The more you pass by a place, the more it gets pushed (or kicked) back into the recesses of your mind. Over time, you seldom notice it. The Family Martial Arts Center is such a place. This classic building in Hollywood, a historic landmark built in 1927, is home of the US World Class Taekwondo Association (Hollywood School).
“The first thing we teach is respect,” says Chief Master Dan Maharjan. “Students learn to bow to their opponent. This respect carries over into their life. Kids like it because it’s fun. They are filled with energy – jumping and kicking. But also learning!”
As students gain more confidence in their ability, they become more successful and yes, respectful – of their parents and their past.
Sita Rai, Senior Master, says children learn to listen. “Some come in thinking they know everything, like most kids, but then they see what we do and how they can rise from level to level. They learn to focus and become better listeners – at home and in school too.” Master Rai was on Nepal’s taekwondo team in the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona.
Downstairs is the Nekusing Memorial Theater – often used by the Non-Resident Nepalese Association of Portland (NRNA) for programs that keep Nepali heritage alive. One recent program was a Nepalese Ethnic Fashion Show displaying traditional ethnic attire worn throughout Nepal. It was a colorful spectacle for all ages.
“Parents and elders want to keep their Nepalese culture and traditions alive,” says Daya Shakya of the NRNA. “Many young people are Americanized – born in the US and have never been to Nepal. We help connect them with their heritage.”
Beyond cultural programs and taekwondo classes, families spend time together learning important life skills. As students gain more confidence in their ability, they become more successful and yes, respectful – of their parents and their past.