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<< Return to News | 6-11 Support Mount Olive DARE at the third annual Kick-a-thon

(by Kathryn Davis - June 11, 2008)
Teachers and students with Grandmaster Kwang Jae Lee.


It is estimated that over 21.7 million adults have participated in some type of martial arts program. Of that number, 85% of students are under 13 years old. Students from the Mount Olive Eagle Tae Kwon Do School are doing something this year that shows off what they have really learned, and it’s not about earning a belt or a trophy. They are sponsoring their third annual DARE Kick-a-thon to benefit the DARE program of Mount Olive. The event is an opportunity for the school to give back to the community, to show support, and to teach its students a lesson that can’t be taught in a classroom. It’s a lesson of spirit.

The Kick-a-thon event will be held in the parking lot of theA&P shopping center at the intersection of Route 46 and Naughright Road on Saturday, June 7, from 11 am until 1 pm. In addition to demonstrations with children as young as three years old, there will also be activities including sand art, tattoos, balloons, coloring books, and awards. Mount Olive police officer Carl Mase will be among the attendees, and will make the “DARE-mobile” available for children to explore. The community is already showing its support. Mount Olive A&P has generously donated funds to purchase beverages for the event, and PNC Bank is donating materials for some of the activities.

Segarra says the school hopes to beat their previous totals and raise more than the $2672 they had donated to the Mount Olive DARE program in the last Kick-a-thon. This year the proceeds will be collected and donated on June 21 at the promotional belt testing. Six children will be testing on that day for their black belts. These children are between 10 and 11 years old and have been coming to the school 3 times a week for five years. Teachers and students are looking forward to that day with great anticipation, both for the culmination of the fundraiser, and to observe and share in the achievement of six dedicated young students.

It’s not unusual for parents to enroll their children in martial arts classes. It’s a very popular activity choice. In fact, according to the Martial Arts History Museum’s website, there are over 30,000 martial arts schools in the United States alone. (Martialinfo.com). Programs are available at many colleges, and our nation holds over 600 martial arts tournaments each year. For many, Tae Kwon Do is a highly anticipated event favorite at this year’s Summer Olympics in Beijing. Since the introduction of martial arts in the early 1900’s, the Korean art of Tae Kwon Do, along with other forms, has found increasing popularity for people of all ages. A martial arts school is one of the few places where children and adults of all nationalities, religions, and races can join to share a common goal. In addition to self-discipline, respect for self and others, self-defense, and fitness, martial arts offers a chance to enjoy a different art form and appreciate a tradition and a culture that is unique.

Students enrolled at the Mount Olive Eagle Tae Kwon Do School have the unique opportunity of working with Grandmaster Kwang Jae Lee, a ninth Degree Black Belt from Korea and one of the highest ranking masters of the World Tae Kwon Do Federation. Lee has over 40 years of teaching experience in the martial arts, having taught in schools all over the globe. He opened his first Tae Kwon Do schools in 1965, and has continued to share his knowledge and skill with students at schools throughout New York and New Jersey. Many of Lee’s students have gone on to open their own schools.

Grandmaster Lee’s background is impressive. He is a member of the World Tae Kwon Do Federation, has served as an official judge for Black Belt competitions.  His techniques are featured definitions in The Martial Arts Encyclopedia by Larry Winderbaum (1977).  He is the pastor of a Korean Presbyterian church in Belleville whose English name is The Perfect Presbyterian Church. Lee was ordained in 1990 and received his doctorate in Christian counseling in 2002, as did his wife, Young Lee, who works with him at the school.  

Anthony Segarra has been here since the beginning. “My intentions were for my daughter, Caitlin, to go, and now look at me.” Segarra is now a first degree black belt and a teacher at the school. His daughter, now 8, is a red belt. “I was looking for the discipline, the social interaction, and I wanted her to be fit as well,” he explains. “She has this confidence now.”

Tracy Lehman, whose 5-year-old son is a student, also attends the school with her husband. She’s very happy with the school and says her son loves it. “It’s the family values,” she explains.

Word of mouth has helped to spread information about the success of the school, and both children and their parents are discovering what the Tae Kwon Do school has to offer. Their motto is simple, “Love and Modesty”, and their seven home rules for children promote respect and responsibility. Classes are offered for children starting at age three, and continue through the adult level.

Everyone in the community is invited to come out to the Kick-a-thon and show their support for the DARE program and have some fun.

For more information on the DARE Kick-a-thon go to www.eagletaekwondo.org or call 908-852-0609. For more information about DARE visit the website at www.dare.org.


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