bulletin board
events calendar
business directory

best friend
news briefs


photoCollin Fonda watches students working on Taekwon Do moves in the classroom in the Methow Valley Community Center in Twisp.

Eastern Influence
Martial arts in the Methow

When Peter Burchim started a Traditional Taekwon Do martial arts school in the Methow Valley in 1984, he was the only such operation in town. Not true any more: now there’s also karate, sometimes tai chi, and probably others.

Collin Fonda, who became a student of Peter Burchim’s in 1986, now teaches Taekwon Do, a Korean martial art, in the community center in Twisp. He is a fourth degree black belt. Jody Love, a third degree black belt of the same school - Bailey’s Traditional Taekwon Do - runs her own classes at the Methow Valley Elementary School gym.

Fonda estimated that “three or four hundred students” had participated in local Taekwon Do classes.

Bailey’s Traditional Taekwon Do College is headquartered in Edmonds, Washington, but has schools scattered in 18 communities around the state.

Taekwon Do is “a regular formulated exercise” that a person can practice and participate in, that trains students in thinking, self defense and in cardiovascular exercise, Fonda said.

Kraig Mott, a fifth-degree black belt, is teaching Isshinryu Karate in Twisp at The Studio on Glover Street. His school opened there in February, 2012.

“I started training in Isshinryu Karate in the spring of 1994 at fourteen years of age. It took eight years to get my black belt,” he said.

Mott explained that Isshinryu Karate is an Okinawan martial art. “My goals for teaching Isshinryu Karate is to teach students self defense, power, coordination, breathing, throws, dumps, fend off attackers, and become aware of their surroundings at all times. In just a short time, usually two years, a variety of techniques become almost second nature,” said Mott.

photoInstructor Collin Fonda discusses a Taekwon Do pattern with black belt Amy Perry.

Tai Chi, a non-contact Taoist art of self-defense, conditioning and sometimes meditation had been practiced, sometimes sporadically, by Methow Valley groups over the years.

Dotted around the Methow Valley are undoubtedly many individuals who have trained extensively in the martial arts. They’re hard to find: many traditional martial artists are self-effacing and their philosophies and disciplines teach humbleness, not self-aggrandizement. Examples are valley resident Ric Iribarren, who taught Tai Chi for about six years in the 1990’s. Pastor Matthew Nicks of St. Genevieve’s Catholic Church in Twisp is a black belt in Goju Ryu Karate. The Grist also heard rumors of WingTsun and Ju Jitsu practitioners.

The local Taekwon Do school encourages parents and children to start learning together with children as young as eight. For Isshinryu Karate, the youngest recommended age “is around puberty time, 12-15 years of age.” said Mott. “This is an age where most students will stay with the program and succeed.”


Have a comment? >>