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Taekwondo kicks off in Perham

Perham native Nick Bretz has opened a Taekwondo studio above Bretz Hardware.1 / 2
During the grand opening at Perham's Taekwondo school, members of the Park Rapids school gave demonstrations of kicks and punches learned in class.2 / 2

With 12 years of teaching experience under his (black) belt, 2001 Perham High School graduate Nick Bretz is back in town to share his expertise in Taekwondo.

Last week, Bretz held a grand opening celebration for his business, Perham Taekwondo, at his new studio above the family store, Bretz Hardware.

Bretz told the crowd he felt nervous, which is rare for him - he is also a magician and is used to being in front of a crowd. He said his nerves were probably due to seeing so many familiar faces in the audience.

Nerves aside, Bretz shared his experience with the most popular marshal art form in the world, Taekwondo, as well as its close cousins, Hapkido and Kumdo. As a black belt and master of all three, he is qualified to teach each practice.

Bretz began his first lesson in Taekwondo right here in Perham at age seven. Later in life, he opened a school of his own in Park Rapids.

During the grand opening, Bretz and longtime members of the Park Rapids Taekwondo school provided an impressive demonstration.

The group showed off a series of kicks and punches, which they learned in their classes. Bretz demonstrated more advanced techniques - such as slicing through a cucumber that rested on a man's stomach, and plowing through a stack of bricks with his bare hand.

Though Bretz assured the crowd that kids would not be punching through bricks, he did say it was a good goal for everyone to aspire to.

In an interview before the ceremony, Bretz said the main benefit of participating in Taekwondo is increased self-confidence.

Taekwondo provides an incremental learning environment, which means participants start at whatever level they need to and move through the levels at their own pace.

Bretz said unlike other sports and activities, Taekwondo teaches five specific tenets to its participants: courtesy, integrity, self-control, perseverance and indomitable spirit.

Classes in Perham began this week and will be offered every Tuesday and Thursday night, at different times for different age levels. Perham's school of Taekwondo will offer local, state and national competition to members.

For more information, call 237-4853.