Green Intermediate student Meghan Janke seems like your normal fourth grader, perhaps a little quiet and somewhat shy. But behind that quiet demeanor is a young lady who has proved her merit on the mats of the local Taekwon-Do tournaments held at the John S. Knight Auditorium, not once but three times.
Taekwon-Do is a form of Korean martial arts, sometimes referred to as "Korean Karate." It combines elements of Karate, Chinese martial arts, and indigenous Korean martial arts. It emphasizes speed, agility and various types of kicking techniques. It is one of the only two Asian martial arts that are included in the Olympic Games, the other being Judo.
Meghan became interested in it after watching it being performed at the Olympics. She decided she wanted to try a martial arts and the rest is history.
"What I really like about it is that it is a good work out," she said. "It makes you stronger, helps with your self defense, and makes you much more confident."
Her parents both are very supportive of their daughter.
"I love it, it is a great confidence builder for Meghan," said her mother, Amy." We do not have to take her screaming and kicking to practice, she really enjoys going to it. And she really looks forward to the competition."
"It helps to teach her respect and self-discipline, ' added her father, Kerry. "We have watched her confidence build. At first, she was a little hesitant, but then it clicked, and she became much more confident in herself and more aggressive."
For Meghan, competition proved to be a challenge that she really took to. She is rated as a "Cho Dan Bo," having earned three stripes for her belt. This rank is directly under a black belt and is based on her ability to show mastery of five forms, similar to the "kata's' in the study of Karate. In addition, she has also shown proficiency is breaking boards using a number of basic kicks.
Meghan takes Taekwon-Do at Asian Sun in Green and is the 8-9 year old group. There are normally three tournaments held during the year at the John S. Knight Auditorium on the campus of the University of Akron. In these competitions, Meghan has done exceptionally well in her forms, kicks and breaking boards, winning three Grand Championship trophies in her three competitions. Each trophy is nearly as tall as she and Meghan is very proud of her accomplishments, as are her parents.
One of her instructors, Rebekah Thompson, works at the family's restaurant.
"She really works very well with the younger students," Thompson said. "She is the first to help out, working with them along with playing games with them during free time at the gym."
"I really would recommend Taekwon-Do," added Meghan. "It is a lot of fun and I have made new friends. I plan to continue with it and hope to be on the traveling team. Eventually, I would like to be an instructor."