Matthew Owens, creator of New Connections Taekwondo-New England, started the grand opening day of his new classes on Jan. 4 with a new student. Owens teaches at the Royal Ridge Church of God in Scarborough on Wednesday and Saturday. Catherine Bart/Scarborough Leader

SCARBOROUGH — New Creation Taekwondo New England celebrated its grand opening on Jan. 4, and newcomers can enjoy a free first lesson and a 30 percent discount through the rest of the month to sign up for classes.

Instructed by Matthew Owens, lessons take place at the Royal Ridge Church of God on 6 Royal Ridge Road.

Owens said that he has been studying Taekwondo for 15 years and teaching for 12. Originally from New Jersey, he has been teaching private lessons in Maine for the past six years.

“So when I was 14 I tried out for the high school basketball team and I didn’t make it, so I wanted to get involved in a sport that I could just do myself,” he said. “I didn’t have to rely on anybody else. So I got into martial arts and have been doing it ever since.”

Taekwondo teaches children disciplinary skills, which they take with them to college, said Owens. It’s more than just “kicking and punching.”

“I’ve worked with kids who were on ADHD medication, and after a year or so their doctor would lessen their medication, so that’s the rewarding aspect of it,” he said.

The martial art originated from Korea, Owens said.

“It’s been around for thousands of years,” he said. “It originated from North Korea and eventually split up from two different styles. You have Olympic style and then you have a more different style that’s more like kickboxing, as far as the sport of it goes. But yeah, it’s different, has its forms you do, which are a set of moves that they would do way back when from studying animals and other things. So we have our forms and it’s very traditional.”

Hard work and courtesy are two big skills that Owens said he teaches.

Classes are divided into age groups, said Owens. Children aged 4-17 can sign up, but adults also have a class period on Saturdays from 1-2 p.m.

“It really depends on the person, but generally for adults, women want to learn self-defense for if they’re out alone and want the security and confidence to be able to do that,” he said. “And usually with other adults, it’s either that or it’s ‘I want to get back into shape’ or ‘I wanna come and work out.'”

Lessons take place inside the church, and Owens and his wife said that the facility has been gracious and accommodating.

To learn more, visit nct.ne.com, call 313-1067 or email [email protected]

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