Master Vink is 5th degree Black Belt in Taekwondo and has been teaching with Sioux Falls Community Education for over 20 years. He comes from Grand Master Pak‘s legacy of outstanding martial artists. Below are some great questions and answers with Master Vink.

How long have you been doing Taekwondo and how long have you been teaching?
I started Taekwondo when I was 14 and that was about 38 years ago. I have been teaching at various locations for the last 30+ years. I have been teaching with Sioux Falls Community Education for over 20 years now.

How did you get interested in Taekwondo?
I started Taekwondo with my father. He thought it would be a good way for me to learn self-defense, confidence and discipline. I did, and loved every aspect of it, so decided to spread the passion of what I learned!

Where did you learn Taekwondo and who taught you?
I took my first class through a local education program, like I teach now,  in Luverne Minnesota in 1981 with Grand Master Wes Grieme. He learned from Grand Master Pak at Iowa State University. We still have roots and participation with our Family organizations.

Can you share some memories during your training?
I have so many memories (need a book to document). Everything from my first testing and my first tournament, to my last testing and my last tournament has been a great memory travel. I NOW get to share “great” memories with my Taekwondo family and students that experience their first testing and tournament. These are all very precious moments for me and make me proud to be a part of their life experience.

At what age did you receive your black belt and how did it feel?
It took me about 5 years to get my black belt because I was a teenager in school and had other sports that I was involved in, so I was 19 yrs. old when I achieved my black belt goal. The one thing that kept me in Taekwondo was that I ALWAYS knew that I could come back into this family and be accepted any time. My black belt testing was in Ames, IA at Iowa State University and in a VERY hot wrestling room. I mostly remember WAITING forever to test. When my time came up, I gave everything that I had, but also remember that I messed up on one of my forms. Master Grieme talked to me before the sparring portion of testing and said I just need to make it all count and “leave it on the floor”. I know that I gave my all and was still worried about if it was enough! I was SO happy to accomplish this goal and wondered what to do now…… read on……

When did you decide you wanted to teach Taekwondo?
I actually started teaching before I achieved my black belt (1986), because I found people at the school I was attending wanting to learn what I was doing. I definitely liked the idea of others to work out with, so I started teaching them and also keeping myself in shape at the same time. I have NEVER lost that desire to instill the properties of Taekwondo in others, because of what had made me so strong.

Your students consistently do well in tournaments and testing. What is the secret ingredient to their consistent success?
I can only take credit for teaching proper technique, good application, and hopefully instilling the five tenants of Taekwondo (COURTESY, INTEGRITY, PERSEVERANCE, SELF CONTROL AND INDOMITABLE SPIRIT), that can make them successful in so much more that Taekwondo tournaments. I have had some exceptionally talented students that do not find an interest, and I have had some awkward students that have surpassed my beliefs. You cannot rule out the internal determination of kids….. Parents are still the KEY to how your kids will grow.

Your family is quite involved in helping kids progress. Can you tell us a little about your amazing family?
When we think of “FAMILY”, I have many thoughts. Of course I have my household family. My wife Tammy has always been supportive and involved with Taekwondo over the last 15 years. My youngest daughter, Talynn, has competed in over 20 tournaments now and has been working out with our class for five years. I have two boys that are 19 and 21, so they are a little more complicated, but had both achieved green belt. They of course found other interests as I did at that age and have pursued other directions, but they are still also very supportive of my Taekwondo commitment.  The second thing that I think of is that Taekwondo is my “FAMILY” also and I think of every one of these kids as if they were my own and I share in their disappointments and accomplishments. I share emotional investments with every one of them.

Can you share some memorable moments about your students and their progress?
As for my student memories, I would have to say that I probably remember most when one of them struggles. Whether it is at testing or at a tournament, my heart goes out to them and I try to encourage them the best that I can to keep their chin up and stay strong. I love to celebrate in any one of our family victories, but I always want to be there for the tough times, because that is what keeps us going through life by persevering through the tough times and not giving up!

What are some of the values you teach your students along with Taekwondo techniques?
My BIG three that I always start out with in the beginner class is: Respect, Confidence, and Discipline. These are the basics and very easy to see the first night of my class.as I teach them to bow and give them homework of bowing to Mom and Dad before the next class. For advanced students we delve a little deeper into the Tenets of Taekwondo: Courtesy, Integrity, Perseverance, Self-respect, and Indomitable Spirit.

What message would you like to give prospective students about Taekwondo?
About 15 years ago, my class was a majority of adult students. Back then I think that younger students were intimidated and felt that they could not keep up with the pace of all the older students, but NOW I have about 98% of students that are 16 years old or younger. Parents have seen this as an opportunity to help their children learn respect and confidence. I was very happy to see my wife (older than 40 :{) and my daughter (now 9 yrs old) get back involved. I would like to put out a challenge to parents and older students to get involved. How many of your children activities can you actually participate with them? You do not need to be a spectator or cheerleader. You can actually work along with them and share in what they do!!