Sunday, March 31, 2019

2019 All-City Champs This Month!

Black belt competitors getting ready for the 2019 All-City Champs tournament

Everyone mark your calendars for April 26th & 27th, as the Colorado Taekwondo Institute will be hosting the 2019 All-City Championships tournament at Alameda International High School. This tournament is open to all AMASEA students.

Events include:

  • Poomse (all ages and belts)
  • Free-Sparring (ages 5 & up, all belts)
  • First Point Wins! Sparring (ages 5 & up, all belts)
  • Breaking (age 9 & up, orange belts and above)
  • Staff Poomse (all black belts)

You can pre-register for the tournament online and you can learn more about the tournament on the All-City Champs page.

Sunday, March 17, 2019


By Tom Hurst, yellow belt
Martial arts students learning fitness from Great Grandmaster Bong Yul Shin

Benefits of five different aerobic exercises:

  1. Endurance.  Developed by long interval exercise, such as running, involving the use of major muscle groups and requiring copious amounts of oxygen.
  2. Efficient gas exchange.  Expanding the lungs and developing the alveoli to pass oxygen into the blood stream and pulling CO2 from the blood stream during long interval exercise such as running.
  3. Muscle strength and flexibility.  Developed by strenuous exercise at a medium level holding the heart rate at a medium level for an extended time period.  An example is primary techniques such as punches and blocks but not at the same level of activity as Jumping jacks or running.
  4. Muscle efficiency. Developing the ability to clear waste products from the muscle such as lactic acid, both to the long muscle and to the cardiac muscle as well as building red blood cells. Poomse is an example of both types of exercise and utilizes both aspects of aerobic and anaerobic exercise depending on the length of the poomse.
  5. Reduce body fat.  Aerobic activity burns fuel, first glycogen then when the ready stores are depleted the body converts fat to glycogen and ketones.  The ketones are excreted, hydration, hydration, hydration, and the glycogen is burned for energy.  Long periods of extended effort well below maximum effort, such as marathon running.

Benefits of five different anaerobic exercises:

  1. Muscle recovery.  Interval training is most commonly associated with this exercise.
  2. Muscle bulk.  Weight lifting is generally associated with anaerobic exercise.  Some bulk is desired for strength but excessive bulk decreases mobility and flexibility.
  3. Muscle strength can be increased when aerobic exercise is interspersed with anaerobic exercises.  Quickly moving from jumping jacks to push-ups or basic moves to sit-ups are a couple of examples.
  4. Flexibility. Stretches are a form of anaerobic exercises, remember to burn off the lactic acid by moving the lactic acid laden blood up to the lungs and blow it off as CO2.
  5. Develops more efficient transfer of blood products and oxygen by the growth of more red blood cells. Interval training and short period, high intensity exercise.

A benefit of both types of exercise is the increased blood flow through the brain carrying more oxygen and more nutrients to the brain leading to enhance concentration and focus. This can lead to an overall feeling of wellness, self-esteem and self-image.  This is a huge benefit for the developing child and cannot be underestimated in its value to the older adult.

Sunday, March 3, 2019


By Brain O'Reilly, purple belt, CTI BBC Member

Four martial arts girls using teamwork to break boards

On any given team, is any one person more important? Why?
This is a question of team roles not people. Teams consist of individuals with unique skill sets, strengths and weaknesses.  The role that an individual plays can vary based on the mission and long-term goal(s) of the team or the short-term task at hand. Often the roles are predetermined; based on job description, hierarchy, experience, specialty, etc.  Often those predetermined roles fit well with an individual’s current level of expertise, seniority and skill-set.  Yet roles within a team are rarely static. As people gain more experience and responsibility they move up in the team and as others fail to maintain their current role they move down or out of the organization.  Teams need leaders, and leaders need followers; it is symbiotic.  A lone leader is not a team and a team without a leader is lost and often disbands.  One can argue that an effective team leader is the most important role on a team.  Leadership team roles are replicated in nature because they effectively ensure the survival of the team.  For example; wolf packs have an alpha male and as he loses the ability to protect, provide and lead, a new leader rises from the pack to replace him.  The wolf pack also has an Alpha Female, protecting and nurturing the upcoming Alpha’s and the rest of the pack. Individuals/people are replaceable, but roles are rarely replaceable.  It’s easier for a good leader to find a team and take it to the next level than it is for a mediocre team to find a good leader.  All members are important, but the immediate strength of the team is built around its leadership and then the quality and growth of upcoming members. The X-Factor that complements strong leadership and strong membership is the empowerment of members with unique skills sets to experiment and expand opportunities to the pack which then takes the team to a new and higher level of productivity and competition.

