Taekwondo, like other martial arts, is one centered on instilling self-discipline and excellence in the hearts, minds and bodies of its practitioners. The tenets of taekwondo are to embody and execute the qualities of courtesy, integrity, perseverance, self-control and an indomitable spirit. Salem ATA Martial Arts has shown that it values these qualities and its leadership can go toe-to-toe with other martial artists from multiple states.
Ted King, Jordan McElvy, and Kris Bieker have each won multiple taekwondo categories at the Midwest District Championships earlier this month.
To win district competitions, King McElvy and Bieker had to compete against some of the best martial artists at their own respective levels.
• King was awarded District Championships in Traditional Forms, Traditional Weapons, Sparring, and Combat Sparring;
• McElvy received District Championships in Traditional Weapons, Creative Forms, Creative Weapons, Extreme Forms, and Extreme Weapons;
• Biker brought home District Championships in Extreme Forms and Extreme Weapons.
All three champs are in leadership at Salem ATA Martial Arts along with William and Theresa Poucher—King is one an assistant instructor.
Chief instructor William Poucher took a moment to gladly share the successes of the three with The Salem News.
“They all did really well against some tough competition,” he glowed.
Both members of the husband and wife duo also train under chief master Mark Prosser who runs Prosser’s Black Belt Academy in Rolla. The Pouchers opened the martial arts studio in November of 2019.
“It’s been very good for us, running this school, we’ve gotten to know a lot of great families,” said Theresa Poucher.
ATA works with students of all ages, with students as young as four years old.
Amanda Myers, whose five-year-old son Morgan participates in taekwondo, said that it has been really good for Morgan, who has been training for almost six months.
“I love it, he enjoys the friendship, he needs the challenge—it’s really helping his focus,” she said. “Before, you couldn’t get him to sit still,” she said.
“I hope he sticks with it,” said Myers.
Carrie Wilbur, whose six-year-old stepson Baylor Wilbur has been training for at least seven or eight months, said that she had previously underestimated the benefit of getting involved in the sport. “They have to learn to sit still and tolerate others—it’s really good for them,” she said. “Before, he was really shy, it’s helped him get out of his shell.”
The Pouchers and other taekwondo instructors take seriously the responsibility to help their students reach their full potential.
Salem ATA Martial Arts, at its 601 S. Main St. location offers training in traditional Songham Taekwondo, elements of Jujitsu and Judo, practical self-defense training, weapons training, Tai Chi, and more. They serve students of all ages; classes are Monday and Thursday from 4:30-8 pm Call 573-201-0122 or visit their Facebook page (Salem ATA).