"The Journey" – Emily Hunt
Dear Grandmaster Lewis,
What initially began as an effort to find something for
our son to do during the summer, ended as one of the
best things that could have happened… we enrolled him as
a student at Kang Do Won, and he began his journey on
the path of developing self-discipline, relationships,
As the youngest child in the family, by twelve years,
Jordan was a happy child, but very used to getting his
way and a bit temperamental. In the two and a half years
that he’s been a student here, the consistent, high
expectations and focus on self-control in the classes
have altered his behavior. He is working toward taking
responsibility for his own actions, learning that the
choices he makes in class and life lead to outcomes that
can be good or bad. For an eight year-old to recognize
this is crucial to his development.
The possibilities and opportunities for learning exist
here due to your vision and the phenomenal instructors.
Although each instructor brings his or her own
individual attributes to class, the core values remain
the same: a balance of discipline, high expectations,
and concern for those enrolled, as students and
developing members of society. The instruction goes
beyond the kicks, point-sparring, and board-breaking
that my sons loves, to learning how one chooses to be
perceived as a lion or a lamb in a world that isn’t
always friendly, especially to the “lambs”. This care
shown by instructors not only forges bonds with
students, but also serves as an example to students for
how they should care for one another. Now, as a brown
belt, my son has taken advantage of the opportunity to
become an assistant instructor himself, desiring to help
others the way that he has been helped himself.
In addition to the classes Jordan takes and helps
instruct, he is a part of the Demonstration Team and
competes in tournaments. He has experienced a Hornet’s
Nest and been named Competitor of the Year for his age
group. All of this has manifested itself in developing a
sense of inner-strength and confidence that he didn’t
have before. This confidence has spilled over into other
areas of his life, including a spring concert in school
where I was surprised to find him singing a solo. He is
more willing to try new things and take risks, believing
that if he gives something his best, the outcome will
reflect that effort. He sees a black belt in his future,
and I believe that in working toward that goal, he’ll
achieve so much more!
I’m thankful that you’ve created this place, with these
morals, values, and instructors because it has enriched
Fine Young Man” – Laurie Duquette
Grand Master Lewis and Master Judy,
At a Karate tournament today I was making sure my son
Tyler's belt ends were even, he replied, "it doesn't
matter, nobody cares." I thought of you Grand Master
Lewis and just laughed out loud to myself. I told Tyler
how his brother Mike had to have his uniform perfectly
pressed and his belt ends exactly even, or he would have
to do push-ups. He looked around and pointed out all the
uneven belts within his view. WOW, I thought, how
disappointing. He performed his advanced yellow belt
form with his belt perfectly even and placed 3rd in form
and one-steps today. I sent a video of the tournament to
Mike, who was very proud of his little brother.
I am writing this to you because I wanted to thank you
for all the hard lessons you and the Kang Do Won taught
Mike. About 2 years ago, Tyler (age 9 now) won 3 free
months of Tae Kwon Do at the school fair. He marched up
to the school owner, Master Page and told him "Thank
you, but when my brother comes home from Iraq, he will
be my instructor." It brought tears to my eyes. I did
not push him to join at that time. I enrolled him in the
school this year, because it had an after school program
with Karate classes included. He just tested for his
green belt (comes after the advanced yellow) at this
school. He is happy there, and we need the after school
The kids get away with sloppy pushups (no knuckles
involved here), can wear their school clothes, if they
didn't have their uniform. When the kids forgot their
uniform at the Kang Do Won, you would see some moist
nose prints against the mirror, not to mention sore
toes. For most kids, it is just another after school
sport here. Master Page is no Grand Master Lewis but he
is a great teacher and has taken a special interest in
Tyler. It is funny, when he spars, he has the same back
kick as Mike. I am reliving my earlier years, as a
karate mom. The memories I have with Mike (Godzilla) in
your school are so cherished. Yes, you were so strict,
(Noelle still talks about how scared she was of you),
but so effective.
You probably know Mike joined the Army as an M.P. He
was the only private (in his troop of 100 guys),
promoted to 2nd Private at basic training. He was
promoted for his ability to never give up, his ability
to keep a stoic face when verbally harassed, his
strength in delegating to others, taking the lead, and
for going above and beyond every soldier in his troop.
You had a huge part in creating such a strong leader.
His emotional, hardcore strength developed from his
training at the Kang Do Won. He is a totally different
person, so outgoing and caring. He was promoted to West
Point when his troop was sent to Afghanistan, where his
best friend lost his life.
Mike is now a respected Sergeant who was presented the
"Gold Sword" at West Point last year, an award that
comes maybe once in a few years. He became the person
you always talked about… the person many kids want to
be. I credit you and Judy as the people who helped form
him. For this, I thank you both. He has turned into a
great person you can be proud of. I wish Tyler was in
your school, but we are still in Nashville. Mark and I
are fine, Noelle is in her 2nd year of nursing school,
Tyler is in 4th grade and Mike has less than 1 year left
in the army. I hope you are all fine.
Thank you for everything,
“The Principles” – David P. Mason, MD &
Judith Van Antwerp, MD
We found the Kang Do Won by luck on the
Internet, trying to find a martial art school for our
3-year old son James. We thought it would be a fun
experience and a chance for him to make some friends. We
never expected it would change the life of our whole
family. The Kang Do Won is a special place. Grand Master
Lewis and his family have created a true community
composed of committed teachers, students and families
that are bound by fundamental core values. These shared
values are respect for oneself and for others, that
trying ones best is the true measure of success, that
learning while being challenged can be fun and that
helping others to achieve can be even more fun. James is
now 5 and we enrolled our twin girls Olivia and Madeline
when they turned 3. They all love it and attend 3 times
a week. Classes are well structured and the instructor
to student ratio remarkable such that students get near
one on one instruction.
