Despite the kicks and pitfalls unleashed by the pandemic, Mijo Taekwondo has landed on its feet again in Sooke.
“My brother and I had five locations including Sooke, but the pandemic put a huge dent in that,” said Master Michelle Carpenter, owner of Mijo Taekwondo.
“We had to close all five locations. Our fall-back plan was to do classes virtually online to achieve our goal of supporting our existing students, but we had to switch into different career paths to keep afloat.”
For Carpenter, that meant a return to architectural design and work as a college instructor.
“I’m anxious to build the business back up to what it was pre-pandemic,” Carpenter said. Now the sole owner of Mijo Taekwondo, Carpenter has re-opened in Esquimalt and Sooke through a partnership with SEAPARC Leisure Complex.
“It’s great to be able to partner with SEAPARC and offer live classes again. It’s another example of the community spirit that embodies Sooke.”
When Carpenter took up Olympic-style taekwondo at nine, she recalled it as a primarily male-dominated sport.
However, that didn’t prevent her from earning black belt status by the time she turned 12. She began teaching a year later and competed internationally for Team Canada, starting at the age of 15, from 1999 to 2009.
“I gained valuable life skills as I forged my path that I believe led me to be a successful business owner,” she noted. “I aim to instill those qualities in my students. Teaching and guiding kids are something that we value deeply. We have all-female instructors who strongly emphasize inclusion and foster a supportive environment for parents and kids alike.
“It’s exciting to return to accommodating students with live classes,” she added. “The response has been great so far, and the community of Sooke has been super supportive.”
Classes at Seaparc Leisure Complex for children from age three up and adults begin in May. Visit www.crd.bc.ca/seaparc for more information or email firstname.lastname@example.org.