"Dear Mr. Lewis,

You'll never know how much you helped Greg's self esteem by awarding him a stripe Wednesday night.  He was so excited that he had to call his mother and both grandmothers from the car.  I had a hard time getting him to go to bed that night; he kept going to the closet to look at his belt.  Then he wanted to take it to school the next morning to show his teacher.

Greg has had a pretty rough time, and he really needed something to boost his confidence and self-esteem.  Greg didn't start talking until he was 4 years old, and had been incorrectly diagnosed as autistic and retarded.  We had him tested at Vanderbilt, and they told us that he was not autistic, and was very intelligent.  They told us that he had a language delay just like Albert Einstein and several other successful people.  They said that the part of the brain that processes language was slow to develop in these individuals, but predicted that he would catch up with his peers by the 4th or 5th grade.

Greg's language skills have progressed a lot, but he realizes that he is behind other children his age, and his confidence has been very low.  He really loves the tae kwon do classes (that's about all he talks about), and now says he has to work extra hard to get more stripes and a yellow belt.  Thank you very much for your patience with Greg, I know he is not an easy student to teach right now, but you have been great with him.  If I can ever be of service to you in any way please let me know."

  • Very truly yours, Roy

"My child has become more self confident about himself, I see so many changes in him since he has started. Thank you so much for your encouragement and patience."

"Mr. Lewis, Thank you for your concern and all your kind words. You can not imagine How much dickson Taekwondo means to me. It is the only stress relief And break from work I get. I work from the time I get up in the morning until I get blurry eyed at night, EVERY DAY. Taekwondo is the only Thing I make myself break for and this past year I have felt better Than I have in ten years. I am in better health than I have Been in years also. We are grateful every day for your guidance and friendship and intend to be around a long time."

  • Thank you again, Johnny

"Casey, my strong willed nine year old, refused to use good manners when addressing adults, including me. In just one week of attending classes at Dickson Taekwondo, she has started using 'yes maam' and 'no maam!

Thanks Dickson Taekwondo!!"

  • Kim Wingo

"Sir, we appreciate you!! You've made a huge difference in Aaron.  He really, really, really respects and looks up to you.  He said he had to raise his grade on his report card for you.  

We are very proud of him and amazed.  Thank you very much."

  • Tammy Huff

"We VERY MUCH appreciate you and your work with Aaron.  We have compliments all the time about how well behaved he is and how 'tough' he is.  We tell everyone that most of it comes from him taking Taekwondo.  We HIGHLY recommend your school to everyone and tell them it is definitely a better alternative than daycare.  Because he is actually be taught things instead of sitting in a gym playing with older kids and learning things that we don't want him to know at his age!  Any time we get a chance to put your name and the school out there we do!!!!  We really think highly of you and everyone on staff and have had nothing but good reports and high praise from Aaron.  He really cares about all of you and talks about you and Ms. Tonya(we go to church with her) a lot.  So I just wanted to say GREAT JOB and we really do appreciate what you have done with Aaron.  We've seen such an improvement that we want to keep him in your school year round.  Aaron is very passionate about Taekwondo and it's the first thing we've seen him actually enjoy and get totally involved in.  He even told us that when he 'grows up' he wants to open his own school and be a teacher like you.  His dad and I have told him that if he puts his whole heart in this and keeps up with it as he becomes older, then if he still wanted to open his own school, we would try and help him all we could.  I said all that to let you know that you have had a HUGE impact on Aaron's life and I wanted you to know how thankful and appreciative we are for that and for you!  God Bless you and your family."

"Mr. Lewis, I want you to know that Rayne enjoyed Taekwondo and enjoyed you being her teacher. I am thankful for what your class has done for her in such a short time & want you to know that I tell everyone how much we all liked you and your class! I also want to add that Tonya is such a wonderful employee, as I am sure you know! She is such a sweetie & I watched her make everyone feel welcome there, which is so important. I can't say enough good about our experience there."

  • Take Care, Dawn Klooster

"Dear Mr. Lewis and staff of Dickson Taekwondo,

Words cannot express our gratitude for what you meant to our son this past year, as well as the lasting impact your program and your Christian example has had on his life.

He has gained physically in balance, coordination and strength. Mathew has become better able to control his behavior and his confidence has taken wings.

But most impressive has been his awareness of how the Christian faith is something that affects ALL that we do and say. In the lives of Luke and Mr. Lewis he has seen Godly men not just talking the walk but, with integrity, walking the walk. Thank you for your witness!

Please pray for Mat's healing from epilepsy if it be God's will. He wants so badly to continue TKD in the future."

  • With thanks, Ron & Maryanne Schoenbaum

"We would like to take a moment and say Thank You for making Chandler’s second experience with Taekwondo such a wonderful one.  Our first experience with Taekwondo at another school was not a good one and we are thankful for the things we have experienced at your school."

