Poos Taekwondo was founded in 1975 by Guy Poos. Mister Poos, as we affectionately call him, is an 8th degree black belt in Taekwondo. He also holds black belts in Karate, Bong-Sool, and Hapkido. He developed the curriculum at Poos Taekwondo to emphasize self-defense and also to teach sparring. Jason Poos, a 6th degree black belt, took over the business from his father years ago and is an Olympic and Paralympic coach in Taekwondo. He competed very successfully for years, then turned his focus to coaching. He has coached Olympians and 160 National Championship Medalists, 12 National Collegiate Team members, 12 Jr. National team members, 5 Under-24 National Team members and 7 US National team members. He is also a 3-time US Olympic Committee Developmental Coach of the Year. Mister Poos and Jason have been devoted to teaching kids and adults for decades.
The Poos Taekwondo Women’s Self-Defense Program was developed in 2015 because of a happy accident.
Jeff Fine-Thomas (one of our instructors) has spent his professional career as a psychotherapist who works with people who have suffered from trauma. Shortly after he tested for his second degree black belt at Poos, he saw a professional journal article posted in his Facebook feed (the only journal article he’s ever seen posted on Facebook!). The article was titled “The Efficacy of a Sexual Assault Resistance Program for College Women” by Charlene Senn and published in the New England Journal of Medicine (a prestigious medical journal). Given his work with women, he clicked on the post and found the article compelling.
Among many statistics, the article showed about a 50% decrease in sexual assault among women who took the class. At that moment, he realized that his love for Taekwondo could be combined with his professional goal to help women who suffer the horrors of assault. He began to read everything he could get his hands on related to resisting or preventing assault.
When Jeff pitched the idea of a free class for women, Jason Poos was immediately supportive and they discussed the steps for developing such a class. That began a flurry of conversations between Jeff, Jason, Guy Poos, Jennifer Neville, Kara Conrady, Alex Earnest, Summer McGlaughlin, Maggie Mitchell, Ellie Taylor, and Maddie Barrett (all very experienced martial artists). We started with the idea that Dr. Senn showed to be helpful to real college women - that discussing tough subjects in an emotionally and physically safe environment can significantly reduce the risk for assault. So, we knew our program had to include discussion and, thankfully, Dr. Senn made the vast majority of her material publicly available to anyone. We used Dr. Senn’s ideas as a model for much of the discussion section of our work.
We also knew that we could significantly improve on the physical training Dr. Senn used in her program. We knew we wanted to use techniques that would be reliable, practical, and most importantly, could be used against a bigger, stronger, and faster opponent. We also knew we had to try to understand how women think about self-defense, their physical abilities, their bodies, their fears, and their concerns. We wanted the program to be centered on women and developed to meet their needs.
On May 3rd, 2016, after a ton of work and a lot of excitement, we offered our first class to 10 women and it was a huge success. They loved it! Since then, our program has grown immensely. We now have a Free Women’s Self-Defense Class, a Beginner Women’s Self-Defense Class, an Intermediate Women’s Self-Defense Class, and an Advanced Women’s Self-Defense Class. Plus, we offer private lessons to individuals and groups as well as to corporations who want a fun team building event.