Friday, January 27, 2012

Why Moo Sul Kwan Taekwondo? Why at the CTI?

By Rex A. Splitt, 2nd dan

Years ago our youngest son (5 years old at the time) was wanting to learn martial arts.  We researched several different schools and when I talked to the instructors at the Moo Sul Kwan school in Craig, CO, it was very evident this was the school for our son.  The educational aspect is what most attracted us, as well as the background of the Sautel’s and their attitude towards learning for their students.

After several months of watching our son’s participation and seeing other adults in classes, I realized that this would be a great way for me to exercise.  I had a high stress job and was looking for exercise and a way to relieve the stress in a positive manner.

So I joined and began my path towards black belt.  The physical fitness aspect was phenomenal.  I felt better, my fitness level greatly improved, and my stress level was significantly reduced.  Watching our son grow and mature through the program was exciting.  He developed the courtesy, integrity, self-control, concentration, and respect that made him the young man he is today.

Several years later our oldest son was promoted to 1st Dan Jr. black belt.  That was interesting as now I called him Mr. Splitt and answered him “Yes sir,” and “No sir.”  During this time our youngest son joined, as did my wife.  So it was a family activity that all of us enjoyed.  We have great memories, photographs, videos, and talk about those often at family gatherings.

After several years I was promoted to 1st Dan black belt and helped lead the school in Craig.  I remember talking with parents of students and many of them saying how much Taekwondo helped their children.  I saw students with learning disabilities start classes and within weeks their grades improved.  Students struggling to get D’s were soon getting B’s. It was not uncommon by the end of the school year to see A’s on their report card.  That achievement alone improved their self-esteem and self-confidence.
 Teachers in the school system were amazed at how students improved once they enrolled in the CTI program.  The teachers would make comments, “Your child is in Moo Sul Kwan isn’t he (she)?”  They saw the change in respect and the student’s ability to concentrate improved.  There were a few teachers that would recommend to parents they enroll the child in Moo Sul Kwan because they had seen the benefits to other children.

So back to my initial question as to why I joined CTI. It remains the physical fitness aspect. I know at age 57 cardiovascular health and physical fitness is important.  I feel better, I have more energy, and my stress is under control.  This is the only exercise activity that I have ever been able to stay with long term. It never gets boring!  There is always more to learn and more to improve on.  The CTI program is flexible to your physical needs.  If there is some activity or technique that you cannot perform because of a physical issue, the instructors understand and they find a way to work around that issue.  So the program is for ALL ages, not just the younger generation.

Another reason is the CTI family.  The friendships you make become life long friends. Friends you can always count on to be there for you.  Some of my best friends are part of the CTI family.  They provide the support and encouragement I need.  I also want other parents and students to be able to experience what my family did.  There is a special bond between my sons and I because of our participation together in Taekwondo.  I enjoy seeing students grow and mature through the CTI program.  Seeing a student graduate from high school, obtain a college degree, get married and start a family just warms my heart. It provides a sense of satisfaction knowing that I helped them become that young adult.

I have been blessed to be part of the CTI family.  Our sons have excellent jobs and are wonderful young men thanks to the leadership and vision of Grandmaster Sautel and the instructors of CTI.  CTI help me as a parent reinforce the ethics and morals I was teaching my children.  Our oldest son and his wife are expecting our first grandchild this year.  Who knows, maybe my grandchild will be a CTI student someday and I will get to teach him or her!

Monday, January 23, 2012


By David Wallace, 1st dan

Why is it important to be a responsible person?

Adult Students at the Tournament
Responsibility is being held accountable for your actions. It’s taking ownership of what you say and do and if you are not a responsible person it can highly limit your abilities to achieve and succeed.

Everyone has certain or specific responsibilities in their lives, whether it’s at home where you have certain tasks or chores that has to be done such as laundry, dishes or taking out the trash.  Someone has to do it and if it is your responsibility then others in your family rely on you to do them otherwise the burden may fall on them. Same thing goes at work.  If you are assigned a certain task then you are responsible for following through in accomplishing that task. Also, having a proven track record of being trustworthy and accountable will help in finding the right job and moving up in that job.

In Moo Sul Kwan Taekwondo, responsibility is something that can propel you to reach those higher goals.  Your instructors are responsible for teaching you Moo Sul Kwan Martial Arts but only you are responsible for what you do with that information and how you use it. It is ultimately your choice in what you take out of or put into your training.  You have to be responsible enough to pay attention and work hard in your classes or keep up those training charts and practice at home.  This responsibility lies solely on your shoulders and no one else.

