Emerald City Tae Kwon Do in Covington, WA

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Disrespectful & Cruel Owner
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COVINGTON, WASHINGTON -- Took my girls to this company to learn Tae Kwon Do. The 2nd or 3rd lesson the owner was out there helping the master teach the class. He had hit my daughter in the back of the head real hard with the paddles they used to teach the kids to kick with. (she has a learning disability to where she has a hard time staying focused, and he knew that). I got so upset. I did talk to him and he said that is how they teach the kids. I told him they are not allowed to hit my girls at all. So after that he has had a problem with me. Ever since then they have been disrespectful to my girls and me.
A few months later my girls got to test for their yellow belt. (which I had to find out myself that he put my girls names up. They have been going here for about 5 months maybe, and they still did not know their names or how to spell them) At the day of testing I had to fill out forms. When I saw I had to pay to have them tested I went in and talked to the owner about it. He yelled at me in front of every one. So instead of me arguing with him I just walked out of the office. I finished filling the papers out but did not write a check yet. The owner gets out there on the floor and in front of every one yells at me "So what are you going to do, you going pay for them or what", I told him yes that I would pay after the testing to please go ahead and start. I felt so embarrasssed I wanted to crawl under the table because he had every one looking at me. When he gave my girls their yellow belt a few days later, he had taking my oldest one and asked her questions smartly and told her she had a low score and she should have done better. He embarrasssed her in front of every one as well (she is a very shy girl who is afraid of men). He saved my youngest girl for last. When he got to her he did not ask her any questions, told her her score and gave her the belt. Did not go threw the any thing with her as he did all the other kids. My girls got a lower score then one child who could not even lift her leg up high.
Then they made it a rule to where no one is aloud to wear shoes at all past the front door (which I have no problem with), but when I explained to one of the gentlemen that I have problems with my feet that I need to have some thing on my feet at all times, if I could bring slippers in to wear that would be brand new, he told me the owner would say no that I would need a doctors excuse to have to wear slippers. But yet I had seen other parents doing so.
The other day I had sent my girls to their lesson with a babysitter, and I the owner was helping with the lessons, I guess he had hit another child on the back of the head (like he did my youngest one a while back) and my oldest freeaked out and refused to go back out on the floor.(She did not want to go out to begin with when she saw him out there). Now she is to scared to go back there to that place. Which is heart breaking to me because she loves it and is very good at it.
I have noticed with these 2 gentlemen that own and teach the class that if you are not a pretty Mom, they disrespect you. If they do not like the parent they treat your child like crap. They do either do not pay attention to them or they yell at them for doing wrong instead of taking their time to show how it is done like they do others.
I feel they discriminated against me and my girls.
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Mrs. V on 03/26/2010:
As someone who has taken lessons from age 5 (I'm now 41) I have learned that if the Shishō (the trainer) is not a good match for the student, then you *must* find a new trainer.

To really learn the arts you must have mutual trust and respect on both sides.

The owner of Emerald City Tae Kwon Do only has about 18 or 19 years of training.

I would suggest trying Annas Tae Kwon Do or Phillips Tae Kwon Do Center‎.
Starlord on 03/26/2010:
I must agree with Mrs. V, you must have supreme confidence in your teacher. I took Shorin Ryu karate for a couple of years, and I had trouble in the beginning when I got my nose bloodied in sparring and complained to the sensei. I was told that their purpose was to teach me to survive, and that an opponent in the street would not be concerned about a bloody nose, unless it was his. There is a certain amount of this in any martial art. It is not really a game or a sport, but a means to keeping alive in a serious social confrontation. I hope you find a teacher you can work with.
verrod3 on 03/27/2010:
I put my girls into martial arts to help them build courage and not be afraid of men. They are very scared of men (especially the 7 year old due to our past history). I understand that it takes a lot of practice and concentration and a will to be able to want to do it just like any thing else. But I do not believe that teaching small age groups to start off with violence when some of them may have come from violent homes. If all places teach this kind of method then I do not think this will be for my girls. I do thank you Mrs. V for recommending another place. I will go talk to them to see if there methods are the same. If I change my girls to another place, will they have to start from scratch? Thank you both for all your help. It is much helpful.
Mrs. V on 03/27/2010:
You're very welcome verrod ^_^

Each Shishō or Sensei has their own way of teaching. And it can be difficult to find a good match.

I would suggest that you take your girls to a class as observers (make sure it's the class that they would be in).

Watch how the teacher interacts with the students. Watch how your girls react to it.

Go to many different places and take notes (any Dojo or Dojung that will not alow this does not need your business).

Your girls will have to relearn a bit. As I said each place is a bit different.

Good luck and let me know if you need anything else ^_^
Ytropious on 03/31/2010:
LOL Taulorh. I do agree somewhat, martial arts is all about building discipline and learning to listen to your sensei. You never argue with the master or correct him. I would only be concerned if he was treating your daughters differently then the others, but I'm willing to bet he was "hitting" all the kids. Martial arts is not for everyone, it takes a lot out of you physically and mentally. There are other options out there for you and your daughters, maybe take them to a woman's self defense class? They will learn to defend themselves in a low stress environment.
Slimjim on 03/31/2010:
No question. As said, if you and the girls are uncomfortable with the instructor, time to find a new one. They'll never reach their potential otherwise.
Anonymous on 03/31/2010:
My 14 yr old son just got his 2nd degree Black Belt. Imagine where he would be if I complained every time his instructor knocked him on his ass.
PepperElf on 03/31/2010:
I'd say find a more professional teacher, someone who acts with more honor.

