School enhances mind, body, spirit

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For nearly four decades, the Lee family has run their businesses in Whitestone and Astoria on the philosophies they teach: self−discipline, focus, confidence and strength.

And for nearly four decades, the Moon S. Lee TaeKwonDo Institute has churned out students who embody those characteristics on which they have built the foundation for their success.

“The awesome power of Taekwondo originates not only from physical fighting techniques,” Taekwondo Grandmaster Moon Sung Lee said in his mission statement. “One must have physical power, spiritual power, refined knowledge and philosophy. We learn and practice the art of Taekwondo for the purpose of becoming strong in body, mind and spirit.”

In 1972, Lee founded his school in Astoria and quickly built it into a successful enterprise with the help of his two sons, James and Charles. More than 35 years later, the institute continues to thrive with two locations: the original school in Astoria at 37−19 Broadway and a second school at 12−64 150th St. in Whitestone.

Now primarily run by James, who operates the Astoria school, and Charles, who has helped run the Whitestone school since it opened in 1992, the institute still embodies the same principles it did in the 1970s.

“We teach self−defense and self−dis­cipline,” said Charles Lee. “It is very important for young minds.”

Charles Lee, who himself has been practicing Taekwondo since he was 4, said learning a martial art from a young age is particularly beneficial for children.

“We teach them discipline. ‘Yes, sir’ and ‘no, sir.’ We teach them to behave,” Lee said. “It helps them learn and grow as people.”

Lee said that while training at the school is strict, the instructors never abandon an atmosphere that is both friendly and supportive. He said the school seeks to not only train people to be masters of their own body, but of their lives as a whole.

“It helps people grow and become stronger,” Lee said. “It’s fun, too. I have students that I’ve been training since they were 4 years old. They’ve been with me for many years now and I’ve been able to watch them grow and get better.”

One parent, Stephanie Medina, said she originally had reservations about enrolling her son, Nicholas, in a fighting school, but quickly learned the benefits Moon S. Lee’s teachings offered.

“My reservations about Taekwondo, its purpose and methods, were totally unfounded. I have learned that Moon S. Lee TaeKwonDo school offers food for the mind, body and spirit, which translates into a recipe for life,” Medina said. “Nicky has blossomed in ways that I never would have imagined when we began this journey.”

For more information about the Moon S. Lee TaeKwonDo Institute, visit

Reach reporter Stephen Stirling by e−mail at or by phone at 718−229−0300, Ext. 138.

Posted 6:33 pm, October 10, 2011
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