The instructors at the Kang Do Won have treated our children
with love. The principles that our children learn now
will guide them for a lifetime. They take their mission
seriously and carry it out with an appropriate balance
of firmness and kindness. The families that attend the
Kang Do Won come from diverse backgrounds, but because
all of us share the common belief that our family and
children come first, there is common ground to form
lasting friendships. Not only have our children made
friends, but also so have we. No matter how hard or long
your day when you come to the Kang Do Won, you will
leave with a smile and realize that you are part of
“An Education that Lasts a Lifetime” – Jeff Nelson
I first met Grand Master Richard J. Lewis in the 1990s when I
was fresh out of the Air Force and looking, actually,
for a Chinese Wushu school. I spoke with him over the
phone and was immediately impressed with his philosophy
and approach. I participated in an introductory class
and was hooked. The lessons are about winning in life
and taught through a framework of physical discipline.
They are based on honor and integrity. The school is
hard, but the benefits are well worth it. As my father
always said, "No great opportunity ever looks like an
easy task, but rather a great challenge, otherwise
everybody would have them." Going to the Kang Do Won
Martial Arts Institute was one of the best things I have
ever done. Ever. Grand Master Lewis taught me to live
the martial way, and thank God he did.
Many years later now, I no longer attend the school. I live
Columbus, Ohio. Now, life is taking a bit of a toll. My
wife has Parkinson's Disease, and I have a degenerative
neurological condition caused by brain trauma I suffered
in an accident years back. I live the martial way. As
one popular movie put it, I “never give up, never give
in." I get up each morning with renewed energy and the
mental attitude that I am not going to be beaten by
this, that I will not only survive, but overcome. I owe
more to Grand Master Lewis than I will ever be able to
repay. His lessons live on every day I wake up.
A Lifesaver - Gladys Lepo
Four years ago I was so worried about my grandson Benjamin (Kang Do Won nickname... Wolverine), who at the time was 10 years old. His mother had Multiple Sclerosis and was becoming more and more ill. Because of her illness, she could not be there for Ben and provide the kind of support that mothers do for their children. So, I took on the responsibility of caring for him.
There was no place that Ben could go and play and develop friendships and social skills because there were no other kids on our street. He had many problems at home and at school, the worst of which was bullying. Ben was quiet and timid, which made him a prime target for bullies. He would become very upset after being harassed and bullied. He didnt know how to deal with this ongoing abuse and was becoming more and more depressed. He needed more help than I was able to provide by myself. I knew of the Kang Do Won Martial Arts Institute, on E.305th Street, which was very close to our home. One day I decided to visit them and inquire about lessons. After talking with Grand Master Lewis, I knew this was the right place for Ben. I set up an appointment for him to take an introductory class. Up to this point Ben wasnt sure that martial arts was something he wanted to do, that is until he took this first class and then he was hooked!
After starting at the Kang Do Won, everything began to change toward the positive for Ben. Not only were the lessons helping him to feel better about himself and more self-confident, but more importantly he found a valuable resource in Grand Master Lewis. When Ben got upset or had a problem or bad experience, he would talk with GML, which helped him tremendously. Ben has come so far and grown so much in personality and character that he earned 1st Degree Junior Black Belt and shortly thereafter, was awarded 2009 Kang Do Won Student of the Year.
Before Ben started training, he could barely look you in the eye and speak to you. Now he teaches and tries to help other children overcome their problems. He still encounters difficulties from time to time (as we all do), but now he faces them head on rather than hiding or running from them. The Kang Do Won is a wonderful place for all children. I encourage everyone to enroll and everyone who attends the school to continue with their training because what they learn and practice will stay with them for the rest of their lives and make them better people. How do I know this?... because the Kang Do Won saved my grandsons life!
"Training at the Kang Do Won Changed Our Lives" - Maureen Soeder
I have been a Kang Do Won student since 1997. I joined the Kang Do Won Martial Arts Institute because my husband had begun training there six months earlier and he was very enthusiastic about it. I, on the other hand, regarded his training as a middle-age crisis, but figured that we could have some fun together. Yes, we have had fun -- and a lot of sweat and tears -- but training in this traditional martial arts school changed everything.
It is impossible to explain in mere words how Grand Master Richard J. Lewis (the head teacher) and the school's instructors have improved our lives. But I can tell you that I am much happier and more successful than the person who walked into the Kang Do Won a decade ago. The majority of these internal and external changes have come through training under Grand Master Lewis. I am physically, mentally, and spiritually stronger as a direct result of my training.
Much of the training involves attitude adjustment. We learn how to truly change our thought processes; this behavioral modification results in more harmonious interactions with people in our lives -- like family, friends and co-workers -- as well as teaching us to communicate clearly and directly. From the martial way perspective, we are taught to fight, quite effectively, so in the end, we do not have to.
I cannot recommend this martial arts school more highly. It improves lives in a traditional setting, which is contrary to the martial entertainment businesses that predominantly exist today. If you are looking for a true, traditional martial arts school, or striving to change your life (holistically) for the better, this school, the Kang Do Won Martial Arts Institute, can fulfill you and your family's needs.
4th Degree Master Black Belt
Professor of English,
Cleveland State University
Lakeland Community College
Tri-C Community College
Getting it Done - Jon Gilles
In 1984, when I was 14 years old, I was in dire need of direction. I had a good life, growing up in a middle class environment with an incredibly supporting mother and sister but there was still something fundamental missing. I could possibly blame it on the lack of a father in my life for the previous seven years or the fact that my mother, although well intentioned, may have been too lax in expecting more from me, but either way I was wandering without a purpose. That all changed when I found the Kang Do Won.
