Jacob Cho Featured As One Of Laguna Beach Magazine's Top Ten Change-Makers

Imported From The Original Academy Blog 2011-2016
Re-Release 7 of 14 -- First Posted - November 24, 2013
"Jacob Cho Featured As One Of Laguna Beach Magazine's Top Ten Change-Makers"


Mr. Cho is proud to be recognized by Laguna Beach Magazine, as one of Laguna's top ten change-makers for 2013. 

He is featured alongside:

  • Roger Shew, a professional musician and local school district jazz teacher
  • Michele Hunter, director at the Pacific Marine Mammal Center
  • Tex Haines, co-founder of Victoria Skimboards and local environmentalist
  • Jon Madison, a local entreprenuer who supports various charity events
  • Andrea Adelson, the editor-in-chief of the Laguna Beach Independent
  • Craig Strong, executive chef at the Montage resort
  • Jodie Gates, founder of the Laguna Beach Dance Festival
  • Wyland, the renowned marine artist and environmental activist
  • Valerie Van Cleave, founder of the SeaChange gala and ocean advocate


Mr. Cho's interview was understandably edited down.
The full interview is just below for those interested.
The article and condensed interviews can be read on LB Mag's Website.


JC:  Thank you for this recognition and opportunity.  I’m sure there are many others deserving. I am humbled and will use this opportunity for whatever good I can make of it. 


1. LB:  What do you think are your most distinctive accomplishments?

JC:  The accomplishments I believe to be most important are the individual successes of each student... particularly the kids.  It's a victory every time I help a weak kid grow strong, a shy kid grow confident, a wild child to develop control and focus, an outcast to find a home and for those passionate about martial arts a lifetime pursuit.  Over the past three years, our competition fight team has been successful on the open tournament circuit.  I'm also proud to be part of a family legacy (beginning with my father and teacher, Grandmaster Hee Il Cho), and a chain of teachers dedicated to passing along the important lessons of martial arts.

2. LB:  What's one lesser-known fact that people may not know about you?

JC:  Hmmm... probably that my life includes a little more than just the academy.  Having a balanced life is important and keeps me happy.  In addition to Tae Kwon Do, I really enjoy yoga, jiujitsu, weight training, surfing, skateboarding, snowboarding and guitar.  These are some of the other interests that balance my life.  Circling back though, Tae Kwon Do is the common thread, and where it all starts for me.

3. LB:  What's one thing that you would like to see change in Laguna?

JC:  I have a few.  I'd like to make sure we don't over develop.  Laguna has a unique natural beauty and history, so it would be nice to have this preserved.  It would be great to see small businesses thrive and the spirit of local entrepreneurs supported.  There's a lot of wealth in Laguna, so perhaps some sort of a coalition to fund worthy causes... something run by locals in order to create jobs, while also helping those in need.

4. LB:  What's one thing that you would like to see change in the martial arts industry?

JC:  I don't pay too close attention to the "industry."  The martial arts is much more than a business to me.  I do have issue with dollars taking priority over integrity.  The title of master or expert should come with commensurate experience and certification, belts should be earned not bought, organization leaders should be dedicated to supporting their members and competitors more than a bottom line.  A martial art is empty without integrity.

5. LB:  What are your plans for the future, and for the future of Cho's Academy?

I will continue to be dedicated to my student's successes, and as our community grows stronger and student's accomplishments build, I see us all giving back and reaching great heights.  For me, the future starts with personal accountability.  In all areas I strive towards bettering myself.  The better I am, the better my students are and the stronger the academy is.  Cho's Academy was created by myself and partner, Dana Sara, director of our yoga shala, Lotus Yoga Laguna.  We’ve both dedicated years to the school, and remain committed to offering diverse programs, while bringing our community the highest level of service and instruction.

In the coming months our Tae Kwon Do competition team will represent Laguna Beach again, sparring at the 21st California Open Tae Kwon Do Championship, Retired LAPD Commanding Officer, Ron Sanchez will be leading an Urban Predators educational lecture at the academy, Our 3rd Annual Youth Awards & Banquet will be taking place to recognize top students for their exceptional efforts and achievements, academy members will be traveling to vacation and train at my father's school in Oahu, HI, and we will also continue to host renowned martial arts masters of various disciplines at the academy.  Our very own Lotus Yoga Laguna will offer Kundalini Yoga Masters Series with Gurucharan Khalsa PhD, who wrote the 3h0 Kundalini Yoga training manuals and acted as director of the Kundalini Research Institute with Yogi Bhajan for 40 years.  Our partner from 3h0, appointed by Yogi Bhajan in 1972, GuruMeher will join us with over 85 years of combined experience to lead internationally recognized teacher certification in Kundalini Yoga Levels 1, 2 & 3.

We’ve added teachers to expand our weekly schedules, including more martial arts, yoga and dance.  Multi-time world Brazilian JiuJitsu champion, Marcel Louzado joins professional mixed martial arts athlete, Luke Adams to coach adult jiujitsu classes.  KRI certified teacher, Giselle Abadie is teaching basic Kundalini Yoga with gong.  Samantha Savage Breit is offering Mindful Octopus yoga classes for kids 3-6 years old.  Local yoga icon, Beth Erngren offers her long-time Laguna favorite Shakti Yoga Dance.  Prima ballerina Linda Shoemaker is teaching adult ballet.

Another project I'm very excited about is our Youth Outreach Initiative.  The initiative just launched and is designed to educate academy youth students about our responsibility to give back, the various means in which we can make positive contributions, and to give them the experience of independently organizing efforts and taking action in support of worthy causes.  Ultimately, empowering our youth with the understanding and awareness that their efforts make a difference.

There are many plans and goals for the future, ultimately all supporting a broad stroke designed to have a hugely positive impact on our community.

6. LB:  I've read that you celebrate your students' academic achievements as well as their martial arts achievements--why do you think emphasizing academics is so important for Cho's Academy?

As a teacher I’m a role model.  I am responsible for my students’ well-being and to help shape their character.  Education helps lay the foundation for one’s future happiness and prosperity.  Education will open doors and holds the power to pave the way for peace and harmony.  It takes discipline and steady efforts to learn and achieve in school.  For these reasons and many more, it is important for me to support and encourage academic achievement. 


In looking back at this now, I am humbled and grateful for the recognition and opportunity.

Jacob Cho