One day at home, Jerry decided he was going to demonstrate his Tae Kwon Do prowess to our youngest brother Rick and me. He positioned me on one side of the room and Rick on the other. With a front kick he sent me flying into the bookcase and with a swift back kick he sent Ricky into the open closet. That was COOL!
Jerry trained in an aggressive version of the sport with his buddy Frank Coppola. They would clobber each other to the point of inflicting pain and bodily bruises. Hearing all of the crazy stories, I often thought about taking up TKD but never acted on my curiosity. It was definitely a bucket list item to one day earn a black belt.
Then, I decided to hang up my skates and gave up playing in Men’s hockey leagues in my late 40s. Something was definitely missing. I would wander home from work and have nothing to do at night. One day, I decided to stop into Lee Brother’s Tae Kwon Do in Raleigh, NC. Little did I know at the time, but that decision changed my life forever and forged a deeper bond with Jerry in the process.
As I started my training with Grand Master Lee, Jerry was always there to guide me and teach me his secret weapons. Master Lee teaches a gentler Olympic style of TKD than what Jerry had experienced but many of the techniques were similar. Jerry shared a magazine article one day with an article and picture of the two combatants, Jerry and Frank, breaking boards together. As I flipped through the magazine, I spotted the cover article about the Lee Brothers family and legacy in TKD. Grand Master Lee and his brothers were featured in that same magazine. Incredible.
The lessons I learned at Lee Brothers will serve me well for the rest of my life. Grand Master Lee and my LBTKD family pushed me well beyond my capabilities and taught me discipline and respect amongst many other life lessons. The TKD experiences I shared with Jerry made me realize just how much of an inspiration he has been throughout my life.