I really was not looking for a martial arts school, but as is so often a fact in life, what you need finds you. The Kang Do Won opened a satellite school in the health club I belonged to. The training was precisely what I needed. It brought balance and challenge to my life. Of course, everything was not perfect, but the direction I found through my training made difficult teenage years easier and more successful. My actual time spent in martial arts training was a challenging joy. The focus on the whole person - mind, body and spirit - by Grand Master Lewis and other instructors made what I learned there so much more than how to throw kicks and punches. I gained much needed confidence and fitness that made my time in high school much more enjoyable. I continued my training throughout my high school time and only stopped my formal training at the Kang Do Won because I moved to Columbus for college. By that time I had earned - and I do not use that word lightly - 2 black belts in Tae Kwon Do and 1 in a weapons art.
Oddly enough this is where the real benefit of my time at the Kang Do Won is revealed. The confidence I had due to my training served me well in college, but the benefit was not fully realized until I began my career as a Columbus Police Officer at 22 years old. First, the Police Academy was less intimidating as the fighting part, usually the panic inducing time of the six months, was not a concern. Much of the rest of the physical part of the Academy was made easier because in the back of my mind I knew that I had already accomplished greater feats than what was challenged to me and if I did not quit when getting my black belts there was no way I would quit anything else.
Once on the street, I found even greater benefit to my time spent at the Kang Do Won. During my 18 years as a police officer I have been confronted with many daunting scenarios. I have been a part of many literal life and death struggles and talked with other officers who have fought for their lives. The one constant in all of these events is the fact that we all switch to an automatic state and fall back on our training. For me my training went beyond just what I learned at the Police Academy, but more importantly, what I learned at the Kang Do Won. And although I have had opportunity to use my physical training of kicks and punches in defense of my life it was the mental toughness that ultimately served me best. The Kang Do Won is the School of Inner Strength and it was that inner strength that I have relied on over and over again, both professionally and personally.
Not everyone will use the physical skills learned at the Kang Do Won in their lives. As a matter of fact, I hope that they never have to use a single kick or punch, ever. But the inner strength, the strength that comes from knowing you can be pushed beyond what you think is possible and come out victorious, will be used EVERY day. This is why, even after being away from my formal martial arts training for more than 20 years, when I am faced with a difficult challenge, I see Grand Master Lewis' face and hear his commanding voice say to me Mr. Gilles, get it done. And that is exactly what I do.
The Answer to Our Prayers - Greg & Dawnn Danaher
Our son Michael is a very strong-willed 5 year old. From the age of 3 we have struggled with his talking back, defiance and general lack of respect. At first we tried to correct his behavior with time outs. When that didn't work, we tried taking away favorite toys and activites. When that didn't work, our desperation led us to spanking. Even that had no effect. The constant power struggles and arguing left us exhausted every night and worried what he would be like once he became a teenager.
We happened to be at a church festival where Kang Do Won was performing a demonstration. My wife and I noticed that even the younger children in the school stood "at ease" without moving around or making noise. Our son was attracted to the martial arts moves and especially the breaking of boards. At the conclusion of the demonstration, Master Lewis invited anyone interested to attend a free trial period at the school. Michael was interested and we had nothing to lose. It turns out that Kang Do Won was the answer to our prayers!
When we attended our first class, We were surprised at how friendly and polite the young students were. They approached us, looked us in the eye, and introduced themselves. This is something you don't see often enough in kids today. Then we noticed how the instructors taught (and expected) respect from their students... could they actually break the bad behavior without breaking the spirit?
In a few weeks we noticed a big change. Michael began to thrive on the discipline and structure taught at Kang Do Won. He wanted to make his instructors and especially, Grand Master Lewis proud. Whenever we had respect problems at home, we brought them to Grand Master Lewis' attention. Needless to say, Grand Master Lewis' experience with so many children over so many years proved to be a powerful tool. Now, Michael actually asks to go almost every day and we are happy to take him as often as we can. Kang Do Won has become a second family to all of us and we are proud and grateful to have stumbled upon this incredible school.
Better Tomorrow" – Tammy Newhouse
I've been at the Kang Do Won for a long time,
over 20 years. In that time I have seen a lot of people
come and go. Some of them have stayed for the long
haul, some stayed only for a few years or even just a
few months. I believe that regardless of how long each
person spent at the school, they were all better off for
the time they invested. The Kang Do Won is a unique
place. Yes, this school teaches people how to punch and
kick and how to defend themselves, but more importantly,
it teaches them how to be the best people they can be.
The Kang Do Won takes people to places they may not have
reached without the help and support provided by Grand
Master Lewis and his teachers. That journey is
different for each and every person that walks through
the door because each person needs something different.
Some need to be pushed physically, some need to be
taught humility, some need discipline in their lives,
some need to recognize that they have more worth than
they ever realized. The school teaches all those things
and so much more. Over the years I have watched so many
students evolve into stronger, more confident versions
of themselves - and it has been a privilege to be a part
I take care to remember people as they were when
they first started so that I can truly appreciate the
differences along the way. It's easy to overlook the
gradual changes as they happen, but when you look back
after a length of time, the growth is remarkable. You
cannot help but develop those things that the school
engrains - confidence, self-esteem, courage,
discipline. All of these things allow our students to
do more than they ever thought they could. I think this
strikes me so deeply because I feel I am a great
example of the power of the Kang Do Won. When I first
started at the school I was so introverted that I
couldn't speak to people without looking at the floor
and mumbling. I was timid, shy and scared to death of
what others thought. I had incredibly low self-esteem.
I've gained so much from the school - and what I've
gained has allowed me to find success in all aspects of
my life. It is very safe to say that the Kang Do Won
changed my entire world, and I am extremely grateful for
all the opportunities and experiences that the school
has given me - both in the martial arts and in life.
