Stillwater Style Winter 2018 - Page 15

Stillwater martial arts master helping residents learn perseverance, self esteem M any forms of martial arts date back centuries. Used as an art of war, many forms of martial arts were the secrets of their founding countries for generations. They were used by the young warriors of these nations to train for combat, with the goal of ultimately killing an opponent. In more modern times, martial arts serve as more of a peacekeeping aspect for those who practice them. For Brett Jackson, owner of Jackson Academy Family Martial Arts in Stillwater, it is ironic how such an art can be used for peaceful purposes when it once was used to defend nations. “We’ve just become a global community where we’ve got the internet, so we’ve got access to all these different martial arts,” Jackson said. “This used to be a country’s secret, and it was an art of war. It wasn’t something kids did. It was something that young men, to prepare for war, did and they did it in a way that was final. Everything was meant for finishing the guy, because it was meant for the battlefield. “All of these evolved from arts of war so people could protect themselves, to what we are now, which is interesting. Now it’s more like, to me, an art of peace. We teach children hopefully to esteem themselves, a high level of confidence so they can walk away from a fight. So to me, it’s very ironic that the martial arts we train, absolutely were for killing.” Jackson can count many achievements during his time in martial arts. He achieved his eighth Dan (blackbelt) in Taekwondo in 2016, and is also highly-achieved in the arts of Krav Maga and Gracie Jiu Jitsu. He trained under Grandmaster Sae-Jin “Jack” Hwang, who was among the first to bring the art form to America from Korea, who made his practice in Oklahoma because it was in the center of the country. Jackson has a deep respect for the traditional teachings of martial arts, as Hwang taught him in the traditional forms of Taekwondo. Jackson even uses the same goals for discipline and perseverance that Hwang taught decades ago. Jackson graduated from the University of Iowa in 1998, and worked at a company in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, that made alloys of copper. The company’s roots were in Korea, and one of Hwang’s students had opened it. There were several Koreans who worked at the company, and there was a desire to have a program to help instill hard work and perseverance for their workers, prompting Hwang’s student to be brought in. Jackson took a job at the company, which paid for his college as he ran security and lived on the grounds. He said he ate with a different Korean family each night, and learned Korean over the course of his time with the company. This helped Jackson develop a deeper understanding of the culture surrounding Taekwondo. “I’ve always taught Taekwondo with a certain level of terminology,” Jackson said. “There were some things I already knew, but I understood if I wanted to be a master of my craft I need to understand more about the culture and the language.” Following his time in Iowa, Jackson went to Jupiter, Florida, to help Hwang’s daughter open up a school. He spent 22 years in Florida before wanting to move back to Stillwater when his mother moved to town. A strong love of Stillwater was also a big part of his decision to move and set up his practice in town. Left: Master Brett Jackson Right: Grand Master Jack Hwang Stillwater Style | WINTER 2018 15