There's a difference between being hit in the course of training and being HIT out of punishment. A true master does not NEED to reprimand someone by hitting them or putting them down.

Back in my second year or so of martial arts I went to the head dojo run by our Sensai. At the end of the day's lessons Sensai had found out that one of the women had been rude to another woman in the bathroom (called her a bad name).

He addressed her before the entire dojo, firmly explaining why her behavior was unacceptable. He never once swore at her or raised his voice. He simply, and *firmly* explained why it was not allowed.

It sounds like the instructor the OP is writing about could use a lesson in how to act with honor
PepperElf on 03/31/2010:
hmmm and you know... why not try this?

see if there's any self defense classes available at perhaps the local college. I know my college has offered classes for the community, including children.

you might be able to find a safer environment for them to learn, especially since most colleges have polices regarding instructor behavior.

Ytropious on 03/31/2010:
I don't know, it sounds more like motivational hitting then reprimanding them. The idea is to get you fired up and reach your potential. Words don't always work for everyone.
raven2010 on 03/31/2010:
Hitting is as described here is never ever ever acceptable, especially when teaching kids. The martial arts are supposed to teach control and restraint. This instructor is a fool for demonstrating the opposite to children.
verrod3 on 04/01/2010:
If it doesn't bother other parents that their child his getting hit in the back of the head that is fine by me. By I feel you do not hit any child with a disability especially with ADHD as my younger one has.
Once again the master hit another child on the back of the head and my 7 year old had an asthma attack. And he later told me she needs to grow up and stop acting like a baby.
She really loves Tae Kwon Do but know refuses to go back or go to any other classes.
People need to understand that once any one has been abused by a man (especially children) it isn't as easy as everyone thinks to get out there in the world. Have a man try to teach you self defense and not want to try to understand or care what has happened to your child. Just tells you to get over it and move on.
How does a 7 year old just move on and grow up when it hasn't even been a year?
So I thank you all for all your comments and help. Everyone has so many opinions of their own. Because of this man my daughter is more afraid then ever. And all he can do is tell her she is a baby.
Oh well like he said it is a man's world and we need to deal with that.
So for me back to square 1 with men. At least she does girl scouts.
Venice09 on 04/01/2010:
Raven, I couldn't agree with you more. I would never subject my kids to something like this, or myself either for that matter. I admit that I know nothing about Tae Kwon Do, but there is no way I would let myself be insulted or my kids be treated the way the OP describes.

Verrod, please get your girls out of there and find something else. This is not going to help them get over their fears. I like the suggestion of a self-defense class. And even then, the instructor should have respect for all of you and an understanding of the issues your girls are dealing with. I don't know how you managed to keep your cool. I think you could teach THEM a lesson in self-control and self-discipline.

You seem like a very concerned parent, and I think it's wonderful that you want to help your daughters. But please find another way because this actually sounds like it's making things worse.
Mrs. V on 04/01/2010:
I think most of you really aren't getting it.

This child (children) were abused by a man. The OP explained this to the teacher BEFORE she enrolled her children in his class.

This teacher is NOT right for these children. This does happen.

I would ask the OP to find a female teacher for her children.

I would also hope the children are talking to somone to help them through this (the abuse).
PepperElf on 04/01/2010:

A "disruption" would be say the time at my dojo when one of the men was yapping too loudly & the head teacher had to say his name 3 times (the last a Shout) to get his attention.

again, martial arts is a discipline of *self control*

There IS a difference between discipline & abuse

Venice09 on 04/01/2010:
She obviously didn't know they would get hit at the time she enrolled them. She also didn't know that she would be treated with such disrespect. Maybe the hitting should be explained to parents before they enroll their children.
PepperElf on 04/01/2010:
It's sad that some still believe martial arts is all about being hit and about fighting.

to that I just offer what my Sensai once said to my dojo when he visited:

"violence solves nothing, but the more martial arts you know the less likely you will have to use it."

while some schools want to promote the FIGHT, that only focuses on the shell of martial arts & ignores the core.

sure they'll learn how to beat people up, but they WON'T learn how to control themselves, which means they failed.

anyone can get into a fight, but the true martial artists can stop the fight from even happening.

and you DO NOT learn that in a "beat people up" mentality school
Ytropious on 04/01/2010:
It's like a square peg in a round hole. OP, move on, because this sensei has his methods of teaching and you obviously have an issue with it. He isn't going to change, so find someone else. You might not agree with it, but others do since he still has students.
verrod3 on 04/02/2010:
I am no longer taking my girls to Tae Kwon Do. My girls and I have sat in a few other places and they still do not want to do this. So when I figured I would give them the summer off and try another place later. I just want them to learn how to defend themselves not beat up people. I will not let happen to them what has happened again. I personally will figure out how to protect them from men of this world without sheltering them away.
Thanks again for all your comments.
PepperElf on 04/02/2010:
I'd recommend, whatever place you go to, observe the class first and talk with the instructor. a good instructor will discuss what you can expect in class, as well as discuss any accommodations your children may need.

