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Martial arts are alive and well in the Woodstock neighborhood; here's one...and we will tell of another one next month

ELIZABETH USSHER GROFF - Some younger, and a couple of older, Tae Kwon Do students at the Woodstock Community Center were busy doing warmups for their Friday class - taught by Steve Beattie (not pictured) - when THE BEE visited. The martial art Tae Kwon Do has been taught at the Woodstock Community Center for many years — but its teaching was on hiatus during the pandemic, as so many things were.

Now, these popular classes in the "mirror room" of the Community Center have resumed, and are taking place on two days each week. The Friday class is for relative beginners, and the Thursday class is for the more-experienced.

Jake Harris, a Woodstock resident, has taken Tae Kwon Do for over seven years, and has been teaching at the Center for three of them, but is currently taking this year off. He gave THE BEE a summary of the classes: "Our classes are safe, non-contact, and high-energy. We simply ask for everyone to give their best, and to recognize that that looks different for everyone."

Steve Beattie, the main teacher, whose class is on Fridays at 6 p.m., individually greeted each of the sixteen children who came to the class on a recent Friday. The children ranged in age from 6 to 12, and appeared to be enjoying the class, even if they were a bit hesitant at first. Beattie assured them that their class would be fun, in addition to teaching them basic Tae Kwon Do moves.

Over the years, all the Tae Kwon Do instructors have been teaching as volunteers, Harris explained. "We have all gotten a lot out of learning it, and want to give something back to the Woodstock Community Center program, and to the [greater] community as well."

The rapport between teachers and class participants appears very positive. The teachers impart not only physical skills: "We emphasize the five tenets of [this martial art]: Courtesy, integrity, perseverance, self-control, and indomitable spirit. We have a lot of kids in class, but all ages 6 and over are welcome, and it's great when parents (or other guardians) take the classes along with their children," remarked Harris.

Steve Beattie, and Tim Lagasse — the latter is teaching on Thursdays — are enthusiastic and empathetic teachers. "We really enjoy working with kids, and providing a safe and encouraging environment, where everyone can work hard and improve over time."

To register for a class call the Woodstock Community Center at 503/823-3633; or go online — www.portland.gov/parks


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