How can people achieve more whey they work together?
There is a compounding effect to team work. A team’s resources and portfolio of wealth are built around its active participants. The rich get richer because they have more resources to work with and they invest those resources with greater effectiveness.  Productive members learn from the success and diversity of others, tapping into those resources and expanding their own skill sets and contributions to the team.Each positive individual contribution is multiplied by other members and then reinvested as the team attracts more investors and new opportunities.Like any wise investment, the greater the resources the greater the return and the greater the ability to reinvest.  High productivity and success offers the luxury of experimentation and investment in new disciplines which then leads to a new and higher level of growth.  The active individual shareholder of a team who adds to the value of the team also adds to the health of his/her own individual portfolio of resources.  A healthy individual and team can perform at a higher level of output and then continue to grow beyond its “less-healthy” competitors.The healthy ideal for growth and productivity relies on each contributing share or each contributing team member; expanding individually and for the benefit of the team.  “...A team of the people, for the people, by the people.” –Abe Lincoln

Monday, February 25, 2019

45th CTI Super - Snow - Bowl

It snowed and snowed, but it didn't keep over 300 students and instructors from competing at the 45th Colorado Taekwondo Institute Superbowl.  This "end-of-the-CTI-year" special championships included special competitions such as; Poomse, Sparring, First Point Wins!, Breaking, Staff Poomse and more.

The 45th CTI Superbowl took place at Alameda International Junior/Senior High School in Lakewood, Colorado, beginning on Friday evening with black belt competitions.  The black belts started off with special CTI Superbowl Sparring which included three minute sparring rounds with unique rules.  On Saturday, everyone took part in the many exciting competitions accented by some wonderful demonstrations by CTI's after and before school programs from Red Rocks Elementary, West Woods Elementary, Montessori Peaks Academy, Our Lady of Fatima and Summit Ridge Middle School.

Congratulations go to CTI Superbowl Grand Champions - Avery Chavez, Amy Daly, Julian Marine, Chris Cardella!

Results from the 45th CTI Superbowl:

1st place
Collin Kreutz, Taneli Alahuhta, Averie Chavez, Eileen Lindner
Julian Marine, Nate Florence, Mary Moen, Diego Quezada
Lauren Smith, Devon Bilyeu, Merrick Oleszek, William Crowley
Colton Shirley, Lydia Tan, Tina Vo, Jonathan Cstro
Logan Keckler, Natasha McKernan, Alex Tan, Ellie Stanton
Oliver Gomez, Payton Dahm, Lucas Brown, Everett Lasater
Caleb Port, Amalina Tarr, Peyton Brauch, Konner Evans
Phineas, Hallock, Amy Krupp, Rylan Lemons, Da Minh Tran
Ryann Beaver, Hank Haubner, Jennifer McKernan, Charlie Booten
Emily Green, Christian Jezek, Zachary Palmer, Rue Werapura
Lars Den Hartog, Nathaniel Keckler, Evelyn Fleetwood, Max Babcock
Abby Booten, Tyler Cobb, Elan Bailey, Irene Kim
Isabella Sandoval, Sage Icaza, Junaid Jensen, Lily Laird
Evan McEwan, Thomas Misiak-Kacsh, Caleb Ramirez, Anabella Briceno
Sophie Briceno, Evan Erickson, Chase Gentry, Shaylan Gangoo
Amy Johnson, Olivia Kent, Rowyn Marshall, Xiaoxue Ada Koberlein
Annabel McLane, Brody Mitchell, Caroline Nusbaum, Dylan Perozzi
Nathaniel Pierce, Henry Ratigan, Maryn Rolfing, Jaxon Sandoval
Jonah Strankman, Kora Wilcox, Hadley Wilkins, Lettie Chavez
Samuel Gomez, Kyle James, Maxwell Schultz, Kaeden Alfaro
Amalina Tarr

