As Virginia enters Phase 2 of reopening, many Lee Highway businesses are beginning to open their doors to the public. However, some businesses (gyms, studios, etc) are not yet there. Jhoon Rhee Tae Kwon Do, Lee Highway's premier Tae Kwon Do studio, may not be opening its doors quite yet, but they are reinventing how students can continue to study the martial art from the comfort of their homes.
LHA's Communications Manager spoke with Barry Shakelford, one of the school's owners, about the history of Jhoon Rhee Tae Kwon Do, what COVID-19 has been like for them, and how the community can lend their support.
Rhee was trained directly by Choi Hong Hi, the South Korean army general who originally developed this modern martial art. After coming to America in the 1950s, Grandmaster Rhee befriended Bruce Lee and introduced the celebrated martial artist to Tae Kwon Do. Rhee also taught Muhammed Ali, Jack Anderson, George Allen, Sr., Bob Livingston, Tony Robbins, Jack Valenti, and more than 300 U.S. Senators and House Representatives. Additionally, he was the creator of martial arts "safety gear" for sparring. He was instrumental in revolutionizing the martial arts industry so that everyone could enjoy its benefits. He made the art form available to individuals of all ages - from 4 to 84 - not just "tough guys" in their twenties who want to learn how to "fight."
MPH: And how did you get involved in the martial art and in Jhoon Rhee Tae Kwon Do?
Licensed Professional Counselor) for about a dozen years before I decided to open the school, and while I felt I was doing helpful work in that field, I feel I make more of an impact now; providing a sort of "preventative" mental health training... teaching kids discipline, confidence, respect, etc. Our Mission Statement is "Teaching Life Skills through Martial Arts."
MPH: How has the COVID-19 shutdown impacted Jhoon Rhee Tae Kwon Do?
BS: We have always adhered to stringent cleaning protocols, but in early March we increased their frequency, etc. We also made adjustments to some of our class protocols such as no longer shaking hands or giving high fives. As things progressed, it became clear that we would most likely be required to close our doors. When Arlington made the announcement to cancel the public schools, we closed immediately, although it was not necessarily a "requirement" at that time. It was simply the right thing to do. Our last day of "in-studio classes" was March 13. By the middle of that following week, we had created tons of training videos and uploaded them to our website so that students could continue to practice their skills. Within a few days, the videos had been watched over 300 times, and currently have over 2,000 view, with approximately 200 hours of "watch time." Although the videos were a big success, we knew we had to offer more. The very next week (on March 23) we began offering live-stream classes through Zoom for all of our ranks and ages. We currently have over 300 students attending online each week. We are conducting our stripe testing (small step progression) and full Rank Testing online. We also mail or deliver stripes and new belts to students' homes so they receive a tangible rewards for their hard work!
MPH: That's amazing! What has it been like for you and your business parter to make the switch to an online platform?
BS: Like everyone else who has made the switch, we've had to make lots of adjustments! We've not only had to become experts in Tae Kwon Do, but experts in technology too. We have our lead instructor of course, but then also utilize instructors in the "background" providing "tech support" (i.e., helping students login, entering attendance and checking for stripe progression, creating "break out" rooms on Zoom to provide students more individual attention, etc.) Also, finding the room in our homes to fully demonstrate techniques has been challenging! But there have definitely been benefits too. With the success of our online classes, we see this as an opportunity to reach students who may never have been able to attend our classes, i.e. students who are out of the area, students who are immunocompromised, etc.
MPH: Speaking of your students....what has this transition been like for them? How have they taken it?
greater Arlington and Lee Highway community can support the school?
BS: Although the "Jhoon Rhee" name is known internationally in martial arts circles, we are individually owned and therefore are one of the many small businesses being negatively impacted by this crisis. We would like the community to know that if they are interested in our martial arts classes, they do not have to wait until we resume our in-studio classes to start. We offer a complementary week of virtual classes to all ages (4 and up) in hopes that students will engage with us now!
