7th AF IG spars with dual roles
By Staff Sgt. Stefanie Torres, 51st Fighter Wing Public Affairs
/ Published August 22, 2012
OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- His quiet demeanor does not allude to the fact that this 7th Air Force Inspector General has trained for more than 22 years in combat and self defense techniques.
Lt. Col. Patrick Finan not only manages a complaints resolution program for 7th Air Force, but he is the lead planner for peninsula-wide exercises in the Republic of Korea for his day job, however, during his down time from highly stressful days, this third-degree black belt puts on the karate gear to play another significant role that spans across the peninsula -- Armed Forces Director of the United States Taekwon-Do Federation.
"Several members overseas practice Taekwon-Do at schools, and the armed forces director is responsible for any school overseas," he explained. "This means they can report to me for senior level belt testing or black belt testing, but they can also go through me for any issues they may have."
Finan's love for the martial arts started in his college days and is now extended through his free classes at Osan Air Base, where anyone can join no matter what prior experience they have.
"I love teaching and just being able to help people," he said. "That's just in my nature. I enjoy spreading the knowledge and love that I have for the art. That's why my class is free. I get to just teach and enjoy it."
After joining the Air Force, Finan took eight years off from training because there were no schools that were right for him, he explained. But it wasn't until his son was enrolled in Taekwon-Do that the inspiration for it came back.
"I interviewed five different schools to see if I wanted my son to go there and chose one of them, which happened to be a (U.S. Taekwon-Do Federation school)," he said. "It was a different form from what I was used to, and a different organization, but six to seven months later, I started up with them and I've been with them ever since."
Tech. Sgt. John Villanueva, a 7th Air Force medical material apprentice, is currently taking classes with Finan to keep his skills up to date and to train him for his 3rd degree black belt.
"I started training when I was six -- as a real little kid," said Villanueva. "I was also brought up on a different style, but this one gives me another opportunity to learn Taekwon-Do through the eyes and tutelage of a USTF instructor."
Taekwon-Do for Villanueva helped him as a child when he was able to use all of his energy in the classes.
"I was really hyper as a kid so my parents took it upon themselves to enroll me in a class to harness some of that energy and be able to focus it in somewhere," he said. "Thankfully it was something I enjoyed and I could just cut loose with the energy, but it still gave me enough to be able to focus. It helps with flexibility, mind clearing, and it is a good escape to be able to exercise and tune everything else out. I've just always been interested in it."
People of all ages are welcomed to join the class or even watch, said Finan.
Classes are Tuesdays and Thursday from 7-9 in the Community Center here.
"You just have to show up," he said.