Sonoma Taekwondo Center started in 1989, as a small club in room 210 at the Sonoma Community Center on Napa St. STC was started as an outreach martial arts program of Sabatino’s Taekwondo in Santa Rosa. Mr. Sabatino was Mr. Hoffmann’s senior instructor at the time, and asked Mr. Hoffmann if he would open a club in the Sonoma area. The club opened with 3 students on that first day. Jason, Kim, and Justin Hoffmann, but we never looked back. After only a few months of being open Mr. Sabatino retired from martial arts, and the club became Mr./ Mrs. Hoffmann’s responsibility. At that time STC was only open 2 days a week, but by the end of the first year we were open 6 days per week, and had over 50 students. The school was obviously outgrowing its space at the community center.
After almost two years in the community center, and 75 + students later the school moved to its current location in the Vineyard Center on Hwy 12. Moving into our own space was a big deal. Lots of excitement accompanied our move. We were so anxious to get started at our new location that the walls were still bare sheetrock, the office and front counter were still in the design stage, but we were teaching classes and enjoying our new found space, all 1065 sq. ft. of it. Actually teaching at STC with one thing or another under construction has not been that unusual. It’s not uncommon for students to leave class on Friday only to find something moved or changed upon returning Monday. This happened (actually, it still does, a little) so often, the school got the nickname Winchester Mystery Dojang.
The school stayed that size for about 4 ½ years. Than in early 1995 the space on our left became available, (actually I think the Insurance guys got tired of all the noise and bouncing off the walls) we added that 685 sq. ft. to our school. Now, we had space for a little Pro Shop, and a little more room for the parents. We designed some cubbyholes for the students gear, and added more workout space. We grew to our current size of 3000 +sq. ft. when the space on our right came available and we remodeled one more time.
Until 1995 the school was part time only open from 4:00 to 9:00 Monday thru Friday, and a few hours on Saturday morning. Mr. Hoffmann was still a full time Painting Contractor and we lived in Santa Rosa, 45 minutes away. We decided to stop the contracting and be a full time martial arts school in early 1995. This was a huge moment for us, (at the time, martial art businesses where the #1 failing business in the United States) but again we looked ahead, never to look back again. Closing the painting business allowed the family to moved to Sonoma in 1995 to make life a little easier.
In it’s short history STC has gone from 4 classes per week to 36 classes, from being open two days per week to six days. Our first 4th of July Parade had 12 students; our last one had 127 students. We’ve had over 2000 students come through our school, but what we are most proud of is the 57 students that have graduated as black belts.