May 16-22 2003
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IN THIS ISSUE
Bond, Morse, Terry win 2003 Sullivan Awards
Advocate for diversity leads by example
Student a teacher of martial arts’ tenets
Finals factoids
Music major creates programs for local schools

Tragedy spurs Muslim student’s effort to bring understanding

Finding history among the trees
Community through architecture
Moving toward a more inclusive environment
Jobe leads with faith, activism
Exploring vast worlds with Harrison Awards
Harvey blends work, study with passion for civic participation
Designing women sow success
Merging technology, music and art
From one-room school to athletic field
Persistence pays for Ukrainian student
Swimmer sets her eyes on Olympic event
Firefighting ideal job for Jefferson Scholar
Pruett’s ready to deploy, but not to leave her kids
Cancer survivor helps others
Student a teacher of martial arts’ tenets
Bidham Parmar — “Kyosah-Nim Bobby’ to his Tae Kwon-Do students
Photo by Andrew Shurtleff
Bidham Parmar — “Kyosah-Nim Bobby’ to his Tae Kwon-Do students

By Virginia E. Carter

Perseverance is one of the five tenets of Tae Kwon-Do. That quality emerged quickly in young Bidhan Parmar.

When he was 12 and had been taking classes at the International Black Belt Center in Charlottesville for about a year, he found himself without a ride one day. Not wanting to miss class, he called a taxi and paid the fare himself.

The five tenets of Tae Kwon-Do are:

Courtesy

Integrity

Perseverance

Self-control

Indomitable will

Now a second-degree black belt, Parmar continues to discipline his body and mind with the almost daily practice of this ancient Korean martial art. He also enjoys teaching children and adults. Gentle yet commanding, he alternates between cajoling, praising, reprimanding and humoring as he pushes students to sharpen their mental and physical powers.

“I’m not only pushing the students. I’m also pushing myself,” said Parmar, who likes the fact that Tae Kwon-Do involves competition with himself instead of with others. “I’ve learned that you have to keep trying. You have to push through those things that are difficult. In Tae Kwon-Do, you are forced to deal with issues right then and there. It’s a skill that’s valuable and easily transfers to other areas of life.”

Parmar, who goes by “Bobby,” has become a popular teacher and fellow student with many from the U.Va. community who take Tae Kwon-Do classes at the Charlottesville center.

“He has this wonderful gift,” said Ed Freeman, one of Parmar’s students who teaches at the Darden School and directs the Olsson Center for Applied Ethics. Freeman, his wife and three children all train at the International Black Belt Center and have come to know Parmar.

“Tae Kwon-Do is hard,” added Freeman. “Bobby works hard. He is smart, mature and really gifted when it comes to teaching. It’s rare to find a young man you want to serve as a role model for your children, but Bobby is truly that — a role model.”
Since entering U.Va., Parmar has developed an even deeper relationship with Freeman. Parmar continues to mentor Freeman in Tae Kwon-Do, but Freeman now has become a mentor, teacher and adviser to Parmar as well. Partially through Freeman’s influence, Parmar has changed his career path from medicine to business ethics.

A religious studies major, Parmar plans to earn an M.B.A. and eventually a doctorate in business. With special permission from Freeman, he took advanced courses in ethics and one Ph.D.-level course in strategic management. Working for Freeman last summer, he wrote case studies on subjects such as Napster that Freeman used in one of his M.B.A. classes. In addition, he designed an undergraduate course in science, business and ethics for Freeman.

Parmar’s interest in children has led him to co-author a children’s book with his girlfriend, an elementary school counselor whom he met through Tae Kwon-Do. Not yet published, “Madison Changes Her Mind” tells of a young girl who learns to stop being angry all the time by changing how she thinks.

The story’s theme of self-development bears many similarities to the teachings of Tae Kwon-Do. At the end of every class, teacher and students gather in a circle. When he is the teacher, Parmar often reminds his students of the five tenets of Tae Kwon-Do: courtesy, integrity, perseverance, self-control and indomitable will.

Those words may be beyond the grasp of students as young as 5 or 6, but they can see what those qualities mean when they watch their role model, Bobby Parmar.


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