Fighting for a Purpose

Joe Nelson uses his passion for taekwondo to help others build positive character.

By Matt R. Murphy, Chelsi Baker, and Matt S. Murphy | 03/05/2012

Taekwondo is in Joe Nelson’s blood – he has been immersed in the martial art his entire life. Growing up in South Florida, Nelson found his passion as a child, and went on to train at All-Star Academy in Wellington, Fla., rising through the ranks to become the second-degree black belt he is today.

In 2010, Nelson decided he wanted to move out of Florida – to somewhere “further out,” as he says, in part to find a better environment to raise his three-year-old son, Kyle. His journey took him first to Inwood, W.Va., and finally to Marlinton. Through the Snowshoe Career Center, Nelson was able to earn his GED, and learned business management skills, enabling him to open his own taekwondo academy in the Parks and Recreation Building in Marlinton.

Nelson’s school has grown to nearly 40 students, from young kids to adults, all joining for different reasons. But Nelson said that in addition to a great way to exercise, the most important aspects of taekwondo are the changes that take place inside a person – mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Nelson has seen his students develop increased self-esteem, confidence and discipline. The changes he sees in his students, combined with his passion for the sport, are what fuel Nelson’s drive to teach.

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