Morris Martial Arts recently opened its doors for business at its new location at 314 Vermillion St., located in the same building as the Hastings Area Chamber of Commerce.

Morris Martial Arts is a local franchise of the American Taekwondo Association (ATA). The owners, Sam and Dorothy Morris, also own a location in Hudson, Wis. The Woodbury residents began teaching in Hastings in March when classes were held in the Hastings Arts Center. It was a unique space in the choir loft area and the arts center was great to work with, but the Morris' said that they were looking for a space of their own.

The studio on Vermillion Street is the perfect size, has enough parking and gives them the flexibility of creating their own schedule. The new space has also allowed the Morris' to get some additional tools that they didn't have at the arts center. The new mats are made special for martial arts, they will be installing some hanging bags for kicking and sparring drills and they added mirrors.

"It's almost like instant feedback," Sam said. "You're not really a good judge of how well you are doing something until you see it."

Taekwondo is a belted program with nine color belts and nine degrees of black belt. Classes include sessions for children ages 4-7, ages 7-11 and ages 12 and older. Sam said that the instructors teach traditional values in the classes including courtesy, respect and discipline. There is also a broad spectrum of training.

"We figure out what their goals are, what they need, what their focus is from recreational students all the way to competitive students," Dorothy said.

Adults are also encouraged to attend classes even if they have no martial arts experience. Dorothy said that she began her career in 2000 when her daughter encouraged her to try it. She became addicted and was awarded her first degree black belt in 2002.

Sam and Dorothy are both fourth degree black belts and ATA certified instructors.

Sam first tried taekwondo when he was in high school and he has been teaching since 1988. He got his fourth degree black belt in 1993 and is the current Wisconsin State Champion and North Central District Champion.

The Morris' said that if anyone is interested in trying out Taekwondo, they should contact them to try a group class or even a private session. For more information about Morris Martial Arts, visit