Friday, October 30, 2015

Taekwondo and Kids

By Kelsey Smith, 1st dan

Martial arts are beneficial to people of all ages, but the long-term behavioral benefits are especially prevalent in the children who start Taekwondo at a young age and adopt the concepts of self-discipline, self-control and confidence. Children’s Taekwondo differs not in the way it is taught, or the types of techniques learned, a 3-year old child learning basics will do the same routine as an 14-year old teenager, or a 30-year old adult, but more in how the disciplines are picked up and what is emphasized to the student by their instructor.

In kid's Taekwondo, learning the martial arts techniques as a form of defense is still the main goal, but the focus for the younger children is the body control and mental discipline which is still being developed. Whereas for adults, equal parts technique and and discipline are taught to the lower belts to ensure success as upper belts, the children’s education is centered around mainly the concept of Ho-Shin, as well as the body awareness required in class. Large, overarching techniques such as low stances, objective focus and tight hands remain the same, but  the nuances in certain basics such as foot position in kicking or focusing before striking come later, once the children have hit the intermediate belts and begun to have the self-discipline required for more advanced techniques.  

Martial Arts girl doing kids taekwondo martial artsUntil that point, the emphasis remains on the mental fortitude to become a successful black belt- developing children’s self-confidence, their understanding of their own bodies and how to control themselves. This discipline in class then carries over into other aspects of their lives, encouraging good behavior at school and at home, and making these children of Taekwondo almost like little ambassadors of our school’s tenets and beliefs. And creating the habit of having control over their bodies and minds allows for these kids to grow up and continue to grow and develop their skills as they progress through Taekwondo. In this way they also become leaders among their peers, even the ones outside Taekwondo.

Children’s Taekwondo is so much more than an exercise or a sport- it is a discipline, a life-long learning experience that will develop the child into a successful adult. Children, teenagers and adults can all benefit from martial arts in a myriad of ways; through the development of the body, mind and spirit, individuals can learn vital skills to prove as leaders. However, developing these traits early in children is the most beneficial in the long run, shaping them and their choices as they grow and learn about themselves, and blossom into ideal black belts and leaders of their generation.

Monday, October 26, 2015

CTI Annual CTI Food Drive Does it Again!

Way to go! Our annual CTI Food and Clothing Drive was fantastic!

Surpassing last year's food and clothing totals, 88 helpers were able to be present for the last day of our month-long October annual drive.

Each of our area martial arts schools, Littleton, Westminster, Golden, Conifer and Green Mountain, collected food and clothing for local food and clothing shelters.  All items collected went to support the King's Cupboard and the Action Center food banks.

Families had been bringing in food all month during October to their local CTI Campus, and on the final day, everyone  knocked on doors in their Campus neighborhoods and added to the final totals.

Thanks to our CTI students, instructors, family members and friends!  You made it possible for us to help members in our community who need a helping hand.

Friday, October 23, 2015

9th Annual CTI Food Drive

Benefiting our local food banks!

Our annual CTI Food and Clothing Drive is going strong!  

The final day to bring in donations is October 24th!

Each of our Denver area martial arts schools in, Littleton, Westminster, Golden, Conifer and Green Mountain, are collecting food and clothing for local food and clothing shelters.

The final push goes from 10:00 AM to noon at the Lakewood location and Westminster location, this Saturday!

All items collected will be going to support the King's Cupboard and the Action Center food banks.

Thanks for your support!

A CTI Testimonial: Part 4

Katie D.

The Colorado Taekwondo Institute is the best thing I've ever participated in. It has benefited me not only physically, but mentally and emotionally. The CTI is more than just a martial arts school, it is a community, a family. They are welcoming to everyone, no matter your age, gender, culture or any other label. Every class is different, and I learn something new each time. The instructors are engaging, encouraging and approachable, never giving up on a student and are always supportive. My sister joined first and I watched as she came out of her shell and blossomed into a confident and happy young woman. Seeing that I needed to join. Physically I'm stronger and healthier. I've been challenged to think outside the box and to become a self-motivated learner. I've made wonderful lifelong friends that I know will support me if I ever need them, and whom I will support in return. It has also been a great way for my sister and I to bond, being 13 years apart in age. We have something to share and laugh about and push each other to go all the way to black belt and beyond. It's a great place for family martial arts!