MPH: What's your vision for the future of Jhoon Rhee Tae Kwon Do, after the pandemic has passed?
BS: I know that with the strength and support of our amazing community, we will continue to be able to offer the unique brand of martial arts training that Jhoon Rhee started all those years ago. In fact, with the ability to provide classes, training, and belt progression virtually, we will be able to offer our services to individuals who we wouldn't normally be able to reach. Grand Master Rhee's son, Master Chun Rhee, owns and operates the Jhoon Rhee school in Falls Church and is having the same sort of success we are with his virtual classes. We plan to discuss how we can continue to branch out and reach even more students with this new way of virtual teaching.
MPH: One final question. What is your favorite part of working at and owning Jhoon Rhee Tae Kwon Do?
vast array of neighborhoods and schools in the county, these parents wanted to create a place to connect with and support one another, and to discuss the unique experience of raising a black child. However, in 2018, as these parents became more aware of the disparities and different types of inequity present in APS, they decided to transition to an advocacy group.
In recent months, Black Parents of Arlington has dedicated time and resources to gather information and statistics from the APS dashboard, and to visualize the different experiences of white and black students in APS. Disparities in discipline and gifted students programs are just a few of the issues the organization is tackling. Their numbers show that 40% of black students are disciplined more than white students. Only 21% of black students are asked to join the gifted students program, compared to 46% of white students. And the numbers increase in schools with a higher white population.
Black Parents of Arlington has utilized these numbers to create a plan that would create a more equitable and welcome environment for children like theirs. They have been working with the School Board, APS’ Superintendent, HR, and the Department of Teaching and Learning to develop new programs. They hope to create cultural competency and anti-racist trainings for all staff members, to hire more teachers of color, and increase the number of mental health professionals in schools, particularly those who cater to more diverse populations with higher rates of discipline. “We believe in what Arlington can do” said Kernodle, “APS is and can be the best, but it must be the best for all students.”
Kernodle and her organization are excited for the community to join them in their fight. “Those with black children and are interested in joining can reach out to me directly. We are here for them” says Kernodle. Black Parents of Arlington also welcome those without black children who are eager to lend support. They are soon beginning to hold virtual events for allies, working with organizations like
intentionally anti-racist life, to understand more about white privilege, and to discuss ways they can use that privilege for good. And of course, Black Parents of Arlington always welcomes donations (through their PayPal account, @bpofa), which they utilize to offer funding to children who do not have the means access tutoring, especially during a pandemic and virtual learning.
For more information about Black Parents of Arlington and additional ways to get involved, visit their website. Readers can also sign up to be a part of the Facing Race in Arlington email group and view their resource list.
Formed in 1909, the NAACP is the United States’ oldest civil rights organization. They pride themselves on this fact, noting that leaders like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson got their start with the organization. But more so, they are proud that in their 110 years of existence, they have continued to push forward racial justice reforms and legislation, working to create a more just and equitable United States.
As the video of George Floyd’s death surfaced and protesters took to the streets, many Americans have been asking how they can do more to support the black community. Spain’s suggestion? Become a member of and donate to your local NAACP. Not only does the funding help to support the organization’s work, but volunteering a few hours a week, or a month, helps to push forward legislation and pressure local and state officials. In short, it helps communities seek important change.
What can members of the Arlington NAACP Chapter expect to help influence? Currently, Spain and his team are working closely with the Chief of Police, County Board, Congressman Don Beyer, Senator Warner, and others to implement a new standard of policing in Arlington County where all members
to encourage accountability.
The Chapter is also working to tackle racial injustice in Arlington Public Schools, is holding events to encourage Black communities to fill out their Census, registering community members to vote and get engaged in local and federal elections, re-evaluating the legality of chokeholds, and is hoping to offer further de-escalation training.
The Chapter holds virtual meetings once a month at 7:30pm that are open and free to the community. It’s a great way to engage in dialogue about current issues, listen to speakers, and, perhaps, explore the option of membership.
