Instructor Jakki Van Hemert of Heart & Soul Tae Kwon Do trains the body and mind for young and old at her studio in downtown Fruitvale.

New taekwondo studio built for Fruitvale

Heart & Soul Tae Kwon Do just opened its doors in mid-August and offers in-depth instruction led by Master Jakki Van Hemert.

A brand new building in downtown Fruitvale comes with a new form of fitness and discipline for children and adults.

Heart & Soul Tae Kwon Do just opened its doors in mid-August and offers in-depth instruction led by Master Jakki Van Hemert.

Developed by the Korean military as a battlefield martial art, taekwondo literally translated means the art of kicking and punching. But Master Jakki says the sport reaches beyond the physical realm, and conditions the mind and spirit, too.

“It did wonders to me,” she said from her studio she built with her husband. “Not only was I overweight, I just wasn’t the type of kid that did any kind of sports.

“I was one of those kids that was never picked for teams.”

At 15 years old, she fell into the sport and after realizing she had some skill right off the bat stuck with it. After years of studying under Great Grand Master Eugene Marquart out of Moorhead, Minnesota (not far from her small hometown in North Dakota), Master Jakki has worked up to a fourth-degree black belt in taekwondo and a third-degree black belt in hapkido, a form of self defence that employs joint locks.

The 33-year-old blends both these forms into the traditional style she teaches under the World Taekwondo Federation banner.

It has been 18 years of practice now, 15 years in which she’s taught, and she attributes the sport to the strong, disciplined person she has become.

“I liked that there was nobody that was going to push me harder than me,” she said of her initial contact with the sport. “Nobody was going to be let down if I had a bad day.”

Keeping her centred, the sport has been the one continuum in her life as she studied at university and then went onto travel and work all over the world from Texas, Hawai, to as far Iraq.

A job position as manger of construction at AMEC in Trail offered stability and the opportunity to once again invest in her lifetime passion and give back to her new community, Fruitvale.

Fifteen-year-old Riley Russell decided to switch from Trail Martial Arts this summer for a chance to try another variation of taekwondo.

The red belt now helps teach the younger kids, when he’s not honing his skill with the goal of obtaining his black belt in the near future.

Being involved in the sport, he said, has helped him build confidence and focus, which was really missing in his life.

His mom, Lynn Russell, believes taekwondo is a great activity for teenagers as they learn to balance freedom with responsibility. She even got involved herself as a way to bond with her son.

“I think it’s changed his life,” she said. “He just carries himself different, he is way more confident and he’s become a good role model for the kids.”

Heart & Soul offers classes Tuesdays and Thursdays, fitting kids in from 5:30-6:30 p.m. and adults (generally over 12 years old) from 7-8 p.m.

At the studio located at 1922 Main Street, sport competition is not the primary focus of instruction, however for interested students there is an opportunity for tournament participation.

Master Jakki also teaches insanity Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 6-7 p.m. and rents out the studio to other recreational programs.

For more information visit or contact Master Jakki at 250-921-9090 or via email at


Just Posted

Trail military exercises provide crucial training

Exercise Sapper Crucible: ‘The nuts and bolts of what a soldier is’

VIDEO: SPCA ushers in new era with Castlegar facility

$2.69-million project had ribbon cutting on Friday

Thrums, Riondel, and Slocan, revisited

Place Names: Scottish author delighted by Thrums name origin

Last stand for Silver City summer

Fall officially arrives in Trail at 6:54 p.m. on Saturday

Tell the Times

Web Poll: Will you be attending a candidates forum in the Trail area?

VIDEO: SPCA ushers in new era with Castlegar facility

$2.69-million project had ribbon cutting on Friday

B.C. premier apologizes for removal of 1950s totem pole at Canada-U.S. border

First Nations say pole was raised at Peace Arch but removed to make way for tourism centre

Tornado touches down in Ottawa and Gatineau, Que.

Environment Canada says cars and homes have been damaged by severe thunderstorms and high wind gusts

An unexpected sight: Bear spotted eating another bear in central B.C.

Cheslatta Carrier Nation Chief finds bear eating another bear’s carcass

RCMP confirm death of missing BC teen Jessica Patrick

No details on cause were given. Case is under criminal investigation and police are asking for tips.

CUTENESS OVERLOAD: 2 sea otters hold hands at the Vancouver Aquarium

Holding hands is a common – and adorable – way for otters to stay safe in the water

B.C. teen with autism a talented guitarist

Farley Mifsud is gaining fans with every performance

Yukon man facing new attempted murder charge in B.C. exploding mail case

Leon Nepper, 73, is now facing one charge each of aggravated assault and attempted murder

B.C. man who left hospice to run in upcoming election dies

A week after leaving hospice to go to city hall to declare his candidacy, David Hesketh has died.

Most Read