Martial arts movies have always been a big deal at Tre Mattie's house in
"My dad started me on Bruce Lee movies," said Mattie, 11. "I like the way he does his precision and kicks and all that stuff."
Tre's mother, Lorna, said her son, a fifth-grader, enrolled in martial arts classes on Jan. 7, 2009 and has been hooked ever since.
"He loved martial arts movies and he just wanted to get into it," Lorna said. "He wanted to get into a school and he has taken off in it. He loves it. His goal is to be an instructor. Another one of his goals is to compete in the Olympics in tae kwon do."
Since becoming involved in tae kwon do, Tre has entered five tournaments and won gold medals in all of them.
On March 20, he and Genoa resident Angel Whiteman, 18, competed for Kim's Tae Kwon Do Academy at "The Battle of Columbus" tournament. Kim's Tae Kwon Do Academy is located at 4351 Monroe St. in West Toledo.
Mattie earned a gold medal in sparring and a silver medal in "poom se" during the one-day tournament. It was his first tournament as a member of Kim's Academy.
"I think I did pretty good," Mattie said. "Poom se, I could have done a little more effort, a little more snap into my movements. My sparring, every tournament I go to I always take first place. In the Battle of Columbus, that was my first tournament in WTF."
The WTF, or World Tae Kwon Do Federation, is the only tae kwon do organization recognized by the United States Olympic Committee. Tae kwon do has been an Olympic sport since 2000.
Whiteman, a second-degree black belt in tae kwon do, has been a student at Kim's Academy for about six months. Kim's took eight students to The Battle of Columbus and brought back nine gold medals, two silver medals and one bronze.
Whiteman won a gold medal in poom se, a term for sequences and forms/patterns.
"Angel is a newer student of mine," said Master Saemter Kim, whose father, Korean-born B.H. Kim, started Kim's Tae Kwon Do Academy. "She hasn't been with me during the duration of her training during tae kwon do. Her and Tre have been training with me for three months now. They have a pretty good foundation as far as techniques in tae kwon do.
"They are both determined and passionate about tae kwon do, which is an important thing. They both have pretty good futures in the martial arts. They work hard at what they do, and that's what it takes to be successful at something."
Master Kim, who has been a tae kwon do instructor for 15 years, is a fifth-degree black belt (there are nine levels). His father, B.H. Kim, is an eighth-degree black belt.
"That's who I learned from," Master Kim said.
Angel Whiteman's mother, Mary, raves about the instruction her daughter has received since joining Kim's Academy.
"Not only is Master Kim very skilled, but he's got a great tolerance with the kids and still teaches them the fundamentals like respect and honor," Mary said. "I can't say enough about him. He is a wonderful teacher and sets a great example. I'm very proud to have my daughter there.
"I know he will prepare her for any kind of martial arts. She just loves it, and his kids just love him. It's nice to have an instructor that can befriend you and also demand your respect in a moment's notice."
Tre Mattie said he is glad he left another tae kwon do school to attend Master Kim's classes.
"At my other school, the instructor just told us to do things," Mattie said. "Master Kim does it, so we know what to do. You learn discipline and how to respect others. The other instructor would just yell at us. Master Kim actually executes what he teaches."
Master Kim said he has 30-35 students, including 10 who compete on a consistent basis.
"All of our classes contain about eight students, and that's how I like it," he said. "We show more attention to the students, and maybe that's why we have done better in competition. I am personally working with these students three or four times a week. A lot of bigger martial arts schools, it's hard to show that attention to the students."
Kim's Academy teaches students how to prepare for and compete in WTF and AAU tournaments. The academy's next tournament is the Ahns Classic, on April 24 in Cincinnati. The following week, several Kim's Academy students will compete in the AAU Ohio State Championships in Columbus.
"What we do is not all about these competitions," Master Kim said. "When a student comes to my school, most of the time the parents aren't looking to get their kids involved in competitions. The main reason is to create discipline and respect and other intangibles like perseverance, and our school offers those as well.
"I know those intangibles are more important to the development of a person than learning how to do a front kick. Tae kwon do has more to offer than just kicking and punching."
For more information on Kim's Tae Kwon Do Academy, call Master Kim at 419-474-4122.