About five years ago, Adam Wenzlik accompanied his children to a birthday party where the kids were all invited to learn some martial arts moves.
“I was sitting there watching our kids, and it looked like they were having so much fun,” Adam remembers. “The kids looked excited, but it also seemed like a good source for concentration and discipline. I called my wife and said, ‘We’ve got to do this!’”
The entire family began taking taekwondo lessons together. Today, they all have their first-degree black belts and will be going for their second-degree black belts this month.
To expose other children to the martial art, Adam and his daughter, Jacqueline, 11 – and sometimes wife Kathryn Bailey and son Noah, 10 – have given demonstrations at The Hill Center and Forest View Elementary School, schools his daughter attended. With music in the background, they’ve performed a skit that shows off different taekwondo moves, including kicks, punches, board-breaking and a series of choreographed movements in unison.
For Adam, exploring sports and exposing others to the joy of moving one’s body is nothing new. The Durham family medicine doctor also coaches youth soccer and basketball with Hillandale Sports Association and Durham Parks and Recreation. “I think you learn a lot of good skills from sports, not just from team sports but also individual ones – to push yourself, budget time, sportsmanship, all kinds of things,” he says.
He acknowledges that it’s hard to be a parent, have a full-time job and still find time for community service and other interests, but he tries to include his family whenever he can. “I enjoy it so much because I can do it with one or both of my kids, and sometimes my wife, too,” Adam says. “We make it as much of a family activity as possible.”
That’s also been the case with his efforts at The Hill Center, which both Noah and Jacqueline attended (they now attend the Duke School and Camelot Academy, respectively). The center helps children who learn differently, using small class sizes and personal relationships to help students who might otherwise struggle academically. But because of its cost, many students who might benefit from the programming aren’t able to access its services.
That’s ultimately why Adam decided to get involved in the Hill Mile, the center’s biggest fundraising event – but it didn’t hurt that he loves to run. He convinced his practice, Bull City Family Medicine and Pediatrics, to become one of the event’s sponsors. The office also set up a booth on the day of the run to conduct health screenings. The whole family participates in the run – which raised $55,000 this past April – as do many of his office’s staff members.
Perhaps Adam’s focus on physical health isn’t surprising for someone who spends his days thinking about wellness. “I try to help people out, help them feel better,” Adam says. “And if I can lead by example and encourage them to stay fit and healthy, I do.”