While these are excellent ways to get engaged in racial justice as an adult, how can teenagers or children get involved?
develop a Youth Community, there needs to be 20-25 individuals interested in joining (with a $12-$15 yearly fee) as well as an adult member to lead and monitor the group.
Ultimately, Spain believes that to create change, the Arlington community must build a culture of inclusivity and diversity. Policies are an excellent start, but "we must work to enforce that culture, have zero tolerance for those who don’t live by those values, and join together to create the community we envision. If you really want to make a difference, come join us” says Spain. “Working together in unity is necessary to accomplish important work.”
For more information about Arlington’s NAACP Chapter, membership, and ways to get involved in racial justice, visit their website today.
As COVID-19 continues into mid-May, small businesses are adjusting their business plans and altering the way they serve their communities so that they can continue to stay afloat and work with customers. To get a better idea of how Lee Highway businesses are faring during this time, LHA’s Communications Manager has been in touch with local business owners and managers.
This past week, she discussed with Woof Gang Bakery’s Daniel In all things COVID-19 and pet related, as well as the best ways the Arlington community can support the business.
in Chapel Hill NC and wanted to see if I was interested in opening up a location in Northern Virginia. After much discussion I decided to open up the current location.
MPH: What do you envision for the future of Woof Gang Bakery?
DI: I want Woof Gang Bakery Arlington to be the premier pet grooming business in the area. Our space is pretty small right now, but as business grows I would like to expand to a larger facility.
MPH: I’m going to pivot a bit to the current pandemic. As we all know, COVID-19 has had quite the impact on “normal” life and local businesses. How has WGB been impacted throughout all this?
DI: Interestingly enough, our business has actually remained relatively stable throughout this pandemic. We are considered an essential business and we have been open the entire time, but we did shorten our hours of operation to reduce exposure. Our grooming services have been booked up because now that everyone is working from home with their dogs all day, they want to get their puppies groomed. Our retail product sales have definitely taken a hit though. Customers want to spend less time in the shop browsing and just get in and out quickly. Overall sales are still down a bit, but I think that we can manage. We will have to focus on our grooming services more.
DI: Honestly, just shop local! We will always have great clients for our grooming, but our product sales are falling due to online shopping. If you like our services and our shop, please spread the word. Personal recommendations are the BEST advertising!
MPH: They really are. For those that want to come into the store, what kind of things do you have available for purchase?
DI: We have all sorts of products for your furry family members. We try to provide the highest quality products when it comes to food, treats, toys, pet care products, accessories, etc... I definitely recommend you come by and take a look at our treat table. We have a treat very large treat table that is covered in hand made and hand decorated dog treats and are made with human grade ingredients. You could try them if you really wanted, but I am not sure how good they would taste to us (laughs).
MPH: That's awesome! Before we close, I want to ask….What’s your favorite part about working at Woof Gang Bakery?
DI: I love interacting with our clients and all of the cute dogs that come through. We have so many regulars and you get to know them well. Also, I love being able to provide good employment for my employees.
MPH: You’re so lucky to be able to interact with so many cute pups!
DI: I really am.
MPH: Well, thanks so much for chatting with me Daniel! Best of luck.
DI: Thanks Maia, you too.
Our local wildlife also agree that native plants are the best. In fact, the ecosystem is entirely dependent on the plants that evolved with our bees, butterflies, birds, etc. Why not give them a home on your property?
Maia Potok-Holmes: Thank you so much for talking with me today, Matt.
Matthew Rowan: It's my pleasure!
MPH: So, let's get straight to it. How did you come to Dominion Electric?
MR: I have a design background. I’m an industrial designer by training. I've worked in architecture and interior firms as an internal specialist on a lot of the user experience stuff – like graphics, lighting, signage – all the stuff that was really high touch point items. I was working for Gensler, leading their studio in the DC office when Dominion’s CEO came to us and said “we need to re-envision, we need to do something totally different.” We came up with the overall approach and design scheme - we even had our consulting team come out and watch people work for a day. And then he offered me this job (laughs) which I wasn’t looking for – and I didn’t even realize he was offering me a job at first – I originally turned him down, because I loved working with my team, but he was persistent and brought me over. One of the first things he told me was “question and change everything.”
