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From Students & Parents

Master Chavez really wants the children to learn martial arts. She also wants the children to just have fun. My five year old goes here and I would highly recommend Takai Mine to anyone who wants to learn from a great instructor.

Submitted by D. Vigil 6/26/09

Master Chavez treats all of her students adults and kids alike, as if they were her family. She is a great teacher and treats all with respect. If you want to learn martial arts, this is the school for you.

Submitted by Anonymous 6/26/09

The top place to study. Regardless of any factors, once you come, you're part of a family that will care for you for life.

Submitted by Wallace 7/12/09

In the mid 90's I was looking for a martial arts school in Albq. I visited numerous schools and watched their program. At Takai Mine I was impressed by the respect that the students gave their instructors and each other. I learned that this was a requirement of this school. Respect for instructors, teachers at regular school, parents and siblings. Parents have a say in the first belt recieved. Younger students must have a note from their parents stateing that they are respectful at home, school etc. before they recieve their first belt. I also noticed hundreds of trophies and medals along the wall. When I asked about these I was told they all belonged to Master Chavez, who won them in tournaments all over the country. I was impressed by the fact that an instructor practised what she taught. Many instructors never compete. Many students that have moved away remain loyal to Takai Mine and some return regularly to work out with Master Chavez. For these reasons (and more) I chose Takai Mine for my martial arts school and would recomend this school to adults and children alike.

Steve Buchanan


I stopped in at Takai Mine Karate ("High-Mountain" Karate) 14 years ago because I drove by it everyday and was interested in getting my daughter started in karate. After that first meeting with the owner and head instructor Master Antionette Chavez I knew there was no turning back. I had found a home. Master Chavez personifies the best of martial arts. She strives to teach students of all ages and abilities the valuable techniques of the martial arts together with the warrior spirit of never giving up, responsibility, respect and consideration for others: the total package, necessary to develop a strong, capable good citizen. She does this in a very positive, supportive environment. Competition is encouraged, but students are taught to help one another become stronger. What more could a parent ask for? Regarding techniques, the school is unique in that Master Chavez [6th degree black belt] teaches 4 distinct styles [Tae Kwon Do, Shorin Ryu, Shotokan, and Kali/Escrima]. The self-defense training is especially strong due to the influence of multiple styles. For all this, the tuition is modest and a bargain compared to most schools.

Submitted by S. Rosenthal, 7/19/09


My daughter and I have been coming to Takai Mine since she was 4 years old (she'll soon be 18), and we're now both black belts and instructors at Takai Mine. I started training two years after my daughter started, and Master Antionette Chavez has had a huge impact on both our lives. Training together has helped us have a warm, close relationship even during her teenage years! Soon my daughter will be going off to college, and, with her years of self-defense training, I know that she will be able to take care of herself in any dangerous situation that may arise, and that's due to Master Chavez' training!
We've seen Master Chavez in action for years--in class, at local, regional, and national tournaments, in our lives, and in the lives of many others. When a family was robbed at Christmas time, Master Chavez rallied the school to help insure that the family had a good holiday complete with presents. After 9/11 she trained airline personnel in self-defense for free. She's trained four students who are or have been self-defense instructors for the military. While it's true that no one instructor is the perfect teacher for every student, I've seen Master Chavez work wonders with ADD and ADHD students--students that I, one of the assistant instructors, have problems teaching.
It's true Takai Mine students win in tournaments; however, there is no winning without training! Since joining AAU in 2002, 122 Takai Mine competitors have received 193 medals at the AAU national taekwondo championships--that's better than one and a half medals per person (that's children, adults, males, and females) over an 8 year period. All those medals came only as the result of years of training and dedication on the parts of both the students and the head instructor!
So for fighting, self-defense, and traditional martial arts (including Korean taekwondo, Okinawan and Japanese karate, and Philippine escrima styles), there's no better school in Albuquerque than Takai Mine!


--Submitted by R. Graves 7/15/09


I started learning Tae Kwon Do many years ago while living in Las Cruces. After a break of over twelve years, I decided that I wanted to start training again. I asked my former instructor in Las Cruces, Master Shoberg, who she would recommend in Albuquerque. Master Chavez was at the top of her list. I visited Takai Mine and liked what I saw – excellent (knowledgeable and skilled) instructors - friendly and helpful students - so I decided to sign up. A few months after joining the school, my wife passed away. Even though Master Chavez barely knew me, she and several of the students from Takai Mine showed up at the memorial service. I knew then, that I had chosen the right school. When Master Chavez says she treats her students as her family, she means it and demonstrates it through her actions.

--Charles Banks, 1st Gup Red Belt


After being away from Tae Kwon Do for over a decade, my son (who started taking classes at his school) encouraged me to dust off my uniform and join him at the Takai Mine Karate school. I was warmly welcomed into an extraordinary family of martial artists led by Master Chavez who reminded me of my former instructor--kind, yet strong, with excellent teaching skills, and an eye for details. From my first class Master chavez was able to point out ways for me to improve.

