Event Calendar

June 2018
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Latest Events

Sat May 26 @12:00AM
Closed for Memorial Day Weekend
Sat May 26 @10:30AM - 11:15AM
Children: All Rank (Saturday)
Sun May 27 @12:00AM
Closed for Memorial Day Weekend
Mon May 28 @12:00AM
Closed for Memorial Day Weekend
Sat Jun 02 @10:30AM - 11:15AM
Children: All Rank (Saturday)
Sat Jun 23 @11:00AM - 12:30PM
Color Belt Test

The Story

Larry was born on June 9th , 1954 in Sylacauga, Alabama at 7:15AM.,weighing 7 lb. 6 oz. His Mom, Ruth said Larry almost killed her during her pregnancy by taking most of her body nutrients. Fred, his Dad remembers Larry as being one of the strongest babies he’d ever seen. He ran before he could walk and he hasn’t slowed down much since.

When Larry was about a year old, his parents, along with older brother Jerry, younger brother Tony, moved to Marietta, Georgia. His father had been offered a job and the family lived in Marietta until Larry was in the 4th grade.

In 1962, the Key family made another move. This time north to a town known as The Lake City called Acworth, where the boys did most of their growing up. Just before the move, Larry recalls a dream he had had about his new school and teachers. When he got to school, everything was exactly as he had seen it in his dream. He feels he’s been blessed with this sight. He says even the week before he was in the accident; he was strangely being prepared for what was to come. He had seen a program on hip replacement and broken backs… but this is getting ahead of his story.

In school Larry and his brothers all proved to be outstanding athletes, especially Larry. At age 11 and 12 he was MVP in the 90 lb. Football league. As he grew and advanced in weight, so did his athletic prowess: MVP 120 lb. League (13 years old); All-Star Pony League (14 years); MVP running back (14 years). Also at age 14, Larry held the Georgia State record in the 440-yard dash and in the mile relay.

During his four years at North Cobb High School, Larry not only held, but also broke many of the school’s records in track and football. In 1971, he placed 5th in the 440-yard dash at the Florida Relays.

For three years, Larry worked hard toward establishing the all-time rushing record of 1,837 yards and 1,020 yards for a seasonal record. As a senior, he was voted MVP in football and track. After graduation in 1972, Larry was accepted to Delta State University in Cleveland, Mississippi on a full football scholarship. Larry says looking back on his growing up years; he was always into sports. He was the fastest runner, he jump rope better than anyone in his school. He recalls how he loved to play in the woods behind his house. The small pine trees grew close together and his favorite game was seeing how fast he could dart between the trees without touching any of them. It was an innocent challenge for a young, strong body. Larry’s greatest challenge battling for his life was yet to come.

In school, he admits he was O.K. student, something of the class clown, but with a big heart. Larry was the one who unselfishly pushed the handicap kids in wheelchairs to class. He genuinely liked doing things for the students who were less fortunate athletically than him. One of his best friends in high school who was a grade higher had a handicap. Larry would jokingly, mimic him while playing basketball, pretending to have the same handicap to even-up the game. There was never any disrespect toward his friend; they were all equal in his eyes. Larry often invented ways to get out of class. For example, he would have a buddy throw something into the classroom so he could run out and chase them. One time, he even sneaked into a classroom and taped all the desks together. Larry was in Chorus, Drama and the Key club. His high school chorus teacher once made a comment to Larry about how he envied his athletic ability. His chorus teacher was a talented, gifted pianist. Larry told him there were a lot of guys who could do sports, but few that could play piano like he did. Then as now, Larry’s kind and generous nature has never left him.

Larry graduated 1972. His family moved to Kennesaw in 1973. Tragically on May 16, 1973, at 2:05 p.m., Larry’s life was literally crushed when at a construction site in Roswell, Georgia, where he was backed over by a D9 bulldozer while working for a curbing crew.

Now it’s his story. I worked what was called the string line for the curb crew. That simply means whichever way the string was laid out, was how we’d do the curb. Not too complicated, but hard, physical work. There was a lot of heavy equipment around two cement trucks the curb machine a motor grader a front-end loader and me. If it hadn’t been for the two men working with me, the bulldozer would have rolled completely over me. The first track of the bulldozer knocked me to the ground, catching my left ankle. The second tracked pulled up the side of my left calf, it continued gripping me on my left thigh and up to my side. It was jerking me and tearing me apart. Finally the driver grinded forward and got off me. My brother Jerry was working the same crew. He lifted me up and was holding me in his lap. I thought I must have looked like some poor animal that had been hit by a car. The pain was unbearable; I couldn’t make any sound. I kept turning my head from side to side, probably trying to shake some sense into my head to understand what had happen. Jerry was fighting not to let me see in his face how badly I was really hurt. He was crying and I started thinking, my hip is crushed. I wanted to tell him I was O,K,: I even tried to tell him a joke. But the sensation of my arm going to sleep began to worry me. I only know when the ambulance got there and they put me on that backboard, I forgot about my arm. Too much pain was clouding my thinking about anything.

The ambulance I was riding in turned out not to be an ambulance at all, but a made-over hearse. Sitting in the back with me was an old man, who I swear, would have passed for the Grim Reaper. The attendants hadn’t even bothered to buckle me down on the gurney or secure it to anything. I was terrified on top of it all believing I was going to fall on my face to the floor. Somehow, I managed to hook my uninjured fight leg around a window curtain and I found a small hole on the side of the gurney to stick my finger in. That’s the way I rode to the hospital clinging for dear life.

