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30th OG commander gets fit with Tae Kwon Do

Col. Marc Del Rosario, 30th Operations Group commander, receives a promotion certificate from Choong Man Si, Tae Kwon Do Grand Master, Dec. 5, 2014, Lompoc, Calif. Del Rosario, who recently received his black belt in Tae Kwon Do, attributes the studio and his mentor for his excellent fitness status. (Courtesy photo)

Col. Marc Del Rosario, 30th Operations Group commander, receives a promotion certificate from Choong Man Si, Tae Kwon Do Grand Master, Dec. 5, 2014, Lompoc, Calif. Del Rosario, who recently received his black belt in Tae Kwon Do, attributes the studio and his mentor for his excellent fitness status. (Courtesy photo)

Members of the 30th Operations Group participate in a group physical training session led by Choong Man Si, Tae Kwon Do Grand Master, Aug. 14, 2014, Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. The martial arts practice of Tae Kwon Do challenges students to grow both physically and mentally while educating them on honor and respect. (Courtesy photo)

Members of the 30th Operations Group participate in a group physical training session led by Choong Man Si, Tae Kwon Do Grand Master, Aug. 14, 2014, Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. The martial arts practice of Tae Kwon Do challenges students to grow both physically and mentally while educating them on honor and respect. (Courtesy photo)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- For Airmen, fitness is a crucial component throughout their military career. Good fitness can aid Airmen in their job performance at their permanent duty station or downrange and can lead to an overall healthy lifestyle. There are a multitude of options outside of standard physical training available to assist in remaining consistently fit.

For Col. Marc Del Rosario, 30th Operations Group commander, his preference is the martial arts practice of Tae Kwon Do.

While many martial arts practitioners start their journey at an early age, Del Rosario's inspiration to take on Tae Kwon Do was a result of his son's training experience.

"I started Tae Kwon Do because of my son Andre," said Del Rosario. "I watched my son's skill level increase through training on kicks and blocks, sparring to learn self-defense, and drilling those techniques home two to three times a week with his Master. During that time I witnessed him transform from a quiet child to a boy with a lot of confidence and unstoppable drive. I recognized in Andre all the positive changes Tae Kwon Do instilled in him, so I decided to start my journey to elevate my physical and mental fitness knowing that it would be hard work."

The art of Tae Kwon Do challenges students to grow both physically and mentally.

"The workouts are very concentrated," said Choong Man Si, Tae Kwon Do Grand Master. "Our anaerobic exercises are built to strengthen the core and many of the same muscles as regular workouts do. Additionally, your flexibility will increase while reducing the risk of injury."

Not only does the program strengthen the physical and mental pillars of the body, it also educates students on honor and respect.

"Tae Kwon Do builds good personality, fitness and protects your body," said Si. "We also teach courtesy and respect to our students, as well as the historical culture that comes with this brand of martial arts."

The 30th OG commander has witnessed many similarities between the Air Force and Tae Kwon Do during his experiences, but one of his primary realizations was the camaraderie.

"In Tae Kwon Do, the camaraderie amongst the students is evident because you're all going through this journey at the same time and you're all helping each other reach a goal together," said Del Rosario. "It's very similar to everything you went through in basic training up to this very second."

Another key concept delivered in the studio was respect.

"Respect is learned through action and focusing on common courtesy," said Del Rosario. "That's an important value that my parents instilled in me, it's how we're taught to treat our Airmen and anyone we work with, and Tae Kwon Do emphasizes respect for the teach and fellow students. Respect is not instructed, it's demonstrated and is a foundational principle of Tae Kwon Do."

Del Rosario, who recently received his black belt in Tae Kwon Do, praises the studio and his mentor for his current fitness status.

"I didn't get a black belt just to get a black belt," said Del Rosario. "My goal, as I witnessed my son go through this rigorous program, changed from wanting a colored belt to just flat out being better mentally and physically. As a result, my fitness level has increased dramatically, and it provided me a mental and physical stress relief outlet to handle the pressures of work and life. Everything that I love about the Air Force - from a physical standpoint to the camaraderie and the overall feeling of a team - I've received from Tae Kwon Do. It's time to go and learn more."