Someone You Should Know: A lifetime in the martial arts
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Larry Hoover got his start in the martial arts in 1972.
“My mom tricked me. She said she was doing martial arts classes with our neighbor, and i was 11 at the time, so I thought okay. Then this instructor comes to our house, to give my mom a uniform. And it doesn’t fit my mom at all, but it happens to fit me perfectly. Next thing I knew, the instructor was showing me how to do a punch. We put the uniform on over my cloths, and it was just hook, line, and sinker,” said Larry.
Taekwondo gave a young kid growing up Milford, Iowa, confidence, when he needed it.
“I started to stutter. I started to withdraw. I didn’t speak outside other than our family members. I don’t know why. Lack of self esteem, I’m sure of it. It taught me a lot, at those really important years,” said Larry.
In 1978, he earned his first degree black belt. And his level of degrees went higher, while working various jobs.
“I graduated high school. I became a brick layer, laid brick for many years. I worked in a packing house. I decided I didn’t like that. So I thought, I’ve always taught as a hobby. My dad gave me good advice. If you’re not going to college, you are need to find a job you are going to love, because you are going to have to work the rest of your life,” said Larry.
So in 1986, Larry opened his own martial arts academy in Sioux Falls.
“The way I was taught to teach martial arts is you teach kids, adults a system of progression, or a system of development based off of doing one simple thing, doing your best. I can share my heart. I can share my failures, and they can learn through what I’ve learned,” said Larry.
Eric Rebnord, who is now a Senior Master Instructor at the Hoover Academy, started as a student here when he was eight
1:22:52 “in the beginning he was just my instructor...when i got older in high school and college...he became a mentor...and then he became my best friend.”
Larry accomplished a rare feat earlier this year. He tested and earned his ninth degree black belt in Phoenix, Arizona. The highest level you can reach, fifty years after he first started.
“So since the association’s inception n the late 60′s, we’ve had close to 2 million people go through the organization as students. Now with Larry reaching the rank, we’ve had twelve people achieve the rank, three have since passed away. And he’ll never tell you that, because his humility is through the roof,” said Eric.
“This was a battle. I just came off back surgery about 19 months ago. The nice thing is, my wife would say go downstairs, workout. I had so much support,” said Larry.
Now 62 years old, with no more black belts to chase, Larry will keep doing what he loves.
“I’ve always helped other people hit their goals. So now that’s what I’ll do. I’ll continue to teach. I’ve had the joy and satisfaction of achieving what I’ve done. Now I’m going to make sure other people have that chance to do it. This is my identity. So as long as I can do it, and enjoy it, and have good results. That’s what i’m going to do,” said Larry.
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