Mission Statement

It is the mission of the Waldo County YMCA to promote the physical, mental, social, and spiritual development of Waldo County children and families.

Waldo County YMCA
157 Lincolnville Avenue - Belfast, ME 04915 - 207.338.4598

The Waldo County YMCA is a 501 (c)(3) Charitable Organization




Martial Arts

For your convenience, you now have the option to sign up for all weeks of the session at one time!

Testing to achieve the next highest level
is solely at the discretion of the instructor.


Mr Jim Gallegos, 2nd Degree Black Belt
Mr Jim Gallegos originally hails from the great state of Ohio, and is a 35+ year veteran of Martial Arts. Mr. Gallegos joined the Waldo County YMCA TKD team and has been a valuable asset to this program. Although his primary back ground is TKD, he has also studied Judo, and Hapkido under his Korean and American Master. Mr. Gallegos is registered with the South Korean College of Martial Arts Practioners, referred to as the KUKKIWON.

The Manchester School of Tae Kwon Do
It is the opinion of the instructors that it is necessary to seek out Martial Artists with more knowledge to continue training and to make sure that the standard of testing remains high. The Waldo County YMCA School of Tae Kwon Do is very pleased and honored to be associated with the Manchester School of Tae Kwon Do, Master Richard Higgins, his dedicated team of Black Belts and Students.


What is Tae Kwon Do?
Tae Kwon Do (TKD) is a Korean Martial Arts. The name is derived from a coalition of several south Korean art forms in 1955. TKD represents a way of self-defense that is approximately 2,000 years old. Translated to “The Way of Foot and Hand”, TKD is the most widely practiced martial art in the world. TKD is a linear style of self-defense with emphasis on high kicking. The style of TKD practiced at the Waldo County YMCA belongs to both the World Tae Kwon Do Federation (WTF) the International Tae Kwon Do Federation (ITF) governing bodies.

Waldo County YMCA TKD
The Waldo County YMCA School of martial arts program has been in existence since 2002. Originally started by Mr. George Manlove (3rd Degree Black Belt, Moo Duk Kwan TKD), the program was taken over in 2003 by Mr. Christopher Brinn (2nd Degree Black Belt certified by the Manchester School of TKD, Manchester, NH). With the assistance of Ms. Kachina Miller (1st Degree Black Belt) and Mr. Jim Gallegos (2nd Degree Black Belt) the program grew and flourished until present day. Currently, Mr. Jim Gallegos is the Lead Instructor.

Who Can Benefit from TKD
Persons of all ages can find some part of the TKD class structure to improve their overall health, lower body flexibility, upper body strength regardless of body type and gender. Children strive to focus their attention; control their body, thoughts, actions and follow instructions. Adults strive to develop their stamina and self-awareness. Class instruction will emphasize the 5 Tenets of TKD: Courtesy, Integrity, Perseverance, Self-Control and Indomitable Spirit.

What is the Best Age For My Child?
Many martial arts schools begin teaching children at the age of 3. However, at this age, learning TKD concepts can be difficult. The Waldo County YMCA recommends the child be at least 5-yrs old. Concentration and attentiveness to instruction are major class elements, and although these traits will improve with training, some very young children, regardless of gender, may not be developmentally ready. It is advised to discuss your child’s particular needs or challenges with the Instructor before beginning the program.

Can High School Teens Participate?
Absolutely YES! Teens will be expected to act as adults, follow the rules of the program and take responsibility for their own actions. We encourage Teens to bring a friend and share this learning experience to enhance their friendship.

Are Beginning Adults Taught with Children?
The simple answer is YES. However, even though adults may be in class with children, the children will be advanced far enough in their TKD training to perform all the basic moves and techniques without disruption to the overall class or the adult learning process. Adults (high school age teens included) will initially be challenged to learn the TKD class culture, fundamental body motion, balance and agility – all of which the children already know.

Can Parents Participate in class with their Child?
Yes, this currently happens today, but the child has taken and learned the fundamentals of TKD before the parent joins the class. Once the child has progressed far enough in his/her TKD studies the parent and child are better able to learn together as a team. Once the child has shown an understanding of the fundamentals, the parent may chose to participate with the child in the Adult/Advanced class. Parent /Child participation in this class is solely at the discretion of the Instructor.


