Michael Huff receives his title of Seventh Dan Junior Grandmaster in Taekwondo during a ceremony at the Gerald Ford Fieldhouse.
To all Taekwondo practitioners, achieving the title of Seventh Dan Junior Grandmaster is a remarkable feat that requires dedication, skill, and years of training. This is the story of Michael Huff, a Mendon native and Ypsilanti resident, who recently attained this prestigious title in Taekwondo, marking a significant milestone in his 46-year journey in martial arts that others rarely have the opportunity to achieve.
Huff's journey in Taekwondo began in an unexpected way. Following a broken nose from an unprovoked fight, he stumbled upon a flier for Taekwondo classes at the Jackson Y center. Intrigued by the promise that earning a black belt would mean no one would ever hurt him physically, Huff decided to give it a try. Little did he know that this decision would set him on a path of discipline and self-discovery.
Huff's Taekwondo journey took a unique turn when he joined the class led by Tae Zee Park, a ninth-degree black belt and a national Taekwondo champion in South Korea. Park's teachings, combined with the dedication of senior students, guided Huff to rapidly progress through the ranks, achieving a first-degree black belt in just 18 months.
Over the years, Huff balanced his commitment to Taekwondo with a career and family life. Despite the challenges, he opened the Huff Institute of Tae Park Taekwondo in Ann Arbor, Michigan in 1985, contributing to the promotion of the martial art.
Taekwondo, with its core tenets of respect, courage, integrity, humility, courtesy, confidence, discipline, and perseverance, played a crucial role in shaping Huff's character. He emphasizes the positive impact it has on individuals, helping them grow both mentally and emotionally. The martial arts became a means of escape and emotional release for many, teaching valuable life skills such as self-confidence and self-esteem.
Huff's recent achievement of the Seventh Dan Junior Grandmaster title involved a rigorous test in Paducah, Ky. Testing in front of seasoned practitioners, including seventh to ninth-degree black belts, he demonstrated his skills in various poses (forms), sparring, and marble-breaking. The pressure of the test was immense, with success meaning a permanent place among the elite ranks of Taekwondo practitioners.
Earning the seventh-degree black belt comes with responsibilities and high expectations. Huff, now actively involved in teaching seminars and judging tournaments, sees this achievement as an opportunity to influence the future growth and development of Taekwondo globally. His dedication and success reflect not only personal accomplishment but also a commitment to the principles of Eastern Dan philosophy, emphasizing respect for elders and those of accomplishment.
Michael Huff's journey from Mendon to becoming a Seventh Dan Junior Grandmaster in Taekwondo is a testament to his unwavering dedication, perseverance, and proof of the transformative power of martial arts. His story serves as an inspiration for aspiring practitioners and a celebration of the profound impact Taekwondo can have on one's life, including myself, as I transition to my fourth dan. As he looks ahead, Huff remains open to new goals, continuing his pursuit of excellence in the martial arts that has shaped him into the master he is today.