News: Keeya! Cherry Point youth learn Taekwondo
Story by Lance Cpl. Cory D. Polom
MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. - “When I am in this uniform I feel a great sense of pride and respect, but even when I am not in it, I feel that same sense of duty.” This is a common saying among many Marines in uniform, but the person who said this is not a Marine, and is not even old enough to drive.
Bailey Ellison, 12, was referring to her martial arts uniform, called a Dobak.
She is learning Taekwondo through a Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point Youth Sports class taught by Master Andre’ L. Evans.
“Master Evans is a great instructor,” said Bailey. “He has helped me and a lot of the other students learn Taekwondo and has given us a way to relief stress.”
The classes run Mondays and Tuesdays at the Teen Center from 4:30 to 5:45 p.m. and on Saturdays from 1 p.m. until 2:30 p.m. at the Cherry Tree House, the cost is $50 per month.
“This generation of children is very different from our grandparents’ generation and even mine,” said Evans, a Marine veteran. “As teens, they feel they should be given everything in the world now. Taekwondo teaches these children how to respect their parents and teaches them a different kind of discipline.”
Bailey’s mother, Daphne Ellison, agreed and pointed out the impact Taekwondo has had on her child’s life.
“I can take her cell phone, her laptop and even ground her with no effect,” said Daphne. “However, I can tell her if she does something wrong I’ll take away Taekwondo for a week and she will straighten up. This class has taught her to value what she works hard for.”
Bailey said Taekwondo is a lifestyle that has helped her in more ways than just being able to defend herself.
“Taekwondo has given me a sense of pride and has helped me in more than just knowing how to keep cool, and what to do if I am faced with someone who is trying to kidnap me,” said Bailey. “It helps me keep in shape and gives me something to work for.”
Taekwondo can help set young people up for success, said Evans.
“I think these children will be more likely to succeed in life,” said Evans. “It gives you a sense of value that you can achieve something. Last year I had a student medal in the Junior Olympics. I have students here who have seen that and are determined to do the same.”
Bailey is one of his star pupils and is working hard to compete at a high level, Evans said.
“I want to be the best,” said Bailey. “I want to be the one Master Evans is talking about this time next year when he says ‘We had a young lady come back from the Junior Olympics with a gold medal.’ Taekwondo builds character and helps me do better in everything I do.”