Westside Tae Kwon Do celebrates 20 years in West Kelowna

Michael and Glenna Smith have trained a generation

Michael and Glenna Smith have had the honour of watching a generation of West Kelowna grow up and have their own children over their 20 years running Westside Tae Kwon Do.

“We watch them grow up and they watch us grow old,” joked Michael Smith, Taekwondo master instructor and president of the B.C. Taekwondo Association.

Smith, now a 5th degree black belt, first fell in love with martial arts when he was 15 years old in Ontario. After moving to the Westside, Smith, alongside his wife, Glenna who runs the administration side of the business began their school in a rented school gym.

“We plastered hand made signs and rented a school gym, we had four or six people come out the first night. From there it kept getting bigger and bigger, I was teaching four nights a week. Then we finally took the plunge and decided to go professional. We’ve never looked back since,” said Smith.

RELATED:Experts say parents are first line of defence in preventing sexual abuse in sports

Westside Tae Kwon Do was founded in 1998 and it’s the kids that continue to fuel the Smith’s passion.

“It was really great in one way to watch them grow up and be successful. But all the sudden you realize I have been doing this for a long time, we must be getting old or something. They make us believe our lives have been well spent. It’s very gratifying in that way,” said Smith. “The impact we have had on a lot of kids, some you would swear would have ended up in a federal institution, now we have watched them grow up and do great.”

Smith says that Taekwondo is beneficial to children because it teaches them discipline and respect. The patience that is learned in the school carries out to all other aspects of their lives. The sport also can help children come out of their shell and become more confident in themselves.

RELATED:B.C. Olympian race walks 25K for 25 days to raise money for kids in sports

“The respect they learn really quickly, it’s a formal setting. There are times (in class) where you need to hold very still and listen and there are others where you need to spring into action. They are also surrounded by lesser and higher ranks than them.”

Now 63 years-old, Smith hopes that the next 20 years of the school will be lead by an instructor that trained there when they were a child to carry on the tradition.

“I am going to keep doing it as long as I still am able and still enjoying it. I have no timeline set, one day in my dreams a senior student would take over. That would put the frosting on the cake for us, that’s a dream we have always had.”

To report a typo, email:
newstips@kelownacapnews.com
.


@sydneyrmorton
sydney.morton@kelownacapnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Kelowna Family Hub celebrates 10,000th visit

The Central Okanagan Family Hub opened in 2016

Lake Country council questions tax hike for fire hall

Council asked about other options opposed to a 4.9 per cent tax hike

Another 20 to 30 cm of snow expected on Coquihalla

Environment Canada issued a weather statement this morning

Retired Kelowna teacher a YouTube Sudoku sensation

A retired Kelowna teacher has amassed quite the following online by teaching the art of solving a Sudoku puzzle.

VIDEO: Close encounter with a whale near Canada-U.S border

Ron Gillies had his camera ready when a whale appeared Dec. 7

B.C. billionaires worth 5,845 times average middle-income household

Economists argue for changes to Canadian tax system benefitting rich

Condominium market still ‘a lot better’ than normal in Vancouver suburbs

The Fraser Valley, east of Metro Vancouver, has long been considered a more affordable haven for first-time homebuyers.

UN chief returns as climate talks teeter closer to collapse

Predictions from international climate expert, warn that global warming is set to do irreversible environmental damage.

Trump’s willingness to intervene in Meng detention roils Canada’s justification

The International Crisis Group said Tuesday, Dec. 11 it’s aware of reports that its North East Asia senior adviser Michael Kovrig has been detained.

Scientist awarded $100K for work on Arctic contaminants that led to ban

Derek Muir has received the $100,000 Weston Family Prize for his research that showed those carcinogens were able to move into the Arctic.

Manhunt continues for France shooter

Suspected gunman named, had long police record

‘Jurassic Park,’ ‘Shining’ added to National Film Registry

“These cinematic treasures must be protected because they document our history, culture, hopes and dreams.”

Berry: Consider your privacy this shopping season

Kelowna - Big Brother is always watching

Most Read