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x2 Who: James Marr and Elaine Bayless Where: Boulevard neighborhood Business: Master Marr’s Family Taekwon-do Center. The couple opened the center in 2014 after renovating a space on Chagrin Boulevard across from Shaker Town Center. They operated a successful Taekwon-do school in New Jersey for 11 years before moving to Shaker Heights to be closer to family. Mission: To help each student reach his or her full potential, both mentally and physically, through the art of Taekwon-do, emphasizing the traditional values of discipline, consistent practice, hard work, and focus. We strive to give students a solid foundation for all aspects of life, ultimately promoting good citizenship. What I Love About My Work: James: My best days at work are when we see the thriving community that we helped create. We have people from all walks of life and from many different backgrounds all working, practicing, and playing together. Our students make friends that they would never have met if not for our Taekwon-do school. ¶ Elaine: Most of all I love the people, particularly the kids. To see their self-confidence grow and watch them develop into leaders is very satisfying. I also enjoy a job that keeps me active. I’d be miserable stuck behind a desk all day. 
 Personal Background: Elaine: James and I met in New York City, where we were both theatre stage managers. That’s an exciting job when you’re young and single, but as a parent, it’s really challenging with long hours, mostly evenings and weekends. Once our kids were in school, we felt like we rarely saw them. James decided to leave the theatre and follow his other passion of Taekwon-do. He ran the first Taekwon-do school solo for two years until we could afford for me to join him. ¶ James: I was pretty sure I didn’t belong in Nebraska, where I grew up, and after a year at Bowling Green State University I moved to New York City to intern at The Juilliard School, which jump-started my theatre career. I met my Taekwon-do teacher, Grandmaster SJ Kim, in 1993 and knew he was the teacher for me. I met my future wife in 1994 and knew instantly that she was the one for me. From then on my path was set. The decision to open a Taekwon-do school was easy to make but hard to execute – as was the decision to move to Shaker. Leaving behind the school and community that we built was really hard, but I visit often and life in Ohio is great. 
 SHAKER LIFE | SPRING 2017 63 Photography by Kevin Reeves Interview by Jennifer Proe

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