Black Belt Essay by Matthew Jenkins | NEXTStep Martial Arts
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NEXTStep has been an incredible blessing. We have been going to TWD for my daughter Elly for a while and she has flourished and has an increase in confidence and discipline. I have recently joined the kickboxing classes and I am so excited to be part of the family in a direct way myself. I am impressed with all the staff which is like a second family but I am equally impressed with the accountability and life lessons learned. I had a misconception of what kickboxing would and entail and I am very happy to have tried it and found out how fun, exciting and due-able it is for someone with back issues and 50! I am looking forward to achieving a healthy lifestyle with my Next Step family. I honestly, can't say enough about the quality, dedication and support of Master Jay and everyone involved in NEXTStep!

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My daughter has been going to NEXT Step Martial Arts for almost a year now. When we first started I wasn’t sure teaching her to kick would be worth the time and money involved. I can easily and gladly say that I was wrong. They teach so much more here, they learn respect, discipline and my daughter has gain so much confidence since starting at NEXT Step Martial Arts. Taekwondo has also helped allot with her school work, memory and focus has improved so much over the past year. I believe it’s not just the taekwondo classes that’s teaching her this it’s the staff, probably better to say the family. Every employee knows everyone’s name and are genially happy to see you. They make everyone feel welcome and have become a huge part in my daughter’s life.

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I wish there were more stars. there just aren't enough stars to review the quality of people, instruction, students and classes at Next Step Martial Arts. I began my journey about 2 1/2 years ago when I came into the studio, sat on the mat with Master Jay and discussed the reasons I wanted to take taekwondo . I have met and surpassed every single one of them! I'm probably one of the oldest if not the oldest students there , but I can tell you I feel better now that I have felt in my 20s 30s 40s 50s and on. It's been a rigorous journey for me but I was willing to do the work. Master Jay and all the instructors are just an incredible group of individuals . And I feel my success has really been , as the name Next Step Martial Arts implies, one step at a time . All the classes are different, and I learn something from each one of them . I have never looked back, have no regrets, and I'm sure I never well !

Amber Marie reviewed NEXTStep Martial Arts
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My daughter, Kenzie, has just signed up for camp this year. She is five years old. From the moment you walk in the door you are met with smiling, friendly, and respectful staff. I am proud to say that my "shy in front of others" child is blossoming in this well rounded environment. She asks to go back day after day. I have also seen her manners and respect towards others improve too. Thank you for helping her become more well rounded.

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Perseverance, dedication, and respect are all words that characterize Next Step! Not only does the staff at Next Step possess these qualities, they instill them in their students through engaging activities and self-defense techniques. Master Jay has devoted his life to his passion of teaching Tae Kwon Do! His perseverance to follow his dream and his dedication to his students are beyond what you will find anywhere else! My daughter has finally become old enough to attend summer camp, and within the first week, she was coming home and explaining to her father and me about a concept of respect that she was taught! She thoroughly enjoys her time at Nextstep, and I am pleased because she is learning about qualities that we just don't see in everyday society anymore! I know that we will continue to see her skills transform and her respect towards others increase! These are life skills that all kids should be taught! Thank you, Master Jay and staff!

Thrasa Harris reviewed NEXTStep Martial Arts
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I don't know where to begin to say how much I love this place. I started out just coming to taekwondo classes for excercise on my weight loss journey (95 pounds now). I think I was at a 45 loss when I started! Anyhow it then became something else for me, more than just excercise. My husband says at the age of 50 I'm like a caterpillar blooming. And everyone I meet taking class there is pretty darn awesome and the staff is top notch! I don't think I can do without Taekwondo in my life now. I would recommend this to all ages.

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Black Belt Essay by Matthew Jenkins

When I started Tae Kwon Do, a little less than 4 years ago, I was originally just trying to improve my soccer. I was hoping that the balance, strength, and flexibility I gained through Martial Arts training would help push me to the next level in regards to the game. However as I progressed in skill and rank, I began to love Tae Kwon Do independently of all other activities. It ceased to be a tool for my betterment in soccer and grew to be a tool for the betterment of myself.

It is difficult to think of just one or two achievements that Tae Kwon Do training has afforded me. Practicing Tae Kwon Do is in and of itself a gratifying achievement. That being said I am particularly thankful for what is has done for me, physically. Three and a half years ago, I struggled to do a single pushup or to do a single set of breathing exercises. Tae Kwon Do pushed me to be better, and now I can do things my 13 year old self would have never thought I could do.

However, my road was not without bumps and bruises. Those who know me well know that I am prone to injuries, particularly of the ankle. This is due in part to the hereditary structure of my foot which is so flat that my ankle rests on the ground. This makes is harder to turn on the ball of my foot, and impossible to turn my foot all the way back. However, this obstacle was small when compared to my will to overcome it. I would spend sometimes half an hour doing foot exercises in an attempt to be able to turn my foot for kicks in the proper way. Tae Kwon Do is what motivated me to overcome the obstacle of my feet, at least concerning physical activity.

The parts of Tae Kwon Do training that I love the most, are the parts concerning the very small details of what makes something work, or not work. One memory I hold in particular regard was during a morning class, back when I was a much earlier rank. The only people in the class with me were my brothers and Mr. George. I was struggling to do a side kick correctly. I was having trouble turning my foot enough, and it was just turning into a roundhouse kick. Master Jay told me to relax and lift my knee. When I did, he grabbed my uniform and turned my body, my weight keeping my foot on the ground. I kicked, and it was much better than any I had done to that point. Today, my favorite kick is sidekick.

The path to the black belt is a personal journey. Each individual will move at their own paces. It may take three years to make it, or it may take six. What matters is that when you finally do make it, you represent your studio and yourself in the brightest light that you can. Make your master and your inner critic proud, and never stop learning.