"Chandler loves the class!!  He can hardly wait until it is Monday again so that he can go back. We are blessed to have him there.  He has already learned the meaning or the definition for Taekwondo, White Belt and several others.  We are amazed!  We as parents are excited to see what he is going to learn and do next.

Thank you again for the major impact it has made in our son’s life in a short time and what he will be learning in the future."

  • Bill and Rhonda Moore

"What a great day for Dickson!! Every time I turned around I heard our school announced as another winner!! We as parents are proud and very appreciative of all the effort you and all of the other instructors give to guide our children."

  • Janine Wilmot

“Mr. Lewis, I wanted to commend you on your program and the of discipline, honesty, respect. I can tell a difference in many students past and present who have flourished in your program. Thank you for what you do.

Thanks again for your dedication and positive influence on the lives of so many people.”

  • Sincerely,  Oakmont Elementary teacher

"Mr. Lewis, We had a great time at the tournament. We are so proud of Elijah. His self-esteem has increased since beginning Taekwondo.  We are amazed at the courage of not only Elijah but all the kids/adults that participated. Thanks for all that you do!"

  • Sherry LaRose-Bowman

"Let’s go over my goals. When I first joined Tae Kwon Do, I was around eight years old, so as you can imagine, I didn’t have extraordinary goals, if any. All I really remember was seeing my older siblings doing it, and thinking ‘Hey, that looks fun,’ and so mom and I joined. I think at first, it was all really about the fun. Over time, however, I suppose I developed that typical goal of a black belt. Why? I guess it was just made out to be this big, decorated finish line. Everyone who got there, to Black Belt, seemed impressive, respectable, and almost untouchable. Their words were gold to all us ‘colored belts,’ and I wanted that stature. I wanted to be looked to as an example. Quiet, little, shy me wanted that position where the lower belts thought you were untouchable, and I wanted to cross that fancy finish line.

But the thing is, every time you cross a finish line, you realize it wasn’t all that great. Don’t get me wrong, the black belt is a great accomplishment, but once you get there you sort of look back and realize ‘Whoa, this is barely the beginning.’ Another thing is, reaching a false ending is discouraging. It makes some people give up.

Think of it like this, if you’re taking a walk to the store to buy ice cream or something, and you see a hill up ahead, you’re thinking ‘yeah, I’m going to climb that hill and get me some ice cream.’ And you sweat your way to the top, just hoping it’s some darn good Ben and Jerry’s ice cream waiting for you at the store. But once you make it up the hill, you look, and BOOM! There’s another hill ahead. Some people turn around there and give up on that ice cream.

Now, imagine that first hill is first degree black belt. The climb is tough. The reward may be a beautiful view of the store that holds your ice cream, but you look out and see, if you keep going, you can actually get your ice cream. There are way better things waiting ahead of you than that view. I got stuck at that hill for a while. I sat and watched the sunset for a while, so to speak. But then I got up because darn it I wanted Ben and Jerry’s. So I made a new goal, second degree. And I got there;let’s say that was the store. And once you get there, you see a better store. Maybe it has cookies to go with your ice cream. Now you want to get to that store. What does that store represent? Right now, I think the assistant instructor collar. Though I think it’s probably a bit of a shorter walk than to the first store, I believe it’s my next stop.

My big picture goal is the same story as three years ago, when I/mom wrote my first degree essay. I want to grow up to be a Veterinary Technician. I don’t know about what college or anything yet, but at least I have a clear choice in mind. Backup plan? I think I’d be a special effects makeup artist. I’d come up with designs, and bring creatures and characters to life.

What has Tae Kwon Do done for me?

Courtesy. Integrity. Perseverance. Self Control. Indomitable Spirit.

Pretty simple maybe, but also not. Because I’ve been in Tae Kwon Do more of my life than not, those five silly things have just been ingrained into my being. Integrity is automatic for me. Perseverance is just a daily thing. Self control is a reflex, so strong sometimes it’s a pain. It’s also broken down my “shell”, as it’s been so irritatingly referred to as. I was quiet, shy, and timid. All of those have been slowly worked out of me, to the point that apparently I’ve been labeled the ‘Dressing Room Nazi’ when I get onto messy kids. And the best thing it’s done, or at least the best feeling thing, is when you finally get to the stature of Black Belt, that you held the other black belts too. You get those respected, almost awed feelings from lower belts. You feel the responsibility to do your best so that they will follow suit (Although sometimes it’s difficult not to be sloppy and lazy). It feels amazing when the little ones ooh and awe at you practicing forms, or when older ones come to you with questions, even if you don’t have the answer. It gives me a confidence that has made me feel so much better about myself than I ever have and it feels good to help others gain that confidence as well."

