Monday, July 29, 2013

MSK Summer Expo XXIX

This year's Moo Sul Kwan Summer Expo XXIX was outstanding!  The well attended Expo provided excellent classes, an amazing race, fun and informative classes for parents, friends and family members, and much more.

The action began on Friday with the singing of our National Anthem by Miss Emily Brophy, 1st dan.  Introductions of the Expo XXIX Teaching Staff, and a talk from Grandmaster Sautel on the theme of the weekend, "Step by Step"  followed.

The Expo XXIX classes and seminars ran from poomse and sparring to American History and Aquatic Taekwondo.  The Expo XXIX juniors also had classes in rocket building, while the adults and upper belts had the opportunity to have extra training with special guest Grandmaster Charles F. Hildebrand, President of Moo Sul Kwan and the AMASEA.

Classes took place with students separated by age and belt level.  The classes were taught by these outstanding MSK instructors:  GM Hildebrand, 8th - Self-Defense and Advanced Training, Jim Sautel, 7th - Advanced Training, Poomse and Sparring, Mindy Sautel, 6th - One-Step Sparring, John Sautel, 6th - Sparring, Bill Jones, 5th - Aquatic TKD and Kicking, Erik Albrechtson, 5th - Chang-Hon Poomse, Freddy Sautel, 4th - Staff and Advanced Kicking, Clayton Garner, 4th - Taegeuk Poomse, Alice Meyung, 4th - Self-Defense, Bridget Sautel, 3rd - Basics Fun, Abdu Kikhia, 3rd - Poomse, Andy McDaniel, 3rd - Walking Drills, Michael Sandusky, 2nd - Expo Obstacles, Nick Slinkard, 2nd - Target Kicking, Eric Evans, 2nd - Rocket Building and Don Johnson, 1st - American History

The Expo XXIX Banquet and Party began at 6:30 PM on Saturday evening.  After dinner, the different campuses and schools performed skits that turned into our kick-off for next year's CTI Black Belt Team World Tour '14.   After the hilarious skits were performed, a short video and  a special movie were shown.  Music was provided by Hoshinmotion, our own black belt band who also played at the AMASEA National Convention this spring.

Special awards were presented at the Expo Banquet.  MSK / AMASEA / CTI Honorary Black Belts were presented to John and Mary Kay Albrechtson.  Parents of Master Erik Albrechtson, Mr. and Mrs. Albrechtson were the first ever to receive these very special belts in recognition of the many years of support they have shown to MSK, the AMASEA and the CTI.

Also recognized were 10 year Expo participants;  Holly Madayag, Michael Madayag, Sierra Field and Grandmaster Hildebrand.  Because they have now been to ten MSK Expos, each will be added to next year's MSK Summer Expo Council.

Grandmaster Hildebrand presented special plaques to Master Merinda J. Sautel who was recognized for an important milestone - 30 years in Moo Sul Kwan martial arts and to Freddy Sautel who also received recognition for his 20th year in Moo Sul Kwan.

On Saturday afternoon, the Amazing Moo Sul Race 9 took place.  Starting at the lodge, teams took off on foot.  They covered a lot of ground as they journeyed up a steep, rocky "hill" performing the many different aspects of MSK martial arts at specified stations.

First place teams:  Lindner/Barnard/Apodaca/Bickford         Dodd/Lautrup/Lincke/Wyngarden      Copper/Randall/Eddy       Wallen/Sokolove       Sautel/Sautel        Feagans/McKernan/LaMorgese/Kim        Feagans/Carreon/Hartmann/Marine           Kikhia/Jones

On the Junior Amazing Moo Sul Race 9, the 1st place winners were;  Kayla Visnyei, Chase Wyngarden, Devan Bagley, Jonah Elstad, Kylie Bickford, Andres Deppemeier, Anya Trilk and Taylee Knez.

Sunday began with early morning workouts for the black belts, followed by work with the red and brown belts.  Then more exciting classes took place until time for the closing ceremonies.

