Master Vasquez

A Life Dedicated to Leading the Way in Martial Arts Study---


The martial arts scene in North Texas changed forever when Master Julian Vasquez arrived from Oklahoma City in 1995 to open a school dedicated to teaching taekwondo to residents of McKinney, Texas, and surrounding cities. From its humble origins in the rented corner of a local gymnastics studio to a state-of-the art, stand-alone martial arts facility, Vasquez Taekwondo Academy (VTA) has remained squarely focused on three fundamental goals for every student: improved physical fitness, sharpened mental focus, and self-confidence for life. In a little over a decade Master Vasquez’s academy has become a true powerhouse within the martial arts community. It has grown from a mere four students to nearly 300 and is firmly established as both a training center for families seeking basic self-defense skills to an award-winning program that consistently produces nationally-ranked champions.

Taekwondo is the ancient Korean art of unarmed self-defense. It became an Olympic Sport in 1988 and is today practiced by people of all ages. With a worldwide following of over 20 million people—many of whom began their study of the art after witnessing Texan Steven Lopez win consecutive gold medals at the 2000 and 2004 summer Olympics—taekwondo has emerged as the most popular of the martial arts. This unique sport teaches the importance of combining mental discipline with physical agility, and its emphasis on building moral character in tandem with physical self-defense skills dramatically improves the way the practitioners conduct their lives, both on and off the mat. It is no wonder that schools, companies, and communities heartily support the martial arts centers that have opened throughout America in recent decades.

Julian Vasquez is a certified Master Instructor and holds the rank of 7th degree black belt conferred by Kukkiwon World Taekwondo Federation in Seoul, Korea. He also holds this rank within the World Jidokwan Federation and the U.S. Taekwondo Grandmaster Society.

Master Vasquez is known for his willingness to take on a wide array of challenges and responsibilities throughout his quarter-century of daily involvement with taekwondo. Never one to take a shortcut in his quest for mastery of Korean-style martial arts, he rose from his early training as an avid student to become a widely respected leader in the discipline and is today recognized as an outstanding instructor and owner of a top martial arts academy. Vasquez Taekwondo Academy garners many accolades as a responsible, community-minded leader in the local sports scene, but it is equally recognized for consistent victories in martial arts competition throughout the nation.

Master Vasquez served as Vice President of the Texas Taekwondo Association in 2005 and 2006, then served as Vice President of Foundation Masters of Taekwondo (FMT) in 2006. He became the organization’s Chairman in 2007 and continues to hold this rank. He is the President of the Texas Haidon Gumdo Association. He also served as Tournament Director for the FMT Championships, held in McKinney, Texas, in May, 2006. In 2007 Master Vasquez was appointed Lieutenant Governor for the Southwest District of the American Athletic Union (AAU), one of the biggest non-profit sports organizations in the United States, and he was organizer and Tournament Director of the AAU SW District Taekwondo Qualifiers in 2007 and 2008. He has been a USAT-certified coach for many years, and in recognition of his service as a National Certified Referee with experience in four Junior Olympic and National Championships, Master Vasquez was inducted into the USAT Martial Arts Testing Commission in July, 2008.

In February of 2009, Master Vasquez was appointed the State President for Texas of the US Taekwondo Committee. The USTC (formerly the USTF) is dedicated to supporting the traditional, non-olympic sport aspects of Taekwonodo under the World Taekwondo Federation.

Where did Master Vasquez’s road to martial arts success begin? In 1984 he moved to Oklahoma City to study Olympic-Style competitive taekwondo under famed Master Guy Poos, and later became both a State and National Taekwondo Champion, competing widely from 1985 to 1992. After eleven years of training with Master Poos, he returned to Texas and founded Vasquez Taekwondo Academy. He has since become one of America’s most successful instructors of Master Poos’s “Blue Victory” system, a program famed for producing national and international champions.

For Master Vasquez, devotion to martial arts and its emphasis on teaching students to improve their lives both in and out of the gym is not merely a job — it is his foremost ambition. The same is true for his wife, Carolina, a 5th degree Black Belt and three-time Oklahoma state champion, and their son Julian Jr., a 4th degree Black Belt who competed on the international level and won first place in both sparring and forms at the Junior Olympic National Championships.

