Gratefulness Post: By Evangeline Lappas
There have been a multitude of influential people in my life, but only one influenced
me in a significant way. Master Charles Jackson, the head instructor and owner of Full Circle
Dojang Taekwondo Academy. I have been training at his school for over a decade and have
been serving as an instructor for seven years. I recently tested for and achieved my 3rd
Degree Decided Black Belt in Huntsville, Alabama, at the end of September. I am on track to
test for my Senior Instructor Certification before a national board of examiners in Dallas,
Texas in March 2019.
Master Jackson has driven me to follow my passion and discover what makes me
happy. While learning how to teach full classes and instructing with Master Jackson on the
Taekwondo floor, I realized how much I love teaching children and making them smile.
Recently, at a Regional Tournament in Eatontown, New Jersey, Master Jackson asked me to
center judge a few of the rings. This required me to run the entire ring and direct the other
judges. At first I was very nervous. I was afraid that I was going to do something wrong. All
he said to me was “Confidence” and I became a totally new individual. Seeing the smiles on
the children’s faces when I called out their scores and announced who was advancing in each
sparring match filled me with unexplainable joy and overwhelming exuberance.
The reason that Master Jackson opened his own Dojang was because it is his passion.
Running a business is tough, especially a martial arts business. It is not a career in which to
make a million dollars, but it will reward you in ways that are priceless. If you truly love what
you do in life you will be counted among the wealthiest. Master Jackson has been training in
Martial Arts for over 30 years. He decided that Taekwondo, and in particular, making a
difference in his students’ lives, is something that helps define him. He is a joyful, happy
person because he enjoys what he does for a living. This has inspired me to pursue what
really makes me happy: being with children, helping children and making them smile.
Aside from just making children smile, Master Jackson is there for each and every
one of his students. He has helped me through some extremely difficult personal times not
pertaining to Taekwondo. Being a head owner of a school allows you to be a therapist to
your students. Besides owning a martial arts business, I would like to be a child/adolescent
therapist. Majoring in Psychology in college will help me attain both of my goals. Knowing
how to read a child is one of the most helpful skills a person can attain.
The martial arts business is tough, but it has always taught me to never give up on
anything. If I tell myself “I can,” then I will. When I first started Taekwondo in 2008, there
was a Full Circle family picnic that my father and I decided to attend to get more involved.
As Master Jackson was talking with us he questioned in his usual authoritative tone,
“Evangeline, what is your goal in Taekwondo?” I immediately responded with, “I want to be
a black belt and only then I will stop!” “Only 1st degree?” he retorted. “Why not higher?
You never have to stop training! I never did.” Ever since that unforgettable moment I
promised myself I would never stop training and never give up my passion. I promised
myself I would keep moving forward.