A memorable weekend . . . a true learning experience that will help everyone improve and succeed - "Step by Step!" . . . . . next year - #30!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Taekwondo School Denounces Bullying With Anti-Bullying Workshop

Adrienne Jones admits to being a bully when she was a child, and even getting into fights.

Then more than twenty years later, Jones stood and faced numerous adults and children one Saturday to conduct a workshop denouncing bullying.

Jones and Wayne, her husband, own the Soaring Eagles Taekwondo Academy in Vallejo and Pinole, California. They presented a free and communal anti-bullying workshop at their Vallejo school.

"Bullying has become such a problem," said Adrienne Jones, who is now a fourth-degree black belt master. "I've seen firsthand what bullying can do to someone."

Jones said that when she was a teenager one of her friends ended up in prison after murdering an individual who had been bullying him. He then took his own life, she added.

The hour-long workshop teaches parents and children how to recognize bullies and stand up to them. The workshop also teaches to spot signs that their children are victims of bullying, and how to address the problem.  

"The first key is to not be a bully yourself," she said at the end of the workshop. "The second key is that you will not tolerate any bullying."

In this particular workshop, Adrienne Jones stressed that people who sit around and do not stop bullying are just as at much fault as the bully.

"It only takes one person to repel a bully," she said.

Emylie Forky, 14, and her parents Paul and Ladonna were in attendance at the workshop.

Attending the workshop was something of great importance for to the Forky family who had come back to Vallejo because of brutal bullying Emylie had been encountering in her Hawaiian school.

"It got so bad," Ladonna Forky said. "We had eight meetings in a month period with different people in the school, but nothing changed."

Paul Forky, who is enrolled as a student in the academy, and his wife said they see eye to eye with Adrienne Jones' presentation.

"Schools that say they have zero tolerance against anti bullying should enforce it," Ladonna Forky said. "It does no good to have the policy in place with no enforcement."

Paul Forky also said that parents are integral in such circumstances by being as supportive and positive as they can be.

Emylie, who attends North Hills Christian School, said that although the bullying in Hawaii was painful, it did help her to become a stronger person.

"I know how to deal with it now," she said. "I really stand up for myself."

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Rabbi Uses Martial Arts as Physical Therapy for Children with Disabilities

For Rabbi Gary Moskowitz, efforts to hold a clinic at Glendale’s Forest Park Jewish Center about integrating martial arts into health care and education for children with disabilities and illnesses has been a long and winding road.

Rabbi Gary Moskowitz, uses martial arts as a method of therapy for children battling cancer and other illnesses or disabilities.

Moskowitz grew up in the South Bronx in the 1970s. He was often targeted and victimized through robberies for wearing a yarmulke. By the time he was 14 he had already been on the wrong end of four armed robberies.

Moskowitz, went on to become a New York City police officer, private investigator, teacher, principal, and social worker.

He began training in karate as a child for self defense. Now has gone on to found a nonprofit called Martial Arts Therapy.

Martial Arts Therapy combines several forms of martial arts to provide children battling cancer and other serious illnesses and disabilities to teach them methods in pain management, physical therapy and deep relaxation.

On one Tuesday afternoon, Moskowitz stood in front of a group of martial arts instructors, physical and occupational therapists, and special education teachers gathered at the clinic in Glendale.

He provided them with an outline of how he hopes educators and health workers can include martial arts in their work.

“Most people don’t know what the martial arts are – they think it’s a punch and a kick but martial arts is a health system,” said Moskowitz, who has taught martial arts to the police, self-defense to women and hostage situation tactics to Israeli anti-terrorist units. “Martial arts is about living a healthy life, about nutrition, about exercise – it’s how to use force for healing purposes.”

He has seen firsthand how teaching martial arts has helped to heal, if not heal, at least help children who have, a range of disabilities.

“They push themselves because they want to,” said Moskowitz, who himself has a daughter with special needs. “They push themselves more than they ever thought they could do. It’s all about empowerment.”

The leader of the Self Defense Academy on Kissena Boulevard in Kew Gardens Hills, Avi Avramcheyiv, volunteers as a coach for Moskowitz and said he hopes to help the rabbi build support for an increased use of martial arts in places like schools and children’s hospitals.

