INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. - Right in the heart of Incline Village, tucked away on the second level of a business complex, behind the 7-Eleven and movie theater, a master practices and teaches martial arts. Master Mark Shuey Jr. has more than 30 years of martial arts experience, including sixth degree black belts in Tae Kwon Do and Hapkido. He's internationally known in the martial arts community, has been on the US Karate Team, and has been featured in magazines and DVDs. He's a master of his trade, but also makes sure to give back to the community as well.Outside of martial arts, Shuey is an active member of the community, donating his time and efforts to various local events, including chaperoning school dances, and participating in annual events like the Jog-a-thon and Oktoberfest.Shuey began practicing marital arts in 1982."My dad introduced me to martial arts," he said.He soon began training four days a week, for hours at a time. After graduating high school in Southern California, Shuey moved to Incline Village, where he began teaching, with his father, Mark Shuey Sr., in 1988."I've been competing since the early 80s," Shuey said of his martial arts career.In 1994, he was a member of the US Karate Team, and participated in demonstrations against other Olympic teams. In 1995, Shuey became owner of North Lake Tahoe Tae Kwon Do and Hapkido Martial Arts School, where he still teaches and spends much of his time today.However, on Aug. 24, 2008, Shuey's life changed forever, when he fell rock climbing at Dinosaur Rock, near Carson City, that landed him in a coma for a week. Shattering both his hips, Shuey had both legs in casts and was wheelchair-bound for five months."My helmet saved my life," Shuey explained.Determined to not let his injury get the best of him, Shuey began training as soon as he could. While in a wheelchair, he would push himself half a mile a day. Soon when he was in walking casts and crutches, he would walk for a mile a day, then with a cane, two miles a day."I didn't want to be stuck in a wheelchair. I didn't want to be handicapped," he said.Shuey credits his successful rehab to martial arts."(It's) been a useful tool for me to heal faster and start (teaching) classes again. I had been teaching and competing for so long, it was all that I knew," he added.Part of martial arts training, Shuey explained, is to be balanced, a principle he tries to apply to everyday life."I think it's part of martial arts. Martial arts to me is balance, just like the yin-yang symbol. I definitely idolize that symbol and try to have everything have a positive and negative and work in harmony."While he's still working on getting his full flexibility back, Shuey has made successful recovery."I just have to be very careful (now)," he explained.Shuey is back to teaching eight classes a week in the studio, ages 3 to 99, he said, along with helping out the community when he can. Shuey and his father, even taught airplane stewards and pilots self defense that can be used on airplanes, post-9/11, by using magazines and other articles that can be found onboard.When asked why martial arts is important, Shuey explained that it can help in all aspects of life, just as it had helped him overcome his injury."Confidence is a big thing. It helps them in not just knowing they can protect themselves, but helps them in school and work, standing up to your own feelings of what you think is right," he explained. "Your balance will be there (and) you'll be able to do things that other people will struggle with. Martial arts is a way of life. .. it has to be a part of you."Shuey invites community members to check out North Lake Tahoe Tae Kwon Do and Hapkido next week, when the studio will host an Open House on Oct. 17, from 5 to 7 p.m., at its new location at 288 Village Blvd. (upstairs). Call 775-832-6560 for more details.
Meet Your Neighbor: From wheelchairs to high kicks, Master Mark Shuey Jr. stays strong
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