Martial arts instructor says discipline is the key
Rex Hutton has survived electrocution and he has survived a strike on the head by a 4,000-pound cast iron lamp pole.
The now retired lineman, who has spent half of his life recovering from massive injuries received in his work, is not only a survivor, he's also a fighter.
In fact, Hutton, an eighth-degree Tae Kwon Do blackbelt and a former professional kickboxer, can deliver a 65 mph kick.
Through the 1980s, Hutton taught Tae Kwon Do in Tonganoxie. In July, he will start teaching martial arts again.
Hutton, 54, said he's offering classes for all ages, including pee wee classes for children as young as 5 through 7, and classes for senior citizens.
Hutton said that discipline, structure and patience are key to teaching martial arts to young children
With the older children, Hutton requires that they follow his rules, rules that include having at least a C grade average in school.
"They have to bring me their grade cards," Hutton said. And their grades usually improve once the students become involved in Tae Kwon Do, he said.
"Usually from a C average, they would bring their grades up to a B, and that's just from the structure," Hutton said. "They knew they had to do well."
Also, Hutton said, the ability to fight isn't a license to fight except in his classroom.
"If they want to fight, they come in here and we gear them up and we spar with one another," Hutton said.
"You've got to teach them from a young age hitting people and kicking people will get you sued or thrown in jail."
Hutton, who grew up in the Argentine area of Kansas City, Kan., said he learned as a child the danger of fighting.
"I've been in probably a thousand street fights and I'm not proud of it. We used to bloody noses and break jaws," Hutton said. "I teach kids today that that's not the way to go."
Hutton said his first experience with martial arts was in 1964, when he enlisted in the Marines and trained in self-defense.
"I really liked it, but I never followed up on it until I got injured," Hutton said.
His injury occurred on the job in the mid-1970s, he said. He was electrocuted.
"It burned me nearly half in two," he said. "Thirty-two percent of my body was disabled, according to the doctors."
Hutton holds up his left hand, displaying a half-dollar sized scar near his thumb.
"The electricity went in me here and blew out my chest," he said.
During recovery, his physicians recommended martial arts training to help Hutton with physical rehabilitation.
"It's good therapy," he said. "There are a lot of people out there who have injuries, or who have health problems and the martial arts are really good for them."
Hutton's wife, Rita, agreed.
"You can go slow or go faster," she said. "You stretch a lot and that brings oxygen to the muscles in your body."
He was in pretty good shape, he said, until February of this year when a 4,000-pound cast iron trolley pole fell on him.
"I was pretty much mangled," Hutton said. "It broke all my ribs, I had five internal injuries and I can't even move my neck it's like somebody hit me with a big sledge hammer on the top of my head."
After this injury, Hutton said he decided 36 years as a lineman was enough.
But he wanted to stay active, so he decided to teach Tae Kwon Do full time.
He and Rita have rented space at the New Town Center, the same building where he used to teach. This is located at the intersection of U.S. Highway 24-40 and Third Street. The first sign up for classes will be Tuesday.