“We work with kids in wheelchairs, kids who are very sick, and we want them to know they can do things with whatever they have,” said Avramcheyiv.

Moskowitz said his main goal is to continue providing free therapy for children in his own center manned by volunteers like Avramcheyiv.

“I’m convinced we can help a lot of children,” Moskowitz said.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Army Veteran Uses Martial Arts for Mental Health Healing

About eight years ago in Afghanistan, a roadside bomb damaged most of retired Army Sergeant Jason Pegg's left arm. He was left with a thick scar that starts at his triceps and end at his wrist. Though it has been year since his last combat mission, Pegg, 33, still suffers from intermittent spells of anxiety.

But Pegg find’s peace at a martial arts school in Reynoldsburg. He and other veterans take their battle scars to the mats.

Four times a week, the 6-foot, 280-pound Pegg practices his martial art techniques with men of all ages and sizes. The sport's physical aspect helps him blow off steam while offering a sense of camaraderie similar to what he experienced in the army, Pegg said.

"It gets your mind off life," Pegg said. "Two hours a night where you're out and nothing else matters."

Mental-health issues in the military are gaining more attention in the public eye, and nonconventional forms of treating trauma, including martial arts, are acquiring more awareness.

"They don't like to go to a therapist and talk about what happened, and traditional methods focus on talking about what happened," said retired Col. Elspeth Ritchie, the chief clinical officer at the District of Columbia's Department of Mental Health. "For some young men, some of these alternative methods are a very good way to go."

The Veterans Administration's Chalmers P. Wylie Ambulatory Care Center in Columbus recently began offering programs combining meditation, yoga and tai-chi, said Dr. Kathy Cable, a recreational therapist at the hospital.

The center also works with the Columbus Recreation and Parks Department to offer adaptive sports programs for injured veterans, an initiative gaining steam across the country, she said.

For Army Reserve Capt. Paul Ricca, martial arts provided a break from the battles raging outside his base in Afghanistan. Ricca and his squad members would spar during their downtime.

"Having something to take your mind off what you're dealing with, like jiu-jitsu, like anything intensely physical, it allows you to escape that moment," said Ricca, who's been participating in the sport for 10 years.

For people with injuries such as Pegg's, who spent a year and a half recovering at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Washington, the sport's slower pace and focus on technique can serve as a platform to return to athletics.

Seven years ago a hand-grenade explosion in Afghanistan left Zac Scott, a retired Army staff sergeant from Columbus, with shrapnel lodged in his face and legs, as well as nightmares in which he'd relive the attack. But like Pegg, Scott has found relief and support in martial arts.

"No one wants to hurt each other," he said. "It's a family."

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Martial Arts Help Blind Girl Keep Bullies at Bay

Not unlike many other kids around the globe, Maxine Ingram was a target for bullies in her school.  But unlike many her peers who were bullied, she was targeted for being blind.

One day in a school corridor she was singled out by a few bullies because she was blind. At this point she had two choices: to stay and fight the bullies or back down and take a rough beating.  Luckily, for Maxine, she was trained in martial arts, so she was able to fight back. But she wasn’t always trained to keep the bullies at bay.

Maxine Ingram, from Trimsaran, in West Wales, was born entirely blind after not having sufficient oxygen at birth. Following her few years at a blind institute, she was transferred into mainstream education at the age of seven.

"My mother wanted me integrated in an able-bodied school,” said Maxine. “She believed spending so long in a specially-equipped blind school would only make entering a sighted community more difficult.”

Her mother Val often encouraged Maxine's three siblings to 'rough and tumble' with her to give her more confidence to fight back.

"It definitely did the job too, trust me, because children can be very nasty!" Val said.

While Maxine did have a good circle of friends at school, she was soon to become the target of bullies.

"A lot of the kids were quite mean,” said Maxine. “They'd call me 'one-eye bandit' and things like that. It didn't affect me too badly until they beat me up. I obviously didn't see the first punch so they knocked me quite hard and it took me by surprise. But once I felt the initial hit I was able to strike back. And I did.”

