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New beginnings
By Matt Stone

February 18, 2006

At times, the pain of life can be a blessing in disguise. That’s been the case for one Kyrene Corridor resident who eased the despair of losing his wife by opening what he calls his “dream” martial arts studio.

Glen Wong had a rude awakening in 2004. When his wife died he realized he had to choose: The high-paying career he had held at Freescale Semiconductor for 19 years or his family and health.

The answer was obvious.

“I had to make a choice,” Wong said. “If I (die), my boys have nobody.”

Thus, with his two sons, Jared, 13, and Bradley, 9, as his motivation, Wong opened JB Martial Arts Academy in 2005.

JB, from the first letter of each son’s name, focuses on Jhoon Rhee American Freestyle Tae Kwon Do. Rhee is considered the father of American taekwondo, a form of martial arts that closely resembles Japanese karate.

Wong makes it a priority to stay faithful to the discipline, taking particular pride in the accuracy of his students’ belt rankings.

“We are not a belt mill,” said Wong. “We want orange belts to be true orange belts.”

One way of ensuring the integrity of the system is by keeping a good student-to-teacher ratio, Wong says. As head instructor, Wong works with a team of other teachers to give students what he feels is the best experience possible.

For Wong, receiving a positive reaction from a pleased student is more rewarding than the monetary gain that comes from operating his school.

“Fewer things (are) more satisfying than having feedback that you’ve influenced them positively.”

Wong’s classes take up the better part of a 3,000-square-foot facility, nearly double size of a  typical studio. He also offers videotaping to supplement the learning process.

Wong says this kind of personal attention helps to keep a strong relationship with each of his understudies.

“For us, we’re really concerned about each student as an individual.”

Wong and his instructors also offer free private lessons to help assuage the difficulty of falling behind. Offering the little things that other places do not helps to define the differences of Wong’s approach, he says.

Posted at the studio are three sayings from which their ideology is constructed:

“Everything we do falls into these three things.”

The basis for what Wong preaches is also a foundation for how he lives his new life.

“It’s a personal challenge,” Wong says of his philosophy. “First and foremost this change allows me to take better care of myself mentally and physically, which will in turn allow me to meet my number one priority which is to grow old enjoying my sons and family.”

Wong realized he had to make sacrifices in his life to find true happiness, and while it has not been an easy road, new meaning comes to the saying that “every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.”

JB Martial Arts Academy is at 5865 W. Ray Road, Suite 10, Chandler.  Information: or (480) 855-5262.



Photo by David Stone



























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