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National Taekwondo competition comes to Highland, planned by Lansing’s Master El

By Karen Abbott-Trimuel

LANSING, Ill. (June 7, 2022) – Master El is the founder and Master instructor of Universal Martial Arts Ministry, a not-for-profit, faith-based organization that teaches Taekwondo in Lansing. He has over 20 years of Taekwondo experience as an instructor and was once a student himself under the tutelage of Supreme Grand Master Bok Man Kim, one of Taekwondo’s technical founders.

Universal Martial Arts Ministry (UMAM) has 100 students and three instructors at their Do Jang Temple on Ridge Road. Master El is joined by instructor Frederick Hollis and instructor Jay Serrano who are both 2nd Dan Black Belts. Instructor Jay is the youngest instructor at 17 years old.

“It usually takes two years from start to finish to receive a black belt status, but I have a student who is only 13 years old that received her black belt within one year because of discipline and extensive training,” said Master El.


On Saturday, July 30, 2022, Master El and several other Taekwondo schools will be competing at the Lincoln Recreational Center, located at 2450 Lincoln Street in Highland, Indiana. The tournament’s purpose is to provide the students with an opportunity to compete with schools from around the country and meet Masters and Grand Masters and learn different techniques.

Though logistics are still being finalized, other martial arts schools participating in this year’s tournament are Complete Martial Arts from New Jersey – Grand Master Brad Shipp, Integrity Martial Arts from Colorado – Grand Masters Daniel Gaul and Deborah Hinkle, Boscobel Martial Arts Academy from Wisconsin – Grand Master Ray Saint, and a host of others. Approximately 200 competitors will be participating in this year’s tournament. The students will receive trophies and medals, which signify their accomplishments and status throughout the tournament.

The tournament runs from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.


Master El stands near a poster showing the belt rankings of Taekwondo. (Photo: Karen Abbott-Trimuel)

Taekwondo is the elite martial art of Korea. There are five tenets of Taekwondo – courtesy, integrity, perseverance, self-control, and indomitable spirit. There are also rules of engagement related to discipline and respect, such as respecting parents and grandparents, telling the truth, completing chores, etc.

“Taekwondo is more than just technical teachings. It’s also culture-based, where students learn about spiritual and physical development. They understand the principles of culture and meditation, honoring parents, grandparents, ancestors, and who they are,” said Master El. “They also learn to respect all around them, including their peers and teachers. We have rigorous teachings taught more as a culture than a sport or extra curricular activity.”

Honoring Supreme Grand Master Bok Man Kim

On July 31, 2022, the day after the tournament, there will be a weapons seminar and book signing at the Do Jang Temple located at 3517 Ridge Road in Lansing to honor the life and legacy of Supreme Grand Master Bok Man Kim, who passed away on August 14, 2021, at the age of 87. In addition, there will be a book signing of his book entitled Chun Kuhn Taekwondo, which the participating Grand Masters and Masters will sign.

Master El
Top: Supreme Grand Master Bok Man Kim instructing a class; Bottom left: Supreme Grand Master Bok Man Kim presenting Master El with an award for service; Bottom right: Supreme Grand Master Bok Man Kim presenting Master El with special award plaque. (Photos provided)

UMAM’s hours of operation are Monday – Friday, 3 p.m. – 8 p.m., and Saturday, 9:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. For more information, please visit universalinterprises.com for more information.

Karen Abbott-Trimuel
Karen Abbott-Trimuel
Karen Abbott-Trimuel is a playwright, author, motivational speaker, and freelance journalist who has lived in Lansing for 17 years. She has always been passionate about writing and storytelling and enjoys meeting and inspiring people. She has established a reputation for writing quality entertainment through her stage plays, authored two books, "Ladies Night Unmasked" and "Check Your Assets and Know Your Value – A Woman's Guide to Becoming Her Authentic Self," and written an article "Are You Happy?" for the online writer's platform Writer UnBoxed. Karen is excited by writing great stories that uplift, inspire, and strengthen the Lansing community.