With a lifetime of mastering the martial arts to draw on, Grand Master Missy Cann looks to pass along her knowledge and skills to another generation.
Cann, new to the Clover area, has 45 years of training in her background. A seventh degree black belt in Taekwondo, Cann worked for 30 years with the U.S. Department of Defense teaching the martial arts style to members of both the Marine Corps and the Air Force. On the side, she also had her own students in Cherry Point, N.C. Some of her students, including some from this area, would drive up to five hours to get lessons from her.
“Parents would tell me, ‘why don’t you come and check out the (Clover/Lake Wylie) area,?’” she said.
So in April, Cann finally moved to the Clover area and has partnered with the local YMCA to teach classes. As part of her pedigree, Cann is president and director of both the North and South Carolina AAU Taekwondo, as well as having trained Olympic qualifiers in 2008, 2012 and 2016.
Now, Cann says she wants to bring that type of Olympic training to Clover and York County. Three of her students, Rebecca Adams, Philip Hoffmann and Austin Roday, all age 13, are training for the AAU National Championship July 2-9 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Originally from Taiwan, Cann said she fell into the martial arts as a child because she didn’t want to do what was offered to little girls her age at the time.
“Growing up in Taiwan as a girl, you played piano, violin, took ballet or took Kung Fu,” she said. “I took Kung Fu because I liked to fight. I was a tomboy.”
Cann said she eventually transitioned from Kung Fu to Taekwondo and started teaching it for the military. Cann said she started training in Taekwondo when she was in middle school. Now her focus is passing on her knowledge to others.
“I hope to pass this onto kids because I see a lot of talent in this area,” she said. “They have talent and they work hard. The goal is to send kids to the U.S. championship.”
Hoffmann, who won a bronze medal at the U.S. Open in January,said he dabbled in other sports, but once he tried martial arts he knew he had found his calling athletically.
“I never really got into anything,” Hoffmann said. “Those other sports everyone was doing. This is challenging.”
Hoffmann said Cann and Taekwondo have taught him discipline. He is getting ready to become a third degree black belt, but said he is always striving for more in the sport.
“There is always room to do better,” he said.
Mac Banks: firstname.lastname@example.org, @MacBanksFM
Want to learn?
Grand Master Missy Cann offers classes in Taekwondo for beginners as well as advanced classes Monday, Wednesday and Friday at the Clover School District Community YMCA. For more information, e-mail email@example.com, or call 803-222-9622.