"A New Beginning" - Jill Latkovich
Early in 2006, I began the process of investigating martial arts training for my 10 year old son. At the time, I knew nothing about martial arts but had heard from various sources that it may be what I was looking for... a place for him to build self confidence and discipline. I began calling and visiting several schools in the area. My first visit happened to be the Kang Do Won Martial Arts Institute. We met with Grand Master Lewis and had the opportunity to observe a class. I was impressed with my visit but was unsure because of my lack of knowledge. I departed with the clear intention of visiting other schools which was the advice given to me by Grand Master Lewis at the time. With each visit to other schools it quickly became apparent to me that if I was to enroll my son anywhere, it would be at the Kang Do Won.
As it happened, 1 1/2 months later, he became a student at the Kang Do Won. In this short period of time, I cannot express adequately the difference it has made in our lives. The Kang Do Won has not been a program to send my child to. Rather, it has been the place for "A New Beginning." This phrase was used by my son when he described how his life is now different since becoming a student of Grand Master Lewis.
I sit on the parent's bench and observe most of the classes that my son attends. Through my observation I believe this school is successful for many reasons most important being the experience of Grand Master Lewis. His presence and continual watchful eye on all of the students as well as the instructors seems to have created a place where students can feel comfortable and secure in attempting things that they may have never dreamed possible. It also offers at the same time positive support and guidance for the students. The outstanding instructors are all trained and under the supervision of Grand Master Lewis. The consistency, structure, order and clear expectations of what is required of all students and their families create a safe and challenging environment where respect, discipline, courage, honesty, leadership and patience are developed.
The investment required of me as a parent both of my finances and time, has produced results far beyond anything I ever expected. Not only have I witnessed an increase in discipline and self confidence in my son, he has gained so many of the other intangible "gifts" that money can ever buy. I am so grateful that we are able to have this opportunity, to meet so many really good people and to experience all that we have. I also realize that this is a long term commitment and process of growth and we look forward to the future with hope. My recommendation is to go and take a look for yourself. I doubt that you will be disappointed!!!
"Where 'Champions of Life' are Forged" - Robert Soeder
I have been a student of Grand Master Richard J. Lewis
at the Kang Do Won Martial Arts Institute since 1997. In
that time, I have seen an incredible number of success
stories... including my own. Beginning my martial arts
training at the age of forty-two I have so far achieved
the rank of 4th Degree Master Black Belt.
Kang Do Won is Korean for "School of Inner Strength." As a traditional martial arts school, the primary focus is on strength of mind and spirit - using the art of Kang Do as a vehicle for achieving this goal. The training is not only physical, but academic as well - covering such elements as physics, history, philosophy and biology. Requirements for advancement to each rank include a written test as well as a demonstration of physical skills. Grand Master Lewis takes a personal interest in each student, monitoring and directing their growth and advancement in all these areas... mental, spiritual, academic, and physical.
Over the years, I have personally seen:
- dramatic improvements in students with regard to confidence, self-esteem and discipline;
- students improve focus and respect - which translates to success in school and the workplace;
- young children advance rapidly in the development of social skills and physical dexterity;
- children with learning disabilities actually achieve passing grades in school;
- adults excelling in their professions well beyond their expectations;
- many students achieve superior athletic skills.
These are not isolated experiences. Rather, they are literally day to day occurrences. The Kang Do Won Martial Arts Institute has been a vital part of the community for twenty two years and is truly a school where 'Champions of Life are Forged'. If you are looking for a martial arts school, you owe it to yourself to consider the Kang Do Won.
"WOW" - Daneen Pedone
I was first introduced to the Kang Do Won in 2005. I was not looking for a martial arts school, just something for my son, Nicholas to be involved in. After the 1st class, he was sure he wanted to become a student. As a parent, I observed each class and over the years I am amazed at the changes I have witnessed. This school teaches more than just physical techniques, it also teaches mental, spiritual, life skills and lessons.
In 2007, my younger son, Anthony decided it was his time to join. He had patiently watched his older brother and decided this was something he would like to try. Now, 5 1/2 years later, I can say Wow! The difference in my boys from the first day to today is incredible, not only in physical techniques, but also in school, and life situations! Nicholas will soon be testing for his Black Belt. Anthony just achieved his 2nd gup Brown Belt. Both boys are also members of the Competition and Demonstration Team, and have won multiple trophies for competitor of the year. Also, they are both good academic students.
Now being able to view other martial arts schools, I by far recommend the Kang Do Won. Not only have we found a great martial arts school, weve gained a lifetime of knowledge and another family.
"Trust" - David Fuentes, Petty Officer First Class, U. S. Coast Guard
It is my pleasure to recommend the Kang Do Won Martial Arts Institute to whomever shall read this testimonial. From the moment you enter the school you will recognize the honor that has been earned over many years of dedicated service. Over time you will realize the words on the walls are taught and practiced, not just for decoration.
Last year, I came to the Kang Do Won with my son Rolando, who had previously studied the martial arts, to continue his education of body and mind. I was so impressed with the program that I extended my trust for my son David and daughter Daisy who are much younger.
Over several months I came to understand that the school is an extended family of Grand Master Lewis, Master Lewis, and instructors. In interactions with the other parents of the Kang Do Won students we shared ideas, and saw our children grow with each class.
With discipline and direction my children were able to channel their energy and improve themselves. If you give your child the opportunity, they will amaze you. I am so proud of my children for persevering. In the past year, each climbed and surpassed barriers. Their journey is not over, and I am glad to know they are gaining the tools and strength to meet any challenge.
"A School Full of Leaders" - Christine Shippy
I am a student, teacher, and mother of three children who are a part of the Kang Do Won family. There is no better place to learn self-respect, self-discipline, determination, and courage in this world of ours. We are better people in society because Grand Master Lewis has touched us with his traditional philosophy of how to live life to its fullest and how to find peace with ourselves and those around us. He has made us better people and continues to be a wonderful positive influence in our lives. Our school is like a home and the people are like family. We are very proud and thankful to be a part of the Kang Do Won!
