Guardsman uses martial arts to stay fit

By Staff Sgt. Benjamin Crane, 133rd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

Lt. Col. Kevin Jones is awarded the Teakwondo Black Belt. (photo submitted)

FRANKFORT, Ky. – With the National Guard focus on Soldier fitness, and with the anticipation of the new Army fitness test about to start being implemented, staying in shape is at an all time high.

To see more photos from Lt. Col. Jones journey, please click HERE.

For the G6 infrastructure manager, using kicks and punches or breaking cinder blocks is his way to keep in shape.

But it didn’t start out with fitness being the main motivation. It was his two young daughters who were taking karate classes and kept asking their father if they were using correct form and he didn’t know the answers.

“They came home over Christmas break asking me questions about their form,” said Lt. Col. Kevin M. Jones. “And I looked at their form and went, well I don’t know what right looks like, so I started taking it.”

He has continued taking those karate lessons, specifically Taekwondo, for the past eight years despite his daughters stopping and moving on to other sports. He is a third degree black belt and he keeps going with it since it has helped him excel on his Army physical fitness tests.

“I’ve had personal records on pushups and sit-ups since I started doing it (Taekwondo),” said Jones.  “I’ve always been a runner so by contrast, the run has always been easy for me and sit-ups have always been the hardest for me. But now I am doing 50 to 60 reps so that is well above my average.”

Lt. Col. Kevin Jones participates in Taekwondo training as part of his martial arts progression. (photo submitted)

The student has now become the teacher as Jones is currently a level-4 instructor and has taken his knowledge of the art and teaches others once a week at a school in Northern Kentucky.

He sees a lot of similarities between the military and the martial arts. There is a lot of discipline needed for both to be successful, and instills that into the students he teaches.

“The techniques we use to train Soldiers on the weekend side crossover,” said Jones.  “I can reinforce some of the leadership skills that we are trying to incorporate in both Soldiering and in Taekwondo.  I like to take some of the younger students and put them in positions of leadership in class and then afterwards talk about how they are performing.”

He also has brought over the crawl, walk, run technique to training his students.

“It just makes sense when learning new things,” added Jones. “Start off slow, slow is smooth, smooth is fast and then you build in controlled power and mind.”

He has even let his influence spill over to his MDAY side. On his drill weekends, Jones is the state maintenance branch chief for the G4 and he said that several of his Soldiers have began to take up karate in some form.

While the commander of the 149th Brigade Support Battalion, he would talk about the martial arts so much that as a parting gift, they made up a display of all the colors of proficiency belts he has earned and gave it to him when he left the unit.