Martial arts classes for families

Susan B.

I was looking for a new way to work out that would challenge my brain as well as my body. I found it at CTI Littleton school! I am not a joiner by nature and find group classes tough to stomach. But I have to admit the school is not at all what I had expected. And after two years, I am still very motivated to attend class every week. What are your goals? Lose weight? Gain strength? Activate your brain in a fun and interesting way? CTI is for you. This is one of the best workouts to be found. Do you have kids and are looking for an activity for them that is mentally and physically safe? Do you want to connect with them by taking class too? Are you looking to help them in school and life by learning self-discipline in a fun environment? CTI is for you. Call and set up a time to meet at the school. Worst case: you will take one class and find out it is not your "thing." Best case: you have a great workout and are excited to return.

Jason S.

Almost a year ago my 6 year old sons and I started Taekwondo at CTI Westminster school. CTI Westminster Campus has provided me with the opportunity to connect with my kids in an activity which is fun for all of us- martial arts classes for families. We enjoy learning the Moo Sul Kwan martial arts traditions which reinforce our family teachings on the values of leadership, responsibility, respect, and self-control. The program strengthens my children's ability to set and achieve goals. The tournaments give us a chance to demonstrate the skills we have learned, while providing an opportunity for the kids to practice being a gracious winner and, at times, a graceful loser. The black belts serve as excellent role models of future success for the boys. Master Erik Albrechtson and his black belt instructors at CTI Westminster Campus are tremendous. They are always willing to go the extra mile to help you learn. Additional benefits of this program are that the class times fit our family's busy schedule, there are extra summer and holiday camps when school is not in session and the program is competitively priced with other opportunities in the area. We are so thankful a friend recommended family martial arts at the CTI Westminster Campus to us.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Why I Keep Coming Back

By Irene Kim, brown belt

The benefits of training at the Littleton location of the Colorado Taekwondo Institute.

Think of the strongest and best characteristics of the person whom you admire most.  He or she radiates strength of mind, body and spirit, is both respectful and respectable, and demonstrates the utmost in integrity, honesty and good will.  He or she is continually working to improve and succeed.  Dependable, trustworthy, awe-inspiring and confident also may come to mind as apt descriptors.

I have learned that this describes all who instruct and practice at the CTI.  Learning the Moo Sul Kwan Taekwondo martial arts has strengthened these characteristics in me.  Different culturally and in practice from karate (described to be more aggressive), self-control is prioritized before self-defense in Taekwondo, which requires the utmost discipline.  Each time I enter the school for class and participate in the events offered, I am surrounded by people who demonstrate these qualities and reflect the top echelon of society.

I sought out the Littleton Taekwondo campus five weeks after delivering my second child.  As a working mother of two, I had little time and energy but wanted to build on my kickboxing skills and maximize my workouts.  The CTI has exceeded this.  As for most of us, time continues to become more and more precious and I seek to maximize every minute of my days.

I am a Medical Speech Pathologist/Therapist working with complex patients who are holding onto life.  I have to arrange my entire work week around getting to class; all at my hospital know that Wednesdays I leave early to pick up my kids from school and daycare and spend time with them before running back out the door.  My husband often makes sushi for the kids that night because I don't eat seafood but will be in martial arts
as they eat it.  The kids know to expect me home just in time to read their bedtime stories after class.  It is a sacrifice and a struggle of extreme time management and fatigue.

So what brings me back?  There is not one part of me that does not benefit from the sacrifice.  It is easy to plop down on a couch and zone out at the end of the workday.  I feel immensely proud of myself for choosing to go as hard as I can, both mentally and physically each and every class. The stress of trying to figure out the best way to help my patients, the emotions of supporting families through life and death decisions, the drain of the hundreds of decisions required every day to raise my children: all of this completely leaves me during class to afterwards, when I am left with a renewed sense of being and energy, a mental calmness and extreme physical release.