  • Virginia McKeel

"Glad that Kevin and I enrolled our son in your after school program.  It has been such a pleasure to watch him grow not only as a student of Tae Kwon Do but as a young man.  He has shown much improvement in his self control, attitude and respectfulness.  You are so wonderful with the children and we love that your family is so involved as well.  I would encourage any parent that needs after school care to consider your program.  For our family it has been a very positive experience and we look forward to many more years to come. Awesome job Tony!!"

  • Sincerely, Kevin and Lisa

"I just wanted to take the time out and say thank you for all you and your staff have done for my son the past 2 years.When he was 7 he was diagnosed with severe ADHD. It was a long process of trying to find the perfect medication for him (7 tries to be exact). We finally found a medication that allowed him to still be himself while helping with his ability to focus and control impulses. He was started on 25mg of Focalin, which is pretty high dose. I decided I as a mother needed to do more for him outside of medication. We heard about your after school program and tried it out, he LOVED it! I seen almost instantly a change in him, behavior mainly at first. Gradually I have seen so many other different changes in self control, self discipline, respect and confidence! I am so happy to say that after 1 year with the after school program, we were able to gradually lower his dosage on his ADHD meds. He is approaching 6th grade in the fall. This school year we reduced his medication down to 5mg, which is the lowest he can go!!! He does not take medication outside of school. So this summer we plan to prepare to take him completely off all meds to start 6th grade. I honestly believe Dickson Taekwondo and Mr. Lewis especially, has been a Godsend! Mr. Lewis, you have been so supportive in making him become the best he can be and giving him the confidence in doing so and he looks up to you more than you could ever know. Thank you for all you do for the community!"

  • Morgan

"I brought my daughters (ages 5 and 8) to the 'Better Focus for Better Grades Workshop' that was on July 30. As I sat and watched, I noticed another parent stood up to do the exercises with her son. It looked fun, so I thought I would try it. It also seemed challenging for me since I have secondary progressive multiple sclerosis and usually walk with a cane.

After that day, my girls and I really enjoyed it and we signed up for classes. I even got my boyfriend to join too! The instructors are very helpful and encouraging. Their emphasis on respect, courtesy, integrity, perseverance, self-control and indomitable spirit has had a positive impact on all of our lives after only 4 weeks of class!

This class has really helped me a lot with my strength and my balance and to embody the definition of perseverance and indomitable spirit.

Thank you Mr. Lewis and Mr. Bowden for all of your encouragement and faith."

  • Joeva Goff

"Hello! I want to give a special thank you to Mr. Lewis and Mr. Bowen for helping to give me encouragement and reassurance in class. You have both helped me to see in myself what I thought I could not do.I'm also very happy to share a personal update with everyone. I got a phone call from my neurologist's office yesterday. The nurse said that I have improved so well over the last few months that I no longer need to take physical therapy and to keep up the good work on my own and with my Taekwondo classes. I had been in physical therapy for just over a year because I have secondary progressive multiple sclerosis so this is fantastic news!!!

I've had many physical challenges since I started classes in August. But with true perseverance and practice, I have been able to overcome most of them. I am not cured nor am I functioning at 100% yet, but I try my best and never give up. Taekwondo also means "Constant and never-ending improvement" and I feel like I am walking proof! If you can take anything away from this, please remember that anything can be possible if you put your mind to it! Have a blessed day!"

"Thank you so much for all you've done for me over the years: teaching me not only how to defend myself, but also how to handle constructive  criticism, how to dedicate myself to something and work towards (and eventually achieve) a goal. Before I started taekwondo, I was always randomly joining and quitting different activities. I had no drive or passion, but I still miss classroom sparring to this day so thank you for helping me to fall in love with a sport (even if I had a habit of missing A LOT of classes). My black belt still hangs over headboard just so I can see it every time I walk in my room quitting taekwondo is by far my biggest regret to this point in my life and I know I would never have loved taekwondo as much as I did if I had had a different instructor.

My point is that you are an amazing person (which you know) with an insanely awesome family. I wouldn't be half the person that I am now without having the blessing of knowing all of you guys. My memories with you guys are some of my favorites and I truly believe that you deserve everything out of life that you want because you are, without a doubt, one of the most genuinely kind, caring, hilarious (extremely hilarious), and driven people out there. I hope I can be as awesome as you one day. Even though you've only actively been involved in my life in "small" ways, you have had one of the most tremendous impacts on me (for the better). I think you shed light on everyone you come in contact with and that's something I aspire to do. My mom and I *always* brag on you or tell stories about how you always let out a crazy scream when you spar me (or anyone)."

  • Alyssa Marchman