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Taylor Martial Arts expanding offerings

Photo provided Zac Taylor, of Taylor Martial Arts, works with instructors Paul Taylor and Misty Smith. He is now offering the less-lethal style of Hapkido along with his usual Taekwondo.

ST. CLAIRSVILLE — Beginning Tuesday, Taylor Martial Arts will begin offering instruction in another martial arts style that includes less-lethal moves with a wider array of applications.

“We’re rebranding our selves from the Taylor Taekwondo Academy to the Taylor Martial Arts Academy, because not only are we teaching traditional … Taekwondo, we’re the first school in the area to offer Hapkido,” owner Zac Taylor said.

Hapkido, Taylor said, is a less-lethal martial art which focuses on joint locks and grappling over strikes.

“Taekwondo, although it’s a pretty complete style, it’s a military style. It’s a very hard-striking style. It’s great for self-defense, but what’s great about Hapkido is it’s a very soft style. There’s a lot of join manipulation, take-downs, control techniques, escort techniques, which come into play if you are, say, a teacher or a security guard or a police officer where you’re not allowed striking somebody, but you still need to defend yourself and kind of get a hold of a situation,” he said. “Taekwondo, it’s known as a killing art. … Hapkido is definitely not. It uses things like off-balancing and locking and controlling your opponent that way instead of striking a vital target immediately.”

Taylor said he hopes to see greater interest and a wider variety of student clientele.

“A lot of police academies use Hapkido-type techniques when they’re teaching,” he said.

Taylor said due to the demands of the additional style, he will not be taking students younger than 13. He said his Taekwondo classes have students as young as 5 years old and as old as 72.

“Hapkido is an adult program,” he said.

Taylor said the style has adapted over the years to train students to anticipate and counter a wide range of modern weapons, including homemade blades and knives.

He is certified in Taekwondo through the International Taekwondo Federation headquartered in Korea. When he decided to expand to Hapkido, he sought certification through Moo Sool Won-USA, as well as international certification through the Global Hapkido Association.

Taylor offers two free classes to prospective students.

Taylor is a sixth-degree black belt who has trained in the martial arts for close to 25 years and has been a national champion in 2004, 2007 and 2010 in the International Taekwondo Federation. He started the studio in 2016.

“I’ve competed all over the U.S. I’ve competed in Canada, England, South Korea,” he said. “We are a traditional school with a lot of core values and character building, but at the same time we’re very self-defense oriented in application — stuff that’s really going to protect you compared to some of the other schools in the area that are more sport-oriented and more competition-oriented.

“Setting up a school has always been my dream. I’ve always wanted to teach what I was taught,” he said. “Martial arts is great for character development, learning perseverance and to never give up. It’s great for discipline, it’s great for self-control and confidence-building. It’s great for the body, it’s good for the mind and spirit.”

The studio is located at 150 W. Main St. in St. Clairsville. For more information, call 740-391-2146 or visit Taylor Martial Arts Academy on Facebook.

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