Suffolk martial arts teacher to be featured in national magazine

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 13, 2004

Suffolk News-Herald

If you know much about martial arts in Suffolk, chances are you’re familiar with the name Wayne Spencer. He’s been teaching tae kwon do to children of all ages for years and years.

In an upcoming issue of Government Computer News (GCN) magazine, potential martial artists around the nation will know his name and profession as well; Spencer, an electronics technician of Space and Warfare Command at St. Julien’s Creek Annex in Portsmouth, will be the subject of a montly feature about the spare time pastimes of government workers.

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&uot;I started getting the magazine in the fall, and there was a story about a man who collected James Bond cars,&uot; said Spencer. &uot;He had the silver Aston Martin in ‘Goldfinger.’ I thought I’d give them a shot at my story.&uot;

Last week, they took it; Spencer received a phone call from a representative of the magazine, informing him that GCN wanted to show his skills to the rest of the country.

&uot;I was kind of shocked!&uot; Spencer said with a laugh. &uot;Up until then, about all the (public relations) I got was from the Suffolk News-Herald!&uot;

Perhaps he shouldn’t have been so surprised. Just ask some of his students. &uot;He’s just a really good teacher,&uot; said Ryan Clark, 11, the proud owner of a green belt in karate. &uot;I’ve always dreamed of being a black belt, and it seems like he can teach me the most. He teaches stuff in a way that I can understand. He shows us how to practice our stuff, and it’s not complicated. If we don’t understand something, he explains it in terms kids can understand.&uot;

Ryan’s not the only kid that could quickly fathom Spencer’s teachings – Rick Waters’ son and daughter received their black belts after taking classes from him. &uot;It takes time to get to know somebody really well,&uot; said Waters, himself a black belt and assistant instructor. &uot;True trust is hard to come by. But (Wayne) is a very versatile individual. He’s a man of his word; what he says, he does. I trust him with anything.&uot; So do Spencer’s fellow worshipers at the First Baptist Church; he’ll begin a class for them and their children in February.

In March, Spencer will head to Charlottesville to compete in the AAU state championships. His students will follow suit in Woodbridge in April.

But Spencer’s interests and skill in martial arts go far beyond tae kwon do. He’s got a probationary belt in combat hapkido, a form of self-defense, and a white belt in judo and ju-jitsu.

He teaches tae kwon do at 7 and 8 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays at Triple T Gymnastics on Constance Road and at 6:30 and 7:30 p.m. at the Suffolk YMCA. Hapkido classes run from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays at the YMCA.

For more information, contact Triple T’s at 923-5150 or the YMCA at 934-9622 or visit