Juris Zelenko

I started my martial arts career when I was 8 years old in Tower MN. The self-defense program was called White Dragons Self-defense. Located at the local recreational center in town, we learned different forms and self-defense measures. I attended this for approximately a year and then we had to move to rural Hibbing, MN. I was used to a small school so in the in the 5th grade I attended Cherry High-school/K-12. It was then approximately 3 years later that I again became interested in martial arts after a family reunion where I rediscovered my uncle was a 7th dan in judo. A year later I was about 13 and traveled to Florida to study with my uncle (Dan Strickler). While down there I was eating, sleeping, and breathing martial arts. I studied many different martial arts specifically: Modern Arnis, Judo, a little Muay Thai, and of course continued my Tang Soo Do training. I did this for two summers and it proved to be an amazing experience both times because I met many great martial artists and learned more than I ever imagined. After these summers I kept up with the Judo knowledge and practice I acquired; bringing these elements into my Tang Soo Do training. Throughout high-school I was involved in football and other activities that kept me from attending class on a regular basis however; I came when it was possible and finally attained the rank of Cho Dan Bo.

In September of 2010; I attained the rank of 1st degree black belt while in my freshman year of college. And in 2013 I attained the rank of 2nd degree black belt, also completing my instructors training and becoming an official instructor after 9 years attending RMA. This would be my 14th year associated with some kind of martial art.

I am currently attending school at the College of St. Scholastica. Striving for an undergraduate degree in exercise physiology, and I plan on attending graduate school for physical therapy. Continuing with the martial arts can be daunting at times with my busy schedules, however I make time for it. This is because martial arts and specifically Tang Soo Do, are an integral part of my life and who I am. Martial arts fits into my life because as an exercise physiology student I place a great deal of value in exercising. Tang Soo Do is a great way to get active at any age and through the curriculum you can supplement it within any current physical activities. This is because there are only a finite number of ways a body can move and martial arts provides dynamic, fun, and different ways to train.
You don't necessarily need to be at a studio to practice the martial arts because they become part of who you are. The lessons and tools you learn in Tang Soo Do get integrated into your lifestyle, leading to opportunities to practice everyday. This is because we teach not only self-defense, and physical martial arts, but strive to include our seven tenets and five codes into our daily routines.

There are a few sayings that I enjoy.

“A person who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new”.- Albert Einstein

“Ne padodies nekad”, literally translated to, no give up never- My father and grandfather.