2nd place
Jacob Hoenmans, Caiden Murphy, Mariah Cordova, Allan Stanton
Mattox Bubenik, Meredith Botnick, Sabrina Liu, Andy McDaniel
Jason Ranjit, Joshua Ranjit, Freya Brown, Marley Powers
Eli Quinones, Gregory Smagala, Maxwell Schultz, Darcy Stanton
Smauel Jenuine, Luna Garcia, Caden Johbnson, Camila DeGroot
Brecken Schubert, Mark Scott, Paxton Barnett, Gillian Boswell
Zach Greaves, Cody Jacobson, Chase Johnson, Ryan Marine
Keira Sherman, Lindsey Boswell, Craig Cardella, Bryce Cole
Coco Dailey, Francesca DeGroot, Evan O’Fihelly, Abbey Salamera
Kathleen Sautel, Azeb Alboaouh, Kai Pratte, William Schwartz
Layla Tran, Ali Wolfe, Thomas Burden, Adina Johnson
Finegan Handlin, Andrew Wilcox, McKenzie Cress, Lance Schwartz
Emma Burden, Juliana Crawford, Aksel Schow, Quilan Bullen
Grant Erickson, Mellory Jordan, Gabriella Sleight, Ryan Wyngarden
Dane Grazier, Hannah Holmes, Emerson Holmes, Stephen Sautel
Aubrie Schaefer, Giacomo Von Feldt

3rd place
Amy Daly, Bridget Sautel, Evan Shacklett, Courtney Moen
Jonah Elstad, Owen Robertson, Don Johnson, Ariana Ormsbee
Sean Huntley, Ed Stanton, Keira Haubner, Eleanor Smagala
Rachel Wilcox, Weston Wolfe, Mia Wolfe, Sidney Clark
Kim Freeman, Miles Humphress, Lexi Johannes, Isaac Jensen
Judson Ver Beek, Ken Brancio, Alexis Chavez, Benjamin Crowley
Scott Hancey, Mathias Bauer, Ace Garcia, Zoey Krupp
Warren McDonald, Rylan Wolfe, Dalton Cole, Ahas Weerapura
Quinn Martin, Oliver Garner, Julia Parinello, Lizzie Wilcox
Adam Harkins, Sabrina Jensen, Soren Vanderstek, Rick Orton
Rhaf Alboaouh, Elsie McDonald, Nethika Suraweera, Susan Bergstiner
Deb Denny, Zane Kaulbah, Seth McCallin, Kaytie Rees
Candice Chandler, Quynn Cotner, Knox Den Hartog, Bruce Duong
Nathaniel McKernan, Liam Mulligan, Ella Foster, Thomas Hurst
Jackson Noller, Marshall Peck, Oliver Pullen, Aspen Smith
Sarah Smith

4th place
Peter Hosey, Kaddie Williams, Juliana DeGroot, Linidy Mandelbaum
Sammy Powers, Bradley Wangberg, Vivi Brown, Noah Gomez
Lydia Willis, Matthew Roberts, Alex Schwartz, Philip Hoenmans
Kayla Roberts, Rowan Lasater, Carter Schucker, Sarah Dahle
Calvin Haubner, Makayla Trapp, Jacob Mayberry, Rhett Wallace
Kaylyn McEwan, Patrick Stolle, Kai Wallace, Annie Abbink
Leto Ochsner, Carrie Chauhan, Grant Shirley, Tate Wallace
Malachai Romero, India Ross, Reagan Beaver, Jackson Babcock
Roland Dander, Matthew Jewett, Hope Morgan, Marley Griffin
Kayla Romero, Miette Jandreau, Maxwell LaPlant, Dean Loux
Mitchell Oleszek, Kaleb Guffey, Benjamin Kirt, Audra Maes
Alejandra Ramirez, Lily Strickland, Dylan Wellensiek, Jackson Foster
Juan Monia, David Moyer, Lucas Quintana


