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12 Who Care: Jon Powell gives free martial arts training

Jon Powell has spent years teaching taekwondo to a mostly Filipino-American group of kids, free of charge.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Jon Powell has spent years teaching taekwondo to people of all ages, but mostly the youth group at the Filipino-American Christian Ministry in Jacksonville.

It's a partnership he's made with the church. 

He gets to use their facilities to teach, and in return he gives his lessons for free to their youth. 

"My two sons have been a part of it," Pastor Eric Bautista said. "They've grown, and they enjoy it a lot. It has instilled discipline in them."

"You find something amazing and you just want to share it," Powell said. 

The 38-year-old has been studying taekwondo since he was in college and is a world-class athlete in the sport.

And he says it was his call from God to work with this specific community. 

"Probably 80% to 90% of my class are Filipino-American," he said. 

He added, laughing: "Can I say this? I'm the only white guy here." 

But it's all about family for him. 

His nephew and godson, Jae Castro, is Filipino. He started teaching Jae when he was very young. 

"I'm really proud of how far he's come. I've noticed in him a lot of confidence," Powell said.

"It's definitely changed me spiritually, mentally," Castro added. "Being a young man, it is hard growing up. This has given me a physical edge and it's there when I need it."

Powell had a pretty major setback several years ago as well. He suffered a severe head injury that gave him migraines, and forced him to have to relearn many elements of taekwondo. 

But he says it actually has made him even better. 

"It's almost like God himself allowed me to go through it," he said. "It has made me a better teacher, and I am grateful." 

He says it all comes from his call from a higher power, to share his gift that keeps the crowds of kids coming back.

"There are things they can learn here not just to help them be safe, but also help them integrate into this city, this place," he said. "They can face their anxiety and pressures, and perform and do well."

For more information about his taekwondo ministry, you can click here to visit the Fil-Am Christian Ministry website.

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