Everyone at CTI has such strength and drive that I can sense it just walking through the doors.  Not only is it excellent physical training, I am stronger mentally, more confident and more able to persevere through life's challenges.  I enjoy the challenge and look forward to reaching each level.                              

Friday, October 16, 2015

Taekwondo Training at the Colorado Taekwondo Institute

By Jennifer McKernan, 1st dan

Black belt mom does a kick with her two taekwondo kids

When does "workout" become "training"?  Perhaps when one's goal changes from "getting in shape" to excellence in a sport or art like the martial art of Taekwondo!

No doubt about it, a quality martial arts class is a great way to get in shape.  After all, it takes energy and physical fitness in order to kick and punch effectively, practice self-defense, do pattern movements (poomse), and eventually break wooden boards.  The classes that are held at Colorado Taekwondo Institute are carefully designed so that anyone, no matter what age, previous experience, or level of physical fitness, will be able to get "in shape" to do martial arts.

Working out in class is fun!  Meeting others, being challenged at your speed and level, and then, improving your level of fitness so that jumping jacks, sit ups and even push-ups becomes part of your regular routine, has you on your way of mastering skills  in martial arts that you never had before.  As one progresses through the levels of belts, starting with white belt, then yellow belt, then several other colors all the way up to the black belt, workouts start to soar into training.  The reason is because, in addition to advancing in skills and being promoted to the next belt level, there are also the tournaments!

At CTI, 4 tournaments are held every year.  They are the DMAC or Denver Martial Arts Championships, the Lee H. Park Team Championships, the CTI Super Bowl, and the CTI All-City Championships. (More information about our tournaments:   The friendly competition allows everyone to compete at their skill level and age division.  Specific practicing and increased conditioning helps improve the chances of winning and training then becomes more desirable.  Competition is great because it brings out mental challenges and sportsmanship that isn't gained from just attending classes.

There are also other taekwondo and karate training programs beyond the weekly workout classes that are offered at CTI.  They are the Black Belt Club that meets during the week and the Masters Club and LeAD Team which meets on Saturday.  These classes are more detailed where students implement a variety of educational material from additional self-defense techniques to role-playing teaching scenarios and judging techniques.There are other events, too, such as the MSK Summer EXPO, MSK Camp and the Black Belt Symposium  where everyone gathers at a resort or ranch in the mountains and experiences excellent additional training, and also the Master’s Seminars on a specific topic a few times a year.  (More information about our martial arts conventions:   There are a lot of programs to increase one’s training, that’s for sure!   It is a whole lot of fun, too!

Taekwondo training at the CTI goes beyond the physical workouts and weekly classes.  With dedicated instructors and quality programs, there is much emphasis on education, self-directed learning and character growth such as self-discipline, self-control, perseverance and integrity.  No wonder it's called training and not just workouts!

Monday, October 12, 2015

20th MSK Black Belt Symposium

"Back to the Future II"

By Kelsey Smith, 1st dan

Symposium is one of my favorite events of the year- like Expo, it's a weekend dedicated to hard work, sweat and breaking down our advanced techniques.  But unlike Expo, where there's the race and more classes focusing on basics, our black belt martial arts convention is where the upper belts really start to feel the pressure being put upon them to become leaders and hardworking black belts.

"This weekend is about work," Grandmaster Sautel told us on Friday. And he was right.  We started off the classes with all of the upper belts and black belts warming up together, led by Mr. Kikhia.  Once we were loose and ready to go, we jumped right into breaking down poomse, move by move.  Like chipping away at a statue, the instructors chipped away at each detail of the poomse moves, getting everything from finger positioning to precise counts and timing on each move.

The theme of the weekend was "Back to the Future II". And as much fun as the allusions to the classic movie were, the message was clear- everything we were learning, every  move we were tweaking, fixing, adjusting, was to pave the way to create a more unified idea of what each poomse and one step was to look like, and in turn, create a more unified school.  If each instructor taught each poomse exactly the same way (same count,  same moves, etc) our group would become that much stronger.

 It was amazing breaking things down and getting to the bare bones of the poomse and one steps.  But what was even more amazing was the anticipation of seeing how the upper belts, instructors and Master instructors used what they gleaned from class in their daily training, and how they would apply it in their classes, whether they were teaching, assisting or working out.