What a Journey - Jennifer Frohlich
"My daughter is a Black Belt! I uttered those words for the first time moments after Grand Master Lewis tied a Black Belt around Julia's (nickname
Gem's) waist! It was a very surreal moment
the culmination of 6 years of training, the last 9 months of which were so intense, so focused. When she started at the Kang Do Won II (she was 6), this was an inconceivable thought, but yet Julia had just become a Black Belt.
Her journey was long and not without hiccups, as Grand Master Lewis calls them, the little bumps in the road. She had a few obstacles to overcome and with her dedication and determination was able to continue moving forward on her journey to becoming a Black Belt. Every year when the contract was up for renewal, her father would ask what her thoughts were and Julia always said, I want to continue. The one thing that we never had to do with Julia was force her to go to class. That was something she wanted to do, even if she was not feeling 100%, or was injured in some way, she was determined to make it to class. She trained and became a Black Belt because it was what she wanted to do, not just what we wanted her to do.
Her growth during this process was truly remarkable, especially during the last few months of preparation. A once shy, timid and soft spoken little girl slowly became able to look people in the eye when speaking, order for herself in a restaurant and have the courage to say what she was thinking (even if it took a little bit of prodding). She could stand up in front of her class and give a speech, pull down the map of the world and announce to the class that she was Not born in China, rather in Kazakhstan, then proceed to point out where the country was. She herself laid the groundwork for learning to play the violin mid school year and joining the orchestra while continuing to play the sax in the band. The latter really impressed us for it took courage, communication and persistence to achieve her goal. After only 4 months of lessons, she became 2nd chair out of all the seasoned violinists.
The biggest change became apparent the day of her Black Belt test. It started off a bit rocky, the nerves were getting to her and she was completely off. She was letting her nerves take over. Then something clicked and she switched into gear, put her game face on and said
No way is anything or anyone coming between me and my belt. Sparring was her worry, but she came out like lion, attacking first and taking the 7 points necessary to pass. We could not believe that was our little girl out there in the ring! She took control of her situation, her fate, and made it happen.
She has grown by leaps and bounds since the test. With instructing, she has now learned how to convey the knowledge she has to the other students, and that is no easy task. She looks out for the grade rank students and wants to guide them on their journey, be it to the next belt level or all the way to a Black Belt. She knows the responsibility that comes with the belt and is working hard to uphold that. Her posture is better, she holds her head up high and makes her presence known.
Obviously we are so very proud of our daughter, but she would not be where she is today had it not been for the guidance, instruction and support of Master Hotchkiss, Grand Master Lewis and Master Lewis. What separates the Kang Do Won from all the other martial arts schools is the philosophy behind the teaching and the sense of togetherness, of family, that you get when you are a student and even as a parent. You can go nowhere else and receive the same quality training and the same rewarding sense of belonging. Little did we realize that signing Julia up for a martial art education at the Kang Do Won would take her down such a rewarding and fulfilling path. What a journey it has been, and will continue to be.
"A Wonderful School for Me and My Children"
I have called and visited most of the martial arts schools within reasonable driving range in Lake County. I was looking for a school that would not only teach me and my children how to defend ourselves, but more importantly would improve our self-confidence and discipline, relative to the differences in our ages. After a phone conversation with Grand Master Lewis I was very impressed with his professionalism, knowledge, and his focus on personal growth and character development, rather than just on punching and kicking.
We became students and as a result, have all become healthier, happier and safer. My children's behavior and social skills have improved dramatically and their school work and grades have gotten better as well. I feel better about myself than I thought I ever could. Enrolling myself and my children at the Kang Do Won is one of the best things I have ever done. I highly recommend this school to anyone who wants a quality martial arts education that teaches its students how to be the best they have the potential to be.
"An Excellent, Traditional Martial Arts School" - Ken Kingston
I have watched my 2 children, a boy and a girl who have not excelled at team sports, grow in physical ability and confidence in Grand Master Lewis' program. All of the instructors are knowledgeable and know how to present the material to each level of student. The class format is strict and builds discipline, but is fun. When games are played, no one ever picks on the slower or less skilled children. My son, who could not stand on one foot without losing his balance, can now do a roundhouse kick above his head, and he is having fun moving up through the ranks.
There are always enough instructors to give personal attention, and the children are always working on something new. We have been very happy with our decision to send our children to the Kang Do Won.
"An Educational Environment for Everybody" - Nick DiTirro
I have had the exceptional fortune to be a student of Grand Master Richard J. Lewis since 1994. In that time, I have experienced exceptional personal growth and development in myself and witness these outcomes in every student who raised to the challenges of the Kang Do Won.
One of the first lessons, taught at the Kang Do Won, is that most of life limitations are created by our own mind. Grand Master Lewis quickly opens the student's mind to a world of opportunities that have previously been obscured. Grand Master Lewis and his faculty use traditional martial arts to educate the students in personal growth, self defense, individuality, social responsibility and life lessons too numerous to document. While the martial arts may appear to be the curriculum, the real education is about being a better person.
Since my time at the Kang Do Won, I have become a Professor of Information Systems at a local college and have earned a Masters of Business Administration, an Educational Specialist Degree and a Doctorate of Philosophy.
If you want to only learn how to punch and kick, you are best suited to investigate another school. However, if you want to learn to be a better person and experience a level of personal growth and fulfillment previously unthinkable talk with Grand Master Lewis and visit the Kang Do Won.
"Outstanding Martial Arts School" - Anthony Sacco
I became a student at the Kang Do Won in 1989 and an instructor thereafter. In that time I have seen both children and adults significantly improve their self confidence and physical fitness as a result of training. I can strongly recommend it as the premier martial arts institute in Northeast Ohio.
"A Mom's Perspective on Training" - Jolene Woodfork
The Kang Do Won is a dynamic martial arts school where both my son Oliver and I have had the opportunity to learn and grow. The school is an extended family that I can count on and trust to provide guidance not only to my son, but also to me as a parent. By working together, we can help my son achieve his potential.
