Being able to break a board with your hand might seem a little scary, but what about an 8-year-old having that power? Two people with a passion for children and Martial Arts are making it happen.
Tj and Tiffany Holgerson are the owners and instructors of the martial arts training school named KICK. KICK stands for Kids Internationally Changing Kids, and is a faith-based organization that focuses on helping and teaching kids to be the “unique Masterpiece” they can be.
The sport of Taekwondo is a martial art based on being able to train at several different ranks. At KICK, the Taekwondo class includes belt levels, where a beginner starts at a white belt, and advances over each testing cycle to the next belt color and level until the black belt is reached.
Testing for the next rank is made up of several components. Fitness, which involves squat jumps, push ups, sit-ups, and punches, is the first test of endurance the students go through. Right after finishing the fitness, they are required to recite the form they learn for each rank, and have to perform it in front of three judges. The last part of testing for the next rank is going through three self-defense moves that have been learned through the rank.
“Taekwondo is a great way to relieve stress you have from the rest of the day,” Marcquice McElroy, an eighth grader enrolled in KICK, said. “I haven’t been involved as long as some but it’s become really important to me.”
Benjamin Knittig, freshman, has been involved in Taekwondo since he was 11. Since then, he has trained inside the American Taekwondo Association, or ATA, for a year, and won two State Championship titles as well as one district. He also traveled to KICK’s sister school in Haiti to teach Taekwondo to abandoned children. He is called a “true leader to many children locally and globally,” by Tiffany Holgerson.
Tiffany, one of the owners, has also trained inside the ATA since she was young and has since become a fourth degree black belt, a two-time World Champion and the runner up of the ATA World Championships in 2014. Her husband, Tj, has also trained in the ATA, as well as Jiu-jitsu, a form of Japanese self-defense, become a State Champion, and competed in MMA.
“I really love the energy that Miss Tiffany and Mr. Tj bring to the sport,” Jennifer Beaubien, a seventh grader at Lakeview, said. “I tried out a couple different places before we found KICK and none of them focused on the feelings of the kids more than them.”
Tiffany Holgerson’s credentials are not the only thing motivating her to teach Taekwondo to kids. Her belief that kids should break through whatever holds them back from being the best version of themselves they can has inspired her to keep teaching the sport.
“My true passion is helping kids believe that they can do anything,” Holgerson said. “We live in such an adult based society, where people think that kids can’t have an impact on the world until they grow up, and I think that’s completely unfair. Kids have the equal amount of power as adults, they just need to be encouraged, and for me this is what KICK is about.”