North Hollywood Taekwondo / Team X Sport Taekwondo
by Scott Mar
(Valley Village, CA)
North Hollywood Taekwondo is a competition-oriented dojang led by Joseph Salim.
Master Salim, a 3x Olympian himself, has a terrific knack for developing super-talented Olympic-sparring competitors. Team X Sport Taekwondo is Master Salim's elite juniors team that focuses on world-class sparring technique that draws aspiring black belt-level champions from all over Southern California and internationally too.
His current star student, Dierrianne Morales, made the senior Pan Am Team, the World Championship Team and the Junior Pan Am Team all in the same year, at the age of 14!
Master Salim also has a couple of 8 year old Taekwondo prodigies. These two 8 year olds move and fight like no adult can. You can see their videos on YouTube; Ryan Apostol and Fredrick Emil Olsen.
Master Salim's approach is a completely modern look at Taekwondo. Classes are informal and collaborative. Instead of being instructor-centric with the instructor teaching at the front of the class, the class is student-centric with exercises between the partnered students being the focal point.
North Hollywood Taekwondo also offers kids/teens beginners classes that feature the same modern training technique, in an informal, comfortable setting without losing site of all the traditional elements of the Taekwondo curriculum. Classes are held with the same intensity and rigor as the world-class
athletes, but on a different scale for the beginners.
What is de-emphasized at North Hollywood Taekwondo is the traditional belt system. Since the majority of students are already black belts when they join, promotions tests are not very common. For colored belts, belt progress is only tracked for the purposes of gauging which division a student will participate in a tournament. Thus, students almost never wear a full uniform with belt to class. They say that they "wear their belts on the inside".
That being said, there is no "McDojang"
factor at North Hollywood Taekwondo. Real and demonstrated skill in the context of sparring and poomse competition are what will move you ahead.
Recently, Master Salim also started an adults class for adult students (21+) with prior Taekwondo experience. The class focuses on physical fitness, and self-development, rather than competition. Again, training is modern and rigorous; a true cardiovascular workout.
My daughter has been Master Salim's student for a year now. Her technique and abilities have rapidly improved and her tournament victories both in sparring and poomse have been impressive. Probably the best thing is that she doesn't have black belt or the next belt level as her goal; she just likes training because it's fun. The mark of a true martial artist!