Once Maxine had begun her martial arts training, "No-one wanted to mess with me after that," she said.

"I'd tried most sports but because I'm totally blind I'd have to have a guide. All I needed for martial arts was a sighted training partner and a coach. It's just you, your referee and your opponent. My disability allows me to catch sighted and visually impaired opponents off guard. My grip is incredibly strong, which they don't like, and also my spatial awareness is good.”

And now that 12 years have gone by, Maxine, 26, is preparing for her second Paralympic trials as the only British female judo player at her level sighted or blind.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

How Martial Arts can help Children Succeed in School

It is no secret that education is vital for a child’s success in life. They can read the Saturday paper to scan the employment ads; they can write a thank you card to a person who interviewed them for employment; they learn how to create a good resume; They can make correct change; these are all crucial skills for child to learn if they are going to survive in the competitive job market when they grow older. But are there some things that a public school cannot teach a child? If you are looking to expand your child’s horizons even further, prepare them for the real world even more, or even help them do better in school, then you might want to get your child involved in martial arts.

Martial arts promote self-discipline in ways that hardly any other after-school activities can match. They will learn to focus on achieving their goals, they will learn how to rely on their self rather than a group, and they will feel a need to attend class regularly (even when they don’t feel like it). All of these attributes of discipline will carry over into their work at school.

The ability to memorize will be taught to them in the forms of the martial arts. These forms of martial arts movements can be fairly complex and can really test a child’s ability to remember them. This stimulation of the brain helps children remember their studies better.

Their child’s ability to focus is a huge dilemma for some parents. In martial arts, students must watch, listen, and engage all other senses to learn the techniques, at the same time tuning out distractions. By the time these children reach black belt, they have a incredible focus.

Respect is something that will make or break a child’s efforts at school. Martial arts highly emphasize the value of respect and children will be at a big advantage at school and in later life if they treat others with respect. They will also learn respect for self, which means they will be able to resist peer pressure.

The martial arts build accountability from day one. If you master a series of techniques, you earn your stripe or belt. If you don’t do your best, the disappointment you feel at not getting your belt will teach you to be accountable to yourself and try much harder next time. Being accountable to oneself is necessary for success in school, and also in life.

Give your children the edge in school; get them in a martial arts program. You won’t regret it.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Taekwondo as a Weight Loss Aid

Taekwondo is a type of martial art that can assist you in attaining the healthy looking body that you want through learning discipline and fighting techniques.

Practicing Taekwondo on an ordinary basis is absolutely necessary to lose weight from doing it. But just practicing will not be all that you have to do to achieve weight loss, you also need to eat smart and healthfully, counting the right number of calories for your body type and size.

Taekwondo training has a plethora of other benefits such as learning self-defense skills, having an increased positive mental outlook on life due to the increase
of endorphins, and the joy of competition in a healthy environment.

Here are some steps that are needed to use Taekwondo as a weight loss aid:

  1. Regularly practice Taekwondo. Ideally you should practice three to six times per week for 60-minute sessions. Joining Taekwondo classes is the best way to achieve this. A class environment with others will help you improve your lifestyle and lose weight due to the social support.
  2. Depending on your weight loss goals, body frame type, and present weight, eat a healthy diet that is made up of about 1,500 to 2,500 calories. Choose healthy foods such as low-fat dairy, whole grains, lean protein sources, and fruits and veggies for best possible nutrition. Drink at least eight glasses of water per. It is essential to eat or burn 500 fewer calories per day to lose roughly 1 pound per week.
  3. Add on other types of exercises, like additional strength training, to your Taekwondo training. Don’t worry about getting enough aerobic exercise. If you are doing Taekwondo multiple times per week, you will be getting enough to lose weight. You can increase your metabolism and gain muscles by lifting weights a few times per week if you would like. Try to do this two to four times each week for 30 to 60 minutes per session. 

