When it comes to a warrior kingdom, one doesn’t have to travel far, far away to find one.
Terrace’s Atlantis Taekwondo has set up a spring break camp for a second year to bring youth outdoors and teach them how to be a “peaceful warrior”.
“We train all day long,” says owner and instructor Cody Skog. “We’re peaceful warriors but still warriors. I think they feel strong and more confident to take on challenges.”
With a medieval-like cottage nicknamed “the castle” that stands as their headquarters by the Copper River, the 40 fighters are kept busy with parkour, board-breaking, bo staffs, trampolines, cable bridges, and other battle techniques.
Skog has been running the Atlantis Camp on his own property for the past 10 years in the summer, from ages six to 12 and for teenagers. A new category for ages four to seven was introduced last year, ran by camp leader Amanda Annibal.
He started the spring session last year after receiving multiple requests from parents who wanted to keep their kids active throughout the break.
Skog encourages camaraderie among the children and wants them to learn important lessons from Taekwondo teachings that will provide some guidance for their lives.
“The philosophy is part of it, the martial arts mindset…there’s kind of a mutual respect to everybody.”
He says the best part of running the camp is seeing the kids improve and take on challenges they usually wouldn’t be exposed to.
“A lot of it takes strength, they jump higher to grab onto something, they make it across all the bars faster and in archery, their shots get more accurate,” he says. ” I love watching the kids grow up.”
For eight-year-old Zion Girard attending the camp, going across the bridge is “really scary”.
“It scares pretty much everybody, I would normally crawl when I go on it, but I stood up for the first time today and yesterday,” she says.
Skog says it’s important for the kids to spend more time outside.
“No offense to the school system but I think from six years old to 18 is when they are the most active but they’re sitting in a desk for six hours a day,” he says. “I personally think they should be out here doing this stuff and taking in this knowledge. I guarantee they would take in 80 per cent more information and retain it more than sitting [at a desk].”
Atlantis Taekwondo will be hosting the 2019 International Taekwondo Federation (ITF) Championships in Terrace at the Sportsplex on April 13, with $5 entry.