Environmental Factor, February 2008, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
White Tigers Land Again in Rodbell
By Eddy Ball
Rodbell Auditorium was the scene once more of youngsters flying through the air, boards cracking into pieces from well-placed kicks and grunts punctuated by the thud of landing feet as students from the White Tiger Taekwondo School in Cary took over the stage January 18 during their third visit to the Institute.
One of the new students this year, six-year-old Fred Chang, is the son of NIEHS Research Fellow Hye-Youn Cho, Ph.D., of the Laboratory of Respiratory Biology. Fred and his fiend, Felix Braun, also six, have qualified for the red-and-black Bodon Belt and continue to hone their skills as they strive to qualify in May for the first-degree Black Belt. Cho's older son, Justin Chang, who qualified last year for his second-degree belt, was also on-hand for the demonstration.
According to the school's newsletter, the Black Belts are recognized by the World Taekwondo Federation and the International Olympic Committee (or Korean Hapkido Federation). The school awards the belts in a solemn ceremony that involves the lighting of the Black Belt candles and the taking of the Black Belt Oath.
The White Tigers subscribe to the holistic philosophy that "martial arts are not only about competition or even self-defense, [but] ultimately... about self-improvement. Properly taught, Martial Arts improve the body, mind and spirit."
As noisy as the White Tigers were, for Fitness Room Manager Stephanie Bullock-Allen, who hosts these visits by the students, the sounds of children and young people doing something that involves vigorous movement is sheer music and a joy to behold.