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May 3, 2017     Hays Free Press
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May 3, 2017
 

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HaysFreePress.com ress May 3, 2017 Page 1D PHOTO BY MOSES LEOS III Rising Phoenix Martial Arts studio co-owner and instructor Michael Olds leads a class at his new Kyle studio. Martial arts masters bring taekwondo to .e studio BY MOSES LEOS III Taekwondo is life for Kyle residents Michael Olds and Seonok Maeng. In fact, it was through the martial art that Olds and Maeng initially met. Through the tie that binds them, both Olds and Maeng sought Kyle as the center point for their business, Rising Phoenix Martial Arts studio, which allows them to expand knowledge of an art that's the lifeblood of the South Korean nation. Olds, who hails from Wisconsin, always aspired to make a career out of the combative arts. He started boxing when he was five years old, driven by stories of his grand- father and great-grand- father, who were boxers before him. "I kind of grew up with these warrior stories," Olds said. "I wanted to do something with those stories." About 15 years ago Olds got into taekwondo, which is a "kicking art," he said. During that time, Olds went into Mixed Martial Arts, learning hakido, muay thai and judo. But his passion soon turned to taekwondo, and he found success at various tournaments in this sport. After he gradu- ated from the Univeristy of Wisconsin at Madison, Olds sought the chance to go to South Korea, the birthplace of taekwondo. Via an initiation by a master who watched him at a regional tournament, Olds got the chance to train at one of the premier taekwondo universities in South Korea. There, Olds met Maeng, who at the time had been drafted to go to college for taekwondo and par- ticipated in a professional league team in Jeongu City. Neither knew the other's language well. And over the course of a year, Maeng helped Olds with his Korean, while he helped Maeng with her English. Olds also learned just how seriously South Koreans take taekwondo, where roughly one million residents are certified black belts. Olds esti- PHOTO BY MOSES LEOS III Students of all ages, including Cynthia Torres (left) and El- liot Germany, join in a taekwondo class in Kyle. Taekwondo, meaning "the way of the foot and fist," incorporates many dif- ferent martial art skill sets. mated roughly 200,000 Americans hold a black belt in the U.S. "Taekwondo is the na- tional sport in South Ko- rea. There, you can train on an elementary school team and on a high school team," Olds said. "Every man (in South Korea) will have some exposure to taekwondo." During his year, Olds learned Korean and sharpened his skills in the art. After he and Meong were married, the two returned to America with "Taekwondo is the national sport in South Korea. There, you can train on an the Kyle area, based on its growth. "He said it'd be the per- fect spot to start a school," Olds said. In October, Olds and Meong opened Rising Phoenix, and enrollment numbers have been rising swiftly since then, with nearly 300 students atthis elementary ....... ........ Interest in taekwon~o, school team which is an Olympic and on a high school team ... Every man (in South Korea) will have some exposure to taekwondo." --Michael Olds, co-owner of Rising Phoenix Martial Arts dreams of setting up a taekwondo studio, or dojang. It was a prospect Olds knew well, as he had operated a studio in Wisconsin. Olds' brother, who lives in the Austin area, encouraged him to go to sport, has risen over the past 15 to 20 years. Currently there are 70 million worldwide who practice taekwondo in more than 280 countries, Olds said. Balancing offensive and defensive techniques, along with a mentality on moral training, is the focus for Olds and other martial arts masters who teach taekwondo. "It's not learning how to be the toughest person you know and using .... those skills to intimidate people," Olds said. "You not only learn the tech- niques to the best of your ability, but also try to embrace the warrior ethos and philosophies that are integral to martial arts training." SUBMI'FrED REPORT The Greater San Marcos Partnership and the City of San Marcos announced earlier this month the Urban Mining Company has selected San Marcos as the location of its new, state-of-the- art rare earth magnet manufacturing facility and headquarters. The 100,000 square foot facility will be constructed on ten acres and adds more than 100 advanced manufacturing and tech- nology jobs to San Marcos and Hays County over the terms of the agreements. Rare earth magnets are critical components used in high-tech industrial, automotive, clean energy, and military-defense ap- plications. Urban Min- ing Company is the only producer of its kind in the U.S. "The general availability of rare earth magnets is a huge concern. The United States is 100 percent de- pendent on other coun- tries for both materials like neodymium (Nd) and dysprosium (Dy), as well as the finished products manufactured using them. Resource independence is critical for our country's future," said Urban Min- ing Company cofounder and CEO Scott Dunn. Urban Mining Com- pany's headquarters and manufacturing facility will be fully operational in 2018. "We welcome Urban Mining Company as San Marcos' newest corporate citizen and employer," said city of San Marcos Mayor John Thomaldes. "These are the quality jobs that lead to career advancement for our resi- dents, allowing them to work for a great company with an important mis- sion in this fine city that we all love. I look forward to growing our relation- ship with Urban Mining Company." The project came di- "These are the quality jobs that lead to career advancement for our residents, allowing them to work for a great company with an important mission in this fine city that we all love." -John Thomaides, mayor of San Marcos rectly to GSMP staff from the company's site selec- tion consultant in late Au- gust 2016. GSMP assisted the company's selection process through site tours, research, and the incen- tive process. Key factors to the success of the project were the central location, workforce availability, the presence of Texas State University's Material Sci- ence, Engineering, and Commercialization pro- gram, and available land to construct the facility. Greater San Marcos Partnership President Adriana Cruz said Urban Mining Company's an- nual wages are above the areas averages, which are $38,000 and $29,000 for Hays County and the city of San Marcos respec- tively. "We greatly appreciate Urban Mining Company considering and ultimate- ly selecting San Marcos for its one of a kind, world- class facility," said Precinct 1 Hays County Commis- sioner Debbie Gonzales Ingalsbe. "Continued announcements like Urban Mining Compan~ Best Buy, and Amazon will raise our profile for the jobs and investment that we've all known would fit well in the region." City of San Marcos and Hays County officials voted in favor of entering into performance-based Chapter 380/381 Agree- ments with Urban Mining Company that include a ten-year personal property tax rebate at 75 percent and a ten-year real property tax rebate at 25 percent. The positive economic impact of the deal is an expected $900,411 to the City of San Marcos, $619,770 to Hays County, and $1.3 million to the San Marcos Consolidated In- dependent School District bythe expiration of the 10- year agreement. "It's clear that San Marcos is at the heart of the emerging Innovation Corridor," said Cruz. "Ur- ban Mining Company's location in San Marcos provides further evidence that this area is a center of 21st Century innovation. Texas State University's programs, coupled with :? :/ /i the region's affordabi!ity, : proximity to Austin and San Antonio, and extraor- dinary quality of life have poised us for a boom in next generation advanced manufacturing and clean technology development." Urban Mining Com- pany is the latest employer to expand their footprint in the Greater San Marcos region. Since its forma- tion in October 2010, The Greater San Marcos Part- nership has announced 33 corporate relocations or expansions, which include over 2,800 jobs and nearly $350 million in capital investment. "San Marcos and Hays County offered the skilled workforce and infrastruc- ture we need to support a fast-growing operation like ours," said Dunn. "We are bringing advanced manufacturing jobs back to the U.S.We are looking forward to a productive relationship with the ci , county, and Texas State University as we ramp up."