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Christian martial arts club offers prayer, kicks in DL

Though the martial art form known as tae kwon do has its origins in the Far East, some of its principles have much in common with Christianity.

"The five tenets of Tae Kwon Do are courtesy, integrity, perseverance, self control and indomitable spirit," says Pat Fineday, the martial arts instructor who recently helped to found a new tae kwon do club in Detroit Lakes.

This club, known as Lakes Tae Kwon Do, is unique amongst other area martial arts clubs and schools, in that it is Christian-based.

Its co-founder is Pastor Dave Bakke of Go-After Ministries. Bakke, who is also a member of Christian Fellowship Church in Detroit Lakes, says he had the idea to establish a Christian-based TKD club after he and his wife, along with their son, began taking classes with Fineday at his school in Perham two years ago.

"As a minister, I am always trying to find ways to reach out to people with the gospel," he says.

"I was inspired a lot by a ministry in California known as United Martial Artists for Christ," Bakke adds. "I started talking with Master Pat (about establishing a local program), and he thought it would be a good idea -- so we just started doing it."

"I'd thought about it a few years back, but I wasn't quite sure how to go about it," Fineday adds. "There are other schools in the Fargo-Moorhead area that incorporate a Christian message, but this is the first one in our area, I believe."

So how do they bring Christianity into their martial arts program? It's simple. Each class begins with a 10-minute Bible study, Bakke says.

"From there, we go right into training," he adds. "Some people have raised questions (about whether or not the class incorporates Eastern philosophies as part of its instruction) -- but we teach the sports aspect of tae kwon do, the physical training and conditioning."

The core element of a Christian-based tae kwon do program, Bakke says, is that they adhere to a Biblical theme, from Philippians 4:13: "I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me."

"The world says, 'You can do it' -- we say, 'You can do it through Christ,'" Bakke says. "That's the difference."

Fineday also has martial arts schools in Frazee and Cormorant, under the name Pat's Martial Arts and Tae Kwon Do School.

Currently, the Lakes Tae Kwon Do Club has about 15 members, of all ages. They meet twice a week at the Detroit Lakes Boys & Girls Club -- Fridays at 6:30 p.m., and Saturdays at 9 a.m. -- which provides space for them, but is not itself affiliated with the program.

"It's open to anyone five years old and up (to adult)," Bakke says, noting that it would be an ideal family activity. "We're hoping to get more students of all ages."

For more information on joining the club, contact Pastor Dave Bakke at 218-234-9405.

Vicki Gerdes

Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers for the past 16 years, currently editor of the entertainment and community pages as well as covering city council and the Lake Park-Audubon School Board. Living in DL with my cat, Smokey.

(218) 844-1454