Christian Dykes is fighting to maintain his Tae Kwon Do program alive; and is doing so with classes in Milan’s Wilson Park.
Tae Kwon Do practice continues in Wilson Park, despite pandemic
Although students appear highly engaged as they jump and punch under a tree, a Milan business owner is struggling to keep his martial arts program alive.
Christian Dykes is fighting to maintain his Milan Tae Kwon Do program, which initially opened in 1997 in the back of a flower shop on Dexter St. It’s since settled in the spacious storefront at 7 E. Main St.
“Before the pandemic, we used to have 55 students” at a typical practice, he said.
Dykes is hoping the studio can survive the current uncertainties.
“We used to have a lot more people,” he recalled. “At one time, I had 100 students. We had 55 people at a practice.”
“Now I’m down to 8 or 9 people” at a practice, he added.
Dykes is concerned about covering the rent for his business while his studio is not open for practice.
“My landlord cut my rent in half for the last three months because of the pandemic,” he explained.
The coronavirus has been hard on Dykes.
“Personally, I’ve been doing this 30 years,” he says.
Dykes has a day job, working as a Mechanical Engineer in Ann Arbor. Before the pandemic, he was thinking of retiring from his day job and going full-time with Tae Kwon Do.
Dykes also is concerned about the effect of the pandemic on Milan’s Cancer Relay for Life.
His Tae Kwon Do coach, Chris Overbeek, has supervised the annual Relay for Life in Milan for many years, with enthusiastic support from Tae Kwon Do of Milan.
While worrying about the future of Tae Kwon Do, and the future of Milan, Dykes remains out in Wilson Park encouraging his students amid an uncertain future.