Heather Truong sends a high kick in Master Paul Bozman’s direction during training. (Alex Kurial / The Northern View)

STORY AND VIDEO: Just kicking it: Taekwondo centre a mainstay in Prince Rupert

Master Paul Bozman has been at the helm for over three decades

Paul Bozman got into the sport of taekwondo to deliver the kicks; now he is the one teaching the next generation how to dish them out.

Bozman, a sixth degree black belt, is the head instructor at the Prince Rupert Taekwondo and Martial Arts Centre. It’s a role he has held since he started the program back in 1987. Instruction was held at the Civic Centre until 2008, when the centre moved to its current location on Second Ave. West.

“It’s Olympic style taekwondo sparring,” Bozman explained. “We run three classes a night: little kids, intermediate level and then black belt level.”

Descending into the basement centre means stepping into the world of Master Bozman, where a Korean style aesthetic pays homage to the origin of the sport. Sitting in his office flanked by such traditional items, Bozman explains what attracted him to the sport in the first place.

“I always liked the high kicks,” Bozman said. “I was in karate before but I always liked the looks of the taekwondo kicks.”

“The general population seem to put martial arts together,” Bozman explained, referring to a penchant among the general populace to blend taekwondo, karate, judo and so forth into one.

“The emphasis is mostly kicking,” Bozman says of taekwondo. “It’s one of the newer martial arts actually, in the history of martial arts.”

A young student eyes up her next opponent. (Alex Kurial / The Northern View)

Having taken part himself since 1982, Bozman, along with his assistants, are now focused on continuing to develop talent and interest in the sport.

“For me the most rewarding part is seeing them progress to black belt,” Bozman said of his students. “So many little personalities, it’s quite rewarding.”

First degree black belt students Heather Truong and Michael Mai share in this enthusiasm.

“I like seeing them do their kicks, and slowly learn how to improve them,” Truong said of her teaching role.

“I like how I can put my knowledge and what I know and give that to them,” Mai added.

Michael Mai shows off his range in a training session with Master Paul Bozman. (Alex Kurial / The Northern View)

Having been teaching for over three decades, Bozman has begun to see multiple generations come through his ranks.

“I teach kids of kids I used to teach as we speak,” Bozman said. Pointing out a young student practicing on the floor: “His dad used to be my top student. He was our first provincial champion.”

Bozman and his students are hoping more success is on the way, and are currently preparing for a taekwondo tournament in Vancouver at the end of October.

Alex Kurial | Sports Reporter
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