Paul Bozman has taught taekwondo in Prince Rupert for more than 30 years. (Matthew Allen / The Northern View)

MVP Of The Week: Breaking boards and barriers

Prince Rupert taekwondo instructor Paul Bozman’s travels have deepened his love for his art

When watching Paul Bozman teach taekwondo it’s clear he has a deep passion for the art form.

The 65-year-old can be found on most week nights in his gym in Prince Rupert, carefully guiding young students, instructing them on proper form and technique.

But more important than the ability to deliver a perfect kick, do 100 straight push-ups or break a wooden board with his bare hands, are the lessons he has learned after a life spent exploring the world, experiencing different cultures and developing a broad perspective on life.

“Travelling just broadens your scope of everything,” Bozman said. “Seeing Third World countries where there is extreme poverty and seeing how other people have to live makes you thankful for what we have here.”

READ MORE: Taekwondo students show skills on Third Ave

Born in Yorkshire, England, Bozman moved to Canada in 1965 when his father, a machinist by trade, was offered a job in Edmonton at an engineering consulting firm.

“The economics in England were low at the time, and there wasn’t much opportunity,” Bozman said.

The family arrived in an ocean liner, landing in Montreal and then took a train across the country to their new home. Bozman, then only 13 years old, remembers being amazed at the natural landscape along the journey.

“I was just in awe of the scenery of Ontario,” he said. “It was so beautiful with all of the fall colours, it’s stuck in my mind all this time.”

A year after arriving in Edmonton, Bozman’s father was offered a job in Kitimat, and the family found themselves on the move again. They stayed in Kitimat for eight years before Bozman’s family moved back to Edmonton. This time, Bozman, then 22 years old, chose to stay in Kitimat where he had made friends and was beginning his own apprenticeship as a millwright.

“It was just time for me to do my own thing I guess,” he said.

It was during this period when Bozman was introduced to what would become his life’s passion. While on a trip to Vancouver in 1973, he saw a taekwondo demonstration being put on by a Korean group who were touring the world to promote the sport. Bozman was immediately impressed by the physical prowess of the performers.

“The high kicks, the flying kicks, the board breaking, it was just an impressive display,” he said.

Back in Kitimat, Bozman signed up for taekwondo instruction that was being offered through the town’s recreation department. He still remembers that first workout, which consisted of sprints, push-ups and sit-ups.

“It was hard work, but no pain, no gain,” he said. “I loved it, it was what I wanted to do.”

He continued his training over the years, maintaining his skills even as he moved from Kitimat to Prince Rupert 10 years later. It was during this time that Bozman received the inspiration to travel.

“I was in Eddie’s News and there was a travel magazine that talked about travelling to the Himalayas,” he said. “I decided I would go.”

Bozman spent the next year planning his trip, and in 1985 he began a tour of Nepal, Thailand, Hong Kong, China, Taiwan and Korea. He still has a picture of himself looking down at a base camp from an expedition in the Himalayas, an experience he said pushed him to his physical limits.

“I could manage five paces before I had to stop and gasp for air,” he said. “It was bad going.”

Following his time in the mountains, Bozman was renewed by his time in Thailand and Hong Kong, places he said were so vibrant after spending time in the desolate beauty of the Himalayan mountains.

Bozman continued on to Korea where he stayed for a month to study and train taekwondo.

“It was more dynamic,” he said. “The training and style of taekwondo was much more dynamic, faster and streamlined in Korea.”

Bozman would return to Korea the following year to further his training, and when he returned to Rupert, he began teaching taekwondo at the civic centre. There were 19 total students in his first lessons, 6 in the children’s class and 13 in the adults’. He said his first time being an instructor was an eye-opening experience as he had assisted before, but this was his first time teaching people with no instruction.

READ MORE: Taekwondo club donates to local food bank

“You have to be very clear and precise about what you’re trying to teach others,” he said. “You really have to understand the technique to teach and show someone with no martial arts background.”

Over the next 20 years, the club hosted tournaments that attracted clubs from as far away as Calgary and the Okanagan. In 2008, Bozman moved out of the civic centre into his own space on Second Avenue in downtown Prince Rupert.

“It was a lot better because I didn’t have to deal with the scheduling constraints anymore,” he said. “I was able to set the hours and size of the classes and it was way easier to teach.”

Thirty-one years after he arrived in Rupert and started teaching, Bozman said he still gets a tremendous amount of satisfaction out of something that has enriched his life and allowed him to meet with many wonderful people who have supported taekwondo’s growth in the community.

When asked how long he plans to continue, he said he enjoys it too much to think about stopping.

“That’s like asking how long a piece of string is,” he said. “I don’t know, but I don’t plan on quitting anytime soon, that’s for sure.”



matthew.allen@thenorthernview.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Social media strains over Prince Rupert’s boil water notice

Resident forms Community for Clean Water, and Jennifer Rice responds acting mayor’s comments

Port authority imposes ban on development around Lelu Island

Following Pacific Northwest LNG, there will be no future projects proposed near Flora Bank

Shutter Shack being held hostage by landlords, protesters say

Victoria-based landlords to supervise removal of equipment from their Prince Rupert commercial unit

B.C. chiefs show solidarity with Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs

Chiefs from around B.C. outside the Coastal GasLink pipeline route in Smithers show support.

Harbour debris burned in Tuck Inlet

400 cubic meters of material being burned by the Harbour Debris Society until January 17

This Week Show – Episode 118

Highlights from this week in Prince Rupert

‘Prince of Pot’ Marc Emery accused of sexual assault, harassment

Emery denied the allegations, but a Toronto woman says she is not the only one speaking out

Vancouver Island photographer makes National Geographic’s 2018 elite

Rare double honour for Marston from the 36 best Your Shots out of nearly 19,000 photos

Ex-Liberal candidate in Burnaby, B.C., says volunteer wrote controversial post

Karen Wang dropped out following online post singling out NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh’s ethnicity

Student rangers sought for Terrace

Young adults interested in student ranger program have until Feb. 24 to apply

Asteroids are smacking Earth twice as often as before

The team counted 29 craters that were no older than 290 million years

Canada’s arrest of Huawei exec an act of ‘backstabbing,’ Chinese ambassador says

China has called Canada’s arrest of Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou ‘politically motivated’

In limbo: Leftover embryos challenge clinics, couples

Some are outright abandoned by people who quit paying storage fees and other couples struggle with tough decisions

BREAKING: Jury finds man accused of killing B.C. girl, 12, guilty

Twelve-year-old Monica Jack disappeared in May 1978 while riding her bike along a highway in Merritt, B.C.

Most Read