Many people interested in fitness and self-defense have found tae kwon do well-suited to their needs.
For more than four decades, the Hemann family name has been closely associated in Fort Dodge and throughout the Midwest with the martial arts and most especially tae kwon do.
In February 2012, Tom Hemann and a partner no longer associated with the enterprise launched Hemann Tae Kwon Do. That venture relocated on May 1 to Suite C in the Trolley Center, 900 Central Ave.
-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
Tom Hemann, owner of Hemann Tae Kwon Do, leads a class of students at his new studio in the Trolley Center on Central Avenue.
Hemann said he is excited about this move because the spacious new site is much more flexible than was his previous venue in the building that at one time housed the Holy Rosary School.
"The advantage of this location is for growth - more space," he said.
Hemann said his goal since inaugurating this venture has been to provide an opportunity for people of all ages - but most particularly young folks and families - to learn how tae kwon do can benefit them.
"What I'm gearing toward is the elementary school children and their parents," he said, but emphasized that his classes are appropriate for anyone from kindergartners to senior citizens.
Hemann said the classes are designed with families in mind. He said a parent and youngster participating together is a highly desirable scenario that he strongly endorses.
To help make that economically feasible, he said reasonable pricing for the instruction provided is a top priority.
"There is a big need for affordable lessons, Hemann Tae Kwon Do, addresses that need," Hemann said. "I really go for families - the young kids."
Tae kwon do attracts fitness buffs and just about anyone with an interest in self-defense.
Hemann stressed, however, that there is a philosophical component as well.
"It teaches you values and life's lessons and focus," he said. "You learn a balance - how to deal with people and personalities."
The history of tae kwon do is taught. So too are its philosophical tenets, which include courtesy, integrity, perseverance, self-control and indomitable spirit. Hemann said these concepts have pertinence well beyond the gymnasium.
He said he has observed, for example, that many of the young people who show an interest in tae kwon do have told him that they have experienced bullying.
"It's an activity. It's a sport, but also training in discipline and for dealing with bullying self-defense," Hemann said. "The process of handling situations with a bully is addressed."
Hemann Tae Kwon Do offers classes two days a week - Mondays and Wednesdays from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Hemann said his plan is to have two classes per evening. He said the sessions are a mixture of group and individualized instruction.
"It's a team effort," Hemann said. "Everybody working with everybody. My higher ranks will work with the lower ranks."
He said the personalized instruction is carefully crafted to take account of each student's fitness and skill level.
Hemann said the classes typically include about two dozen participants. He said he makes use of two to four instructors to make it possible to provide the individual attention students require.
Hemann is a fifth degree black belt, which qualifies him as a tae kwon do master.
Meet Tom Hemann
Hemann said it was a television show in the 1960s that initially sparked his interest in martial arts.
"In 1969, an idea came to me about self-defense while in high school and watching the TV series show called 'The Green Hornet' co-starring Bruce Lee as Kato," he said. "It was so interesting to see Bruce Lee perform. ... I researched a paperback book and tried to learn on my own."
Hemann and his five brothers - Dennis, Mike, Pat, Paul and Dave - all participated in tae kwon do over the years. Various members of the family have been instrumental in helping Fort Dodgers learn tae kwon do since 1970 at various venues starting with the local YMCA and later including a studio named Hemann Martial Arts.
The late Mike Hemann, who was a chiropractor in Omaha, achieved the status of an eighth degree black belt. Paul Hemann is a seventh degree black belt. He lives in Alaska.
Tom Hemann retired in 2012 from Boehringer Ingelheim. He had been with the company since 1987. He worked in vet services as a skilled animal caretaker. Before joining BI, Hemann spent 17 years with Mid-Bell Music Co.
Hemann said he invites Fort Dodgers interested in tae kwon do to stop by his new Trolley Center location June 7 after the Frontier Days Parade. There will be an open house at Hemann Tae Kwon Do that afternoon from noon until 3 p.m. Access to the studio is from the alley side of the building.