Docarmo’s Taekwondo is a big hit and kick – The Greenville Advocate

Greenville is lucky to have martial arts teacher Anne Docarmo. She is a World Taekwondo Federation seventh degree black belt and has been practicing her art officially for 50 years last month.

“We’ve been here in Greenville for seven years now,” Docarmo said.

Like most businesses in town, Docarmo’s school was affected by COVID-19.

“Two years ago, I didn’t know if we’d be able to keep the Greenville school open. We fought tooth and nail for this place. We want to be a part of the Greenville community. We want to be here.”

Docarmo has three locations where she teaches her skills. When she isn’t teaching in Greenville, she teaches at her center in Montgomery and at an after-school Taekwondo class at Pike Road School.

She said “It’s much different when the children come to the Taekwondo Center compared to the after school program. When the students come to the Center, their mentality changes. It’s more serious here.”

The programs for the two youngest age groups, ages four, five and six, are called Lil’ Dragons; and Tigers, for ages seven, eight and nine. The classes are designed around the age of the child. They use Skillz, an international teaching program. It helps with the approach an instructor uses in regard to the age-based curriculum.

“There are age specific educational expectations,” Docarmo said. “We help the little ones with their hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills. We also help them with their verbalization skills and their ability to learn stillness.”

All of the skills taught transfer to the outside world. The children learn how to listen, they become considerate, she said. “This changes their experiences in both school and with other kids, too,” Docarmo added. “They learn how to answer and how to follow the rules.”

The students are taught manners, respect and courtesy through play. “In this age group, kids learn better this way (through play),” she said. “Robert Stall, who teaches this class does a really good job of making it fun for them.”

“Taekwondo teaches the children more than just punches and kicks. It teaches them how to control themselves so they can become better listeners,” Docarmo said. “We teach them to focus with their eyes, their body and their brain.”

Another thing Docarmo said the little ones learn is to be thankful for their parents; to be polite and respectful. “Once a parent sees what the class is doing for their child, they commit to it. When the child sees this commitment from their parents, then they learn what commitment is. That’s huge for society now,” Docarmo said.

“When the kids are little, parents stay here for their class,” she went on to say. “Parents love to come in and listen to us teach the children things that they can do at home that will make them better parents.”

“We want people to learn the value of what the children are getting. They learn how to commit and how to work in a group. That improves their social skills,” Docarmo said.

Taekwondo is also good for children who are on the autism spectrum. “Everybody on the team can be successful. Their success depends on them. There is a lot of comradery with each group.”

Docarmo encourages girls to get involved in martial arts. “Little girls need to be empowered,” Docarmo said. “In our society today, with the dangers that are out there now, girls need to know how to stand up for themselves, and to be verbal. They need to be confident and know that it’s okay for them to be that way.”

The classes are made up of students from different areas, status, color, and skill.

“We have students from the Greenville area, Ft. Deposit and Hope Hull. From south of here and west of here. This class brings people together. There is no such thing as problems with these kids. They don’t have problems with each other. We’ve got Asian, Indian, African American and Caucasian kids here. Boys, girls, kids with ADHD,” Docarmo said. They support each other and all the parents cheer them on. “We’re like a family here.”

At the beginning of each class, the little ones recite their own special creed: I hope I never have to use my Taekwondo.

“That means,” Docarmo said, “don’t kick your sister. Don’t kick your friends. And don’t kick the furniture.”

The price for eight classes a month is $59. Although the Lil’ Dragon class is currently full, it meets once a week for 30 minutes.

Docarmo’s Taekwondo Center is located on the corner at 607 E. Commerce Street here in Greenville. Docarmo can be reached at (334)220-5835, on Facebook, or by website at www.trytkdfree.com.

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