Monday, July 15, 2013

The Famous Faces of Martial Arts

Martial arts are one of the fastest growing group of practices in the nation.  Martial art training is becoming more popular every year. Martial arts are codified systems and traditions of combat practices, which are practiced for a variety of reasons. Some people use it for self-defense, some like to compete in tournaments. Others use it for its physical health and fitness benefits, as well as mental, physical, and spiritual development.

There are over one hundred martial arts that come from all corners of the globe. But the most popular around the world and in the United States include Judo, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Kung Fu, Karate, and Taekwondo.

Over the years, we've seen quite a few famous faces training in at least one form of martial arts.

Some of our former presidents practiced mixed martial arts disciplines.  Abraham Lincoln and George Washington were both respected wrestlers in their time. Wrestling is not a martial art, but it is a necessity in the sport of Mixed Martial Arts. Theodore Roosevelt studied Jiu Jitsu and Judo. Even Bill Clinton has trained in Taekwondo.

If you think those names are surprising, you'll be stunned at some of the celebrities who study martial arts. Robert Downey Jr. of the Iron Man film series is training in kung-fu and is allegedly well on his way to becoming an instructor. Taylor Lautner, who is known for his roles in the Twilight film adaptations has won several awards and medals in karate. Film actress Jessica Alba does tae-bo and a host of different martial arts. She is also known for doing her own stunts.

Some other famous martial artists are:

  • Criss Angel, a magician with a hit television show, trained in Karate, Taekwondo and Kung Fu.
  • Actor James Cagney was a black belt in Judo.
  • Singer Elvis Presley studied Kempo.
  • Former Soviet Union President Vladimir Putin is a black belt in Judo.
  • Actor Robert Downey, Jr. trains in Kung Fu.
  • Action adventure star Steven Seagal is a black belt in Aikido and the first westerner allowed to open a school in Japan.
  • Actor Jet Li has studied Wushu and Fan Zi Quan.
  • Jackie Chan, comedic and action adventure actor, is a very talented product of the Beijing Opera--who train students in martial artistry and weapons.
  • Tang Soo Do is what Chuck Norris is most known for. He has taught it to Steve McQueen, Priscilla Presley and Donny Osmond.
  • Actress Sarah Michelle Gellar is a black belt in Taekwondo and spent some time studying kickboxing.
  • Ed O'Neill, from “Married with Children”, has a black belt in Brazilian Jujutsu.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Martial Arts to end Child Abuse through Hapkido training

Adam Washbourne's is a martial arts instructor expert  fighting to end child abuse. His core lesson is simple: sometimes bravery just means walking away.

One day while Washbourne was working with children through community service welfare, he made an amazing discovery; he was able to make a breakthrough by teaching martial arts to children rather than traditionally counseling them.

"They got a bigger pump-up after doing some martial arts training than after an hour of me counseling them," Mr Washbourne, 32, said. "A survivor of child abuse has had their confidence taken, innocent taken and their inner-strength is lost. They feel no one cares about them. We put those children with teachers and be there for them. We teach them they can be anything they want to be."

Adam himself has been training in martial arts since he was 4 years old and is now a black belt/ black t-shirt in 7 different forms of fighting.

Washbourne founded a charity called Fighters about three years ago. It was intended to coach victims of child abuse the South Korean martial art of Hapkido.

Various children who attend his classes require self-confidence and in some cases are too withdrawn to even communicate.

"We had a little girl and she literally hid behind the bags for the first few lessons," Washbourne told The Sunday Telegraph. “One day she came over and tapped me on the shoulder and said she wanted to do some martial arts. She recently got her yellow belt and is now so confident she walks up the people and introduces herself. It's amazing."

But teaching martial arts to children more than just knowing how to kick and punch.

"We also do Bully Busters," Washbourne said. “This is a non-striking solution for when children are being bullied. We teach them to walk away from a situation. Some kids think only cowards walk away, but we teach them to use their words. Non-striking solutions are a big part of what we do."

Washbourne has been nominated for the Pride of Australia Award's Community Spirit Medal by Joanne Kelly.

"Adam was sick of hearing stories about kids being abused so he started Fighters," Kelly said. He saw kids wanting to train and their parents not being able to afford it, so he would put them in the class and teach them for free. The kids love it. It's changed their lives and given them a spark. When they're trying to achieve something and when they get there it's really special."

