What an incredible honor and privilege it is to be writing this blog! 30 Years of Taekwondo excellence, WOW! The Way Taekwondo would like to share with you a bit of our journey of 30 years.
Truth be told, it was around October of 1989 that The Way was first conceptualized. The idea was to create a martial arts ministry team for a multi-art evangelistic group known as “Crossfire.” Among those dreamers were Kung Fu stylists, Taekwondo Stylists, and people who had dreams, but no training. They began to search for the best way to utilize martial arts to share their Christian testimony to the community around them. They discovered the United States Chung Do Kwan Association, and their Christian subset, the Taekwondo Rangers. Training with the Sell Team began promptly to convert the martial artists to traditional Taekwondo stylists in the Chung Do Kwan style of Taekwondo. By January of 1990, the program opened as the Taekwondo Team for Crossfire, under the direction of Master Kevin Kugler (Then, Mr. Kugler) with Parkway Baptist Church student ministries.
At first, the program was merely people trying to be better so they could perform better demonstrations, but it wouldn’t be long before people started gaining interest in this church Taekwondo program. They began to expand, separating the demonstration team out from the “regular program.” Within merely 4 years of the program’s beginning, there was a room full of demo team members training and another full room of regular practitioners.
As time went on, Master Kugler began to oversee a program that was busting at the seams. The program would have to rent larger spaces to hold testings in one large group. By this time, The Way was operating under the name “Parkway Baptist Taekwondo,” and was a regular fixture within the United States Chung Do Kwan and Taekwondo Rangers special events, training sessions, and tournaments, producing high-quality black belts and instructors.
Master Kugler contracted brain cancer, and though only given 6 months to live, he fought bravely for another 2 years, even continuing to lead Parkway Baptist Taekwondo as his health allowed. Several students even got opportunities to spar with him long after he was supposed to have passed. Truly, he was an inspirational leader! Sadly, Master Kugler passed away in December of 2004. The program was then passed on to Master Dave Jarvis, who was Master Kugler’s senior student. Master Jarvis would lead the program through 2011, during which time, his senior student, Master Felicity Miller would take control.
During the time that Master Jarvis and Master Miller were exchanging the charter, the program was moved to University Presbyterian Church and, truth be told, barely made it through the transition. The program dwindled to only a very small handful of students, and under Master Miller’s leadership and dedication, the program began to build steam again, packing out the training area provided! It was during this time that Parkway Baptist Taekwondo would officially become The Way Christian Taekwondo University, and our first logo was designed by Master Austin Moats. The silhouette of the original logo design is actually of Master Moats himself!
Master Miller retired in 2015, appointing Master Christopher Courington as the senior instructor. Master Courington was a student of Master Kugler and had founded a separate program at a YMCA. When the YMCA changed their creative direction, and chose to close the program, Master Courington returned to train along side Master Miller. During the time of the transfer of Charter, Master Miller appointed Chief Instructor Toavs to be the lead instructor of a new location at Crosslife Church.
Master Courington would see the program also expand to Eastpoint Fellowship, making this humble program into a 3-location school, with Master Courington leading the Eastpoint location, Chief Instructors Katie and Landon Noland in charge of the University Presbyterian location, and Chief Instructor Toavs in charge of the Crosslife location.
Unfortunately, both University Presbyterian and Eastpoint had need to close their doors to the program for differing reasons, but the staff found a silver lining in that everyone was able to regularly train together again. Now, The Way has consolidated resources, and formed tight leadership teams that have helped to even further improve the quality of instruction within the program. As the program enters its 30th year of operation, the logo has gotten an overhaul, as well as several other facets of the program’s standards of operation.
Through all of this, one thing we have learned as a program is simply this. Not a single instructor has done this on his or her own. We all have needed help from those around us, and we have all looked to our instructor, Grandmaster Brenda J. Sell for guidance. It has been the goal of The Way CTU to build legacy into each and every student, and for each student and each black belt to have a place to call home, and people to call family.