plus, see if the teacher instills a feeling of trust in you. when I met my first karate teacher I just had a strong sense that I could trust him. I've known him for 15 years now & can honestly say that first instinct was right

In fact he's the reason I suggest a self defense class as a possibility - at the college here he offers classes in "Self defense for women"
Anonymous on 01/15/2011:
We have had our children enrolled at Emerald City Tae Kwon Do for many years. Before doing so, we have checked out many martial arts schools in the area and even surrounding areas. We searched for a school that teaches what martial arts really is and NOT a belt factory. I have seen many children come and go in martial arts. With Ron, he challenges his students to be their best and with our track record at tournaments it speaks for itself. We always bring home the gold. Respect, Honor, Patience, and Pride are a few important aspects of life that he teaches and Ron does hold his students accountable for these standards. The students EARN their belts.
Venice09 on 01/16/2011:
Did Ron ever hit your kid in the back of the head with a paddle, tj100?

Anonymous on 01/16/2011:
Anonymous on 01/16/2011:
My sensei disciplines by having us do knuckle pushups or having us sit out. He then speaks to us privately after class to get at the root of the problem and explores with us constructive ways of overcoming the issue.
jose mcdonnald on 01/16/2011:
I have been a student at emerald city tae kwon do for some time now and I have not ever been hit as means of a punishment. We use padded blockers specifically designed to be used to practice BLOCKING. This tool is used to replicate a punch or kick from the instructor. From my years attending emerald city tae kwon do, I have gained personal achievements such as self confidence, healthier life as well as give me guidance in what is expected from a productive and positive individual, student and child. Ron has always treated me with respect and has never showed favoritism with anyone attending the school. Ron can be a strict instructor and it is only because he wants to make sure that if ever you need to defend your self you are ready for whatever comes your way. There will never be anything that can happen to your child at EC tae kwon do center that your child will not encounter worse in school or on the streets. After all isn't that what martial arts was designed for,to protect yourself if it came down to it?
richardson78 on 01/16/2011:
I'm not posting a comment to bash you or the instructor of Emerald City TKD. I understand that you meant well when you wanted to enroll your girls in martial arts. I just want to understand a few things that you posted on your comment. The first thing that concerns me is if you knew that your girls had a fear of abusive men then why would you bring them to a martial arts school let alone with a male instructor? It sounds to me that there was an abusive male in your girls life which caused them to build this fear. I am sorry to hear that, but if it is something that serious that affected them psychologically then why didn't you take them to a therapist instead of someone that could make their issues worse? Which leads me to my next concern. After knowing what you say was unacceptable that happen with the pad to the head. Why did you still allow your girls to stay for another 5 months to take a belt test? If I saw something that was unacceptable I would have taken my child out of there right away. As far as paying for the belt test. When you signed up your child for tae kwon do it specifically says on the form (which you should have read thoroughly before signing)that there is a fee for belt promotions.
I have been a martial artist for over 20 years and studied a number of martial arts. I have seen students come and go and the truth is that martial arts isn't for everyone. I have also seen dozens of schools that don't really care how your child is progressing or if they really deserve what belt rank they hold. These schools are called "belt factories". All they care about is taking your money and not if your child has learned anything or more importantly apply what they have learned to protecting themselves.
My advice to you is to take care of you girls underlying issues and not just throw them in an atmosphere that they have a problem with then hope they get over it or expect the instructor to fix it. Understand that martial arts isn't all about fighting but there will be a time when they will have to hurt someone in order to protect themselves if the first thing that is taught to you which is to walk away doesn't work. As Taylorh2 mentioned maybe ballet is more suited for your girls.
Good luck to you and your girls.
skriley on 02/15/2011:
Our Daughter has been attending Emerald City Tae Kwon Do for nearly two years now. When she first started she was very difficult to teach. She was so shy and reserved that Ron could barely get her to go on the floor for instruction. He showed great patience with her and never got frustrated or raised his voice. He wanted to help her gain the confidence to get on the floor. He even suggested one of us attend class for a month free to see if we could get her to engage in the lessons. This worked very well. Now she has gained two belts and has much more confidence in herself. She also attends his summer camp. It was her choice to go there over her previous day camp because she felt more comfortable with Ron and liked his program. We have always found him to be very fair and patient with all his students. He does expect all students to focus and be respectful. If they are not he does not raise his voice or get angry. He asks them to do pushups or wall sits and explains to them calmly why they received the corrective action. We have asked our daughter what she thinks about Ron and she only has good words for him. She now looks forward to attending his class and is disappointed if she can not go. We have never questioned his character because we have never seen him show anything but respect for all his students and their parents. If our child were to have gone to any other instructor it’s highly unlikely she would have been allowed to continue due to how difficult she was in the beginning. He truly cares about his students.
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