Saturday, July 13, 2013

How Taekwondo Can Create High Self Esteem

Developing self esteem is crucial to living. Having high self esteem just makes you feel good! Consider the following. Have you ever meet an amazing person and not wanted to change your life with them; and not even the wealthy ones? Have you ever felt 100 percent pleased with your life? Just feeling the joy to be alive and breathe the air and want nothing more?

When you have high self esteem you have feelings like these constantly! You are happy with simplest of things. You have a smile on your face as you saunter down the street. You have no desire to exchange lives with anyone else. You are happy right now, in this moment, and you are happy exactly as you are!

Having high self esteem makes you a positive person. And the amazing thing about being a positive human being is that you are frequently happy. Your happiness spreads to all the people around you. And when people around you feel happier they extend happiness to people they meet.

So how can Taekwondo training help you develop your self esteem? Martial arts training creates a robust, fit body for you that feels excellent and looks first-class. This helps you feel good about yourself not only because of your looks but because you generally feel healthier. And it's no charade; you legitimately have a profound inner assurance and joy. You have high self esteem!

Taekwondo doesn't just improve your body. You constantly train you brain to think quickly and react fast as you learn complex moves. And it is quite difficult, you must force yourself to keep moving forward when you want to quit. Keep going when your muscles are screaming at you to stop. Keep going when your chest is aching from hard work. Keep going when you're scared.

Martial arts training helps you to become strong in mind and body. And the support of positive views and a sound mind helps so much when life hits you with the bad stuff. If you are in the gutter with low self esteem it's hard to get through the bad times. But, if you're sitting tall with self esteem you can manage the bad times loads better.

It's worth knowing that, for parents, to help your kids develop self esteem, you need to have high self esteem yourself. And self esteem for a child is very crucial. It greatly assists kids in doing well in school and help them take on new challenges. Signing yourself up for a martial arts program and signing your child up for kids karate or kids taekwondo will greatly improve your self esteem, your child’s self esteem and you will generally feel happier!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The Many Benefits of Taekwondo for the Elderly

The martial arts have been around for many generations. Many people practice the sport for many different reasons. Some people do it for self defense, other people do it so that they can stay in shape. Some of the people that can benefit most from the martial arts are the elderly people. It can be a vital thing for them to learn because of their age.

Practicing martial arts is great exercise.  It is one of the many benefits that you can notice right away. As a person gets older, their body needs to get more exercise than it had the previous year. The martial arts are perfect for that need. The martial arts use all of the body parts. The legs, arms, thighs, stomach and chest all benefit when you are practicing the martial arts.

The martial arts can also be an amazing aerobic exercise. It depends on the reaction time of your kicks and punches, but martial arts can easily get your heart rate up. Elderly people are very susceptible to ailments such as heart disease, stroke and cancer. Getting lots of oxygen into the body can help avoid this, and the martial arts can be a great tool that can lend a hand.

Another spectacular benefit that the martial arts present for the elderly is that it is great for protection. Any elderly person that learns the martial arts will be able to protect him or herself when it comes to certain dangers. Often elderly people live by themselves, so knowing the basics of self defense can really help.

A lot of people looking to prey on someone will look towards the elderly because they think that they are weak and defenseless, but if an elderly person is skilled in the martial arts, a predator will not know what hit them, literally! Learning how to defend oneself can also serve as a great confidence booster.

Martial arts can usher in an amazing benefit not just for elderly people, but for anyone. They will not be alone and they will get a sense of community. Senior citizens can often be very lonely. Martial arts classes have plenty of people who attend class every day. Taking Taekwondo can be a great way for senior citizens to meet new people that have similar interests. It will provide them with a way to leave their same daily routine for a while.

Martial arts impact on an elderly person’s life can be great. There are many positive qualities that the elderly can adopt through practicing the martial arts.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

California Girl Uses Taekwondo For Rehabilitation

Kassidy Brewer, 17, stood on the mat in front of a crowd full of friends and family. This was the moment she’d been working toward for almost 10 years. She was about to be tested for her second-degree black belt in Taekwondo.

