Name: Maureen Gillis

Rank: 3rd Degree Blackbelt

Practicing since: 1995

I am thankful to be a 3rd Dan Black Belt practicing and instructing at Grandmaster Cho's Tae Kwon Do Westheimer School in Houston, Texas, U.S.A.. The goal of Cho's Tae Kwon Do is to help all students become the best they can be, in the martial arts and in life.

BACKGROUND: In 1995, at age 43, I decided to study martial arts more seriously. Previously, in my 20s and 30s, I had some brief exposure to Karate, Tai Chi, and Kung Fu. I wasn’t sure what style of martial arts I wanted to study, but being a teacher myself, I knew the character of the teacher and the atmosphere of the school would be important factors in my decision.

LIFE AT CHO'S TAE KWON DO: I had the honor of working and studying with Grandmaster Kyu Ha Cho for 19 years. Now, it is an honor to work and study with his son, Master Jason Cho, a skilled, dedicated, inspired instructor and martial artist. The goal of Cho's Tae Kwon Do is to help all students become the best they can be, in the martial arts and in life.

THE BENEFITS: This system of exercise deals with the whole person, and also aligns with my own personal philosophy. I want to love all life. Yes, all. I believe all life is sacred. Respect is an integral part of that love. Respect is an integral part of the training at Cho's Tae Kwon Do. When I am in a state of respect or reverence, I tap into a depth in myself that I would not otherwise be able to access. When I respect, I honor the other, but in so doing I cannot help but likewise honor myself in the process. We are all of the same life force. When I practice Tae Kwon Do, including the aims and pledge, with this attitude of respect, my learning is amplified and accelerated. The Tae Kwon Do aims are simple to say, but when practiced, they have a far reaching effect on one’s life. Though listed separately, the aims work together to strengthen a person inside (inner resolve) and out (physical ability and agility).

MODESTY: Modesty is synonymous with humility, meekness (which is the ability to be coached), and unpretending. We express physical modesty when we turn around to fix our uniforms. Mental and spiritual modesty knows there is always more to learn. It is not being full of oneself, but rather, it is like being an empty cup, ever ready to receive instruction.

SELF-CONTROL: Self-control, also known as self-restraint or self-discipline, is the most fundamental ingredient in forming true self-confidence. We cannot control the world around us. But, we can control our reactionary selves, and respond in an honest, noble and loving way to the world around us. That is true freedom.

PERSEVERANCE: Perseverance is a determination to never ever give up. It’s about taking the not out of “I can’t”, over and over, until we end up with an “I can do” attitude being a permanent part of our personality.

INDOMINATABLE SPIRIT: Indominatable spirit is an unshakable inner knowing that no matter what obstacles we face in life, we will not be overcome by them. Instead, we can and will use obstacles as stepping stones to develop greater depth of heart, mind, and strength.

My plan is to teach these aims the way Grandmaster Cho taught me. He was most happy to see his students succeed, and so am I. With practice and patience, we can learn; we can change and we can grow. We are never too young or too old to learn new things. I never want to stop learning.

With respect and love, "Mo" Maureen Clare Gillis - www.expandingheart.com