Oliver became a student of the Kang Do Won in 2003; he was full of energy and lacked discipline. The instructors provide an environment where lessons are learned and character is built. The classes have taught him to redirect his energy so that his actions will result in a positive outcome. He has not only learned to recite the principles, but come to understand them and how they effect his everyday experiences. The change in his behavior is phenomenal! As his mother, I know that these changes are a direct result of his training at the Kang Do Won.
There is no question about it, the Kang Do Won Martial Arts Institute has made a positive difference in both of our lives!
"More than We Expected" - Sharon Pozun
In todays society our children are faced with many challenges, and as a parent it is our responsibility to provide them with the knowledge, so that they can face these challenges and overcome any obstacle that they may encounter.
We wanted our son to know that if he was ever in a difficult situation that he would be able to defend himself. In 2006 we came to the Kang Do Won with this request, and after talking with Grand Master Lewis we realized that he could help teach our son how to defend himself and also provide him with the knowledge to know when and when not to use it. As it turned out Grand Master Lewis has provided him with more than just the knowledge of self-defense.
In the past year we have seen Eric develop many qualities, the most noticeable is what we call a "quiet confidence." He has applied this to many different aspects in his life, such as choosing what classes he wants to take in school, knowing that his friends might not choose those same classes. He doesnt let his peers influence his decision-making. He has learned how to set goals for himself and has worked hard to achieve them. For example, he knew from the very first time that we saw the Demonstration Team perform, that this was something he wanted to be a part of, and he knew that he would have to work hard and practice to get to be a part of the team. When he felt that he reached that point, he talked to Master Lewis first to see about the requirements of being on the team and if she thought he would be able to join. With her encouraging words and her bright smile, she told him that he would have to ask Grand Master Lewis. I remember that day because he wanted to talk to Grand Master Lewis by himself without Mom coming in with him. As I sat there waiting for what seemed like eternity, Eric finally came out of his office with the biggest smile I have ever seen. He had Grand Master Lewis approval to be a part of the Demonstration Team.
The most important lesson Eric has learned since he started on his path with Grand Master Lewis, is that if you really want to do something you have to work hard at it, and never give up your dreams.
If We only Knew Michael Frohlich
6 years ago my daughter and I were horsing around in the living room, pretend fighting and acting like martial artists after we watched an episode of SpongeBob Squarepants, where he was doing karate. I grabbed a belt from my robe and made a Japanese flag symbol on a hanker chief and dressed my daughter Julia up like a martial artist. After a while we started talking about getting into martial arts and she said that she would like to try it. So I found a flyer from her elementary school for the Kang Do Won II, talked it over with her mother and decided to enroll her. My desire to put her into martial arts was for her to become more assertive, confident and not quite so shy. She was and is a very well behaved young girl, so we were not concerned about her learning discipline, respect, honesty, fairness, ethics, morals or anything of that nature like what is taught there, because her mother and I were very much on top of that with her. She just needed a boost to get her to find herself and her inner being and be able to understand it, deal with it and be confident of it. Essentially, as parents we needed to be confident that she was going to learn these things in whatever activity she would become involved in as she grew older and felt that this could possibly be the way.
Throughout her life Gem (Her Kang Do nickname) has always been one to not pick up things quickly at least on the outside. For example... I worked with her for many months on how the computer worked and she just didnt get it. Then one day out of the blue she was flying around the computer screen like she had been doing it for years. At the Kang Do Won she had performed the same scenario. After a couple years in the school, one day at a tournament she performed all of her taught skills amazingly well (better than any other tournament), like she had been doing them for years. Her mother and I looked at each other and said is that our child? We were so proud of her that day as I think we knew that she was headed in the right direction. She was confident, assertive and definitely not shy.
A year or so ago this also became evident as one day at one of her lower ranking belt tests, Grand Master Lewis had her perform a requirement that was for a higher ranking belt, but not required for the belt she was testing for. She nor her mother and I had expected this at all. He had found out that she was horrified about this requirement and felt that she needed to address her fear, and possibly that as in life, things do not always go as planned and life always has surprises and unforeseen obstacles. She did the requirement and to this day, I believe that this one situation finally showed our daughter that she had an inner strength within her that she didnt even know that she had. Our daughter has grown into herself very well as a person. The goals that we had set forth for her have been and are continuing to be accomplished and reaffirmed in her by Grand Master Lewis and the Kang Do Wons Instructors, including her primary instructor Master Gary Hotchkiss. The best part of it all has been that what her mother and I instill upon Julia in regards to behavioral qualities is only supported and also promoted at the Kang Do Won and the satellite school Kang Do Won II. At the time we enrolled Julia we did not expect the school to also take on the responsibilities of guiding and nurturing our young daughters mind, but are we happy for the extra bonus? Absolutely! Kang Do at the Kang Do Won has been a great decision from day one. Soon our daughter will be testing for her black belt, but honestly she really already has it. Black belts display the success of accomplishments that are made up of significant challenges, and it carries with it the responsibility of maintaining the persona and the respect that it reflects. By what our daughter has accomplished from the Kang Do Won and us in her short life, in her character, her actions, her caring nature and most of all her better awareness of her inner being, in my opinion she has already achieved that black belt. The rest is just cloth.
Conquering the Demons - Ernie Bones Finch
We initially put our daughter Riley in martial arts because she asked if she could try it. We thought it would go along with the ballet she was participating in at the Fine Arts. We tossed it around and then my wife Tracy said she had found a studio to join. She mentioned that after talking to Grand Master Lewis, that the Kang Do Won would be the best place for Riley to attend. I was working off-shift hours and I missed all of Rileys white belt classes and her first promotion test. When I would get home every night, she would tell me everything that she had learned that day. I still remember the night she learned distant defense number 7. We were in the front yard and she showed me the attack. Then she executed the technique and just about took me down. She is not so much concerned with rank, but how much she knows and how to make it better. We trust that all the instructors at the school are there to help her reach her full potential.