It is no secret to any martial arts practitioner that this challenge is nothing short of nerve wracking. But for Brewer this test was especially poignant due to the fact the she had been in a coma three years earlier and, at the time, was only give three days to live.

August 4, 2008, Brewer’s world was shaken. Brewer at the age of 13, came in to her family’s Murrieta, California, home after mowing the lawn complaining about head pain. While her mother took her to the emergency room, Kassidy passed out. At the hospital, doctors diagnosed her with a ruptured brain aneurysm.

“It came out of the blue. She had no symptoms, she had never been sick a day,” her dad Kevin Brewer said to Everyday Health.

Kassidy was airlifted to Rady’s Children Hospital in San Diego, where she was diagnosed with a ruptured arteriovenous malformation (AVM), which consists of deformed arteries and veins that can prevent blood from circulating properly. They have a higher rate of bleeding than normal vessels and can occur anywhere in the body.

AVMs that occur in the brain, are uncommon.  About 12 percent of people with AVMs have symptoms, which may include seizures, headaches, and balance issues.

“Doctors basically said there was no way for her to survive. They gave her three to four days and then they said we would have to talk about donating her organs,” Kassidy’s mother, Donna Brewer painfully remembers. Although it seemed as though all hope was lost, the Brewers knew their little girl would pull through.

“We were just like, ‘This is our Kassidy.’ We just refused to believe what was happening,” her mother Donna Brewer said to Everyday Health.

And then Kassidy awoke from her coma with a little twitch of her finger. And within two months at the hospital she was able to return home.

But unfortunately she carried some baggage home as well.  She had significant mental and physical limitations. It took Kassidy five months to learn how to talk again; during the process, she relied on pointing to a board of letters in order to communicate.

Kassuidy had frequent rehab sessions to re-master simple functions like swallowing and walking

But by the fall of 2010, Kassidy’s progress in rehab was starting to stall. “She hit a plateau at her therapies and there was nothing more they could do for her,” says Donna. So when Kassidy said, ‘Mom, I really miss Taekwondo,’ Donna immediately contacted Kassidy’s former instructor, Michael Robles — and she began training the very next day.

“Mr. Robles had all these goals for her before we even stepped in the door. He was 100 percent in with helping her with her rehabilitation,” Donna says. “He even set up obstacle courses for Kassidy to help improve her balance.”

Although at the beginning Kassidy was required to use a walker, she slowly fought her way back to her pre-brain injury skill level.

Taekwondo has helped with my recovery because it all has to do with balance and determination and goals, and that's mostly how I've gotten to where I am today,” Kassidy said.

Today, Kassidy no longer requires a walker.

Robles knew that one day she would one day be able to go for her second-degree black belt.

“Our first day back we decided to put this in motion,” says Robles. “I said, ‘Let’s get back on track, get that second-degree, and pick up where we left off.’”

When the day of her test finally came, Robles and Kassidy decided to turn it into a fundraiser for the hospital that saved her life.

“Let’s put together a fundraiser and have some fun and tie it in with her second-degree to show the world the triumph of not only Ms. Brewer but of what Rady Children’s Hospital can do,” says Robles.

“Rady Children’s has done so much for me,” Kassidy says. “I’m so grateful toward them. ‘Thank you’ doesn't even begin to cover what they do for all of those kids in there.”

Looking back on that unfortunate day in the fall of 2008, the Brewers choose to be optimistic. “It’s brought us closer in a way that you just can’t imagine,” says Donna. “This brush with death has changed every one of us in every single way of our life. We look at people differently. We look at our relationships differently. We look at our children differently. It's given us compassion.”

Monday, July 8, 2013

Camp MSK '13 Tops the List!

The weather was absolutely fantastic for the six day Camp Moo Sul Kwan '13 that took place at Snow Mountain Ranch in June!  A record 112 campers attended the week long camp put on by the Colorado Taekwondo Institute in excellent fashion.

