Instructors Summer Reading List

We encourage our students to read all summer. We have a 40 book challenge with a special party in the fall. Our instructors are reading too! Below is a short list:

Evicted: This is a heart wrenching story of poverty in Milwaukee. Nonfiction Pulitzer Prize winner but reads like a novel. It helps to illustrate how our city became one of the most segregated in the country. It should be on everyone’s must read list. Link:

The Body Keeps Score: Brain, Mind and Body in the Healing of Trauma: There’s lots of buzz right now about trauma – this is the authority. It’s not as easy a read as the other books listed here but worth the effort.

Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die: This one was on all the nonprofit reading lists even though it’s not about nonprofits specifically. It’s the best marketing book I’ve read. The authors make it fun. Link:

And finally because I’m visiting my new grandson: A is for Activist  Link: Let’s start them young! He’s my editor today! We welcome your book recommendations too!


Grand Master J.K. Lee

We are sharing a brief biography of Grand Master J.K. Lee, in honor of his upcoming morning visit to our school inside the Holton Youth & Family Center on Sunday, June 3 at 10:00 am. We welcome you to join us! Click here for more information: Morning with Grand Master

Grand Master Jae Kyu Lee

Grand Master Jae Kyu Lee is the founder of J.K. Lee Black Belt Academy and the inspiration for J.K. Lee City Youth Martial Arts. He has been practicing Martial Arts for over 50 years and has shared his wealth of knowledge with countless children and adults. He believes that not only will we excel as individuals through martial arts, but that our communities will be made stronger.

Grand Master J.K. Lee with Milwaukee City Youth Martial Arts students.

He immigrated to America from South Korea in 1975 and opened his first school in Milwaukee in 1976. The growth of the school prompted a move to Brookfield. The success of his teachings lead to further expansion. The J.K. Lee family of academies now includes six suburban locations, plus our own nonprofit school/outreach program in Milwaukee, located only a few blocks away from his original school.

In 1991, he achieved the rank of Grand Master as a 9th degree black belt, the highest rank attainable in our discipline. In 1997, he was presented with the Top Master Instructor award by the South Korean Government. He has also been featured in publications such as the Tae Kwon Do Times and the Journal of Osteopathic Sports Medicine. In addition to his many accolades as a Grand Master in Martial Arts,  he has always been proactive in the greater community and encourages his students to follow his example. He trained the U.S. Olympic Speed Skating Team, the Indiana University Basketball Team, and the Marquette Basketball Team. After the tragedy of September 11, he was involved in training flight attendants in self-defense.

Grand Master Lifetime Achievement Video

Grand Master J.K. Lee is always working and encouraging others to improve our community. In order to earn a black belt in one of his academies, students must complete an independent community service projects plus log 100 hours of service in the community. Every year J.K. Lee hosts an annual Board Break-a-thon where students and community members come together to raise money for The MACC Fund which provides funding for cancer care research, raising over $400,000 to date. He offers a special class to grandparents and seniors to help improve their balance, flexibility and strength. His commitment to youth and families in Milwaukee and belief that everyone should have access to martial arts training led to the development of our 501(c)(3) nonprofit, J.K. Lee City Youth Martial Arts Program.

Despite having officially retired, Grand Master Lee still trains and teaches on a regular basis. He is a constant example of the benefits of training.

Grand Master Brunch photo

Tournament Triumphs

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We were super proud of all our students who participated in the Great Midwest Championship! Prior to the competition, we had a number of students who were worried they weren’t good enough or could never win. During our mat chats, we re-framed what ‘winning’ means. It’s not always a trophy. It is more often, challenging yourself with something unfamiliar or uncomfortable. It’s about doing your best, being a good sport. It’s about learning from your mistakes and trying again.

Bringing Families Together!

Fridays at our location inside Holton Youth and Family Center are for families. We kick off our weekend with a special event, always free and open to the community. Family Night 2 We celebrate holidays, open up the gym for games and basketball, and bring friends for pizza.

It’s a wonderful to connect with other parents and meet new friends! We are excited to see so many Milwaukee neighborhoods represented.

Keep us on your calendar! We look forward to meeting you at our next fun family Friday!

Family Night

Community Service and Breaking Boards!

As martial artists we are always looking for ways to give back to our training academy and to our community. As a nonprofit program we rely on help from others and have an appreciation for how much work it takes to bring people together, even for the greater good. All this month we’ve been focusing on service. We are learning about empathy, respect, leadership and kindness.

City Youth Students at the 23rd Annual J.K. Lee Board Break a thon

We are excited to be helping with the 24th Annual J.K. Lee Board Break-a-thon supporting the MACC Fund, raising money for childhood cancer research. Our students are collecting donations and working together in their schools to promote awareness.

You are welcome to join our efforts! Click here: J.K. LEE BOARD BREAK-A-THON to make an online donation (please list City Youth in the tribute line). Come visit us at the event:


Saturday, February 17, 2018 at Southridge Mall
10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. 
5300 S. 76th Street Greendale, WI 53129


What’s Your Word?

26169603_2004480286233740_5084146801235575711_nAt the start of the new year, we always revisit resolutions and goal setting. For 2018, we talked with our classes about choosing a word that they could focus on for the whole year. The project was open to interpretation – they only had to pick something that had meaning to them. The students had some wonderful ideas about things they wanted to work on, things they were thankful for and things they wanted for the future.

Ranking Up!

The testing process helps us to focus our training and set achievable goals. Our tests are never perfect but they allow us to realize where we need to add effort. It shows our instructors where we might need help. At each level we learn something new but also return to what we learned before to make it better. We are constantly improving and learning to be our best.

Congratulations to all our recent testers!

Tournament Lessons: Learning to Lose!

This was the third or fourth tournament for some of our students and they realized as they’ve gotten higher in rank, expectations have increased and all the competitors are better. We were super proud of all of our students for their good sportsmanship, win or lose! Tournament officials reported their super attitudes and support of other competitors in their divisions.

It’s an important life lesson, because despite our best efforts, we won’t always win. What’s important is that we practice, continue to learn and always look for ways to improve.


Back to School with Focus & Confidence!

We are looking forward to coming back to our school programs this fall! We are excited to see our returning students and to welcome our new white belts!

At the start of the year, we stress improving focus and building confidence. We need to return to our positive practice of paying attention and listening the first time. The children repeat in class: “Focus my eyes. Focus my mind. Focus my body.” It helps to bring us back on task when we’ve become distracted. DSC_0045

To build confidence, we practice introducing ourselves to others. The start of a new school year, often means meeting new people. How do we make a strong first impression? We look people in the eyes. We speak clearly. We ask a question that will help make the connection and let us better remember them the next time we meet.

Our focus and confidence makes our basic blocks and strikes stronger too!