TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) – Chief Master Phil Minton is not a typical 83 year old. He exudes boundless energy and enthusiasm for the sport he loves. Martial Arts and specifically taekwondo is actually less sport and more a way of life.

His drive and determination have led him to earn a 9th degree black belt which is the highest someone can achieve in the American Taekwondo Association (ATA). Phil is so skilled that he’s also a Grand Master nominee. A title which will be officially conferred upon him next fall in Little Rock Arkansas. He says this endeavor has been very rewarding over his 50 years of training. “Yeah I’m excited I’ve been in Martial Arts since ’59 and it’s been a long trip,” he said.

A long trip that led him to open his Black Belt Academy where he’s also a 4th degree black belt in Judo and 3rd degree in Aikido. But his training is also geared on improving overall wellness.

“It’s not just combat it’s things that really change people’s lives teaching them different things different ways to direct theirselves in case somebody is bothering them or how to take self defense is one it’s mind body and spirit,” Minton said.

Tom McKinney senior is one of Phil’s longest tenured students. He trains with his son Tom junior and says they appreciate getting to work along side a legend in the field. “We’re very proud to have come up under him he’s taught me a lot of life lessons to help me get through some really really tough times and Mister McKinney Junior,” he said.

Another family at the Black Belt Academy is Yanira and Branlee Medcalf. So impressed was Yanira with Branlee’s progress that she decided to sign up for lessons herself. She’s now a district champion in weapons and says the results are easy to see.

“He become from shy to speak with others to make friends and very respectful I just never realized how good the taekwondo was for me one because I lost a lot of weight of course If I am stressed out or have a problem or what not I come here and everything is forgiven like everything forget,”Medcalf said.

With all the success Chief Master Minton enjoys teaching all he has learned to his students. “Doing it period, you get so excited with learning things and doing things and there’s no end there’s no end,” he said. Minton’s Black Belt Academy is located at 3051 South 3rd Place near the Honey Creek Mall. There are spots available for all age ranges.