At Rotary, from Red Tiger to the ‘Diving D.A.’

Mar­cello Can­cel­liere, own­er of Red Ti­ger Taek­won-Do in Bustleton, told the Rotary Club of Frank­ford-North­east that the be­ne­fits of the Korean mar­tial art in­clude self-de­fense, dis­cip­line and stress re­lief.


Red Ti­ger Taek­won-Do own­er and head in­struct­or Mar­cello Can­cel­liere in­sists he hasn’t worked a day in his life.

“I have the best job in the world,” he said. “My biggest con­cern in the morn­ing is which uni­form to put on.”

Can­cel­liere, 40, spoke about his pas­sion at the June 5 meet­ing of the Rotary Club of Frank­ford-North­east.

The busi­ness­man is a gradu­ate of Ma­ter Dol­orosa Ele­ment­ary School and North Cath­ol­ic High School. He earned an an­thro­po­logy de­gree from Temple Uni­versity.

Mario Can­cel­liere, his Itali­an-born fath­er, opened a tae kwon do stu­dio in 1983 at 4665 Frank­ford Ave., un­der the El and above an MAB paint store.

Young Mar­cello began train­ing in the late 1970s and opened his first stu­dio at age 16 near Rising Sun and Cottman av­en­ues. It moved to Feasterville in 1991 and re­lo­cated to May­fair in 1994. The May­fair school, or “dojang,” out­grew its loc­a­tion and moved to its present site at 1912 Welsh Road in Bustleton in 2001.

Over the years, he’s been a com­pet­it­or, cap­tain or coach at sev­en tae kwon do world cham­pi­on­ships.

A mar­ried fath­er of three, he lives in Churchville, Bucks County.

In ad­di­tion to tae kwon do, which is a Korean mar­tial art foun­ded in 1955, Red Ti­ger of­fers pro­grams in yoga, spin­ning, per­son­al train­ing and car­dio-kick.

Can­cel­liere, a sev­enth-de­gree black belt, ex­plained that tae kwon do’s be­ne­fits in­clude self-de­fense, dis­cip­line, stress re­lief, self-con­trol, con­fid­ence, self-es­teem and car­di­ovas­cu­lar fit­ness.

The school is for men, wo­men and chil­dren, both ad­vanced and be­gin­ners. There are morn­ing, af­ter­noon and even­ing classes that of­fer con­tact and non-con­tact drills.

The old­est stu­dent is 78. Can­cel­liere said he’d ac­cept a 3½-year-old “Little Ti­ger” if he or she could fol­low dir­ec­tion.

Stu­dents who show com­mit­ment and pro­fi­ciency can test for belts and move on to na­tion­al and in­ter­na­tion­al com­pet­i­tions.

There’s also a char­it­able com­pon­ent of the school. It’s raised more than $200,000 for the Na­tion­al Mul­tiple Scler­osis So­ci­ety and also made dona­tions to can­cer and school schol­ar­ship or­gan­iz­a­tions.

In ad­di­tion, stu­dents pur­su­ing their black belts per­form com­munity ser­vice pro­jects, such as tak­ing part in cleanups and vo­lun­teer­ing at soup kit­chens.

For safety, the floors are mat­ted and spar­ring ses­sions re­quire headgear and mouth guards.

“I think I’ve called the am­bu­lance to my school three times,” said Can­cel­liere, ex­plain­ing that a boy broke his leg once while jump­ing and the oth­er two in­cid­ents were un­re­lated to the tae kwon do in­struc­tion.

Can­cel­liere told Rotary mem­bers that the ten­ets of tae kwon do are cour­tesy, in­teg­rity, per­sever­ance, self-con­trol and an in­dom­it­able spir­it.

“We don’t al­low stu­dents to go around test­ing their tech­niques on oth­er people,” he said.

The classes are de­signed to be fun, but stu­dents are ex­pec­ted to be punc­tu­al, bring in their re­port cards and be all-around good cit­izens.

