Business Partner of Month – West America Tae Kwon Do

West_AmericaAny mention of martial arts in Mill Valley usually means a conversation about West America Tae Kwon Do.  Tucked behind Edna Maguire School, Sensei Roger Carlon’s dojo has been the after school, weekend and summer camp home for kids (and adults!) of all ages since 1983.  And today, 32 years later, the school still boasts more than 200 students and is home to over 60 National Champions. The dojo is family owned and operated by Master Carlon and his children, Chantal Carlon (28) and Roger Carlon Jr (26).

Before he became known simply as “Sensei,” Roger Carlon was a track & field star in France. Tired of running and following a stint in the French army, he relocated to New York City where he tended bar. In 1970, after a huge fight broke out in the bar, “It was just like in the movies,” Sensei started his Tae Kwon Do training to protect himself. “Because I am such a skinny guy, I wanted to learn a martial art that had a focus on many different kicks.” The rest, as they say, is history.

Some of the benefits of Tae Kwon Do training (for students of all ages) include: creating harmony within the body, mind and spirit, learning self-defense techniques, improving situational awareness, building strength and endurance, gaining confidence, camaraderie through creating friendships with training partners, and learning to channel your energy and improving focus.

One thing that has never lacked focus is Sensei’s commitment to Kiddo! “I was originally asked if I wanted to sponsor a classroom or a school and I said, ‘I want to sponsor the whole thing!’” West America Tae Kwon Do has donated nearly $75,000 to Kiddo! “It makes sense to me to support my community. It’s the right thing to do. The children are the future, and we should help them grow into positive, productive, and creative citizens. Through Kiddo! the students of Mill Valley have the benefit of an incredible art program.” As a District Partner with Kiddo, West America Tae Kwon Do believes in Kiddo!’s mission in providing quality educational programs in the arts for each child in the Mill Valley School District. WATKD has been a supporter of Kiddo! for nearly 20 years!

Sensei has trained over 60 National Champions, including his children, Chantal (12-time National Champion) and Roger, Jr (9-time National Champion). West America Tae Kwon Do is a positive and fun environment where students grow their skills as martial artists and as positive members of the community. The ultimate goal at West America TKD is to help build well-rounded human beings. “I want the kids to learn about attitude and respect,” he explains. “If we have the right attitude, we can achieve more in our lives.” To illustrate this point, Sensei described how he achieving the title of World Tae Kwon Do Champion in 1987 at the age of 41 by defeating much younger opponents: “Attitude.”

After more than three decades, Sensei’s greatest reward is meeting parents of students who have long been gone from the dojo. “They come up to me in at the store and tell me that our school had a major impact on their kid’s life. That let’s me know that we are doing something right.”

Teaching discipline, focus, respect, positive attitude…and charity. It’s easy to understand why West America Tae Kwon Do and Sensei Roger Carlon have become such an integral part of the Mill Valley community by playing a major role in the development of our children. Thank you, Sensei!

Kiddo! Updates

Thank you to our 2016-17 District Leader Business Partners



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