We pride ourselves in helping each student achieve their goals and developing their mental and physical strength. This is what attaining a Jhoon Rhee Tae Kwon Do Black Belt requires.

For some of our candidates this journey to Black Belt began in our Knee-High Ninja Program, when they were only four years old!

This month, these candidates passed our Arlington Qualifier and the Panel Exam in front of the Jhoon Rhee Masters from Arlington, Falls Church and North Carolina. Our candidates persevered and we would like to present and congratulate our newest Jhoon Rhee Tae Kwon Do Black Belts!



“I was four years old, staring through the glass, and I felt my stomach drop. As my mom and I waited in the lobby to sign up, I dreaded my first class at Tae Kwon Do. At my first class, I didn’t cry because even that would be too embarrassing. I wondered why I had to do Tae Kwon Do like my sister, and, despite begging her not to, my mom drove me to the studio and I stepped foot on the mats. Now, I only wonder what my four-year-old self would’ve thought if I told her I’d be doing Tae Kwon Do for the next eleven years… I was and am able to do things outside of Tae Kwon Do like giving presentations or being a good partner in group projects, as well as making friends and participating more in school. Without Tae Kwon Do, I definitely couldn’t have imagined giving a speech at my Black Belt exam. Out of all the things Tae Kwon Do has taught me, one of the most important is that you get what you have earned.”



“As a younger red belt with a passion for Tae Kwon Do, getting the chance to teach others was a great opportunity for me. Before I began the leadership program, I had not a single experience where I would have been a leader in my entire life. So, after attending a few workshops, I was finally subjected to that role for the first time. I began helping out pretty regularly with the Knee High Ninja Program and the Junior White and Gold Belt classes. This was truly the first leadership experience that I ever had, and it impacted me in so many ways. Being able to teach others something I considered myself to be good at felt special, and I enjoyed doing it. Soon, this skill that I had gotten from Leadership extended itself into other areas of my life, the biggest example of which being swimming. I began coaching swimming in the summer, and I was even able to make some money as a private lessons instructor. Without Tae Kwon Do and the leadership program, that simply would not have been possible. Those early years that I spent teaching with the Leadership Program truly made me a more confident person and a better teacher.”



“…something inside of me always told me to keep going no matter what, and here I am today, testing for my Black Belt. My journey has been hard, and after 11 years of personal struggle, Tae Kwon Do has built a foundation for me to succeed. Even though Tae Kwon Do helped me improve my grades, lose a lot of weight, and earn bragging rights when I spar against my friends, it has taught me to bring out the inner determination and confidence that I had searched for in myself.”



“Everybody has their own reason to learn martial arts. For me, I started because I wanted to learn what it meant to be strong. Six years later, I believe I have found the answer. For one, Jhoon Rhee Tae Kwon Do helped me reach and surpass my physical limits through conditioning and grit. Before starting Tae Kwon Do, I was not athletic at all. Tae Kwon Do also helped me overcome my performance anxiety. For a long time, I refused to try anything out of fear of failure, because for me, humiliation and rejection was worse than death. Tae Kwon Do taught me, through thousands of attempts at a new technique, that I can only learn through mistakes, which helped break my perfectionism. This mindset change allowed me to become more open and willing to take risks, helping me succeed in life such as leading school clubs, organizing eagle scout projects, and even teaching Tae Kwon Do.”



“I have always been shy and soft-spoken. Confidence was challenging for me before taking Tae Kwon Do at Jhoon Rhee. I would always act timid and wouldn’t speak up for myself. But, over time, I grew more confident, and I realized if I wanted to achieve a goal, I could if I worked hard. The first time I was in front of the class my confidence was low, and it was especially hard when I had to say the Student Creed to earn my White Belt, but now, I speak from my heart at my Black Belt Exam. Keeping my confidence was incredibly challenging during COVID, when I could not interact with other students as much. During this time, it allowed me to practice more and take Zoom classes, which helped during this difficult time. The school was always there to support me. I am very thankful for my master’s, which helped me find my confidence and passion for Tae Kwon Do.”



“Teaching has always been difficult for me. If I saw someone struggling, I would sit in the corner and just watch, even if I knew how to help. Now, with the help of Jhoon Rhee Tae Kwon Do, I have the confidence to teach someone. Confidence, before Jhoon Rhee was always a struggle for me. I had no self confidence teaching, or even talking to someone…..About three years later, I started to assist in the Knee High Ninja Program. I still had a fear of teaching, but I felt confident enough, so I began to assist with classes. At first, all I could do was stand there and think about how I could mess up if I tried to help. As I kept assisting in classes my confidence grew, and so did the quality of my critiques.”