Beyond martial arts, the other constant in Master Vasquez’s life is his family. He feels blessed to enjoy success in a sport he deeply loves, but even more so that he can share it daily with his family. In addition to enjoying life with Carolina, Julian Jr., in May 2007 Master Vasquez became a proud grandfather with the birth of his grandson, Michael. (Outside the gym, Master Vasquez maintains a full-time career an executive for a major consumer products company. While his passion and commitment to taekwondo is unequalled, he brings the same level of dedication to his outside career, having worked for 34 years in positions including Director, Division Sales Manager, and VP of Sales and Marketing for U.S. Operations.)

In 2008, Master Vasquez realized his ambition of building a training center to his own specifications, basing it upon the experience gained in taekwondo programs he developed over many years. From 1997 to 2008 Vasquez Taekwondo Academy operated from a large single-floor gym—it was known as one of the most comprehensive training centers in north Texas—but when the opportunity arrived to custom design a state-of-the-art center dedicated solely to Korean martial arts, Master Vasquez didn’t hesitate. In May of 2008, his longtime dream became reality.

Master Vasquez’s new training facility in the Stonebridge Ranch development in McKinney is over 7,000 square feet — approximately 1/3 larger than the former gym. Its increased size gives it three independent training floors that have been designed to facilitate an array of independent, full-time martial arts programs.

The first training floor accommodates the “Little Tigers” program, a VTA specialty offering classes to pre- school children (ages 4-6) during the daytime hours and into early evening. This course, for many years a staple of the Academy and a time-tested early-training ground for future competitive martial artists, is directed by Carolina Vasquez. (In fact, several children who went through the “Little Tigers” program as pre-school students today compete as nationally-ranked black belt champions!)

The second training floor, designed for use by students who are at least six years old, provides 30 classes per week of traditional taekwondo, Hapkido self-defense, weapons training, and noncontact kickboxing. It features VTA’s award-winning Olympic-sport Taekwondo program (levels I, II, and III), and the Academy’s two national team programs. Most classes are taught in the afternoons and evenings, but some classes are available Tuesday and Thursday mornings/midday, as well.

The third training floor — a space truly unique to the region — focuses upon the intensive black-belt competition training in which the Academy takes great pride. The classes here are further divided according to rank (Red/Blk Deputy, 1st Dan, 2nd and 3rd, etc.). Like the main taekwondo floor, the black belt training room is equipped with top-quality sports matting, wall-to-wall mirror, and storage space for staffs and other equipment.

In developing his comprehensive martial arts program over the years, Master Vasquez long wanted to introduce Haidong Gumdo — the art of Korean sword training—to his academy. He holds a black belt in this unique discipline and is certified as a Master Instructor by the World Haidong Gumdo Federation. This highly specialized sport is growing in popularity within the martial arts community, and Vasquez Taekwondo Academy is likewise expanding its program.

Why the emphasis on Haidong Gumdo along with Olympic-style taekwondo training? Throughout his career as an instructor, Master Vasquez has always sought ways for older adults or those without martial arts experience to enjoy the benefits to mind and body that Korean martial arts can deliver, and Haidong Gumdo has proven to be one of the most effective. Vasquez Taekwondo Academy’s sword program, which trains exclusively in its black belt room, is open to adults as well as younger VTA members who have achieved black belt rank within the taekwondo program.

Although the Academy opened in 1995 and has enjoyed continuous growth in program size and success in martial arts tournaments, the seeds of its birth go back much further. The speed at which it has grown and the awards and commendations it has garnered could not have taken place without the intense commitment, dedication, and plain hard work of its founder. Julian Vasquez grew up as the adopted son of a migrant worker in south Texas. As a boy he traveled with his father throughout the United States, going wherever manual laborers were needed for farming and harvesting.

Today Master Vasquez is far removed from the world of his youth, but he credits this early experience with helping him develop a set of guiding principles that he has valued ever since. These beliefs, rooted in the ideas of fairness, compassion, discipline, and hard work, are reflected daily in the way he and his family interact with students and visitors to Vasquez Taekwondo Academy, and they work in harmony with the fundamental philosophies of the martial arts.

Vasquez Taekwondo Academy is unique in that it was founded by a single family and offers, even amidst the Academy’s rapid growth, all levels of training in a welcoming family atmosphere. Furthermore, each of its Black Belt-level instructors is a longtime student of the Academy and is personally trained by the Vasquez family. This insistence upon developing and promoting “homegrown” teachers allows Master Vasquez to carefully select instructors based upon leadership skills, teaching ability, proven taekwondo mastery, and unwavering dedication to the growth and training of Academy students. Nearly all of these outstanding instructors began their training years ago at white belt-level with Master Vasquez. All have placed in state championships and many have garnered awards in national tournaments and even international championships such as the U.S. Open, which is second only to the Olympics as taekwondo’ s greatest competitive event.