1st place
Taneli Alahuhta, Christopher Cardella, Averie Chavez, Diego Quezada
Lauren Smith, Colton Shirley, Jonathan Castro, William Crowley
Logan Keckler, Natasha McKernan, Caleb Port, Amalina Tarr
Ryann Beaver, Christian Jezek, Zachary Palmer, Jacob Hoenmans
Caiden Murphy, Mariah Cordova, Meredith Botnick, Andy McDaniel
Joshua Ranjit, Marley Powers, Gregory Smagala, Ryan Marine
Amy Daly, Bridget Sautel, Evan Shacklett, Jonah Elstad
Owen Robertson, Ariana Ormsbee, Sean Huntley, Keira Haubner
Eleanor Smagala, Weston Wolfe, Mia Wolfe, Miles Humphress
Ken Brancio, Peter Hosey, Kaddie Williams, Juliana DeGroot
Lindy Mandelbaum, Sammy Powers, Bradley Wangberg, Lydia Willis
Kayla Roberts, Rowan Lasater, Carter Schucker, Sarah Dahle
Rhett Wallace, Jason Stencel, Rosario Ramirez, Aidan Sturm
Jeffrey Bowen, Theryn Ochsner, Michael Sandusky, Brandon Kirt
Henry Rumph, Liam Jewett, Cid Bresser, Jasmine Salamera

2nd place
Julian Marine, Nate Florence, Merrick Oleszek, Lydia Tan
Payton Dahm, Lucas Brown, Everett Lasater, Phineas Hallock
Amy Krupp, Da Minh Tran, Hank Haubner, Jennifer McKernan
Lars Den Hartog, Nathaniel Keckler, Evelyn Fleetwood, Max Babcock
Abby Booten, Tyler Cobb, Sabrina Liu, Freya Brown
Eli Quinones, Samuel Jenuine, Luna Garcia, Camila DeGroot
Brecken Schubert, Mark Scott, Gillian Boswell, Zach Greaves
Lindsey Boswell, Craig Cardella, Coco Dailey, Francesca DeGroot
Evan O’Fihelly, Kathleen Sautel, Kai Pratte, William Schwartz
Ali Wolfe, Courtney Moen, Alexis Chavez, Benjamin Crowley
Mathias Bauer, Dalton Cole, Oliver Garner, Noah Gomez
Matthew Roberts, Alex Schwartz, Calvin Haubner, Kai Wallace
Annie Abbink, Leto Ochsner, Carrie Chauhan, Grant Shirley
Tate Wallace, Kaiden Rees, Joshua Miller, Frank Merritts
Ivy Strickland, Lauren Dahlberg, Tim McNamara, Evan Weber

3rd place
Eileen Lindner, Mary Moen, Devon Bilyeu, Alex Tan
Oliver Gomez, Peyton Bruach, Rylan Lemons, Emily Green
Rue Weerapura, Elan Bailey, Irene Kim, Rebekkah Copel
Allan Stanton, Mattox Bubenik, Jason Ranjit, Maxwell Schultz
Darcy Stanton, Paxton Barnett, Cody Jacobson, Chase Johnson
Keira Sherman, Azeb Alboaouh, Layla Tran, Thomas Burden
Adina Johnson, Finnegan Handlin, Andrew Wilcox, Don Johnson
Ed Stanton, Rachel Wilcox, Lexi Johannes, Isaac Jensen
Judson Ver Beek, Ace Garcia, Zoey Krupp, Warren McDonald
Rylan Wolfe, Julia Parrinello, Lizzie Wilcox, Adam Harkins
Sabrina Jensen, Soren Vanderstek, Philip Hoenmans, Jacob Mayberry
Malachi Romero, India Ross, Reagan Beaver, Jackson Babcock
Roland Dander, Matthew Jewett, Meryn Probasco, Kylee Odom
Alex Hancey, Brooks Wood, Liam Gilmore, Joshua Stencel
Beth Wolfe, Lorianna Shultz

