, traveling, volunteering for Brother Wolf Animal Rescue and enjoying time with my kids.
I’m not sure if I can narrow down a favorite moment in Tae Kwon Do. I love watching my son test and seeing how laser focused and full of pride he can become. I enjoy the many moments when I have laughed so hard or been moved to tears. I enjoy and appreciate the extra help and mentoring that seems readily available and eagerly given. I love that when I get called onto the mat at testing, everywhere I look there are people smiling and encouraging me to do my best. I am eternally grateful for Sun Soo and everything it has and continues to give my family.
https://www.martialartsasheville.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/Logo-Dark-Background-300x198.png00Ms. Goyerhttps://www.martialartsasheville.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/Logo-Dark-Background-300x198.pngMs. Goyer2014-08-28 10:22:312015-11-11 10:37:01Student Spotlight is on Tina Clark!