HIGH POINT, N.C. -- At 79, Clifton White Jr. of High Point is breaking boards and barriers in his Tae Kwon Do class.
For the past five years, he has been studying Tae Kwon Do at Tiger Kim’s Tae Kwon Do studio in High Point.
Seeing a 74-year-old man take on martial arts was a surprise to many at the time.
"A lot of people say, even moms, 30 and 40 years old, they say ‘well I'm too old to start,’ so yes, we were very shocked,” Instructor Master Mark Wright said.
White has accomplished a number of goals later in life. He received his master’s degree in philosophy at 70. He’s currently working on his doctorate and, just a few weeks ago, he earned his black belt in Tae Kwon Do.
"In terms of me feeling good, I feel better than I did when I was 18,” White said.
White says Tae Kwon Do not only helps him with his physical and mental strength, it helps build his character as well.
"Most people do not have any character at all. It gives you a respect for others,” White said.
He may not move as quickly as some of the others, but his indomitable spirit is what continues to inspire people.
"I'm wishing when I'm 70 or 80 years old, I could do what he can do. That's the inspiration I look forward to,” Wright said.
White says he always feels a sense of accomplishment after each class.
"I might be sore or stiff or something, but it's a good feeling to know, boy I'm really glad I went to Tae Kwon Do today,” White said.
Clifton White Jr. will turn 80 on Saturday, May 17. Earning his black belt means he is internationally certified in Tae Kwon Do.