taekwon-do-charleston-sc“I teach the art of living,” says Arts for Fitness founder Fred Weil. “Art will take you to a certain level of understanding in life.” If winning world championships is any measure of success, Weil’s honest, calm demeanor in teaching TaeKwon-Do works well. Six of his students will travel to Spain on Oct. 20 to compete in the International TaeKwon-Do World Championships, a competition at which Arts for Fitness instructor Chris Millspaugh has placed second. Highlighting that achievement, Weil’s team of six are the only U.S. representatives, whereas his home nation of Argentina entered over 50.

Popularized by Bruce Lee, TaeKwon-Do has rapidly grown from its origination in Korea only 60 years ago to one of the most practiced martial arts worldwide. The Korean government, hoping to design the ultimate fighting technique, combined all of the best methods into a practice they could use to train the army. TaeKwon-Do emerged as a wholly secular martial art, able to be practiced as an Olympic sport but still retaining the metaphysical qualities of mind over body control.

Watching the team of six practice, one can see that TaeKwon-Do’s forms are elegant yet forceful. The kicks are polished and smooth, yet lethal – literally.

“You can calibrate yourself to TaeKwon-Do,” says student Mark Creech. “It’s a microcosm of life, based on the five principles of courtesy, integrity, perseverance, self-control and indomitable spirit. When you’re fighting in class, you have a 95 percent chance of responding the same way in the real world.”

A typical class at Arts for Fitness starts with stretching and warm-ups, then moves on to rudimentary fundamental movements, something Millspaugh compares to musical scales. Sparring, take-downs, and self-defense are practiced before moving onto the forms. “The forms are romantic,” says Weil. “You train your brain to send a signal and perform in perfect harmony.” Grace and power in syncopation are a beautiful thing to witness, and TaeKwon-Do provides that union, with the added benefit of learning to defend oneself. Weil stresses that the wisdom TaeKwon-Do provides cannot be confused with knowledge, or put into words. “Wisdom comes through experience. If all I wanted was to protect myself, I would have gotten a gun.” Instead, he defends himself with class.

by Stratton Lawrence (Charleston City Paper)

Fred Weil (Director Arts For Fitness )

Fred started learning the Art of Taekwon-Do at the early age of five in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Fred was elected and professionally trained with the National Teams of Argentina, Holland and Canada. Fred is currently a Fifth Degree Black Belt. Fred studied with world class premier instructors of his time such as General Choi Hong Hi (founder of Taekwon-Do), Tran Trieu Quan (president of ITF & Canada Association Federation), G.H. Stolp (president of Holland Association Federation), Willem Jacob Bos (president of National Team of Italy & the Secretary General of the ITF), Master Jong Park Soo, Master Phap lu and MasterLim Ching Sing (Director of T.K.D.).

Fred received the International Instructors Certification in Vienna, Austria, at the T.K.D. head quarters under General Choi Hong Hi. With over 23 years of professional experience he created a program that he passes on to students and professionals with great success.  Fred established an extraordinary high success rate among students in international competitions and all over the U.S.A. and has proven again and again to be a big force in the level of National and International Arenas. In 1988 Fred was awarded honorary medal in recognition as the Best 3rd Dan instructor in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Fred founded and opened the International Taekwon-Do Center (ITC) in Charleston, SC. The academy has grown to serve the community in four locations and embraced other arts that are managed and designed by instructors who have gained international acclaim in their individual art forms to formally found Arts For Fitness, LLC.

Chris Millspaugh

Originally from the Washington D.C. metropolitan area, Chris was introduced into TAEKWON-DO while attending the College of Charleston where he has obtained a Bachelor of Arts.  Chris began taking instruction from Master Fred Weil in 1995.  Chris is currently a 1st degree black belt under the ITF International TAEKWON-DO Federation.

Tournament sparring has been a major component in Chris’ martial arts practice.  He has participated in over 10 domestic tournaments and overseas in 6 international events.  His accomplishments in Martial arts over the years are as followed.  Nationally, he has received multiple 1st place trophies in WTF, USTA, and ITF TAEKWON-DO tournaments.  He has competed with the U.S. ITF TAEKWON-DO team and competed in an international arena in ITF TEAKWON-DO World Championships.  In 2003, Chris placed 2nd in Men’s Hyper Heavy weight division at the Open World Championships in Opale, Poland.  At the 2004 ITF World championships in Orlando Florida, Chris was a member of the U.S. sparring team who received 2nd place in team sparring.  Chris was a coach for the U.S. team at the2006 ITF World Championships in Spain.

Chris currently resides in the Charleston area and teaches TAEKWON-DO at the Citadel Military College, Trident Academy, Mount Pleasant AFF, and West Ashley Arts For Fitness.  Chris sits on the management board for Arts For Fitness and continues to professionally compete and train.