Ive always been guarded when it came to meeting new people and putting my trust in them. The first time I sat down and talked with Grand Master Lewis, I could feel his sincerity. I took everything he said to heart. He is truly a genuine person that is looking to help the human spirit that wants to be helped.
I had attended a promotion test and I remember Master LoPiccolo state how much the martial arts has meant to him. He stated that his family and the martial arts were the most important things in his life. I have the family part, I just needed a matching book-end like that. Ive always played sports, but now this was something we as a family could do together and reap the benefits of self enlightenment. Like others in the past, our youngest daughter Molly's training started on the spectators bench. Once that uniform came in from Santa, she was ready to go. Now, there is no stopping either of them. I have only been a student for 7 months, but I found things in myself that have been hidden for decades. Everyone brings up the demons that they have to face. I know that I could make quite a stellar movie with the demons that I am in a battle with. The Kang Do Won is putting me on the path to conquer them. And since joining, I know that I now have an extended family of support to help me.
"Fantastic Improvement" Chris Pajek
There are many reasons that one chooses to study martial arts, and for our family it was because we felt our son required help with focusing, respecting others and listening. Our journey with the Kang Do Won Martial Arts Institute began when Corey (nicknamed Tiger) started training with Master Gary Hotchkiss in his second week of being a kindergartner at St. Monica Academic School. Corey just turned six. Corey's birthday is July 27th and he should have started kindergarten the following month after turning five, but we chose not to send him. Although Corey was ready academically, socially he was not. He was extremely hyper and had trouble focusing or sitting still for any period of time, he even ate his meals standing up. We made the decision to hold him back and try another year of pre-school.
When Corey turned 6 and it came time for kindergarten, we hadn't noticed much improvement in Corey's behavior and attentiveness. We were concerned about how school would go. During the first week of school, we received a flyer from the Kang Do Won II Martial Arts Institute branch school, and what we read in that flyer made my husband and I want to sign Corey up. We felt that training in the martial arts would help Corey settle down. Initially I must say, I was horrified at the first class when Corey was reprimanded for not speaking directly to his instructor, or the fact that he was made to do push-ups when he did not acknowledge a command.
But these things never discouraged Corey, they only made him want to please his instructor more. It is amazing to me how young children learn such respect and discipline so fast at the Kang Do Won. I quickly saw that this is how preparation begins in the journey to black belt. Even at the age of six, my husband and I saw that Corey had a definite passion for martial arts. Corey trained for six months before he tested for his yellow belt and then everything just flew from there. At 9 1⁄2 years of age, Corey earned a 3rd gup brown belt. Our family has made Coreys training in the martial arts a definite priority. Corey started to attend class three times a week just over two years ago and attends additional classes at the home school when our schedule permits. Corey also plays baseball and takes skating and swimming lessons. He has amazingly adapted to juggling his schedule and responsibilities with his schoolwork.
What Corey looks most forward to is the American Warrior Tournaments (occurring 6 times yearly). These tournaments give each student a chance to show off their hard work; and the competition motivates them to practice more so they can do better at the next tournament. Corey is doing well academically in school and is determined to become a black belt. He is very proud of his achievements. More recently, Corey became an assistant instructor, which we never imagined he would want to do at his age. We are amazed at how he communicates with the younger students and how it gives him such a sense of satisfaction helping the younger ranks learn.
When we see him in the Kang Do Won classroom, we see a young man who is dedicated and confident. As for Coreys conduct in the classroom at school, it's work in progress. Academically, Corey is right on target. We believe that the lessons in respect and self esteem he has learned in Kang Do have helped his teachers channel his energy into a positive direction. Corey has such confidence in himself with everything he does, and we feel strongly that the Kang Do Won deserves much of the credit for that.
Proud to be Kang Do Won Art Haavisto
We enrolled in 1999 when Alex (nickname Samurai) was 5 years old and Kai (nickname Sparrow) was only 3. Alan (nickname Flea) was only a year and a half at the time, and although he didn't become a student until after he turned three, he was here on the bench any time his brothers were here. He spent so much time on the bench that I believe his training started well before he became an official student. In fact, he announced to us when he was ready to start.
Over the years I've heard many reasons for parents enrolling their children in the martial arts. Discipline - very important, but growing up with a father that is retired military, my children were no strangers to discipline. Inner strength - equally important. The simple fact is that I just wanted them to learn martial arts.
Why the Kang Do Won? Also simple. After we decided to enroll the kids in martial arts training, we checked out several schools. I found nothing really exceptional until I sat down and talked with Grand Master Lewis. I was impressed, and after nine years and the opportunity to see many other schools at competitions and demonstrations, I am still impressed. No other school compares.
I don't think my children had an auspicious start to their training. Samurai and Sparrow attended two classes a week in the beginning, and as I recall, it was six months before they tested for yellow belt. Later we added a third class, then the weekends, then joined the Demo Team, then they became assistant instructors and it was seven days a week at the Kang Do Won. It was a little different for Flea, because he was thrown into the daily schedule from the start of his training.
I could talk for hours about the lessons we've learned and the successes and growth we have experienced here, but I think I would rather focus on martial arts training from one parent's perspective. These are some of the ideas and approaches that we have used. I think they've worked well for us; maybe they will work for you.
You may have noticed that I use the term "we" allot. Although my wife and I are not students, we consider ourselves to be an integral part of our children's training. Until recently, when they were here, we were here. It gives us a chance to show that we care about what they are doing, and also lets us see what they are learning.