Morning workouts began at 6:00 AM for black belts and included; hiking up 9 Mile Mountain, mountain biking, CTI Power Taekwondo and more.  Students began their day 7:00 or 8:00 AM depending on their belt level.  Seminars in all areas of their training included; poomse, sparring, breaking, self-defense and much more were taught by the seasoned Camp MSK '13 Teaching Staff, which included, Kelsey Smith, brown, Eric Evans, 2nd, Erik Ondrejko, 2nd, Stephen Sautel, 2nd, Michael Sandusky, 2nd, Bridget Sautel, 3rd, Dustin Wheeler, 4th, Alice Meyung, 4th, Clayton Garner, 4th, Freddy Sautel, 4th and Master instructors; Erik Albrechtson, 5th, Bill Jones, 5th, John Sautel, 6th, Mindy Sautel, 6th and Jim Sautel, 7th.

Some afternoons, the students visited the "Kiva" and played basketball, ping pong, foosball, volleyball and did other activities like roller skating, swimming, horseback riding, zip line, miniature golf, wall climbing and more.

One day, the entire group made the annual trek to the falls.  The water was probably at its highest level of all the years we've been to Camp MSK!

Always an extremely important part of Camp MSK is food.  As she does each and every year, Cindy Tusa was in charge of feeding this year's large group of hungry campers.  Cindy was aided by Master Jones, Pam Sautel and Kimberly Jones.  The food was fantastic and kept everyone full and happy.

On the last full day, everyone took part in Camp Quest III.  The several hour team competition took the campers all over Snow Mountain Ranch while performing a myriad of MSK martial arts activities.

On the last morning, special demonstrations were performed by the campers for the parents, family members and friends.  Each group had a colonial name like; New York, Massachusettes, New Jersey, Georgia and others.  There was even a bicycle demonstration performed by a large group of upper belts.  (This demo and the other demos can be seen on the CTI BBC page on this website - ask your instructor for more details.)

See you at next year's Camp MSK '14!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Marines Learn Ethical Leadership Through Martial Arts

The Marine Corps Martial Arts program is creating more than just troops, but ethical fighters who are prepared to command both in battle and at home as first-class citizens.

Martial arts instructor trainers at Edson Range hold several three week Martial Arts Instructor Courses each year to build a cadre of instructors to teach Marines the unique blend of physical techniques and character building discussions of MCMAP.

During the course, students are challenged with full contact sparring and classes in combat training, instructional methods, the proper application of force and Marine Corps history, said Sgt. Erik A. Christianson, martial arts instructor trainer, Weapons Field Training Battalion. The instruction concentrates on the aspects of physical and mental health, and character, in the soldiers.

Future trainers study how to lead a class with clear communication, well-organized signals and recurrent communication with learners. The trainers assess pupils by having them teach classes and martial arts techniques, as well as pass a written test and martial arts examination.

“I came into the course expecting to be pushed physically,” said Sgt. Carlos Camachorojas, parachute rigger and delivery specialist, 1st Reconnaissance Battalion. “But when I was asked to perform academically immediately following our morning routine, it was definitely the hardest part for me. I’m not usually strong with academics, so the course challenged me a lot.”

Christianson, a native of La Crosse, Wisconsin, said martial arts instructors must focus equally on all three disciplines to develop Marines into ethical warriors who know how to responsibly use the techniques they are taught. He compared MCMAP to a three-legged stool that cannot stand if one of the legs is removed.

“If you don’t have equal focus on all three disciplines, you’re not going to be a well-rounded martial arts instructor,” said Christianson. “A warrior should be somebody who not only can overcome any sort of adversity, but should also be more mature and be the one that everyone should follow.”

Leadership is an essential characteristic of martial arts instructors because they function as the example of MCMAP for the Marines they teach, said Owen, a native of Arroyo Grande, Calif.

“The martial arts instructor needs to be a poster boy Marine,” he said. “He needs to be physically fit at all times because the Marines are going to look to him for advice about combat conditioning and nutrition. He needs to be living that lifestyle and not just preaching it. He needs to make sound ethical decisions.”