Someone You Should Know: Maka family making an impact through taekwondo in Tea

Published: Nov. 17, 2022 at 10:07 AM CST
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Maka’s Taekwondo school has been teaching students in Tea for over 40 years.

Founders Master Houma and Lisa Maka and their two children, Sarah and Jeremiah, run and teach at the school.

“I started helping my dad instruct classes at 12 years old. He would give me one dollar for every class that I would help him with,” said daughter and instructor Sarah Smith.

“Like any family, every family has disagreements but we really work hard to listen to each other, be good listeners and give each other grace when needed. We know, especially in taekwondo and especially with our students, we all have a common goal and that’s to help them be the strongest they can be and bring out the best qualities within them that they have,” said owner Lisa Maka.

Houma Maka immigrated to the United States from Tonga at 23 years old and began learning taekwondo. He later began teaching it out of his garage.

Now Maka’s Taekwondo is a staple in Tea and participates in regional competitions like the Midwest Taekwondo Championship.

“I really like the people. They’re a second family to me I guess. It’s really good exercise and it’s really fun,” said Midwest Taekwando Championship contestant Brenya Prieve.

“I feel like I’ve grown as a person, and I’ve learned to be more disciplined with myself,” said Prieve.

The Maka family stresses the importance of training both body and mind while bringing out one’s best qualities.

“If my dad says 5 words to you, you’re doing pretty good. He doesn’t have a lot to say, he always taught us actions speak louder than words, even in sparring he would tell us to talk with our feet, not with our words,” said Smith.

They enjoy working as a family unit.

“I think both of my parents as a whole, they’re a good team. A lot of times my dad has been at the forefront of that team which is really awesome, but my mom is the backbone behind him,” said Smith.

“Taekwondo has given them tools that they can take into adulthood and I am really proud of them for when I see them working with students,” said Lisa.

Houma recently became a Grand Master which is the highest degree one can receive in Taekwondo.

“Boy, a Ninth Dan Black Belt, what an accomplishment that is. That just speaks volumes to the years of dedication, and consistent dedication. Consistently teaching, and not just teaching a class to go through the moves but teaching a class with purpose,” said Lisa.

“Ninth Dan is a very prestigious award, but if you ask my dad, there are so many more things that are more important than rank,” said Smith.

Interviewer: So, he’s humble?

“Very humble, the most humble person I know,” said Smith.

Lisa is confident in the future of the school.

“He’s getting older, I’m getting older. So with Jeremiah and Sarah coming back into the business now and their youth, I don’t see us going away anytime soon,” said Lisa.