If you want a little taste of kun gek do, or maybe to cure a hankering for some han moo do or teukgong moosol, bypass every Asian food restaurant in town and go straight to a martial arts school that teaches Taekwondo.
In the Bartonville Town Center, that would be Lantana Taekwondo, owned and operated by young entrepreneurs Scott and Julie (Hart) Mischke of Flower Mound. He holds a fifth-degree Black Belt in Taekwondo and she holds a fourth-degree Black Belt.
Both graduated from Marcus High School in 2010. He played Defensive End for the Marauder football team and she sang in the choir.
“I’ve been a martial arts student for the past 16 years, since I was 10. By the time I was 13, I knew I wanted my own martial arts school.”
Julie discovered taekwondo at age 14.
“I got interested, because my Mom and little brother were doing it,” she said. “From the start I loved every minute of instruction and practice.”
Scott’s father, Bill, owns the Taekwondo School in Flower Mound where they first met the summer after their freshman year at Marcus. The the couple began dating in college, though, Scott likes to say, “It was love at first kick.”
The school owner/instructor notion never went away and Scott eventually received a Bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology, the science of body movements and functions.
So, during college Julie taught part-time at Kevin and Amanda Nevels’ martial arts school in Coppell. They eventually became the Mischke’s business mentors.
When she graduated in Communication Studies in 2014, Julie asked, “My big question was ‘Now what?’”
That was where she realized that, after Scott, her own true love was martial arts not a corporate desk job.
“I knew I loved martial arts. For two years Scott and I had each worked two jobs and we saved-up to open Lantana Taekwondo.”
The couple’s marriage two-years ago was a perfect match of loves, energies, and goals.
“We had a working honeymoon, since we were on the verge of opening the business,” Scott said.
“The scariest part of the whole venture was opening our doors. Fortunately, we had a fast takeoff and now, after two years we have over 175 students enrolled.”
The staff features the couple, as well as Julie’s 20-year-old brother, John, who has been a part of the school since the beginning.
The studio in Bartonville Town Center is very kid-friendly. During holiday camps, the cheerful sounds of children hard at play seep through the glass entrance door, with board games and arts-and-crafts projects spread over tables inside. Everyone is busy and having a great time. Beyond the playroom is the actual studio– a light-filled, large space with a foam padded floor, and equipment.
The label “martial arts” encompasses various modern forms of armed and unarmed fight sports or skills that originated mainly in Far East Asia.
Are you old enough to remember the cartoon character Joe Jitsu? He was a short guy with coke bottle bottom eyeglasses and a mean ability to defend himself from the world’s bullies. His name was a takeoff on the Japanese martial art called jujitsu.
Does anyone not know about the cartoon Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle characters? True ninjas were feudal Japanese warriors who carried out all kinds of covert military operations from espionage to guerrilla warfare.
Taekwondo was born in South Korea after World War II. The Korea Taekwondo Association was formed by nine schools in 1959. By 1966, the International Taekwondo Federation came into being. World Taekwondo is the body that governs the Olympic and Paralympic forms of the sport.
“I sparred in the USA Taekwondo National competition with Stephen Lambdin, who went to the Olympics in 2016,” said Scott.
A Taekwondo match typically lasts 60- to 90-intense-seconds. It is not a full-contact sport. Limber opponents in protective foot, hand, chest and headgear receive points for controlled punches and jump-kicks to the body and head. Knockouts are a no-no. Fouls include attacking a fallen opponent, leg sweeps, holding, grabbing, or attacking a bystander. All these things translate into lost points.
Taekwondo is more than a self-defense art. The sport is also a philosophy that sounds a lot like being a Scout. Its five tenets are Courtesy, Integrity, Perseverance, Self Control, and Indomitable spirit. They also follow a Student Oath: (1) I shall observe the tenets of taekwondo; (2) I shall respect the instructor and my seniors; (3) I will never misuse taekwondo; (4) I shall be a champion of freedom and justice; and, (5) I shall build a more peaceful world. Sound good?
Olympic opponents receive added points for strikes that use spins and high-jumping head kicks. If you really want to wow the judges, combine them. Taekwondo emphasizes speed and agility, as opposed to raw power. The physics of the sport says that speed and agility increase the power of the strike, so an opponent need not be the size of a bulldozer or Jack-the-Giant Killer.
A typical curriculum will over time, include forms, sparring, breaking boards, self-defense, fundamental techniques, throwing, falling, stretching, discipline of mind and body, good manners, justice, respect for others, and self-confidence.
“The classes are designed to be age-appropriate,” Julie said, “Each age group learns differently and we focus on motor skill, social skill, and cognitive development.”
Three- and four-year-olds enroll as Lil Dragons; five- and six-year-olds enroll as Lil Ninjas. From age seven, students enroll as Beginners and move through the ranks to become Intermediates, Advanced, then Black Belts.
Lantana Taekwondo offers classes Monday through Saturday with a variety of classes for nearly every age group. They even have a Family Class on Fridays at 6:10 pm where parents get to kick and punch with their children.
“In addition to vacation day-camps, we offer birthday parties by appointment on Saturday afternoons,” Julie added. In a clever twist on the theme every birthday child gets to cut his/her cake with a “sword.”
If the Mischkes could give the world a single piece of advice it would be: “Respect each other despite disagreeing. Taekwondo opponents always bow to each other at the end of a match. They shake hands, and say thank you.”
For more information see their website at www.lantanatkd.com or call the office at 940-241-1020. The campus is located at 2650 FM 407, #110, Bartonville, 76226.