MOBRIDGE, S.D. (BP) – Pastor Everett and Rebecca Hornbostel’s path to black belts in Taekwondo began when their son Nic was bullied in second grade. The parents enrolled Nic in Taekwondo to build his confidence, and soon enrolled themselves.
Some 25 years later, the pastor and his wife teach Taekwondo with biblical principles at Mobridge Taekwondo, a company they founded in 2019. The reduced fee they charge for Taekwondo allows them to teach free self-defense classes to women, with a goal of offering the classes to domestic violence survivors fleeing abuse.
Hornbostel (the T is silent) uses Scripture to emphasize the principles of Taekwondo, a self-defense discipline born from ancient Korean martial arts.
“And I point to Nehemiah as a great resource for self-defense,” Hornbostel said. “As he’s rebuilding the city walls, they’ve got a trowel in one hand and a sword in the other, protecting themselves against the onslaught of the enemy who’s against the building of the wall.
“And as we walk in our faith, we’re going to have people that are going to be against us, and might even be violently against us,” he said. “And I think that we are living biblically if we can adequately physically protect ourselves, even if we know where we’re going in the end.”
Hornbostel, senior pastor of Cornerstone Community Church in Mobridge, S.D., also serves the Dakota Baptist Convention as one of three regional church relations missionaries.
He accepts Taekwondo students five and older, and has taught self-defense classes for women sponsored by law enforcement and businesses. The five Taekwondo classes Hornbostel and his wife teach involve elements of self-defense, but are also designed to build character.
“We teach the tenets of Taekwondo from a biblical perspective,” he said. “So we talk about things like … what does the Bible say about courtesy, and perseverance, self-control, integrity and having a winning mindset. And at the end of the day, it all leads us toward victory.
“My hope is that they are exhibiting the things that they are learning in class outside of class…The purpose of Taekwondo is to defend yourself as a last resort, if nothing else will work.”
Hornbostel has led Cornerstone to support Bridges Against Domestic Violence, a women’s domestic violence shelter, and is discussing plans to offer free self-defense classes in the Taekwondo studio in the church basement.
“If there’s anything that I can do to help eliminate domestic violence,” he said, “I’m all for it, even if it means that I can teach these folks how to defend themselves, that’s what I want to do.”
The $50 monthly fee for Taekwondo classes allows Hornbostel to cover the required liability insurance and offer free self-defense classes to women fleeing domestic violence. The self-defense classes are separate from Taekwondo, incorporating such trusted self-defense techniques as Sexual Harassment, Assault and Rape Prevention or SHARP, and elements of Jiu-Jitsu.
“In order to afford the insurance and to eliminate liability on the church, we created our own LLC, which is Mobridge Taekwondo, and started teaching classes.”
In Taekwondo, each testing cycle to attain a level of achievement incorporates a tenet, advancing through courtesy, integrity, perseverance, self-control and an indomitable spirit. He emphasizes courtesy through such Scripture as Ephesians 4:29 and I Peter 2:17. He focuses on the tenets in class and teaches students to transfer them to home and daily life.
“Thankfully, kids pick it up pretty quick,” he said. Parents “really like the fact that we’re teaching this sort of biblical perspective.”
Both Hornbostel and his son are second-degree black belts, though the elder Hornbostel is more advanced. Rebecca earned her black belt two months ago. Taekwondo black belts progress through 10 levels, with the final two levels awarded by a grandmaster in Korea.
Mobridge, a town of about 3,500 people, has strong Norwegian roots, with many Catholics and Lutherans.
“To have the opportunity to really dig into Scripture, even in the short period of time, and have Gospel moments in our conversations,” he said, “that is great. And I’m thankful that the Lord has given us this opportunity.”