Retired ENMU Printing Services Director Teaches Taekwon-Do

Steve Blakely
Steve Blakely was promoted to 8th Degree black belt by the International Taekwon-Do Federation (ITF) in December 2017 and is only the tenth person in the United States to receive this rank in the ITF.

Retired ENMU Printing Services Director Teaches Taekwon-Do

Although Steve Blakeley retired as director of University Printing Services at Eastern New Mexico University on Dec. 31, 2013, he has not slowed down.

In addition to having owned the Eastern New Mexico Taekwon-Do studio in Portales since 1979, Steve stays busy drafting housing plans, playing tennis and pickleball (like indoor tennis) with ENMU employees and students, bow hunts for turkey and elk, competes at United States Pistol Shooters Association events and is having a house built near Albuquerque.

steve blakeley kicking in taekwon do

He also was the drummer for the house band at this year's Floyd Jamboree. Steve used to drum in a number of area bands, playing everything from country to rock.

He will compete in pickleball doubles in this year's Senior Olympics. He and his partner won the area competition last year but were unable to compete in the state tournament.

He and his wife, Jane, retired as ENMU's Purchasing director, also love to travel in their recreation vehicle.

He met Jane when he owned a café in Portales and Jane, an ENMU student, applied for a job as a waitress. Steve said, "I didn't date my employees, but after she accepted a job at the newspaper, she told me she had bad news. I told her that's good news. Since I'm not your boss anymore, I can date you. I asked her out, she said 'yes' and the rest is history."

Steve, the former president of the Yom Chi Taekwon-Do Association, thinks the etiquette taught in Taekwon-do could make the world a kinder, gentler place. The reason he published a book on etiquette was to make sure the practice of good etiquette never is removed from his art.

Tae (foot or leg) kwon (fist or fight) do (way or discipline), a Korean martial art using kicks, strikes and blocks to defend oneself, is also a sporting event.

"Etiquette and discipline have been eliminated from schools and society in general," Steve said. "I believe this has profoundly affected how our young show their respect, or lack of, to their elders and how they behave in public. Those who have not developed respect for others have none for themselves."

 Eastern New Mexico Taekwon-Do trains students from pre-school to senior citizens. Steve bought the business in 1979 from Harley Galloway, who established it in 1974 on Prince Street (across from the old K-Mart) in Clovis.

Earning a Master rank in 2010, Steve has been the USA Taekwon-Do World Team coach three times. In 1994 he was certified as an international instructor under 80-year-old Grandmaster Choi Hong Hi, Taekwon-do founder. Master Blakeley was promoted to 8th Degree black belt by the International Taekwon-Do Federation (ITF) in December 2017 and is only the tenth person in the United States to receive this rank in the ITF.

steve and jane wedding in 1982
Steve and Jane during their wedding in 1982.

Steve, who has taught police defense tactics in Clovis and Portales, says Taekwon-do strives to develop attributes of respect, courtesy, goodness, trustworthiness, loyalty, humility, courage, patience, integrity, perseverance, self-control, indomitable spirit and a sense of responsibility to help and respect animals and humans.

"In some cultures, a young man or lady is considered literate not when they can read or write, but when they can conduct themselves with ease of manner and dignity," said Steve.

"Good or bad manners is an outward expression of the inner person."

 Steve believes "nations will only find peace between them when individuals find peace within themselves."  

His wife said she thinks her husband "should invite terrorists, foreign and domestic, over to his studio to be trained in the ways of Taekwon-do.

"If it doesn't take, Steve can always kick their butts," Jane laughed.

Steve has published four books on Taekwon-do: "Taekwon-Do, Instructor to Entrepreneur," "Taekwon-Do, Customs and Etiquette," "YCTA Colored Belt Handbook" and the "YCTA Black Belt Handbook."

He was a coach or assistant coach at the International Taekwon-Do Federation World Championships in 2004, 2007, 2010 and a dignitary in 2014 in Rome.

The next World Championships will be held in Argentina in June of 2018. Master Blakeley will have students qualified to compete but will be unable to attend himself because of a conflict with a trip to Hawaii.

The trip was a gift from his students on his promotion to 8th Degree, the second highest rank in Taekwon-Do. Since Jane and he will be gone to Hawaii during the World Championships, Ms. Audra Brown will represent him and his school in Argentina this year.

Master Blakeley has promoted over 80 students from the local area to the rank of black belt and currently has six schools under his direction. These schools are located in Portales, Clovis, Roswell, Rio Rancho, Bovina and Amarillo. Master Blakeley has taught over 6,000 local students during his 45 years in Taekwon-Do.

The Portales school is located at 401 South Avenue C and is open to students age five to 85 three nights per week. Although Master Blakeley does not teach all the classes, he still teaches two nights per week. He also holds special black belt workouts and seminars several times a year on weekends. The seminars include everything from Taekwon-Do for all ranks to personal self-defense.

Master Blakeley also taught the HP 115 "Self-Defense" class, a one credit hour course, for six years during his time at Eastern.

"I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Eastern," Steve said. "It was a great place to work with a lot of great people.

"I'm also having a great time in retirement. I'm busier than ever and having a blast!"