4th place
Collin Kreutz, Tina Vo, Konner Evans, Charlie Booten
Isabella Sandoval, Thomas Misiak-Kacsh, Caleb Ramirez, Emma Burden
Julian Crawford, Aksel Schow, Sidney Clark, Ahas Weerapura
Quinn Martin, Rhaf Alboaouh, Elsie McDonald, Nethika Suraweera
Susan Burgstiner, Deb Denny, Zane Kaulbach, Seth McCallin
Kaytie Rees, Kaylyn McEwan, Marley Griffin, Kayla Romero
Miette Jandreau, Maxwell LaPlant, Dean Loux, Lillian Eichelberger
Akshay Chauhan, Lennix Chavez, David Glisson, Andrei Amihalachoaie
Evelyn LaMorgese, Jason Stencel, Jr., Lee Tomjack, Evan Zdechlik
Alex Glisson, Jennifer Kautz, Oliver Schult


1st place
Taneli Alahuhta, Christopher Cardella, Averie Chavez, Diego Quezada
Lauren Smith, Jonathan Castro, William Crowley, Logan Keckler
Jacob Hoenmans, Caiden Murphy, Mariah Cordova, Meredith Botnick
Amy Daly, Evan Shacklett, Owen Robertson, Ariana Ormsbee
Sean Huntley, Keira Haubner, Eleanor Smagala, Weston Wolfe
Mia Wolfe, Peter Hosey, Juliana DeGroot, Lindy Mandlebaum
Sammy Powers, Bradley Wangberg, Jeffrey Bowen, Theryn Ochsner
Brandon Kirt, Henry Rumph, Nate Florence, Lydia Tan
Lucas Brown, Everett Lasater, Freya Brown, Eli Quinones
Courtney Moen, Alexis Chavez, Noah Gomez, Matthew Roberts
Eileen Lindner, Devon Bilyeu, Alex Tan, Oliver Gomez
Rylan Lemons, Maxwell Schultz, Darcy Stanton, Don Johnson
Ed Stanton, Lexi Johannes, Judson Ver Beek, Philip Hoenmans
Colling Kreutz, Tina Vo, Lillian Eichelberger, Ellie Stanton
Caden Johnson, Rhiley Larson

2nd place
Colton Shirley, Natasha McKErnan, Caleb Port, Amalina Tarr
Ryann Beaver, Joshua Ranjit, Marley Powers, Gregory Smagala
Miles Humphress, Lydia Willis, Jason Stencel, Rosario Ramirez
Liam Jewett, Julian Marine, Merrick Oleszek, Payton Dahm
Phineas Hallock, Amy Krupp, Hank Haubner, Sabrina Liu
Samuel Jenuine, Luna Garcia, Camila DeGroot, Brecken Schubert
Mark Scott, Benjamin Crowley, Alex Schwartz, Calvin Haubner
Frank Merritts, Ivy Strickland, Mary Moen, Emily Green
Rue Weerapura, Allan Stanton, Mattox Bubenik, Paxton Barnett
Cody Jacobson, Chase Johnson, Keria Sherman, Isaac Jensen
Ace Garcia, Zoey Krupp, Warren McDonald, Rylan Wolfe
Jacob Mayberry, Alex Hancey, Brooks Wood, Charlie Booten
Sidney Clark, Ahas Weerapura, Quinn Martin, Kaylyn McEwan
Bryce Cole, Abbey Salamera, Vivi Brown, Patrick Stolle
Samuel Wolfe, Shekina DeTienne, Tyler Murphy


