Meet some of our amazing instructors & Staff!
Master Vallejos founded Vallejos Tae Kwon Do in 1982, making it the oldest training facility in Benicia. Known to all as Kwan Ja Nim, Master Vallejos is a 6th degree Black Belt bringing decades of martial arts to the thousands of students he has instructed. In the 30 plus years since Vallejos Tae Kwon Do's inception, he has created a true community of martial artists through martial arts development and education. Truly a positive role model within our community, Kwan Ja Nim has played a critical role in each of his students personal development. Boasting three decades of instruction, he takes pride in helping his students find their path, gain lifelong knowledge and ability in the martial arts.
Mr. Mirfakhrai is currently a 2nd degree black belt with Vallejos Tae Kwon Do and has been a student with the school for over 20 years. He works as a staff accountant with a confectioner company. The company he works for manufactures and distributes gourmet quality candy throughout the world. In Mr. M's spare time, he likes to train, work out, play soccer, pull off pranks, and occasionally stuff his face at a buffet.
Ms. Andaya is a 1st degree black belt. She trained and competed at Vallejos Tae Kwon Do when she was younger and is back to continue her training with hopes to test for her 2nd degree black belt. Ms. Andaya's parents have also trained and earned their black belts at Vallejos Tae Kwon Do, her son, AJ, is also a student at Vallejos Tae Kwon Do. Ms. Andaya is currently attending Samuel Merritt University where she is completing a Master's program to become a Nurse Practitioner. When she's not teaching tae kwon do class or doing homework, she is spending time with her son AJ, traveling or training with Mr. Lansang and Mr. Mirfakhrai at Vallejos Tae Kwon Do on the weekends.
Mrs. Der started her martial arts training at the age of 12 after years of begging her parents to join. In her practice, she competed in martial arts tournaments, participated in demonstrations and trained 2-3 hours per day in addition to attending school and other extracurricular activities. Mrs. Der took some time off from tae kwon do to finish up school and now is now a Registered Nurse, married and mother of 3 girls. Through all her successes in life, one such accomplishment has not yet been reached so she returned to Vallejos Tae Kwon Do to finish what she has started and train along side her daughter who is also a student at Vallejos Tae Kwon Do. Mrs. Der teaches others that “Success is a journey, not a destination. The doing is often more important than the outcome.” – Arthur Ashe.
Ms. Legro obtained her first-degree black belt from Vallejos Tae Kwon Do in October 2009. She graduated from Benicia High School in 2015. Ms. Legro is currently enrolled at Diablo Valley College to complete her general education requirements before pursuing her BS in Psychology at California State University. Apart from tae kwon do, she is a trained dancer, obtaining dance instructions from Stage One Dance Center since the age of 2. Ms. LeGro is glad to be back with Vallejos Tae Kwon Do. She loves the rigors of doing the forms, learning grappling and punching techniques. Overall enriching the experience that the school provides in each and every class. She is very grateful and appreciative of the opportunity to work with and provide positive influence to other kids through good discipline and mindset.
Mr Cameron Cruz
Mr. Cruz began his journey with Vallejos Tae Kwon Do at the age of 6 when he was in the 1st grade. Through his hard work and dedication he was able to complete the goal of receiving his black belt in 2017 after 7 years of training. He is currently in the 7th grade and maintains a 4.0 GPA. With the discipline that he has learned and was taught through Vallejos Tae Kwon Do Mr. Cruz is able to always prioritize what is important and what you need to be successful in anything you do. He enjoys time with family, traveling to warm places especially Maui, eating all different kinds of food, playing Xbox and hanging out with friends.
Mr Colin McGrady
Mr. McGrady started at Vallejos Tae Kwon Do when he was 4 1/2 years old. After 7 years of hard work and dedication he received his black belt in 2017. He is currently in middle school and is earning straight A's in all his classes. His hobbies include Tae Kwon Do, listening to music, reading and playing video games with his friends (ALWAYS after homework is done). He also enjoys vacations with his family...his favorite was to Paris with DisneyWorld and Legoland a close second.
Mr Jacen Zuasola
Mr. Zuasola started tae kwon do at 5 years old. After taking about a 3 year break due to relocation, he missed the training. His parents found Vallejos Tae Kwon Do in Benicia through their friend whos children was also students at the school. He took some classes and has been there ever since. Mr. Zuasola is currently a Red-Black belt and is training to receive his Balck Belt this October 2018. He is 15 years old and is a Freshman at Mare Island Technology Academy High School maintaining a 4.0 GPA. Tae Kwon Do has helped him become more confident in himself, focused and most importantly disciplined. Everyday that he is on the mat in class, he strives to show the other children to never give up and to push them to their limits because Mr. Zuasola believes that success in life is to never give up and reach for your goals.
Ms Asia Contapay
Ms Contapay started at 4 years old in 2007. After taking a 3 year break in 2010 due to relocation, she is back at Vallejos Tae Kwon Do. She is currently a Red-Black belt and is training to receive her black belt in October 2018. Ms. Contapay is a Freshman at Benicia High School and is maintaining a 4.0 GPA. Her favorite activities are listening to music, hanging out with friends and reading. She likes to travel with her grandmother to Hawaii and spends lots of time with her cousins at Disneyland.
Mr Luke Castleberry
Mr. Castleberry started training at Vallejos Tae Kwon Do in 2014 when he was 11 years old. After 4 years, he is now a Red belt and is testing to for his Red-Black belt in September. Mr. Castleberry is a Freshman at Benicia High School and maintaining a 3.5 GPA. His favorite activities are practicing tae kwon do, texting with friends and playing basketball. He loves to travel to Southern California to be with his family and Hawaii to go swimming in the nice warm waters.