So, you can take on these responsibilities head on and have the best chance for success.  Hold yourself accountable for everything you do or you can cheat yourself and the others whom may have helped you along the way by not taking ownership in what you do and not being honest with yourself and others which can only lead to failure.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Memorizing Poomse

By Chris Wallace, 1st dan

When you practice your poomse, you need to follow certain rules.  In the CTI, there are ten poomse rules, but this article is only going to cover the first poomse rule.  The first poomse rule is: "memorize the line of movement, the sequence, and direction of the techniques in the form."  That is the first, and the hardest rule to work on and perfect when learning your poomse.  Let's talk about the importance of memorizing your poomse, and what you need to do to memorize it.

The first step in memorizing you poomses is to practice it as many times as you can.  When you practice your poomse, you need to not just practice it, and go through the motions, and expect it to be perfect.  You need to practice it perfect, to make it perfect.  If you just go through the motions and make it sloppy, then it won't be a good poomse.  But if you practice it perfect, going slow, and making it look good, then you will remember it better.  You can practice your poomses at home, or at the park, or even before or after class.

The second step in memorizing your poomse is to go slow while learning it, and then speed it up as you start to practice it more often. That will help you memorize it by getting each move into you head as you are practicing it, so when you've been practicing it for awhile,  you can speed it up because you know it so well.

The third step in memorizing your poomse is to be confident in what you are doing.  If you are confident in your poomse, then you know that you know the moves, even if you make a mistake.  Even if you have to ask questions, you should still be confident in your poomse.  That will help you at the tournament and even in class.  When you are confident, your eyes are up, and you have power, then it will show that you know your poomse well.

In conclusion, you need to practice your poomse, be confident, and practice slow, and then speed up later. There are many steps to memorize your poomse, but these are just some, of many, that are really important in memorizing and making your poomse look good.  Then when you have one poomse down, you can start to break down, and really make your others solid.  

Friday, January 13, 2012

CTI Superbowl!

Our end of the CTI-Year is coming!

The 38th CTI Superbowl is coming February 24 - 25!  Our end of the CTI-Year championships will take place at Alameda High School.   Black Belt competitions begin on Friday evening at 6:00 PM.

Competitions continue on
Saturday at 7:00 AM.  Check your Superbowl schedule for more information on times.

The CTI Superbowl is the only championships of the year where the under black belt students vie for Grand Champion honors.  There will be four divsions of Grand Champion - Adult, Teen, Super Junior and Junior.

Click here for more information.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Sparring Basics

As we all know by now sparring is one area in our training that can be one of the most stimulating experiences in our martial arts training. Sparring is not only one of the most difficult things we do but it is as close as we can get to a real life situation where we would need to have the proper reflexes to defend ourselves. In order to obtain these specific reflexes we cannot simply hop into the sparring ring and expect them to come to us naturally. Even as upper belts, we still need to practice many different combinations, thousands of times before we can expect them to work in the sparring ring effectively.

It is nearly impossible to be successful in a sparring match by throwing single moves at a time. Combinations are what will always score the points. The idea is to have enough moves in the combinations that you throw to overwhelm your opponent so you can get in and score your point. Predicting a sparring match is much like predicting the future, it is nearly impossible, which is why you never know what the outcome will be. However, if you practice certain combinations that work for you, then you are more likely to use these moves in the match as reflexes as opposed to surprising yourself about what moves you throw.
As we have heard many times, sparring is much like a chess game, where we need to stay two steps ahead of our opponent. To do this takes a great deal of practice. Make sure to keep your “wall” in between you and your opponent. Do not let them cross this line unless you have a plan and do not cross this line yourself until you know that they are not expecting it.  Get your opponent to react to you by never stopping and always faking.
It is important to remember that each sparring match varies from one opponent to the next. There are many parts of sparring, however, that remain the same throughout each match. Maximum speed with controlled power is needed in order to get in and score the point and get out without being touched. Immediate reactions are always needed because, again, sparring matches are unpredictable. And also remember to always spar your match, have your opponent react to you.

It all comes down to practice! If you practice you sparring exercises then your sparring will improve. These are the basics of sparring.

Taekwondo Black Belts Sparring

Friday, January 6, 2012

Tales from the Other Side

By Chris Landis, yellow belt
Martial Arts for Kids and Parents!

The boys were extremely excited to know that dad was going to be a white belt . . .

After six months of classes at the Colorado Taekwondo Institute, Westminster Campus, I’m writing this for those parents and adults who look in on the classes from the spectator’s seats to give you a small taste of the experiences I've encountered on “the other side of the glass”.

