Striving and Thriving Series
February, 2008

Jean Good: Six Degrees Of Connection

“What was that you were doing?” Jean Good asked her husband Scott. He was in the garage, actually trying to have some privacy. He was practicing his newfound sport Tae Kwon Do and didn’t really want her to see him.

Scott was practicing basic form one, the first collection of steps new students learn in the martial art form. “From the moment I set eyes on basic form one, I knew I wanted to do it,” Jeanie said. “I’ve never had something affect me like that.”

Eighteen years later, Jean Good is known as Master Jeanie and is a sixth degree black belt. She’s the first woman to achieve that high rank in the World Youn Wha Ryu Association. Her husband Scott is also a Tae Kwon Do Master, having earned the rank of fifth degree black belt.

Circumstances: Random Chance or Destiny?

Scott and Jeanie and their children were living in Tucson when Scott’s company notified him they were going to transfer him to the Dallas-Fort Worth area. The family only had to wonder how they would manage such a big change for about a month. That’s when Jeanie’s company said they were relocating and taking six managers with them. She was selected to go with them—to the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

Scott had always been interested in martial arts so when an instructor started offering classes at his health club he signed up. That’s how he happened to be practicing basic form one in the garage when Jeanie walked in.

Jeanie and her daughters started taking classes shortly after. Scott and the instructor struck up a friendship that turned into a business partnership. With Scott’s intensity and business acumen, the two men opened satellites in every location they could find. Within a few months they found a site to open a permanent school in Grapevine, a suburban community near DFW Airport. With Scott and Jeanie just beginning to advance up the belt levels, they were co-owners of a Tae Kwon Do training studio.

Finding Her Mission

Scott and Jeanie kept their jobs and worked at the school in the evenings. Jeanie was teaching classes from the time she had her yellow belt, the first step up from beginner. As she and Scott were around other students and other training styles, they realized the partnership with their original instructor would not work out long term. His style was too abrupt.

Jeanie has always seen how Tae Kwon Do can develop the whole person, and that’s how she wanted it taught. She’s a strict instructor, and students leave her classes sweating and panting. But they know beyond any doubt that she cares about them and sees them as individuals.

They dissolved the partnership and Scott and Jeanie took charge of the school. With his business skills and her focus on training, it started booming, and just in time. Scott and Jeanie were both laid off from their jobs one day apart. They decided to focus on building the business since it was already growing so well. For many years they had great success.

They helped set up satellite schools in other parts of Texas and developed on-site satellite programs for beginner classes that eventually brought more students to the main school. They planned a second school in an affluent neighborhood near the Dallas Cowboys headquarters. It was set to open October 2, 2001. September 11 got in the way.

Plans Derailed And New Challenges

Many industries were affected by September 11, some in obvious ways, like the airlines. The Tae Kwon Do schools felt the affects in a big way. The new location never reached enough students to be feasible so it closed quickly. The Grapevine location saw a substantial drop in students, too. It was a long-term change, so Scott eventually found a full-time job while he continued to teach some evenings and helped oversee the business. Jeanie found herself with more of the responsibility for the school, especially the business decisions that had never been her strong suit.

She also felt the need to support the association, since other schools in the region were struggling, too. Grandmaster Han, a highly accomplished ninth degree black belt respected worldwide in martial arts, established The World Youn Wha Ryu association. Jeanie realized the strength of her school is due in large part to the strength of the association and Grandmaster Han’s philosophy. It was important to her to be an active leader in the association. She put a lot of her time and effort into helping grow the association and keeping it active while she was also keeping her school going and slowly building up student levels.

With Scott working full-time Jeanie had to make more of the decisions about things like marketing and where to set up on-site classes to build up the number of students. She is now implementing a written business plan (a first for her) that includes starting training for assistant instructors at a lower belt level so they can participate early on and be encouraged to become full instructors at the higher belt levels. She is finding locations for satellite schools and looking for places to offer demonstrations by students. She is even learning about advertising, at least enough to make effective choices. The student levels are not back to where they were before, but they are slowly rising.

The Hardest Thing She Ever Did

Jeanie became Master Jeanie in January of 2002 when she received the rank of fifth degree black belt. It was a culmination of years of training and focused hard work preparing to test. She joined the small group of Masters in the World Youn Wha Ryou Association who guide the organization and uphold its standards and ethics. It was an inspiring accomplishment, and surely she thought she was done testing.

Grandmaster Han saw there was even more in Jeanie. This past summer he invited her to test for her sixth degree black belt. She knew it would take months of training and be a drain on her both mentally and physically, but she trusted in her Grandmaster’s vision and accepted his invitation.

In December 2007 Jeanie honored the Grandmaster in a belt test that will be remembered for ages. She engaged in two-on-one sparring, being challenged by a fifth degree black belt and a third degree black belt at the same time. She was kind and only took them down a couple of times. Then, in a stunning display of top defensive forms, she had a group of Masters line up and attack her, one after the other, getting back in line for further attacks, as she demonstrated dozens of takedown moves. It was breathtaking.

That night, at a surprise party thrown by her students, Jeanie told the crowd that preparing for the test and meeting that challenge was the hardest thing she had ever done. Her daughters, both black belts, told her how much of an inspiration she is for them and other women because of her strength and courage and dedication.

A Natural Teacher

Jeanie’s strength is teaching. It’s her calling. She’s a natural at it because she loves the movements of Tae Kwon Do and she enjoys people. She is warm and sincere and sees her students as family. “I can’t imagine not teaching them,” she says. “I do this not just to teach them to kick and punch. I do this to help them change their lives. I’ve seen it happen dozens of times.”

The thing is, Jeanie thinks it’s the Tae Kwon Do that’s changing their lives. Certainly the system, based in honor and discipline and respect and self-control, helps students build character and confidence. But that’s only part of it. What Jeanie doesn’t realize is that lives are changing because her attention and dedication and love are transforming her students.

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