Cultural exchange

Published 12:47 pm Thursday, April 29, 2004

By By DAN WEISS / Niles Daily Star
NILES -- Students at Eastside Elementary School were introduced to a new culture in an exciting way Wednesday afternoon.
A team of students from Seoul, Korea, demonstrated their Tae Kwon Do skills during separate demonstrations which lasted about an hour each.
The group of 12 students is made up of 10- to 12-year-olds led by Grand Master Lee Pyung Chae, who is the Universal Tae Kwon Do Union President.
Master Lee is a longtime acquaintance and former teacher of Grand Master Soon Pil Hong of Hong's USA Tae Kwon Do in Niles.
Instructor Ron Harris of Hong's USA Tae Kwon Do arranged for the team to make the 20-hour trip from South Korea to the United States. The team arrived Monday afternoon and will be staying in the area until Tuesday.
The main reason for the team's visit to the United States is for a cultural exchange. The visitors have been treated to American food, horseback riding, shopping malls and sightseeing around Michiana.
The children in Eastside School and others who come in contact with the team will see how disciplined the Korean students are.
These students train seven days a week as part of their regular schooling.
As a rule, Tae Kwon Do strives to teach self-discipline, respect, courtesy and family values. That is what Harris and the other instructors at Hong's hope to pass along to their students and that is what the Korean team hopes to relay during its time here.
Harris has been a student and instructor at Hong's for six years and said learning Tae Kwon Do is about much more than its physical side.
The Korean team's demonstration to the students at Eastside involved mostly Tae Kwon Do movements set to a musical background.
The students displayed a number of skills, including flexibility and strength.
There will be an open house at Hong's USA Tae Kwon Do tonight from 5-10 p.m. The public is invited to attend and to meet the team.