I have two teenage sons (recently increased to 3 with the introduction of a foreign exchange student) that attended CTI approximately six months before I got the opportunity to join them.  I found myself often watching them when I would pick them up from a workout and wonder if I could survive such a workout and what it would be like to participate with the boys in such a physical activity.  Apparently, I wasn't as quiet about my dreaming as I thought or my wife’s ability to see right through me is far more advanced than I gave her credit for, as she provided me with one of the best Christmas presents I've ever received – a six month membership to CTI.

You must realize a few things about me to really appreciate the insights I’m providing.  First, being a 42+ year old manager of software support organization, the greatest amount of exercise that I normally participated in was the walk from my vehicle to my desk, or the occasional walk from my desk to the vending machines on another floor of the building (only if the local machines were out of my favorite afternoon snack…).  To say the job I was in was sedentary and that I was out of shape would be an understatement.  Granted, we have a full complement of  exercise equipment in the basement at home that I would occasionally get interested in for a week before life took over and they returned to convenient clothes hanging repositories and multi-level stacking and sorting devices.  The other issue I dealt with is that as work stresses mounted with the challenges of keeping customers happy and meeting budgetary requirements, I found that I would spend much of my time at home dealing with work issues, extending the stress, and missing out on time with the family.  So, when I opened the Christmas gift and imagined the workouts that my out-of-shape physique was destined for and the time commitment the work outs would require, a bit of panic set in.

The boys were extremely excited to know that dad was going to be a white belt in their class (they had advanced in rank to Orange belts by this time) and were dreaming of the opportunity to “help” me out as long as I addressed them as “sir”.  The adventures began with the initial “Intro” session where my boys participated with Master John Sautel in walking me through the CTI expectations in class protocol and Master Sautel set the groundwork for inter-rank respect and boundaries for us as a family to follow to keep us safe and supportive of each other.  It was very apparent that the respect and discipline that is discussed in the brochures was a way of life in the CTI family, not just a way to keep a class under control.  Master Sautel was also very clear that as I started my adventure that it was important for me to not try to keep up with the teenage boys, but to work into this at my own pace and to protect myself against over doing it (including in-class reminders like “for those over 29, be smart about this …”).

After my intro session, it was exciting to start attending regular classes.  I struggled with the first hurdle of counting to ten in the Korean language and filling out my first written assignment, but persevered and obtained my white belt.  The ensuing six months of classes took me through learning basic moves, poomse, self defense and one step sparring drills.  Each of these activities held its own challenge for me with both training my body to perform the moves and mentally learning and remembering the sequences for each.  The boys often provided assistance in helping me remember these basic activities I had been taught in class since they had progressed past them, but never entertained taking me past what I had been taught by the black belt instructors.  I found myself coming home from the classes when I had received a “stripe” and presenting my new achievements to my wife much like the boys do each time they get recognized with advancements.  We all laugh and have fun with my achievements at home, but it has been very rewarding from a personal perspective of achieving these advancements and sharing in the process with my boys with a level of understanding of what they’re experiencing rather than just being supportive of their efforts.

Another interesting phenomenon has also occurred as I modified my schedule to support attending classes two nights a week.  I find that each night I attended class, after having a stressful day at work; I literally had to empty my mind to focus on the learning that had to take place during the class. This forced me to completely leave the challenges of work behind and remove the mental stress of my job for that night.  This mental decompression, along with a very physical work out, has improved my stamina and ability to handle both work and family challenges.  It has also improved my physical condition and the benefits of fitting into clothes I've not tried to get into for years doesn't hurt either.

So, next time you hear of a “family night” or are given the opportunity to participate in an “intro” session, I encourage you to give it a try to physically experience what your kids are participating in or what you see from your spectator’s seat.  The possibilities are endless, and I assure you that the staff at CTI will be supportive and protective of your physical and mental well being to the best of their abilities.


I hope you can tell by my short ramblings that the experience with CTI has been one of extreme satisfaction, personal achievement, improved family connections, and of respect for the staff and students of CTI.  I can honestly say that every black belt in the school that I've worked with demonstrates every tenet of respect and CTI values that I learned of in the intro session from Master Sautel, not because they were reminded to, but because it is ingrained in their training and the approach followed to turn them into leaders for CTI is consistent and purpose driven.  I see consistent  examples of upper ranking students teaching and encouraging fellow students in a positive fashion and as a parent and I’m excited to have my boys involved with such an organization as CTI.