Martial arts instructor brings home the medals

When Paul Burgess and his son signed up for Taekwondo, they did not know what to expect or that Paul would go on to win competition after competition. Burgess’ son played basketball and soccer at the Y, but neither sport was what Paul was looking for himself. When his son started Taekwondo, Burgess decided to join him, and they have been doing it together ever since. Burgess always had a fighting spirit growing up. In high school he participated in boxing, and through college he fought in American Kenpo.

Burgess and his Sensei
Paul and Grandmaster Duncan Williams

What is Taekwondo?

TAEKWONDO is a Korean style martial art dating back to the 6th century A.D. Tae means to kick or smash with the foot; Kwon means to punch or strike with the fist; Do means the art or method of. Therefore, taekwondo is the Korean art of foot and hand fighting.

A host of benefits

In addition to self defense training, some of the taekwondo benefits are weight loss and control, increased muscle tone and endurance, physical control, coordination, and balance, improved poise, self-confidence, self-discipline, and maturity, a heightened respect of self and others, relaxation and inner peace.

Burgess now teaches martial arts at the Baxter YMCA, and his wife is a preschool teacher there. He is passionate about the sport and his beliefs.

“I love teaching in a place I know good Christian belief is allowed on the mat and allowed to be expressed,” Burgess said. “I love being able to teach similarities between Taekwondo and Christianity.”

Winner, winner!

Paul medaled in Taekwondo
Paul medaled in Taekwondo

In addition to teaching, Burgess also competes in the sport. The most recent competition was in Ft. Lauderdale where Burgess represented North Indy Taekwondo.  North Indy Taekwondo instructs classes at several local YMCAs, including the Jordan Y, Fishers Y, Hendricks Regional Health YMCA, OrthoIndy Foundation Y and the Irsay Family Y.

The competition was the largest national championship since 2004. Ten other heavyweights were in Burgess’ division. He fought three different rounds each lasting an hour and ten minutes. Burgess also won the forms competition against one other man in his division. Even today, Paul still has bruises from the events, but is very pleased with the results.

Quality family time

Martial arts means a lot to Paul being both a competitor and a father. His two daughters joined the family on the mat. With all of his children practicing together at the Y, Burgess finds more ways to engage with his family.

“The martial arts platform has given me a place to be a dad and teach my kids,” Burgess said.

The Baxter Y gives Burgess the opportunity to speak with his children about a subject at school or not doing their chores. It’s become a safe place for them to talk to each other. Burgess is grateful for everything the Y has done and continues doing for him.

Burgess family does Taekwondo
The Burgess family

Try taekwondo, other martial arts

Taekwondo is offered at the Baxter YMCA. A uniform may be purchased from instructor at the first class. Sparring pads are also required and available per the instructor. You’ll find other martial arts classes at your local Y for youth and adults, such as boxing, karate, judo and mixed martial arts. Try ’em out!