Try our Silver Dragon Club, where being over 55 is a plus
It's true that some individuals are blessed with good genes, and no matter how many unhealthy lifestyle habits they have, they're going to live into old age. But for the rest of us who might be concerned with quality of life as we age, exercise is one of the keys.
Our Silver Dragon Club are our students that are 55 years and older which are lead, by our own black belt, Mary O’Leary-Loveless (see profile below). If you would like to stay strong and active, increase balance, flexibility, strength, mental clarity, and have fun at the same time then Silver Dragon Club is for you!
Classes areTuesdays and Thursdays at 8:30 to 9:45
To the delight of her friends and family, O’Leary Loveless was one of nine people to earn a first-degree black belt in Taekwondo at Frederick’s ATA Martial Arts Center in Helena.
“We’ve talked about me teaching a class for those over 55; we’re called silver dragons,” the 68-year-old said after the black belt ceremony. “That’s a possibility I never thought would come up, but I want to be open to what comes in front of me. Taekwondo helps me do that. It’s spiritual, physical and your body and mindset all work together.”
The name “Taekwondo” comes from the Korean word “tae,” which means foot; “kwon,” which means fist; and “do,” which means way of. Its roots began about 2,300 years ago, although the name has only been used since the mid 1950s and Taekwondo is meant to be not just a martial art, but also a way of life.
“One of the very important things we have with Taekwondo is courtesy and respect,” Elena Fredericks, a fourth-degree black belt and five time double/triple crown state champ, told the students during the ceremony. “There is meaning and purpose with Taekwondo There is symmetry, balance and coordination, but also some power and strength.”
Slowly and deliberately, the students moved through the various poses and motions, at times pivoting on one foot, sometimes jumping and kicking or raising their hands in defensive or sparring mode. The two 9-year-old girls in the class kept mischievous smiles on their faces, while others were serious with concentration.
O’Leary-Loveless said that she heard about the class from her dental hygienist, Debbie Jose, a 2008 state Taekwondo champion.
“I saw pictures on her wall and she said her whole family did it,” O’Leary-Loveless said. “She said I would like this, but it took me a couple of years to get here.
“I wasn’t planning on becoming a black belt; I just liked the exercise. But part way through, I began to wonder if someone my age could get a black belt.”
Fredericks laughed as she recalled how O’Leary-Loveless came into her office, said she wanted to take the class, then left but showed up a few months later. But once again she stopped going to class, only to return a third time and stick with it
“She told me that when she says she’s going to do something she will,” Fredericks said.
As her family gathered around O’Leary-Loveless, they mentioned how proud they were of her accomplishment. But her 8-year-old grandson, Duncan McDonald, was in awe of one thing in particular.
“I’m very proud of my grandmother for breaking the board in half with her foot,” McDonald said.
Afterward, as O’Leary-Loveless held the two pieces of the half-inch-thick board in her hands, she also was amazed.
“I never thought I would break a board in my whole life,” she said with a smile. “I’m so happy the spirit within me kept nagging me to go back to class. You can’t let age hold you up.”
Be more flexible
Have fun with other SILVER DRAGONS just like you.
Learn the basics of Taekwondo and Self-Defense with the assistance of certified instructors. All techniques are modified and demonstrated to assist you in using them in a safe and effective manner. The Silver Dragon Club is for students 55 and older looking to remain fit, healthy and flexible.
Frederick's ATA Martial Arts 3439 Ptarmigan St. Helena, Montana 59602 Phone (406) 442-6499 Fax (406) 449-0377