1st place
Taneli Alahuhta, Christopher Cardella, Averie Chavez, Jacob Hoenmans
Amy Daly, Evan Shacklett, Owen Robertson, Nate Florence
Courtney Moen, Don Johnson, Collin Kreutz, Jason Stencel
Rosario Ramirez, Julian Marine, Mary Moen, Allan Stanton
Mattox Bubenik, Sidney Clark, Vivi Brown, Samuel Wolfe
Jonah Elstad, Jason Ranjit, Bridget Sautel, Kaddie Williams
Aidan Sturm, Joshua Miller, Rachel Wilcox, Konner Evans
Kim Freeman, Scott Hancey, Makayla Trapp, Erik Albrechtson

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Why is Education So Important?

By Irene Kim, red belt

Education is a continuous process in a person’s life.  Since the day someone is born, he obtains education.  Learning how to eat, walk, talk, developing good characteristics, a career for living, social skills;  All of these things are parts of the process of education.  Therefore, it is very important to obtain his education the right way to prepare him to be a good person.

Our parents are our first educators. They teach us so many things until we become adults and even afterwards. We must be thankful and respect our parents for the education they’ve provided us to flourish our lives. Then there are school teachers, college professors, public speakers, Moo Sul Kwan Taekwondo instructors at the Colorado Taekwondo Institute; they educate us and improve us.

A taekwondo master black belt performing staff pattern in demonstrationEducation must be systematic and organized to provide students the learning materials effectively. Even parents organize and plan on how they educate their children. They read parenting books, listen to experts, learn parenting strategies, then plan and act accordingly. The schools and colleges have well organized methodologies and curriculum to provide education in a systematic way. They have developed strategies to address differences of students as needed. A well-organized education system is efficient and improves its students’ skills and abilities.

Colorado Taekwondo Institute is a great educational organization. It provides students education to improve their body, mind and spirit.  While teaching well established martial arts techniques to develop self defense skills and a healthy body with the best Taekwondo instructors,  CTI also teaches us to practice positive attitude, great characteristics such as respect, self-confidence, empathy, courage, decision making skills, self-learning skills etc. These qualities make a Moo Sul Kwan student a pleasant and a valuable person to the society. Education framework at CTI is designed in a way to deliver these qualities to students very effectively. Programs are adjusted to cater differences in age, maturity, level of skills, proficiency and aptitude of the students. Regular training sessions, tournaments, seminars, camps, conventions are regularly organized and provide students opportunities to improve. There’re well written student manuals, teaching materials and news letter publications. Students are required to work on monthly homework, take written tests and physical tests for belt promotion. These are all evidence of a systematically structured education system.

Education gives us knowledge of the world around us.  We use this knowledge, be creative, add our opinions and ideas and change it into something better. It helps us to grow and improve our perspective of looking at life. Education helps us to become leaders at school, work, home and nation. “discit qui ducit” - who learns leads.

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Our Ship of Personal State

By Tom Hurst, yellow belt

I would like to compare our personal beliefs, core values, and motivations to a ship. As such we can make some interesting analogies.

What are our core values? We can work from a list and then pick one or two that are most important to us.

Integrity, honesty, respect, excellence, indomitable spirit are just some core values that are sometimes called our anchors. A ship often has more than one anchor and also has a heavy weight deep on the inside that is called ballast. The anchor holds the ship steady in a storm and the ballast keeps the ship upright.  These core values keep our personal lives upright in trying times and holds us steady during the storms of life.

A black belt breaking two boards with a twin front kickOur belief system of right and wrong is the compass that directs the ship.  Without a good moral belief system how can we know the right way to go?

What about our motivations?  How do they play into this scenario?  I equate our motivations to a rudder on the ship. Our motivations, why we do what we do, is the rudder that steers the ship in the right direction.  It is our choices in life that decide which way we go, to the positive or the negative. The captain of the ship uses the rudder of the ship in conjunction with the compass to hold his course so that he can reach his goal.

And goals? The captain decides where he is going and how he is going to get there. He uses charts and maps to decide how to sail the seas.  We set achievable goals to reach measurable accomplishments. Most directly in taekwondo, to reach a higher belt.

