Taekwondo, Like Agriculture, Can Be Beneficial At Any Age


Rowan County Farm Bureau member Jarrod Lanning sees how agriculture and the martial arts can be connected. Lanning discovered the relationship by understanding that farming is more than just corn and cows, and Taekwondo isn’t just breaking boards with a hand or foot.

Last summer, Farm Bureau county board members, their spouses and other invited guests from Anson, Cabarrus, Davidson, Davie, Mecklenburg, Montgomery, Randolph, Rowan, Stanly, and Union counties gathered at the church for a one-day class on self-defense and some of the basics of the version of Taekwondo Lanning practices, Chayon-Ryu. In Chinese, Chayon-Ryu means “the natural way.”

“I don’t farm myself, but I reap the benefits of what they do every day. They have a special place in my heart,” says Lanning, who has been pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church in Landis for nine years.  “I really enjoyed my time with the folks from the district. I hope I can do more of that. Farmers a lot of times are in isolated situations and situations where injury is common. If I can help them learn to protect themselves, I want to do more of that.”

Chayon-Ryu originated with Grand Master Kim Soo, who at 74 still practices every day. Soo combined elements of several martial disciplines, including karate and judo.

“The thing in our system that people say has been the most important to them is learning how to fall correctly,” Lanning says. “That’s something that can be helpful to farmers and folks out in the field. The way I like to say it is fortunately not everybody will be attacked by another person, but at some point every person is going to be attacked by the ground. You’re going to fall. Learning how to fall correctly and defend yourself from the ground is important.”

Lanning first became interested in martial arts before he was even a teenager, drawing inspiration from the 1984 film, The Karate Kid. He started taking classes from Master David Mitchell in Salisbury, who still teaches and now is an eighth-degree black belt. Three years ago, Lanning began to incorporate Taekwondo into a ministry opportunity at his parish. Now, twice a week as many as 30 students ranging in age from 6 to 60 learn skills from Lanning.

One Wake County Farm Bureau member, who wishes to remain anonymous, says the skills he learned while training at White Tiger Taekwondo & Martial Arts in Cary helped improve not only his balance and coordination, but they also helped him get a handle on his rising blood pressure and falling energy level.

“My doctor was six months away from putting me on blood pressure medication,” he says. “After six months of regular training, in addition to some minor dietary changes, my blood pressure is under control and my energy level is boosted.”

Lanning emphasizes that Taekwondo isn’t just about the physical benefits and tasks that can be completed barring any severe limitations, such as back or knee injuries. A part of the oath he incorporated into the regimen includes:

  • Seek perfection of character
  • Live the way of truth
  • Endeavor
  • Be faithful
  • Respect others
  • Refrain from violent behavior

“A lot of what we hope to grow in us is our character,” Lanning says. “Chayon-Ryu  is very helpful for focus, respect, discipline, confidence. Your confidence, you take everywhere you go.”

When Lanning discusses how others have benefitted from Taekwondo, he recalls a woman who said she avoided a trip to the emergency room because she fell correctly, as well as a school-age boy who handled himself with confidence when a bully tried to bring physical harm.

“That’s why I do what I do,” Lanning says.

Lanning says he hopes to conduct more special training sessions with Farm Bureau members. He can be reached via email at trinitypastor@trinitylandis.org.

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