Taekwondo: Lessons for life

CHANDLER, Ariz. — At a small storefront taekwondo studio in Chandler, Ariz., students of all ages stream through the door, looking to improve their coordination, burn off energy or get in shape. But Master Johnny Nguyen, the primary instructor at NB Taekwondo, knows they'll leave with more than that. 

"It's changed me," said Jorge Castillo, who was introduced to the sport when his 6-year-old daughter began training at the studio. "Boy, I had a horrible temper, and it just changed the type of person I am... the way that I treat people." The instructors at the studio say that they teach students to live their lives by the principles of black belt: modesty, courtesy, integrity, perseverance, self-control and indomitable spirit. 

"I want to be a role model to all of our kids," Johnny Nguyen said. "I want to inspire them and show them that it takes hard work, it takes sacrifice, it takes discipline to achieve goals."

A version of this story was published in Cronkite News in 2019.

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