The Journal Register (Medina, NY)

August 5, 2013

Medina man defies age with Tae Kwon Do

By HOWARD BALABAN howard.balaban@journal-register.com
Medina Journal-Register

Medina Journal-Register — A few years ago Carl “Cal” Tuohey and his son looked for something they could do together. A friend suggested Tae Kwon Do.

This past Saturday, Tuohey sat in The Book Shoppe in downtown Medina signing copies of his book, Gray Hair, Black Belt.

One could say he and his son chose wisely.

“My friend’s a teacher at the school,” Tuohey said, referring to Kwandrans Tae Kwon Do in Medina. “He said it would be good for both of us, would teach us discipline and keep us active.”

Tuohey and his son, Jack, started going, and for a while they went together. However, only the older of the two stuck with it for a significant length of time as the younger part of the duo joined Boy Scouts instead.

But the payoff for Tuohey, after four years of training one hour twice a week, was evident on his waste Saturday: a Black Belt.

Getting there, he said, was the genesis of the book.

“I would send out emails to the school’s owner (Bob Kwandrans) and a few others describing what a great job I was doing, and it was a bit overblown,” Tuohey said. “Eventually, Bob asked me to do something for the school newsletter.”

The bulk of the book, Tuohey explained, came from those newsletters, of which he wrote more than 40. He added the rest to make a piece that offers those who pick it up “some light reading geared to people wanting to know what to expect if they take up Tae Kwon Do at this age.”

Age, he added, was part of the biggest lesson he learned throughout the entire process of earning his martial arts level.

“I found out it’s painful getting old,” he said. “It seemed like I was trying to stave off the aging process.”

There are as many as 10 degrees of a Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do, but because of his age, Tuohey said he planned on stopping at level one.

“My knees are shot; I limped to the finish line,” he said. “It got to the point where I couldn’t even run up and down the floor for warmups. But I took some aspirin, rubbed some balm on them, and made it through testing.”

During his time training, Tuohey said the kids in the school helped to make the atmosphere fun, letting him get away with a variety of jokes and sarcasm. That element of fun, he said, is what he hopes people feel when reading his book.

“I hope they have a few laughs, a few smiles,” he said.