Sometimes everything just falls into place--as if it was meant to be. Logan and I have found a home away from home, a place to grow as a martial artist as well as a person. If you are looking for a martial arts school that teaches respect, discipline, traditional Tae Kwon Do, and treats you like family in the process, then Takai Mine Karate is just what you're looking for.

Kendall Pierson, 2nd Degree (Dan) Blackbelt


TaeKwonDo had been a part of our family's life for years when our son decided it wasn't for him. After four years, our son decided to try it again. Although he did not want to go back where he was before, we sawTaKaiMine becuase it is close to our house and we were referred to Master Chavez by some dear friends of ours. At first, Daniel was very reluctant to try again; however, Master Chavez and her staff welcomed Daniel and our entire family with open arms. Daniel has a renewed love for the art and is exhibiting a level of self-confidence we have not seen for while. It is very satisfying to see him look forward to going. Master Chavez truly lives her creed by example and that passion is apparent and reflected in her students and staff. We are very pleased to have found a wonderful new family

Paula Vasquez, Mother of Daniel Vazquez - Blue Belt


Thank you for being such a big part of Kelly's life and for encouraging her to become more than just a black belt. You have been a great source of inspiration for my little girl.
Lori St. Germain-Kelly St. Germain First Degree Black Belt


"I am getting stronger and more powerful and respectful and responsible. I have learned courtesy, honest, integrity, perserverence and self contro. Martial Arts has taught me how to defend myself."
Zackery Rosales- Purple Belt


"I like Karate because it is fun. It can help me out in other sports,l and it will buff me up when I get older. My favorite parts of karate are the forms and the weapon camps. Master Chavez is very into karate and Tae Kwon Do. Shes the one who got me to start karate again and I'm glad she did! Master Chavez is a 6th Degree Blackbelt! She is stict but ver sweet! Takai Mine has the best teachers and helpers. The respect us just as much as we respect them. My parents love it too because when they ask me to do something I always say "Yes Maam", and "Yes Sir."
Collin Fowler, Green Belt

"Studying martial arts has helped my daughter Hidaya in many ways. It has taught her to believe in herself and how to have seof-confidence. Being at Takai Mine has shown her how important it is to stay on task, in addition to learning how to be a gracious competitor. Takai Mine is a wonderful place to go, the people are very nice and Takai Mine is fun."
Lee VB, Yellow Belt and Parent


"Karate has helped me with courtesy, honesty, integrity, perserverance, and self-control. Takai mine students pledge to live their lives by this motto. CHIPS. Courtesy, Honesty, Intergrity, Perserverance, Self-Control."
Stuart Boggess, Green Belt


"Martial Arts is still teaching me mental discipline without the mental discipline you will not develop the habits you need to exceed mentally and physically."
Ed Sadzewich, 2nd Degree Black Belt


"My Granson has been studying with Master Chavez for two years. I have observed an increase in his ability to focus and concentrate. There has also been a dramatic increase in his self-esteem and self-confidence. We are extreamely pleased with his progress since joining Takai Mine."
Doris Durham, Russell Durham Age 8


"Karate and Tae Kwon Do has helped me respect people more than I used to. It has also helped me with my self-control, and courtesy. Karate has helped me make more friends and they have helped malot. I really like karate, it is fun."
Jordan Sampson, Yellow Belt


"My Grandchildren, Zackery and Alina Rosales have learned to be more respectful and responsible since they have been at Takai Mine. The also have more confidence and more team spirit."
Zackery Rosales-Purple Belt
Alina Rosales- Orange


"In the short time we have been at Takai Mine, my daughter's self confidence has strengthened tremendously! My son has much better behavior and discipline."
Tammi Angeli
White Belts


August 21, 2008

"Thank you Master Chavez you have been generous with you time and efforts You have guided Daniel for six years. You are a large part of his life and a significant part of his development into the man he will become. Thank you for allowing us to return here for him to test for his Black Belt from California. It is much more meaningful to receive his black belt from you and this school than from anywhere else."
The Mahmuds

"The best thing about Takai Mine is that there’s something for everyone. Having been in martial arts for nearly twenty years in three different states I have to say that I can scarcely imagine a school being better rounded. There’s a strong sparring program for both adults and children, and the three hard styles represented are related enough to allow a cohesive practice while offering challenging and beautiful forms for every level. The Filipino derived self defense program is based on techniques that are more efficient and effective than what I’ve seen in other Karate or Taekwondo Schools. I particularly like seeing that students with talent in one area are able train rigorously for competitive tournaments, while students with special needs are encouraged and able to discover avenues for success. And everyone finds social connections and support within the community of the group."
Lilian Hoines, 3rd degree black belt

What I’ve done:

When I started training in the martial arts in 1998 at the age of 40, I had little idea of “goals” or “success.” I started studying Derobio Escrima (a Philippine weapons-fighting and self-defense system) with Master Antoinette Chavez at Takai Mine Karate/Tae Kwon Do as a way to pass the time while my five-year-old daughter, Megan, took escrima. After Megan’s first escrima class, Master Chavez told me I should at least try the class as there was no one else sitting on the bench with me to talk to! The next week I took my first escrima class and loved it. I had spent 15 years studying piano and organ, had played for many groups and churches but not for about ten years, and suddenly I was using my hand-eye coordination and rhythm skills to defend myself! Within six months I started taking Master Chavez’ women’s self-defense class, and in August 1999 I started training in taekwondo and karate (at first 3 days a week, then later 6 days a week!).