MPH: Why did Dominion want to conduct a total re-design and renovation?
MR: It's not just about selling things anymore. Now that we have the internet, people can immediately search anything, you can see all the products that you want; the problem is, lighting can be complex. And when you’re investing thousands of dollars in fixture you want to see it in person. So, there’s a huge place for showrooms, we just weren’t providing that experience. We wanted to become a trusted advisor rather than just selling things.
MPH: How did you approach that process? How are you incorporating those things into the showroom?
kitchen, outdoor garden, bathroom, dining room, etc.
MPH: Is re-branding a part of this re-design process?
MR: Yes, in addition to re-doing the entire showroom, we’re undergoing a full rebrand. We’ve been talking about completely changing the vision and values of the company, we have a new logo and website [not yet released], new swag and business cards - and we’re starting to use the name “Dominion Light” for our residential business. It better describes the kind of work we do and speaks more to the high-end retail audience we’re looking for.
MPH: How do you see this renovation and rebranding as a part of the ongoing Plan Lee Highway project?
MR: As a designer, my passion and purpose is to continue improving and growing things. That’s an exciting aspect about this renovation - being a part of the growth and development of the Lee Highway community. If what we’re doing here can rub off and help someone a mile away, that’s great. The goal is to make things better for everyone that lives here.
MPH: Are there ways Dominion is hoping to engage with the greater Lee Highway community?
MR: Yes! We will be opening the space up to the community for events, meetings, etc. We want to deepen the roots Dominion has with the community.
MPH: Going back to the renovation quickly - can you talk about painting the exterior of the building? I know that was a big change.
MR: I was really worried at first about painting the exterior of the building, because I know change can be hard for a lot of people, but the response has been amazing. We receive calls from people in the neighborhood all the time asking about the paint color.
MPH: Can I ask what the paint color is, for those who want to know?
MR: (Laughs) Of course, it’s Benjamin Moore, Witching Hour.
MPH: It's been so great to chat with you, thanks so much Matt.
MR: My pleasure Maia. Come back soon.
shop specialized, seasonal furniture and custom made lamp shades and chandeliers.
With half its space already renovated, Dominion Lighting is currently open to the public, and is set to open its doors fully in May.
Elaine S. Furlow has lived in Arlington more than 30 years. Before her recent retirement, she was served as the Director of AARP Enterprise Strategy and Planning for the national non-profit and its 37 million members.
She also served two terms on the Arlington School Board and co-chaired the Washington Area Boards of Education. In these positions, Furlow effectively engaged with the public, community leaders and other elected officials to achieve strategic goals. She also led a successful campaign to change high school start times, collaborating with parents, staff, students and community to overcome numerous challenges.
Furlow’s other professional experience includes analyzing and communicating issues, through positions in the White House, Capitol Hill, and state government; and leading and managing editorial staffs and communication for various non-profit organizations.
The Lee Highway Alliance (LHA) Board of Directors has appointed Ginger Brown as the organization’s new Executive Director. Brown was the co-founder of LHA in 2013 and has served as the President of the Board for the past year.
An Arlington resident for 16 years, she has two children attending Arlington Public Schools and has previously served Arlington County as Planning Commissioner, Housing Commissioner, and Chair of the Joint Facilities Advisory Committee (JFAC).
Spanish artist David de la Mano will be on Lee Highway at the end of this month painting a large public mural on the wall of KH Art & Framing. "We couldn't believe it when the Spanish Embassy called Arlington Arts & Cultural Affairs to let them know an artist doing work for them was also interested in painting a mural in Arlington," said LHA President Ginger Brown. "We knew we had to jump at this chance to make this come together."