My brother left immediately to get my parents and it seemed it took forever for them to get back to the hospital. The emergency room doctors wouldn’t continue with any major procedures unless my parents arrived. For the first time in my life, I found myself needing medication for the excruciating pain. I was finally put to sleep, so the doctors could work on me. When I woke up, I knew my back probably wasn’t broken. I figured since I was not in a full body cast, my hip wasn’t crushed. All I had was a cast on my left foot. This was going to be a piece of cake; I would be home in a couple of days. I couldn’t have been more wrong little did I realize the extent of my injuries? Much later, I found out I had major muscle and nerve damage. I had a broken rib and some of my other ribs had been pulled out of their sockets. My left angle was broken, my spleen and left kidney badly bruised. Because of the extensive muscle tears and the rip damage, the area around my lungs filled with blood. My bellybutton had moved 4 inches to the right because some of the muscles were stronger than the 4 Transverse Process that stick out of your lower spine. They were snapped off and are floating 2 inches away form my spine. On the night of May 17th , I was near death. I went into Code Blue three times. For eleven days, my body did not have the ability to make blood and during the same time, my kidneys failed. My brother Jerry had already been prepared to be a kidney donor for me. Thank God, it ended up he wasn’t needed. I was completely black and blue from the muscle damage and the internal bleeding; from my left knee all the way up to my arm. I had sciatic nerve damage down both legs. There was absolutely no feeling in my left hip. Even my bladder had suffered tremendous damage.

I remained in Intensive Care in Atlanta for 25 days. I do know this. If it had not had the love and support of my family and friends, I don’t think I could have made it. With them pulling for me here, and the plans for my life being worked on by the Man upstairs, I had a long way still to go. My mother was my angel, encouraging me over the pain and the hard times. One of those times was losing my scholarship. I couldn’t afford college on my own. I couldn’t anyway. It was too difficult to stand or sit in one place for long. My dream up to that point had been for me to teach P.E. in a high school somewhere. I kept trying to be the pretty upbeat person I had always been and not get down on myself or any one else for that matter. What good would it have done if I had? I had more serious hurdles facing me in the months and years ahead.

When I finally got home, I had to have 12-14 hours of sleep a day. Mom would give me back rubs daily and talk to me in my room with no windows, which believe it or not, was good toward my recovery. My mom felt sorry for me. I had been hurt so badly physically; she didn’t want to further "stress-me out" mentally. My once finely turned athletic body was slowly turning into over-weight from lack of exercise. I didn’t really want to acknowledge the change my body was going through. The slow process of recovery was blocking this entirely out. She kept telling me I didn’t look bad. I was slipping away from what I had once been a young, strong athlete who had everything going for him. My body was gone, my scholarship, my dreams. At the time, I didn’t realize the direction my life was going to take. Over a period of two years, I was in a back brace. I gained from 160 lbs. to 215 lbs. I lost 1 ¾ inches of my height, going from 5’8 ½ to 5’6 ¾.

Initially, the doctors didn’t think I would live. I proved them wrong. They didn’t think I’d walk without a limp because the accident had shortened my left leg due to rotation of my hip. I proved them wrong on that too, but the pain never left me. Ever day I wake up in more pain than most people experience in a lifetime. I’ve often been asked if I ever became bitter about what had happen to me. It’s a hard lesson, but when I almost died, I found out when things go wrong in your life, it’s not such a big deal, be glad you are alive to see it happen. I’m happy just to be here to have things happen to me. Every breath I take is special!

After my son Sam was born, I tried coaching baseball; I found I really liked teaching the young players. When Sam was 5 yrs. old he ask me to teach him how to field a ground ball, much to my frustration and disappointment I was over-weight and my injuries would not allow me to bend over with pain. I broke down and took a long look at myself, I never thought I would get fat, I never thought my body would not let me do the physical things I had taken for granted. I decided right then that enough was enough! I went on a crash diet and started to walk and run. The pain was unbelievable. I lost 60 lbs. in two months, but absolutely no muscle. I pushed myself to continue.

In April 1979, when I was baptized. My preacher told me, God had saved my life for a reason, maybe Sam, Natalie, or my young son Bobby or maybe to teach children. I may not know the reason, but there was a reason. In the years to follow, I’ll search to find out.

It began when I wanted to start training in a martial art. Jerry was already taking Tae Kwon Do and had advanced to a 1st degree black belt. I tried to do Tae Kwon Do, but the body movements were too rigid for me. In January of 1986, enrolled Sam and later Natalie in a new martial art school, Choi Kwang Do. As they learned, I started trying to do the movements and found it was easier for me to follow the natural, flowing rhythm of the forms. I had a personal heart to heart talk with Grand Master Kwang Jo Choi, about my physical and mental self. My training began. I was on my way through a period of self-healing and growth. Being athletic, I knew what my body could do. I slowly started mastering the rank forms because even a minor muscle pull would set me back. The stretching and the fluid movements were beginning to help the pain, rather than aggravate it. My body was re-strengthening.

As I progressed, I opened a martial art school with a friend of mine, Kelly Chandler who had already obtained the rank of black belt 2nd degree. My training continued with Grand Master Choi. During 1990, I worked out twice a week with him, continued to strengthen my lower back. I studied with the other instructors. On June 9th (my birthday) I became a black belt. Two years later on November 7th, 1992, Sam, Natalie, and I received our 2nd degree black belts. I now have my own school.

On Februarl 19th, I received my 6th degree in Pil Sung Do (The Way of Certain Victory). My training and teaching continues today. I know that because of the training in the martial arts, I became a new person. The martial arts helped heal my body and instill in myself a strong discipline. I’ve learned a lot from all this: I’ve learned never-to-say-never, because never is a long time. I’ve learned to just stand still and listen: to the birds, the wind rustling the leaves, the rippling of water in a stream. I realize how close I came to losing it all. I cherish the love of my family, my friends. I value all the students I teach. Every day I wake up is a blessing. It’s not easy to cheat fate, but with God’s help I did and won.

Pil Sung!