Bedford martial arts exhibited during taekwondo event
Friday, August 30, 2013
Drivers traveling in Bedford past Master An’s Taekwondo school, 270 South River Road, on Saturday, Aug. 14, were treated to an unusual sight – dozens of martial arts students kicking, spinning, jumping and punching as they tested their skills outdoors amid a throng of admiring onlookers.
The demonstrations were a part of Master An’s Family Fun Day & Outdoor Belt Testing. The testing presented a challenge that led many of the students to a higher-degree belt than the one they wore in the morning. A black belt is the goal. A barbecue, a dunk tank, an inflated water slide and a lively water war between opponents followed. Participants in the water fight were well soaked no matter how precisely their water guns were aimed.
Master An’s is a family oriented martial arts school whose students are dedicated to family, fitness and fun. The day offered youngsters, teens and their older counterparts a chance to train outdoors on the school’s spacious lawn and to share their talents with community members from Bedford and many other towns. The school offers a summer day camp, plus more than 40 classes each week. Learning may begin with pee-wee students as young as three-years old.
The event drew students from the Bedford school and also another school location in Lowell, Mass. Every year, the event provides an opportunity for students of both schools to come together in a masterful show of martial arts. They threw controlled kicks and punches. They broke boards with their hands and feet. Matched sets of students of similar ages and skill levels competed to gain a higher position on the ladder that leads to a black belt. Padding, shin protectors and other gear ensured safety.
The panel of judges included a trio from the An family. GrandMaster Nam Y. An, a ninth dan black belt, was there. He is a former heavyweight kick boxing champion with long experience in instructing Marines and Green Berets in hand-to-hand combat and taekwondo. He is the founder of the school and also established the New England Taekwondo Association. Joining him was his son, Master Richard An, a three-time Olympic taekwondo champion and four-time National champion with many more honors. The pair was joined by Richard’s wife, Master Eunha An, an exceptionally powerful lady with a fifth-degree black belt in Taekwondo who twice was an Olympic taekwondo coach and holds a multitude of awards.
Master Richard An, manager and director of Master An’s Taekwondo, said that people of all ages have opened new doors to learning through the practice of taekwondo or other classes including yoga and self-defense classes. A team of adults age 50 or more performed demonstrations at the event. They exhibited taekwondo moves with dance and weapons including swords and nunchuks -- pairs of hardwood sticks joined with chain or cord.
“We want all to see how we are reinforcing positive morale,” said Master Richard An. “We want to build a strong and happy community.”
The mental, spiritual and physical benefits of martial arts have been documented over the centuries. One no longer needs to visit the Orient to learn skills that are accessible to the entire family. They are maneuvers that promote fitness and skills whose performance is fun.
For more information on Master An’s Family Fun Day and Outdoor Belt Testing, or details about the many classes offered at Master An’s Taekwondo, call 627-7744 or visit online: www.masteranstkd.com.