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Jenny Lacy

Mrs. Lacy 2Long ago, in a land far away called “Alabama” I was recently married with a new baby, but I couldn’t keep my husband home at night – he was always off with his other love, Taekwondo. Now I am slightly competitive, so rather than joining him at the school where he taught I started driving a little further each night to workout at another school in the organization. My original goal was to be as good as Mr. Lacy and all his friends, but after a couple of classes and two gold medals at my first tournament I was hooked. Slowly Taekwondo became not just a way to spend more time with my husband, but something I was doing for myself. At the time we only had one child so I didn’t fully understand the importance of taking time out from being a wife and mother to do something for myself, but now I do and I’m sure there are plenty of other moms out there who can relate.
From that first class Mr. Lacy and I eventually moved on to opening our first club together in Bayou La Batre. I loved getting to know our students and teaching them something I was so passionate about – plus they were excellent cooks and often brought dishes to the school for us to sample. After that it wasn’t hard for my husband to talk me into moving to Roanoke, Virginia, twelve hours away from our families, and building a new student base. Our first lock-in in Roanoke had 90 people. The floor was literally wall-to-wall sleeping bags and we had such a good time even some of the parents stayed overnight rather than dropping their kids off. I knew it was a testament to how much we cared about our students and Taekwondo.
Mrs. Lacy 3When we started talking about moving to Texas 19 years later people thought we were crazy. We had been in Virginia so long and had trained so many instructors that the school could run on auto-pilot if needed. What those people didn’t understand was that I didn’t want a school that ran on auto-pilot. I wanted a school that pushed my abilities and every day reignited my love of Taekwondo and teaching.
Opening the school in Frisco, Texas, was exciting and the energy spilled over into classes. Then, a little over a year after we opened our doors in Frisco, a school came up for sale in Valley Ranch. Now, for the first time in 27 years, I have a school that is truly my own. I don’t teach with my husband each day anymore and I’m reminded once again that Taekwondo is something I do for me.
Looking back on my Taekwondo career I have a lot of rewarding moments for which I am thankful. I was supposed to get my 7th Degree last January in Orlando, but my mother unexpectedly passed away. When I did my demonstration and received my belt that May I knew she would be so proud of me. I know that without a doubt because of how proud I am of my three children who are all black belts. When Bobby tested for his black belt I had a story typed up and ready to send to the local paper about how amazing his accomplishment was at his young age; he didn’t pass. When Tiffany struggled with breaking boards I came to expect that she would be at the school at least 30 minutes after class practicing; still, she didn’t pass twice in a row at brown belt and again twice in a row at red belt. One time after not passing a testing Luke looked at us after testing and said “Well, I guess it is official – now I’m a Lacy since I didn’t break my boards”. Yet none of my kids let this be a stopping point in their journey.
Many of you have heard your instructors talk about how like any sport Taekwondo has practices, which are our classes, and tournaments, which are our big games. You have probably even been told that Taekwondo is unique because as a parent you have the ability to decide whether your child sits on the bench or plays in the big game. What we do not usually talk about are all the moms who are often left to drive the car, wash the uniform, carry the gear bag, and sit on the sidelines.
I am obviously a proud parent, but at the end of the day Taekwondo is something I do with my family, for myself. I would like to encourage all of the moms out there to try a class, or even a week of classes. If you’re a little self-conscious ask that mom you sit and talk to during your child’s class to try it with you. If a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, in my world the journey to 7th Degree Black Belt and school owner began with a single kick.