In late 1999 I entered my first taekwondo tournament and took my first gold medal in the forms competition (although it was a year before I won a gold medal again in another tournament!). In 2002 I competed for the first time in a national taekwondo championship and at the 2003 AAU National Youth and Adult Taekwondo Championships I took gold medals in Olympic-style and in point-style taekwondo sparring and a silver medal in forms (red belt women, 45+). More medals at the AAU national championships followed in 2004 (gold again in both sparring styles, bronze in forms, same division), in 2005 (3 silver medals in the black belt women’s division, 45+), and in 2007 (my first national-championship gold medal in forms—my favorite event!—and gold in point-style sparring and silver in Olympic-style sparring).

I received my black belt in karate and taekwondo from Master Chavez in December 2004 (my daughter received her black belt at the age of 14 in June 2006), my black belt in escrima in August 2006, and my second dan black belt in December 2006. I turned 50 in December 2007—my ankles ache, my knees are arthritic, and I have a disk in my spine that likes to slip out of position—just continuing to move and train is success. I don’t spar as much as I used to, it’s true, but as long as I don’t spar with the teenagers (I do tend to get carried away and try to keep up with them!), I can keep training and achieving.

What I do:
I get to do things I didn’t expect to do in my 50s:
(1) I compete in tournaments—an over-achiever to the max in high school, I never expected to compete in anything again after graduation—something few women my age still do.
(2) I learn new martial arts techniques and forms—I thought “learning” was over when I got my doctorate. As long as I’m learning something new, I’m a “happy camper.”
(3) I teach—helping children learn their first form and seeing their faces light up as they realize they can do something they thought they couldn’t do just a few minutes earlier is completely rewarding.
(4) I have something in common with my teenager—Megan and I take classes together, compete at tournaments together (she and I have even competed against each other!). We even do team forms competitions and demonstrations together!

All these things keep me coming back to train and teach again. Yes, I’m “hard core,” and I love it!

What I have yet to do:
I still have a few goals: I’d like to get my third dan black belt (I’ll be eligible in December 2003), and my blue shirt (2nd dan black belt) in escrima (maybe later this summer), and I think I want to become a certified taekwondo referee who can judge at the national level (though the thought of jumping in between 20-something black belts to stop them fighting is intimidating—I don’t think I can move fast enough to control them!). Will I still be doing this in my 60s? I don’t know, but I know a couple of women and several men who do, so maybe I will…
--Dr. Rosalie Graves (June 20, 2008)

"Our son is 10 years old and has been enrolled in Takai Mine Karate for a year and a half.  He was a wonderful kid before we started, but wehave since seen a great improvement in his attitude.  He is very polite and respectful to others.  He always answers with yes or no and ma’am or sir.  Karate has also helped him to be  more confident and strong.  Master Chavez has been absolutely wonderful in guiding Marlee to become the best that he can be.  She (Master Chavez) is a dedicated and great instructor who believes in hard work and dedication.  We would highly recommend this school to anyone who wants their child to become more self-condident, disciplined, and an all around  great kid, just like ours."
Valerie and Nathan Larzaus.

Students From Summer Camp 2008

"I’ve been to horse camp twice.  This is my first Tae Kwon Do Camp.  I love this camp because it gets me active." 
Jacob R., age 8

"What I like about Summer Camp is when we go swimming at the end of the week.  Also I like Tae Kwon Do because it keeps me healthy.  We also do fun things like self-defense moves, going out to lunch and watching movies." 
Marlee L. Age 10  (3 camps)

"I’ve gone to 1 camp so far.  I like camp because of the down blocks and learning from Master Chavez."
Kenny Levandoski, Age 7

"This is my first Tae Kwon Do Camp ever.  However, this camp is the best Tae Kwon Do Camp around.  Master Chavez is our Master.  She is so awesome at this.  Tae Kwon Do Camp teaches you courtesy, honesty, integrity, perseverance, and self-control.  It is so fun and exciting, not to mention challenging." 
Brent R., Age 9, 5th Grade, White Belt.

"I’ve gone to 3 camps.  It is fun to go to.  You do fun and exciting things.  I like everything!" 
Zack, Age 10

"I like camp. It rules! The part I like the best is lunch and coloring the bags and forms. I sometimes I like sparring. I like watching the movies and the snacks. Master Chavez is the best and rules!"
Miranda A.

"This is my first Tae Kwon Do Camp ever.  However, this camp is the best Tae Kwon Do Camp around.  Master Chavez is our Master.  She is so awesome at this.  Tae Kwon Do Camp teaches you courtesy, honesty, integrity, perseverance, and self-control.  It is so fun and exciting, not to mention challenging." 
Brent R., Age 9, 5th Grade, White Belt.

"I really like camp because we get to spar, which is fighting with gear on. I also like camp because we listen to music."
Jayson M.


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