In each class, courtesy and respect are shown and demonstrated by the Instructor and students. All participants bow to the flag(s), kneel and relax through a brief moment of meditation, greet each other in a martial arts fashion and then begin the exercises at the direction of the Instructor. Class then continues in the following manner:

Warm-ups are designed to stretch the lower portion of the torso, so as not to cause muscle/tendon stress in the class or in our lives. This helps loosen the lower body and strengthen and tone the upper body with twists, bends and motion. The warm-up is designed to increase the heart rate and get the body ready for drills.

Drills are exercises to reinforce all of the previously learned motion, stances, hand and leg techniques and typically take the form of Blocking, Punching and Kicking. New techniques may be introduced and performed.

Step-Fighting pairs students together to role-play a potential strike and counter-attack scenario. In this phase of training, one student is assigned the role of the attacker and one the defender and counter-attacker. The Attacker may advance and step once, twice or three times (i.e. 1-Step, 2-Step, or 3-Step fighting) towards his/her partner, while the other student moves and blocks out of harms way. After a predestinated number of steps, the defender counter-attacks with simulated strikes and kicks to the vital parts of the attacker’s body. The “Step fighting” techniques are choreographed, performed and perfected.

Forms is the portion of class in which the students are taught stance, motion, direction and technique in a multi-directional simulated attack/defend mode. This is much like a dance, but with an expression of agility, full power, and complete balance in a predetermined pattern of motion. Proper blocking, kicking and striking is practiced using an invisible assailant as the object of focus.

Free-Fighting is a “free form” type of self-defense where students are paired with each other and follow specific rules of light-touch punching and kicking. Protection gear is worn, but is optional. There is no pattern of motion and no prearranged choreography of techniques, control is emphasized. Children will not participate at this level until the student has demonstrated an understanding of courtesy and respect for other students and until the Instructor approves. Children will be told NOT to demonstrate or participate in this activity outside of the martial arts classroom.

The Instructor signals that all phases have ended, students will return to their original place in class, flag(s) are bowed to, meditation occurs, and the Instructor dismisses the class.

Ranking / Advancement System
Each student is given a rank of achievement, which is represented in two forms. As a child, the student will earn an “Achievement Bar”, or a TKD color belt designation. The Achievement Bar is a small colored stripe worn on the sleeve of the left arm. Each colored bar represents a level of accomplishment and proficiency. Once the child has advanced through the Achievement Bar ranks by showing control and skill, the belt will be modified with a stripe, or a new color belt will be presented. For each Achievement Bar, belt stripe and color belt, a test will be given to show the student’s skill in remembering and performing a TKD task. The test will be conducted solely at the discretion of the Instructor and only when the student has:

a. Demonstrated, skill, and knowledge in TKD vocabulary, motion, stances and techniques
b. Attended class on a regular basis,
c. Shown courtesy and respect to his/family/friends and fellow students

All students in uniform begin at the 10th level, or rank. In the Korean system this is referred to as Gup (sometimes expressed as Kup). There are 10 student levels (Gups). Once the student has demonstrated the skills of a given level and advanced through the Achievement Bar testing process, the belt will be altered to reflect the Gup achieved rank. Gup levels will progress from 10 to 1. Only 1st Gup students may be a candidate and eligible to take their Black Belt test and only at the discretion of Instructor.


Try A Class and Have Fun
To anyone interested in Tae Kwon Do or any Martial Art, the only way for you to find out if it’s for you is to try it. This is the best way to learn about an instructor, their teaching style and method, and if the school is right for you. Martial Arts are not only practical, but are also fun. It’s a great way to maintain you fitness level or get back in shape. For kids, TKD can help with concentration in school, making new friends, and just having fun.

Please consult with a physician concerning your ability to participate in Tae Kwon Do. The physicality of some Martial Arts may not suit some people.

|2006 | Waldo County YMCA • 157 Lincolnville Avenue • Belfast, Maine 04915 • 207-338-4598