“They wear our uni­form 24-7,” Can­cel­liere said. “They rep­res­ent Red Ti­ger. They rep­res­ent tae kwon do.”

• • •

Anne Mar­ie Coyle was on the job four months as a Phil­adelphia as­sist­ant dis­trict at­tor­ney when she had a scary ex­per­i­ence.

Back in 1986, be­fore the Crim­in­al Justice Cen­ter was built, cases were heard in City Hall.

One day, a wo­man smuggled a gun in­to Room 196 and began shoot­ing. A court of­ficer was ser­i­ously wounded.

“She was a little up­set with her boy­friend,” Coyle re­called.

The young pro­sec­utor suffered a con­cus­sion after hit­ting a table while scram­bling out of harm’s way.

The “diving DA,” as she was called, had many more calm days on the job. She worked there for 16 years be­fore leav­ing in 2002, hand­ling hom­icide cases and oth­er vi­ol­ent crimes un­der Ron Castille and Lynne Ab­ra­ham.

“I loved that job,” she said.

Today, she lives in the Far North­east and is a part­ner in the firm Marino, Con­roy & Coyle, which is loc­ated at Third and Whar­ton streets in South Phil­adelphia.

She was the guest speak­er at the Rotary Club of Frank­ford-North­east’s May meet­ing. A gradu­ate of St. Kath­er­ine of Si­ena Gram­mar School and Arch­bish­op Ry­an High School (Class of 1977), she spoke on the top­ic, “Power of Pos­it­ive Ac­tion and Self-Re­li­ance.”

The at­tor­ney en­cour­aged the Rotary mem­bers to smile and speak with people, not over them or to them. She also called on them to an­nounce their names with au­thor­ity when in­tro­du­cing them­selves.

And for those who think they have it rough, Coyle has seen it all in the last dec­ade fo­cus­ing on fam­ily law.

“I’m not go­ing to com­plain so much today,” she tells her­self after par­tic­u­larly tough cases.

In the ques­tion-and-an­swer ses­sion, Rotary mem­bers were in­ter­ested in Coyle’s past and fu­ture runs for judge.

In 2009 and 2011, the Re­pub­lic­an ran up­hill bids for Com­mon Pleas Court. Like some of the can­did­ates, she cross-filed on both ma­jor party bal­lots.

“You really need to win on the Demo­crat­ic side,” she said, not­ing that party’s huge voter re­gis­tra­tion ad­vant­age.

Coyle, who earned a polit­ic­al sci­ence de­gree from La Salle in 1981 and her law de­gree from Vil­lan­ova in 1984, de­scribes her­self as a strict in­ter­pret­er of the U.S. and Pennsylvania con­sti­tu­tions. She fin­ished well be­hind the pack in 2009, but came close to vic­tory two years later. She’s plan­ning a run for Com­mon Pleas or Mu­ni­cip­al Court in 2013, jok­ing that she’ll “keep go­ing ’til they let me in.”

The keys to vic­tory, she be­lieves, in­clude meet­ing as many people as pos­sible and draw­ing a good bal­lot po­s­i­tion.

Can­did­ates also have to raise a lot of money.

“It’s a ne­ces­sity, un­for­tu­nately,” she said.

The 2011 race was par­tic­u­larly ex­pens­ive.

“Fin­an­cially, it really, really drained me,” she said.

Coyle, whose 16-year-old daugh­ter, Sarah, at­tends Naz­areth Academy High School, con­siders 2012 as a “year of re­cov­ery.”

She de­clined to run this year for the 169th Le­gis­lat­ive Dis­trict seat and doesn’t miss hav­ing to go from event to event every night on the cam­paign trail.

Asked wheth­er so­cial me­dia is  im­port­ant in a ju­di­cial race, Coyle ar­gued that it isn’t.

“You know what we call Face­book in my line of work? Evid­ence,” she said. ••

The Rotary Club of Frank­ford-North­east meets every Tues­day from 12:15 to 1:30 p.m. at Cannstat­ter’s, at 9130 Academy Road.

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