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East West Martial Arts

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Tae-kwon-do is an ancient martial art that originally came from Korea and dates back 2,000 years. It has gained popularity in America because of the specialized kicking techniques it teaches. Practitioners learn both offense and defense skills without the use of weapons.

And Salt Lake City is now home to two master instructors Ñ Joseph and Penelope Bolega. The Bolegas each have more than 35 years of experience teaching Tae-kwon-do and Hap-ki-do, another martial arts technique. In July, the couple opened East West Martial Arts Center, at which they teach both techniques to students of all ages.

Joseph and Penelope learned Tae-kwon-do and Hap-ki-do while growing up in South Africa. They have spent the years since then traveling the globe teaching, competing, coaching and refereeing many hopeful young students the techniques. Both Joseph and Penelope have received their world certifications which means they are certified to teach in any country around the world. They can also train aspiring Olympic athletes, as Tae-kwon-do is now an Olympic sport.

East West Martial Arts Center, located on 900 East just off 4500 South in Salt Lake City, offers a variety of monthly lessons for children and adults. Saturday classes are complimentary but should be confirmed in advance. Children can gain self-confidence, discipline and greater concentration from the lessons. Adults take the classes for any number of reasons including to learn self-defense, to control their weight or to increase their level of physical fitness.

Joseph tells me he particularly enjoys teaching children because they eagerly absorb everything. He loves watching them change and grow as they increase their strength, flexibility and control. Both he and Penelope plan to continue teaching as long as possible because they feel it's important to pass on all the knowledge they've gained over the years. And East West Martial Arts Center presents the venue for them to do so.

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