Attitudes are like the sails. A positive attitude is like a sail full of wind driving the ship forward on its course, a negative attitude is like a sail that is turned away from the wind and the ship loses its way.

Our personal ship is directed by our moral system, guided by our motivations, driven by our attitudes to achieve our goals and held stable by our core values.  Using these strategies can help us through our lives and achieve our personal goals.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

How Moo Sul Kwan Taekwondo has Helped Me in School

By Elizabeth Hawkins, 1st dan, CTI Masters Club Member

Martial arts black belt learning skills that help in schoolI’ve had my fair share of school struggles in the past, but Moo Sul Kwan Taekwondo has helped me to overcome them, and even turn those situations into a learning device.  I’ve always been energetic, but before studying MSK Taekwondo at the Colorado Taekwondo Institute I had little to no attention span.  I constantly wandered off, and I never listened to directions.  MSK Taekwondo has helped me to become a more focused person with its regimen.  Not peeking and focusing on poomse turns into allotting  myself time to do homework, and ignoring any distractions; and building my endurance has become having the mental fortitude to go through a mentally exhausting day of school and still doing four hours of homework before Moo Sul Kwan Taekwondo.

Taekwondo classes have also helped me with my overall work ethic.  I am certain that had I not been in CTI Classes, I would not be in the IB program, or even in any advanced classes.  The iron will that comes with improving your body, along with the willingness to learn, can take you far in life.  Again, the hours spent practicing easily turn into hours studying, even though each takes a very different skill set.  The attention to detail I’ve experienced in MSK Taekwondo easily translates into getting all of my homework done on time, and when revising essays knowing that the small details do matter, and focusing on them.

Most importantly, Taekwondo classes at the CTI built up my confidence, without causing arrogance.  I know that I can always be better, and I am willing to change in order to get there, but I can hold my own in stressful situations.  I’ve been taught how to lead, making me valuable in group projects and to overworked teachers.  I’ve learned to be a self-directed learner, to keep my composure, to be disciplined, and to do what I know is right.  Moo Sul Kwan Taekwondo has taught me many things, and how to excel in school is one of them.

Monday, February 4, 2019

Anger: How to Channel that Feeling

By Vivi Brown, red belt, CTI BBC Member

Anger is an onset of emotion of when we are feeling threatened, disrespected or frustrated. There are several different types of anger that is used to express our emotion such as Assertive Anger, Behavioral Anger, and Chronic Anger[1]. Our current situation can manifest which type of anger or emotion may surface and lets face it we have all had experiences with it, but learning how to channel that feeling will have its benefits.
A black belt using a martial arts workout to develop anger management
Assertive anger, perhaps the positive out of these examples, is when you are feeling frustrated and you use this emotion as a catalyst motivator to overcome your fear and achieve your goals.  One simple example in everyday life is- have you looked at your house and have been frustrated at the fact that there is so much clutter around and then you just decide that “THIS IS IT” and you somehow end up cleaning faster than normal.  Instead of yelling or throwing items around the house to relieve that frustration it turned into a positive outcome of a clean house.

Behavioral anger, this type of emotion is expressed physically, throwing of items across the room, even perhaps physically attacking someone.  This is not a good way to handle anger as its destructive manner.  When feeling this type of anger its best to give yourself some time, remove yourself from the situation like Zuki the turtle, go take a walk and breath and give yourself a moment.  This will help you calm down till you can think clearly.

Lastly chronic anger, this is an ongoing emotion of frustration and anger towards oneself, and this can have an adverse effect on your health.  Handling this kind of anger may be difficult for some, its about forgiveness and moving on.

Here at Colorado Taekwondo Institute we have the opportunity to channel all those types of anger, we get to relieve our frustrations of our day by working out, and in turn building up ourbodies physique, endurance and our spirit.  We can yell it out with our kihaps that tighten our stomachs, we get to hit targets to improve our accuracy, and we even get to build our spirit by knowing that letting things go are better in the long run.  We use all our aspects of building ourselves up to have the knowledge on how to handle the situations and be in control of our emotions.


