Students sparring at Master White's Taekwondo in Woodruff
Students sparring at Master White's Taekwondo in Woodruff

At his Taekwondo dojan in Woodruff, Master White builds discipline, perseverance, and self-confidence in his students while teaching them self-defense.

Opened in 2018 by certified 6th Dan black belt Master Michael White, Master White Taekwondo offers martial arts training and an after-school program to residents of Woodruff and beyond. Master White teaches students ranging from 4 to 43 in age and from beginner to black belt in skill level.

Taekwondo is a style of martial arts that originated in Korea after the end of World War II and the Japanese Occupation. The style focuses primarily on kicks, finesse, and acrobatics. Like most martial arts disciplines, students start as white belts and are tested periodically to see if they have mastered their current level in order to move up to another belt.

Master White leads students through stretching exercises
Master White leads students through stretching exercises before practicing movements and sparring

Master White was born and raised in Woodruff, leaving for just 4 years to serve in the Marine Corp. After studying Taekwondo for 35 years under the tutelage of Taekwondo Grand Master Jimmy Anderson, White was encouraged by his wife Heather White to fulfill his calling and share his knowledge with students in Woodruff. Heather also helps behind the scenes by keeping the books, setting up fundraisers, and other administrative tasks.

White pays the utmost respect to his teacher and mentor Grand Master Anderson, saying that without him “none of what I have accomplished in Taekwondo would be possible.” Anderson, in turn, praises his protege by stating “as a student, he was relentless and never gave up. He could have made the Olympics if he wanted to.”

“For me, its more about God and my Christian faith, to train kids correctly in hopes that one day they will help make a positive change in the community” – Master White

With a teaching style that blends strict discipline with patience and praise, Master White not only commands but also earns the respect of his students. “I love Master White, he’s like a second dad to me,” said 16-year old 2nd-degree black belt Casper Ongay, adding, “he is always fighting with me in everything I do, at school, at work, and in Taekwondo.”

That sentiment is reaffirmed by parents of the students of White’s, such as 6-year old student Tayleyn Darnell’s grandmother Cynthia Cable who stated that Master White has “been a great help. When Tayelyn gets in trouble at school, [Master White] has a talk with him, makes him mind, and doesn’t let him get away with the little things.”

Master White’s goal is not simply to teach self-defense but to improve the community of Woodruff by instilling self-confidence, motivation, and determination in his students. “The discipline and ethic they put into learning Taekwondo will help them in life no matter what the situation is,” White asserted.

Student Casper Ongay performs a kick under the tutelage of Master White
Student Casper Ongay performs a kick under the tutelage of Master White

Studying martial arts is especially helpful for kids with behavioral and academic struggles. Parent Emily Redding, who has two kids enrolled at White’s, said “my daughter has ADHD and I read that physical activity and strict schedules can help, so I decided to try this before medication.” She praised the results of the classes stating that “we’ve seen a total difference in my daughter” since she started Taekwondo both “at school and at home, she’s flourishing and it’s helping her a lot.”

“The biggest advantage for kids is the discipline side of it. We make it exciting for them to learn while teaching them to be respectful and not to be bullies” – Master White

Master White’s own stepson Jackson McCraw, who is a student with a black belt, suffers from ADHD. According to Heather White, kids with ADHD are “accustomed to a lot of negative feedback from adults, and feeling like they failed.” She noted that kids in those circumstances benefit the most from taking classes, “by getting positive feedback and feeling like they are doing something right.” White hopes McCraw will want to carry on the family tradition and take over the school in the future.

While learning Taekwondo is especially impactful to children, adults in Master White’s classes benefit too. No matter your age, he encourages you to check out a class, stating “don’t be intimidated, we’ll work at your pace. Everyone has different abilities, and no one is perfect.”

Master White hopes to grow his current class sizes and is currently drawing up proposals for local businesses to sponsor students in his classes.

If you are interested in taking classes with Master White, he encourages you to stop by and watch a class, you can even participate to make sure it’s the right fit for you or your child. He offers a free one-week trial alongside a one-month trial of $50 to make it easy to get started. The after-school program picks kids up from school, helps them with their homework, and teaches them Taekwondo, offering an alternative to other programs where kids just play.

Master White’s Taekwondo is located at 210 Church St. in Woodruff, SC. You can check it out on their Facebook page, or get more information and class times by calling (864) 395-9460.


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