Environmental Factor, November 2006, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
Dancing Warriors Rock NIEHS
By Eddy Ball
The usually staid and heady Rodbell Auditorium filled with music, grunts and the sound of flesh hitting flesh and wood on October 10, as instructors and advanced students from the White Tiger TaeKwonDo School in Cary presented a special demonstration at NIEHS. Sponsored by the Fitness and Wellness Committee, the event gave NIEHS folks a chance to see what discipline and patience can do for young people.
According to school representatives and contrary to the pop images of film and television, martial arts are actually a form of mental, as well as physical training, and the goals of TaeKwonDo are the building of self-esteem, emotional control and respect for others. Self-defense, though an important consideration for kids when they sign up, is not really the central aim of the martial arts program.
"A lot of kids sign up for TaeKwonDo to become a Jackie Chan or a Crouching Tiger," explained Fitness Room Manager Stephanie Bullock-Allen. "But they soon discover that it takes much more physical effort than it looks on TV." Bullock-Allen schedules these kinds of events with one goal in mind: getting kids off the couch and away from the TV and computer screen long enough to learn how to enjoy exercise. Judging by the choreographed performance and airborne antics in Rodbell, her plan seems to be working. One of the performers, Justin Chang, is testing for his second-degree black belt, along with his friend, Harrison Lee. He is the son of Research Fellow Hye-Youn Cho of the Laboratory of Respiratory Biology.