Martial arts buff focuses on teaching


September 09, 1994|By KATHY SUTPHIN

Classes offered through the Mount Airy and Winfield recreation councils have proven to be a successful avenue of instruction for martial arts teacher Carl Minkel.

Without the responsibilities and headaches associated with maintaining a facility for his Tae Kwon Do-Arnis Academy, Mr. Minkel said, he is free to focus on teaching.

The Mount Airy resident, who has been teaching martial arts and self-defense locally since 1987, said his association with the recreation councils has worked out well. He said classes cost less through the councils, which enables more people to participate.

"It [also] gets me exposure through the school system," he added.

One drawback is that people tend to think instruction through recreation council classes may not be as good as they would get through a private school. "The fact of the matter is that you don't know," he said.

Mr. Minkel, an engineer at the Johns Hopkin Applied Physics Laboratory, said his 30-year involvement with martial arts began in 1963 when he took fencing lessons in college.

He began studying the Korean martial arts (tae kwon do) in 1972 and the Filipino martial arts (arnis) in 1976. He is a fourth-degree black belt in both martial arts and began teaching in 1978.

"It began as a hobby and it became more of an avocation," he said. "My wife is also in the class and she is a black belt."

During an average session, Mr. Minkel estimated he has just under 100 students in both recreation council offerings. His students span many age groups and possess a wide range of abilities. About one-third are female.

Students who come into the martial arts classes progress at their own paces. Mr. Minkel observed that students who struggle to learn usually end up with a better understanding of the techniques.

"The person who has the most trouble usually ends up being the best student," he said. "There's nothing in my class that &L precludes someone from being in it. If you want to learn, I'll help you -- that's my philosophy."

Tae kwon do instruction emphasizes five tenets -- courtesy, perseverance, self control, integrity and indomitable spirit, said Mr. Minkel. Arnis, which Mr. Minkel described as having "no spiritual element," is purely a fighting art -- practical self-defense.

He said classes are taught formally following a rank-based system. He also stressed the instruction is "enjoyable."

"People learn better when they are having a good time," he explained.

This fall, a 12-week session of classes through the Mount Airy Recreation Council begins Sept. 20. Classes will be held Tuesdays and Thursdays in the gymnasium at Mount Airy Elementary School.

Beginners will receive instruction from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the cost of $52 per session, followed by teens, adults and more experienced students from 7:15 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at a cost of $65 per session.

Mr. Minkel invites anyone interested in studying martial arts and self-defense to "come watch a class" or to call him with questions at (301) 829-2348.

Registration for the 1994 fall session of Mount Airy Recreation Council classes will be held from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday at Mount Airy Elementary School.

Other class offerings include ballet and tap, country dancing with instructors Sherman and Tammy Hill, drama for middle school students, gymnastics and aerobics.


Last night, at the school year's first PTA meeting, parents got a chance to meet the eight staff members who are new to Winfield Elementary for the 1994-95 term: Edith Burbage, Learning Environment II teacher; Ann Ogle, third-grade teacher; Kelly Nelson, fourth-grade teacher; Rona Leonard, fifth-grade teacher; Kelly Pocasangre, fifth-grade teacher; Christi Goddard, special education teacher; Susan Sager, motor development teacher; and Vince Turner, school custodian.


Thanks to the Greater Mount Airy Business Association, area residents can make one stop Saturday to get a bounty of information about services and products offered by community businesses.

The third annual Mount Airy Business Expo will be held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Firemen's Carnival Grounds at Twin Arch Road and Route 27. The public is encouraged to visit the free event, which will feature 25 vendors, free samples and entertainment. Food will also be for sale.

Information: (301) 829-5426.


Phoenix II, the Carroll County support and social group for widows and widowers of all ages, will visit Mount Airy next week for its monthly dinner meeting.

The Quail Ridge Inn on Route 27, just north of Mount Airy, will be site of the meeting that begins at 6 p.m. Wednesday. New members and visitors are welcome, but reservations must be made in advance by calling (410) 848-5112 no later than Monday.

More recent widows and

widowers who need help in working through their grief can seek support at monthly meetings of Phoenix/Hospice I. For information, call Community Services supervisor Lynette Brewer at (410) 875-3342.


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