Tae kwon do is Joe Nelson's life blood
This January, West Virginia Uncovered journalism students spent a winter immersion weekend in Pocahontas County, developing five multimedia stories. This is the second of these stories, which are being published in The Pocahontas Times in subsequent weeks. An audio slideshow accompanies this story on our website, pocahontastimes.com. Next week: Mike Hefner and Pocahontas Woods.
Matt R. Murphy, Chelsi Baker and Matt S. Murphy
West Virginia Uncovered
Tae kwon do is in Joe Nelson's blood; he has been immersed in the martial art his entire life. Growing up in South Florida, Nelson found his passion as a child and went on to train at All-Star Academy in Wellington, Florida, rising through the ranks to become the second-degree black belt he is today.
In 2010, Nelson decided he wanted to move out of Florida-to somewhere "further out," as he says-in part to find a better environment to raise his three-year-old son, Kyle. His journey took him first to Inwood, and finally to Marlinton. Through the Snowshoe Career Center, Nelson was able to earn his GED and learned business management skills, enabling him to open his own tae kwon do academy in the Parks and Recreation building in Marlinton.
Nelson's martial arts school has grown to nearly 40 students, from young kids to adults-all joining for different reasons. But Nelson said that in addition to being a great way to exercise, the most important aspects of tae kwon do are the changes that take place inside a person mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Nelson has seen his students develop increased self-esteem, confidence and discipline. The changes he sees in his students, combined with his passion for the sport, are what fuel Nelson's drive to teach.