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Taekwondo students are ready to demonstrate what they've learned at the Monroe County Fair Saturday, July 28 at 1 p.m.

Jason Backus’ Taekwondo classes normally train outside public view.

But during the Monroe County Fair, his youngsters will have a much wider audience. Local boys and girls ages 4-16 will demonstrate what they’re learning in Taekwondo classes Saturday, July 28 during the Monroe County Fair. The demonstration begins at 1 p.m. behind the Tomah Ice Center.

“We’ll be showing the kick technique, the punch technique,” Backus said. “We’ll do some sparring, and we’ll probably break a few boards.”

Backus, a fourth-degree black belt, teaches the class, along with fifth-degree black belt Steve Kenyon of Sparta at Anytime Fitness in Tomah. They also teach a class together in Leon.

The classes are part of the Park Institute under the guidance of ninth-degree black belt Grand Master Kun Yoo Park of Rochester, Minnesota.

Backus took Taekowndo lessons as a teen-ager but drifted away from the activity until his four-year-old son, Logan, expressed interest in the pursuit. Kenyon was teaching the classes, and Backus had good memories sharing the classroom with him as a teen-ager.

“If anybody was going to teach my kid, it was going to be Steve,” Backus said.

Backus followed his son back into Taekwondo, and he said the effects have been positive.

“I’m a lot more flexible than I was, and it seems my memory is a lot better,” he said. “It helps me physically. I’m a lot more physically fit than I was.”

He said Taekwondo often has a transformation effect on children.

“The kids we teach are pretty shy and don’t have any confidence,” Backus said. “By the time they get to red and blue belts, they’re standing up tall and have a lot of confidence.”

He said Taekwondo is more than a physical activity. He said there are five tenets of Taekwondo: courtesy, integrity, perseverance, self-control and indomitable spirit.

“There is a lot of life-skill building we teach,” Backus said. “It helps them do better in life.”

He wants audiences at the fair to learn that Taekwondo isn’t a form of physical aggression. He said every form starts with a defensive block technique.

“We don’t teach kids how to fight,” Backus said. “”We teach kids to defend themselves. We teach them to walk away and not confront if they don’t have to. Taekwondo is all defense.”

Tomah Journal editor Steve Rundio can be reached at


Tomah Journal editor

Steve Rundio is editor of the Tomah Journal. Contact him at 608-374-7785.

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