When Waxhaw residents Marelet and Master Jonathan Fleming opened WOW Taekwondo in 2010, they dreamed of not only training students in the martial arts, but of making a positive community impact through Taekwondo. Over the years, WOW Taekwondo, located on Providence Road in the heart of Waxhaw, has trained more than 1,000 students of all ages and has helped families get strong, inside and out. They’ve also contributed to a number of local initiatives and fundraising efforts in order to support local communities. Now, thanks to WOW’s commitment to local initiatives and strong national winning competition roots, Master Fleming has launched GTS: Grassroots Taekwondo Series. GTS’ mission is to strengthen martial arts’ presence in Waxhaw and surrounding local areas and give students of all belt levels a chance to grow and become more confident through sparring.
“GTS was designed to encourage and promote local Taekwondo students to feel more confident and comfortable in martial arts sparring competitions,” says Fleming. “We wanted to create a collaborative and supportive environment for local Taekwondo studios and students who want to experience—perhaps for the first time—a sparring match.”
While the Charlotte area is host to a number of Taekwondo national qualifier events, not every student wants to compete, or feels comfortable competing, on a state or national level. “Many martial arts competitions require a significant time and resource commitment, and not all Taekwondo families have the desire or means to participate,” explains Master Fleming. “We created GTS so that all students, no matter their experience level, can gain confidence and eliminate the anxiety that can come with sparring competitions.”
Already, GTS has a number of local Taekwondo studios and students who have become members of this grassroots effort. Schools from Monroe, Pineville, Matthews and Charlotte—to name a few—have made a commitment to GTS, becoming members, attending referee and sparring seminars and volunteering to make its first event a success.
GTS’ kickoff competition will take place on Saturday, February 23 at Kensington Elementary School, beginning at 9am. Spectators are welcome to attend this highly-anticipated event that will bring more exposure and understanding of Taekwondo to the area. GTS continues to accept member schools, students and referees, and Fleming plans at least three additional sparring competitions in 2019.
“We can’t wait to see how GTS will strengthen Taekwondo students of all ages and abilities,” say the Flemings. “It has been our dream to bring local sparring competitions to our area and we are so grateful for the support from families, businesses and schools in Waxhaw, especially Kensington Elementary School, for being part of this effort.”
For more information on GTS: Grassroots Taekwondo Series, or to purchase tickets for the inaugural competition, visit grassrootstkd.com. Tickets will not be sold at the door, and there are a limited number of spectator tickets available.