The second day of classes began with a CTI Power Taekwondo session.  If you're an upper belt and you've not yet had the chance to experience a CTI Power Taekwondo workout, I highly recommend doing it the first chance you get.  Nowhere else will you get as amazing an experience as weaving and dodging past black belts, all the while kihaping with all the spirit and power you can muster.  Kicking and stretching up and down the ballroom with the Master instructors, all the while being urged on harder by your peers; as far as mornings go, I wish all of mine could start with as much energy and dynamic power as that one.

That evening after classes was the banquet, the first chance of the weekend to unwind, relax and have fun.  "Moo Sul Idol" was two parts hilarious and one part pure talent- it really goes to show you what a talented, outgoing group we have at CTI.  Kids and adults alike, of all colored belts went up and sang their hearts out for the judges and the audience.  It was so exciting to see some of the shyer kids come out of their shells and sing in front of everyone.

The final day rose and began with black belts practicing staff poomse and one-steps, followed by a final class before the big promotion test.  As the testers went in to give it their all, the rest of the group came into the ballroom a final time for a huge sparring class.  Everyone had a chance to spar anyone they wanted, and later rings were created to allow the younger kids to try out judging sparring rings.  By the time we had finished, we had all been sparring for nearly two hours!

The test finished up, and we all rejoined together in the ballroom for the closing ceremonies.  Grandmaster Sautel and Master Sautel commended us for our hard work, and reminded us once again why we were all there- to be the very best black belts, instructors and leaders we could possibly be.  To take all that we had learned, and push it towards the future, not just for ourselves, or our individual campuses, but for us as a whole, the CTI family!

Friday, October 2, 2015

A CTI Testimonial: Part 3

Ginger N. 

Our 11 year old son has been attending the Westminster school of Colorado Taekwondo Institute for nearly a year. It really is wonderful to see him actually enjoy exercise and look forward to going to class. Although our son has participated in team sports in the past, he has never received the encouragement to thrive as much as he has from his CTI instructor. Mr. Greaves has demonstrated that he genuinely cares about our son’s accomplishments. He has taught him not only the importance of respect and self-defense but also the meaning of what a mentor should be. Thank you Mr. Greaves and Master Albrechtson for helping our son’s self-esteem sore, enrolling him in Taekwondo was the best decision we ever made. We are proud to be members of the Westminster CTI campus and look forward to many years to come.
Mother and her daughter doing family martial arts together

Taryn D.

My children and I have been taking classes at Colorado Taekwondo Institute since 2008 and I can't recommend them enough. The instructors are top notch and genuinely care about seeing each student succeed and reach their full potential. This is not a chain establishment whose main focus is the bottom line. It is a family owned and operated endeavor where students fell valued and respected. The self respect and discipline that I have seen my children develop over the years is something that cannot be bought. When it comes to kids martial arts instruction there is no equivalent.

Michelle K.

Wonderful program! Both of my boys have been involved in taekwondo at CTI for over 3 years. Everyone - students and instructors - are very supportive, respectful, and friendly. We love it there! It is incredible having such a positive program like this. Wherever we go, we constantly get compliments on the behavior of our boys. Taekwondo has been a commitment, but a commitment that has brought numerous gains to our life! It has helped my youngest son come out of his shell and gain confidence. It has helped my oldest son learn how to be respectful and tone down his silliness. Being a physical therapist and knowing the importance of exercise, the structured exercise that is offered year round has helped my boys thrive at all of their sports/activities. I feel that they are learning the importance of exercise which will be with them throughout their lives. Overall, the children's martial arts that CTI offers has been a fantastic experience for out entire family!

Michelle F. 

The teachers and staff here at the Conifer school of the Colorado Taekwondo Institute are very knowledgeable of Taekwondo instruction and education. Even at the Tiger level (youngest kids martial arts class), the teachers are highly ranked. I appreciate their attention to discipline at an age appropriate level. Another thing that impressed me with this school is the use of older students to help in the classroom. This is a great opportunity for those students, and it gives something for the younger students to which they can aspire if they work hard and are dedicated.