Master Vasquez credits his students’ accomplishments to their own dedicated training and the incorporation of martial arts ideals into their daily lives. He believes that achieving success in life requires attention to one’s physical health, development of mental discipline, and cultivation of a strong sense of compassion for others. These qualities, all essential components of any martial arts study, are strongly emphasized in taekwondo.

Vasquez Taekwondo Academy is a purely traditional Korean-style taekwondo and sword-training gym. It is not a franchise run under license from a distant corporate office. Along with his staff, Master Vasquez (together with his wife and son, Julian Jr.), are on the mat every day, teaching all levels of classes and staying immersed in the day-to-day instruction and nurturing of Academy students. Vasquez Taekwondo Academy is dedicated to family-oriented martial arts training and remains the only facility in McKinney teaching true Olympic-style competitive taekwondo.

In addition to the intensive training regimen that built the Academy’s outstanding tournament record, visitors to the gym are inevitably pleased by the emphasis Master Vasquez, his family, and the instructors place upon certain behaviors outside the gym: service to the community, courage in the face of life’s challenges, and the value of seeing projects through to conclusion. Master Vasquez rewards the diligent and he acknowledges prompt and regular attendance. Above all, the Academy values the sincere efforts of its students.

Children who study taekwondo at the Academy learn that standard features in the study of self-defense skills also include discussion of healthy dietary habits, showing respect for others, and valuing the importance of learning. “Taekwondo really is a way of life,” explains Master Vasquez. “It gives its practitioners, especially children, a way to focus their energies. It shapes them into better people.” The Academy insists that school-aged students keep up with their studies and strive to become responsible and helpful citizens in their community.

After many years of study and instruction, Master Vasquez has witnessed how the confidence, focus, and discipline students develop in his martial arts training carries into other areas of their lives. It is difficult to place a value upon this additional benefit of training at Vasquez Taekwondo Academy, but Master Vasquez is as pleased with it as he is with the success of the Academy itself. The success of his students is the Academy’s success — and his reward.

To meet with Master Vasquez and learn more about the power of martial arts training, please contact the Academy anytime at 972-548-8275. Feel free to visit the Academy’s training facility and headquarters at 2050 Alma Road, McKinney, TX 75070, for a tour and demonstration

Work with National Martial Arts Associations


USAT

Master Vasquez at the USAT Martial Arts Commission Inauguration  of Taekwondo Masters in July 2008 (circled)


Grand Masters Society
In 2002, Master Vasquez was given entrance  to the US Taekwondo Grandmaster's Society

Work with Haidong Gumdo



 

Haidong Gumdo Seminar in Texas

Master Vasquez hosted a Haidong Gumdo seminar in May of 2010 with Master Kim Jeong Woo of the World Haidong Gumdo Federation. Master Kim is the Chief of Education for the WHGF, and travelled to Texas from Korea for the seminar.  Over 30 students attended and thoroughly valued the experience. At the same session, Master Vasquez was presented with a Certificate of Appreciation from the WHGF for his oustanding efforts promoting Haidong Gumdo in Texas.





Haidong Gumdo Master's Seminars

Master Vasquez has participated in numerous Haidong Gumdo masters training seminars with other Masters in Phoenix (above pictures). The pictures on the bottom show Master Vasquez with Master Kim Jeong Woo from the World Haidong Gumdo Federation.

Work Promoting Taekwondo



Korean National Taekwondo Demonstration Team

In May of 2009, Master Vasquez had the honor of being the first school in the United States to host the world famous Tiger WTF Taekwondo Demonstration Team. This demonstration team has done their performance to crowds of 50,000 in auditoriums, as well as in the Being Olympics Opening Ceremonies. Most people who saw the demonstration felt it was the most impressive martial arts performance they had ever seen.



Kukkiwan Certificate of Appreciation

In December 2008, Master Vasquez was given a Certificate of Appreciation from the Kukkiwan for helping organize and host the first International Poomsae Seminar in the US in Dallas, TX.



 

Instituto Mexicano De Taekwondo

In July of ’08 Mexico’s Top 50 Nationally Ranked Olympic Team Black belts came to McKinney to train with the VTA Team and to compete in a friendly taekwondo sparring competition. Master Vasquez Sr. presented a “VTA Appreciation Plaque” to Grandmaster Jose Luis Olivares, President of Instituto Mexicano De Taekwondo.