Show up - if you can be here, be here. Other parents remark that it is great that my kids enjoy training so much and always want to be here. The secret is that they don't always want to be here. Many times they said they wanted to stay home. I reply that it is their right not to want to come, but we're going anyhow. Over time it becomes a part of life.
Concentrate on the martial arts. Many parents want to have their children experience everything and bounce between martial arts practice, baseball, soccer, dance, and assorted other activities. I've always been of the opinion that you pick one thing and learn it well. Martial arts, as taught at the Kang Do Won, provides physical training, and it also provides mental training and character development. We have recently branched out into other sports, but we haven't gone far from the tree. My kids are wrestling in school.
Practice, practice, practice. Master Lewis is fond of saying that you have to practice at least ten minutes a day if you want to be a black belt some day. My kids needed allot more than that. We have practiced at home, gone to class, and then practiced more when we got home from class. When the kids get bored at home, have them practice. One of the advantages of watching the classes is that you learn what they need to practice.
Pushups are good. I remember when Samurai brought in a report card with a couple of check marks for bad behavior. Grand Master Lewis assigned him pushups every day until the next report card. I have heard others complain that that is too much for a kid to do. I, on the other hand, used to wake him up early so I could watch his pushups before I went to work. He hasn't had problems on his report card since, and he can do some pushups! A win, win situation.
I'd just like to end by saying that, after nine years here, I have no regrets. My children have earned black belts and are receiving sound, valuable training that will aid them for the rest of their lives. We may not be a part of Kang Do Won forever, but the Kang Do Won will forever be a part of us. I am proud of that.
"Making a Choice" - Michelle Holmes
We enrolled our 4 year old son Brian at the Kang Do Won in 2002. In 2004 our 5 year old son Michael took this big step. And now our littlest one Sean who is three is now a part of this family. My name is Michelle and I am also a Kang Do Won student. It has been a wonderful experience for me and my boys. Sometimes it's very hard to make a choice on which school you want your child to attend. But if you read the rest of this review you will find out why the Kang Do Won is the martial arts school for you.
The first day of Kang Do was a very intimidating experience for all my boys and I. Being that my son Brian has been there longer, I'd like to share his experience with you. When he began his training he was a 4 year old boy who was very apprehensive and had lots of butterflies in his stomach. Although, there was a lot of order and control in the disciplined and structured surroundings, there was definitely an air of friendliness and true caring and concern for all students. As the months progressed, my son became more at ease. He started to overcome some of his shyness and began to believe in himself . He was no longer fidgeting or looking aimlessly around the room. He was more focused and able to follow directions through to completion. He had faith in himself.
My son has now been in Kang Do for over four years. Of course, they're all normal kids, still forgetting things and getting embarrassed when they make a mistake. But, the apprehension is gone and the maturity level, confidence and self-control that have evolved as a result of Kang Do are quite apparent. They stand proud of their achievements and are enthusiastic to take on new challenges. What more can a mom ask for.
"Heart" - Matt Bangerter
Anyone who follows any kind of sports has probably heard the term "heart." People will talk about a football player or a boxer as having "great heart" and talk about how he or she never quits but just keeps pushing through difficult situations, often turning imminent defeat into victory.
There is a related saying that "heart cannot be taught," as if one either is born with heart or is not and that is the level of heart they are stuck with. However, that old adage is false. This school can teach you heart.
"Training at the Kang Do Won" - John Kingston
I began studying Kang Do in 2005. I had observed numerous classes attended by my niece and nephew. I finally decided to accept the challenge of walking onto the training floor. In a very short time, I began to feel stronger, not only physically, but mentally as well. Grand Master Lewis has created an atmosphere that guides you into becoming more aware of how you deal with everyday life, and all the stress that comes with it. Prior to entering the training floor, we are taught to "empty the cup." This involves tipping a silver cup just near the entrance to the floor. When doing this we are symbolizing emptying our minds of the daily stresses of the outside world. I have started to use this same technique as I arrive at and leave work. While we are taught many physical techniques, the control over mental focus has become a more important part of my training. I have a long way to go on this journey, and welcome the company of others on this road.
"Excellent, Challenging Martial Art School" - Jaime Helton
I first learned about the Kang Do Won when my younger brother joined in 2001 when he was in second grade. He had issues to be addressed including paying attention and getting good grades in school. During his training, he not only became an amazing martial artist, but he went from a B/C student to receiving high honors and even straight A's.
I was "talked into" joining the school in 2002 when I was a sophomore in college and it was one of the best decisions that I have made. I have really grown up during my years of training and have achieved a lot of things that I did not even know I was capable of. Mentally and physically, I have been pushed to do the absolute best and know that anything less would not be accepted.
If you are not from this area, there is a second Kang Do Won located in Garfield Heights (Kang Do Won II) taught by one of Grand Master Lewis' students, Master Gary Hotchkiss. Master Hotchkiss is an incredible teacher and delivers all of the same qualities to his school that you will find at the Kang Do Won home school. Assisting him teach there a few days a week, I have seen his students grow and develop in amazing ways.
I would recommend the Kang Do Won to anyone that wants to be challenged to be a better person and a great martial artist.
"Quality is More Important than Quantity" - Deborah Bridgemohan
Myself, my husband, and my two children, a boy and a girl, are all students at the Kang Do Won. When I first enrolled my children at the Kang Do Won in 2001 they were very shy, timid, and quiet. After help from Grand Master Lewis and the other instructors we were seeing immediate results.
Here at the Kang Do Won we focus more on personal development, rather than on belts. I as a mother look at our training like a tree
let me explain. All things have an inner divine essence and an outer marvelous function. The essence of a tree is manifested in its wonderful blossoms and abundant foliage. The essence of trees could not be perceived if there were no blossoms and leaves. We all have that inner divine essence that Grand Master Lewis finds in all of his students and turns it into self-confidence, self-respect, determination and courage. So if you are looking for a traditional martial art school I highly recommend the Kang Do Won.