Learning from the master

Little more than a few months after suffering a heart attack in December 2006, Jeff Clark took up Tae Kwon Do as both a physical and mental challenge.

“It was obvious that I needed to step up my game, get back in shape,” said Clark, who is president and chief executive officer of Waukesha Metal Products.

Today, Clark is chasing his third degree black belt in the martial art – a feat typically accomplished in a minimum of five years under the federation he follows, according to his instructor, master Greg Chay, owner of Chay’s Tae Kwon Do in Cedarburg and a sixth degree black belt.

Clark passed his second degree black belt in January 2014 and now attends two private lessons a week with Chay as he works toward the next level. Achieving his third degree black belt will require him to learn three new Tae Kwon Do forms and practice the art continuously over the next four years, Chay said.

“He’s been doing that very religiously with me because of his health concerns and fitness levels,” Chay said.

Some Tae Kwon Do forms black belt students must perfect are comprised of more than 70 movements, many complex, that must be memorized step by step.

Under the guidance of Chay, Clark is focused on maintaining his weight, enhancing his overall fitness and learning the curriculum.

“Tae Kwon Do does a lot for me in terms of providing that mental toughness,” Clark said on his passion for the martial art. “It’s the physical fitness. It’s the sport. It’s gratifying to finish a workout and know that you’ve been able to accomplish a new form or a very tough technique, whether it’s a kick, a spinning move or something. And it’s just a really great workout…for both the mind and the body, and I really enjoy that aspect.”

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