With a combined 55 years of martial arts experience, Dora and Raymond Bennett have established one of the province’s leading martial arts academies
Tae Kwon Do is the Korean art of unarmed combat. As a form of martial arts, it can do wonders for the body physically, and mentally. It can enhance self-esteem by heightening your physical and mental powers, build confidence by encouraging you to succeed, and it can also develop discipline by thoroughly training your body and mind in the intricate techniques.
One martial arts school that has left an impact on many members around the Corner Brook and Pasadena area, is Bennett’s Tae Kwon Do Academy. With classes available for all ages, and ran by the incredible dynamic duo of Dora Bennett, and husband Raymond Bennett, this local establishment has received nothing but great reviews and respect for the incredible impact they’ve had on their students.
The academy runs two locations, Corner Brook and Pasadena, with multiple classes throughout the week. The Newfoundland Herald caught up with owners Dora and Raymond for an intimate interview on their experience as martial artists and teachers.
“We are the only ones that actually teach tae kwon do or martial arts in the area,” Dora shared.
“We started out with just one class in Corner Brook,” Raymond adds. “Between both schools, we have about 145 students. In Corner Brook we do it three times a week, and in Pasadena we do it twice a week. We shut down for the summer, and we come back in September. We’ve been the largest running martial arts school in Newfoundland and Labrador for the last 10 years.”
As for the dynamic duo themselves, they’ve been involved in martial arts, and tae kwon do, for much longer.
“We started here in Corner Brook about 16 years ago, and we’ve been in Pasadena about 10 years. Now, I’ve been involved in tae kwon do for about 20 years, and my husband has been in it about 35 years. He’s master, which is a fifth band. And I am a fourth band, which is just one stripe below a master.”
The classes are categorized. There’s a class for ages four to seven, eight to twelve, and thirteen is where the adult classes begin. Each class is also separated by level, such as white belts and green belts, and then classes that consist of higher belts. Leave it to the Bennett masters to place you exactly where you need to be.
“Everybody is getting the attention that they need for their belt level, and then we have an adult class, and they get the type of attention they need. Because you can’t have adults in the same class with the four year olds, you know. Nobody would get the attention that they need, so we try and keep them separated so they can get the most out of tae kwon do,” Dora explained.
What is it about tae kwon do in particular that drew the Bennett’s to pass on their knowledge? Well for one, it’s stress relieving, but more importantly, it’s a very respectful form of martial arts.
A Respectful Art
“Some martial arts, if you see them during the tournaments like karate and jujitsu, when they’re sparring, they flip their foot across to knock you down, we don’t do that. When we spare, you’re on your feet, basically hand and foot combat. There’s no knocking down, there’s no tripping. It’s a respectable art, where we’re not gonna knock ya down and beat the jeebies out of you.”
Dora continued, “with our class we deal with praise, correct, and praise. So, we don’t look at a child who’s doing a front kick that looks like a side kick, and say it’s wrong. We say, your leg is coming up nice and high, but we want you to kick forward instead of sideways. So rather than it’s wrong, we try to praise them and say it’s kind of right but let’s try it this way and then after a little while it kicks in for them. It helps boost their confidence too. When we have a class, and we’ve been working really hard, we line the kids up and we chat with them all and we praise them. Everyone gets a high five.”
For more information on Bennett’s Tae Kwon Do Academy, visit their Facebook page or contact them by phone at 638-3411.