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JR Grandmaster Joe Houtz

It was March of 1975 and I was 19 years old when I first came to Mr. Jung’s school. Prior to the martial arts, I was consumed by the usual sports. Baseball, basketball, and football. Unfortunately, my physical size did not lend itself to excelling at any of these sports during high school. I loved competing, but the coaches were not impressed.

What I found in Tae Kwon-Do was a beautiful and challenging martial art with much to offer not only physically, but mentally as well. I knew immediately, that Mr. Jung’s school was the place for me. I was so excited about Tae Kwon-Do, that I would often attend two classes a day. I poured myself into this awesome Korean Art. 

Receiving my black belt on Halloween night, 1975 was one of the proudest moments of my life up till then. As Mr.Jung said though, “becoming a black belt is only the beginning.”Over the coming years, Mr. Jung encouraged me to teach classes in Manchester, Iowa City, and Solon as well as here in Cedar Rapids at the club we had at the Salvation Army.

In May of 1981, Mr. Jung took a group of us to Korea and Japan for a goodwill tour. That experience was something very special and an opportunity of a lifetime. We were a close knit group, but became even closer as a result of that trip. The highlight of the trip was our visit to Master Jung’s hometown and his family’s farm.

Many years have passed since then and there have been periods in my life in which I have been absent from Tae Kwon- Do in the physical sense. Life sometimes gets in the way of continuity. I am once again training and enjoying it as much as I did as a wide-eyed 19 year old.

The friendships made over the years and the camaraderie which personifies our art and our beloved Grand Master Jung is something that always draws me back. It is in a way the “fabric” woven into each and everyone of us who have had the honor to be associated with Mr. Jung. I thank you for a lifetime of memories.