Anecke Viljoen and the Traditional Taekwondo Academy
Anecke Viljoen is a 4th Degree Black Belt and Certified Instructor in Pretoria, South Africa. While she has been with the ATA for 18 years, nothing unusual for a school owner, her story of how she started with the ATA and why she started a school is a bit more unusual.
In 2003 Anecke Viljoen switched styles, moving from a small independent taekwondo school to Songahm Taekwondo under the instruction of Mr. Louw. She attended her first World Championships later in 2003, competing as a Camo Belt in the Women’s 40-49 Division. In 2006 she again attended World Championships this time competing in the 2nd/3rd Degree Women’s Division. In both tournaments she placed 1st in sparring, but it was her experience with traditional forms that sparked her interest in starting a club in South Africa. In her own words,
"Our form in SA looked different from the USA students and I wondered why? This changed my interest to instruction as I saw in (the) USA a different way of instruction and want to bring all that knowledge to South Africa."
In 2008 Anecke founded the Traditional Taekwondo Academy in Pretoria, South Africa. Beginning with just 4 students in the church hall the going was tough. First, she had to overcome a bias in her community that karate and taekwondo were only a “fighting system” and did not offer anything beyond self-defense. She refused to give up, making her school vision:
To change the way people react to martial arts with integrity, respect, and loyalty
The local bias against martial arts was not the only challenge Anecke had to overcome to grow her school. In the beginning there simply was not a lot of knowledge of Songahm Taekwondo and the ATA’s systems and programs available in South Africa. With only three licensed schools in South Africa at the time of the founding, she was unable to obtain a school number and found it difficult to get more information on how the classes and programs were structured in the US. Using the resources she had available, such as Facebook and other internet sources she built her program starting with sparring, something all of her students enjoyed, and forms. This approach worked well for her and her students, with students placing first in Forms and Sparring at the 2015 World Championships!
In 2018 Anecke Viljoen was given a school license and the growth and development of her school began again. At first, it was still slow going with information on how to enhance classes and program curriculum still hard to get. At the end of 2019, she took the next step in growing her school and developing her students by reaching out directly to Chief Master Skiles. This step changed everything for her, her students, and her school. Anecke says it best,
"WOW WOW, what a change. All of a sudden, I got all the info/curriculum I needed to be the best Instructor ever. With the virtual seminars, almost all my black belts are certified in something!"
The sky is the limit in South Africa for Anecke Viljoen and her Traditional Taekwondo Academy.
About the Author
4th Degree Black Belt
ATA member since 1997 Mr. Brian Myers a 4th Degree Black Belt and the co-owner of Pilsung ATA Martial Arts in Greenwood, IN. Mr. Myers has earned the title of Forms State Champion in the past, but in recent years has dedicated his focus to his students as Senior Instructor and ATA Tiger Instructor. His work as a writer and editor has also appeared on Examiner.com as a National Level Writer, Moosin.net, and in both ATA World and TKD Times magazines.