“Before I started Tae Kwon Do, I found it difficult to talk to other people, and I didn’t have many friends. I also found projects that I had to present in front of the class for school very stressful. Tae Kwon Do has helped me in both of these areas. I find it a lot easier now to talk to other people and to make friends. I don’t get very stressed about school projects that I have to present. Because of this, I do much better on these projects. For example, in Latin class I had to prepare a speech and present it as if I were the Roman orator Cicero. Cicero was a great orator, so I needed to be able to present well. I was able to say what I had prepared confidently and I received a high grade on the presentation. My teacher, who knew I was by nature quiet in class, made a point of telling my mom how good my presentation was. Jhoon Rhee Tae Kwon Do has made me stronger, more confident, and more determined, and these skills have helped me in every aspect of my life.”



“…Tae Kwon Do has taught me that the victory after the struggle is all the sweeter. I’ve learned how to power through tasks I find to be too difficult, such as waking up early for a trip. Even though I still complain a lot, I get to where I need to be for the trip as soon as I can, and it’s always been worth the early waking once we reach our destination. I’ll even go back to those old, unfinished, activities now and look at them with a new perspective that I once lacked. Unsurprisingly, I can now work on those tasks for much longer than before I started Tae Kwon Do, and the sense of accomplishment I feel when I get those tasks done is so much greater than completing things that I’ve found easier to do. “



“I have come a long way since I started this journey a decade ago. I am now considerably less chubby than when I was a child, and my punches are no longer floppy and unfocused; I can kick above my waist and even my head now. I can finally perform that one spinny kick that I now call a tornado kick. All of these were things that I expected to learn along the way, but going through this journey, I have realized that Tae Kwon Do is about much more than cool, flashy kicks and punches, or even fitness. It’s about the focus and self-discipline needed to find joy in the simple actions of punching and kicking, the perseverance to get back up on my feet after failing time and time again, and all of the other things you learn about yourself and life while trying to accomplish that long term goal of earning a Black Belt.”



“The confidence I gained through teaching Tae Kwon Do also helped me with public speaking in other areas of my life. I have always been a quiet person, so helping classes was initially difficult because many students couldn’t hear me speak. This forced me to become outspoken and confident. As a low under-belt, I would see many black belts give speeches during graduations and would be amazed at how good all of their public speaking skills were. I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to say my speech as confidently and smoothly as they did, but luckily that wasn’t the case. By the time I had to give my speech, the Leadership Program had taught me how to lead by example and be confident in how I present myself. Outside of Tae Kwon Do, I was always afraid of giving presentations for my classes at school. The idea of talking in front of 20 people was initially very daunting. After the Leadership Program, I began to love public speaking and was able to give a presentation in front of 250 students. Before helping teach Tae Kwon Do classes, I would never have imagined being able to present in front of so many people. The Leadership Program helped me grow as a person and taught me many life skills.”



“Throughout all of Tae Kwon Do it has taught me to be in charge of my own improvement, and it has helped make me able to take ownership of my responsibilities and the mistakes I’ve made. For example, I no longer need my parents to remind me about doing my homework, and I try to get it all done on the day it is assigned. Another example is if there is ever any housework I notice that needs to be done, I’ve started to just do it without having to be asked, regardless of any reward or benefit I may get out of it. …Tae Kwon Do has helped me in many ways throughout my everyday life. Throughout the many activities, lessons, and challenges that have become a part of my everyday life, Tae Kwon Do has not only helped me to improve physically, but also to improve as a person. Despite the nine years I’ve spent in Tae Kwon Do, coming from an immature Knee High Ninja to a Black Belt Candidate, Black Belt is just another step in my journey. I hope to continue Tae Kwon Do to improve not just at Tae Kwon Do, but also to further myself as a person as I work to become better.”



“I first started at Jhoon Rhee Tae Kwon Do when I was nine years old. I initially had no interest in tae kwon do, but my friend would be doing it with me, so I decided to give it a shot. I saw no appeal to athletics when I was younger. In fact, I would much rather read a book for hours on end than go out and exercise. But a few months of doing Tae Kwon Do changed that. I found myself enjoying all the new techniques….Jhoon Rhee Tae Kwon Do has been an important part of my life for as long as I can remember. I’ve grown, both physically and mentally, more than I ever thought possible. It’s hard to believe the immense progress I’ve made in a relatively short time, and yet today I stand on the precipice of earning what I’ve been striving for for six and a half years. The culmination of endless practice and dedication. I have the confidence and strength I need not only to succeed in Tae Kwon Do, but also to support me in the real world. The lessons I’ve learned from Jhoon Rhee Tae Kwon Do are everlasting, and ones that I know I will carry with me for the rest of my life.”



“….I grew in confidence and was soon able to stand up in front of the class and have people clap for me without crying, or even being scared at all. Each time I received a tape or tested for a new belt, I faced and overcame this fear. Six years later, I competed live on national television and in front of thousands of people, representing Fairfax County at the Scripps National Spelling Bee. Although I was eliminated in the semifinals, I would never have been brave enough to get up on the stage at all if it were not for Tae Kwon Do.”