By Mark Ambrogi
Rocco Rossano is a huge proponent of Grandmaster Lee’s Tae Kwon Do.
“Even though it’s a martial arts studio, they treat it as a school,” said Rossano, whose son has attended the school for nearly three years. “They teach morals and values. It’s just as close as Carmel can get to being in South Korea. We have a South Korean culture that reaches out to the community and does such wonderful things.”
Antonio Rossano, a Carmel High School freshman, is a black belt and is in the juniors instructors program and on the demonstration team.
Grandmaster Lee’s Tae Kwon Do has schools in Carmel, 13642 N. Meridian St., and Fishers, 9824 North by North Blvd. The Fishers school was opened first, followed a few months later by the Carmel school. Both schools have been open for about five years.
Tae Kwon Do, the art of kicking, punching and blocking, originated in South Korea. The schools also emphasize self-defense.
The schools are owned by two South Korean couples: Woohee Lee, 52, wife Eunjung Shin, 42, and Hojin Jung, 36, and wife Sunghyun Choi, 34. Lee and Shin, who live in Fishers, are seventh degree belts. Jung has a sixth degree and Choi a fourth degree. Jung and Choi, who moved to the U.S. in 2008, live in Westfield. The highest degree belt is ninth.
Lee, 52, moved to the U.S. in 1990, opening a school in New Jersey. He has been training in Tae Kwon Do for 40 years. Shin met Lee when she moved to New Jersey in 2000. They still own a school in Palisades Park, N.J.
“He was one of the famous masters there,” said Shin, whose 7-year-old son already has a black belt. “I used to be a national champion in Tae Kwon Do sparring in Korea, so I came here.”
Shin said the owners and instructors all embrace the same philosophy.
“We like to train the body and mind together,” Shin said. “We like to teach self-control, and they learn confidence. We teach them good listening skills for the kids and to respect each other. If you have a healthy mind and body, you’re going to be happy to do everything. We want to teach positive thinking.”
Choi said she and her husband were instructors in Korea and wanted to come to a bigger country to teach.
“We wanted to teach traditional Korean martial arts to American kids,” Choi said.
Choi said their mutual friends encouraged Lee and Shin to move to the Indianapolis area to start a school.
Lee said their biggest group of students are in the 8 to 13 age range. The Little Tigers group is for ages 4 to 6.
Rossano said he doesn’t think they teach all these values are in other sports.
“I’ve played other sports, and the ultimate goal is to win,” Rossano said. “That’s it.”
Rossano pointed out that the martial arts are a lifetime sport as well.
“They have someone 80 years old who is a fourth degree black belt,” Rossano said.
Shin said many students who started with the program five years ago as white belts (beginners) are now junior instructors.
One of the school’s students, Princeton Rush, from Fishers High School, recently won a national title at the U.S. Open.
“He’s been training a long time, and it’s good for other students to see that,” Shin said.
For more, visit gmltkd.com.
Grandmaster Lee’s 10 Rules of Mental Education
1. Be loyal to your country
2. Be loving and show fidelity to your parents
3. Be loving between husband and wife
4. Be cooperative between brothers and sisters
5. Be faithful to your friends
6. Be respectful to your elders
7. Establish trust between teacher and student
8. Use good judgment before killing any living thing
9. Never return in battle
10. Always finish what you start
Grandmaster Lee’s Student Creed
Rossano is particularly impressed with the student creed, which states, “I must develop myself in a positive manner and avoid anything that could reduce my mental growth or physical health. I must develop self-discipline in order to bring out the best in myself and others. I must use what I learn in class constructively and defensively to help myself and mankind and never be abusive or offensive.”