NEW HORIZON | Taekwon-do club secures permanent location

Story by Patricia Merrick


Photos by Sergei Belski

Summer 2024

Horizon Taekwon-Do has come a long way since opening in 2001 and finally has a permanent location, after running out of community halls for the last 23 years.

Born-and-raised Airdrie resident Aron Johnston created the martial arts club after graduating from high school in 2001. He ran the club out of the Golden Rod Community Hall west of town and Airdrie United Church for many years, but has now secured a new space on Gateway Road N.E.

Johnston started martial arts training in Airdrie in 1992, when he was just nine years old, and it has been a big part of his life ever since.

“I think any martial art is great for a variety of reasons,” he says. “I think the first and foremost would be that it’s an individual activity done in a team environment and so you really get to develop your own skills personally.

“Horizon Taekwon-Do started to provide an opportunity for families to train together — an activity for kids to do in the community.”

The martial arts club started with 35 students and has grown to approximately 150 students today. Classes run five days a week, year-round, with extra seminars and classes on weekends. Students can commit to whatever fits their lifestyle. It’s a four-level program, with beginner classes running at all times. Johnston says it starts at age five and his oldest student is in her 70s.

“You kind of are always in a room with people with relatively the same experience as you and we find that really works well,” he says. “I would say the biggest change (to the business) has been the variety of classes and different type of activities that we can offer.”

The program has expanded over the years to include events like parents’ night out, glow night, competition classes and summer camps.

Johnston says martial arts benefit students in many ways, but mainly through confidence-building and goal-setting, and the skills they attain through martial arts can help with personal growth and other activities, too.

“It really just offers such a variety of different important skills physically — co-ordination, flexibility, strength, conditioning,” he says.

Many programs and activities are offered in Airdrie, and Johnston says he is proud to be a part of that.

“What I love about running a business in Airdrie is that it’s a family atmosphere,” he says. “That’s probably my favourite thing about the community.”

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