Wednesday, January 30, 2019

How Moo Sul Kwan Taekwondo Actually Influences our Brain

By Irene Kim, red belt

Given the anatomical background of our brains, I would like to describe how I believe we are changing our brains for the better when we practice Moo Sul Kwan Taekwondo.  It has to do with more recent research into the concept of neuroplasticity, the ability of the brain to form and reorganize synaptic connections in response to learning or experience.  In the earlier half of the 20th century, it was thought that the adult brain was relatively fixed, that not much happened after a certain age.  Since then,research has uncovered how numerous parts of the brain can in fact change, even into adulthood.

Let’s first define the concept of learning. The general definition is “…to acquire skills and alter behavior as a result of experience.” Delving deeper, “Skill learning is defined here as a change, typically an improvement, in perceptual, cognitive, or motor performance that comes about as a result of training and that persists for several weeks or months, thus distinguishing it from effects related to adaptation or other short-lived effects.”[1] This definition is relevant to the extended course of progress in MSK TKD: We know it takes dedication, effort and time.

There are many components of learning that have been studied and are applicable to our training.  These include the difficulty of the task being learned, motivation of the learner, the frequency and type of feedback provided, individual variables, and generalization to other areas.  It is clear that our MSK TKD task is involved and challenging, yielding benefit and extension into all areas of our lives.  It is a multi-level, complex, detailed physical study.  We are always learning something new.

Thus, I believe there are a myriad of neuronal benefits, including increasing the size, capacity, and function of our brains.  I also believe new neurons may be created, as well as improving the strength of communication between existing ones.

Increasing the size of our brains

Perhaps the most striking idea is that Moo Sul Kwan Taekwondo may actually be growing our brains, no matter what age we are.  It is the increased cellular connections, or neurons talking more,that can make the brain grow in size as we learn. This has been demonstrated in people who learned to juggle by something called diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), which measures white matter microstructure.  subjects literally increased the size of their parietal lobes.[2]  The reason I mention juggling is because it is a complex visual-motor skill and involves intense coordination, similar to TKD.   Interestingly, these studies demonstrated that the improvement happened regardless of how good the subjects were at juggling, that it was the learning process that was important for brain development.  Anatomical changes in grey matter from the processing and storage of complex visual motionwere also documented.[3]

Increasing the capacity and function of our brains as relates to Grandmaster Park’s Model Concept

As discussed previously, to learn at all levels of our training, we must have specific and focused attention.  This directed mental effort (cognitive domain) leads to “…the brain’s potential to correct its own flaws and enhance its own capacities”[4] We can newly wire and re-wire our brains.  New synapses are formed and synaptic strength at certain junctions is increased, both of which are believed to underlie learning.

Level One (White to Orange Belt)

When we are in class for the first time, our visual systems (occipital lobe) are working hard to process moves we have never seen.  At the same time, our auditory centers (temporal lobe) are hearing and making sense of the new instructions and Korean words.  Our parietal and frontal lobes are processing these instructions to perform the new movements.  New pathways are connecting as we learn the respect of body contact and our fellow students.

Level Two (Green to Blue Belt)

As we advance in our training, the basic information has been processed into our long-term memory.  We now know and recall moves and demonstrate motor learning (‘muscle memory’), a form of procedural memory that involves consolidating a specific motor task into memory through repetition.  We are doing this increasingly as we perform more and more poomse, self-defense, one-step and sparring moves.   As movements are repeated over time, more long-term muscle memories are created,allowing more movements of poomse to be performed without conscious effort.  The various areas of learning begin to depend more and more on one another. We cannot learn more complicated moves if we cannot visually or auditorily process [5]and recall the previous ones.

Level Three (Purple to Red Belt)

As we engage in deeper self-directed learning, we are promoting self-directed neuroplasticity.  The specific details and strategies of movements in sparring, poomse, and breaking may be ones we had not previously focused on in the earlier levels.  We attend more specifically to our practice, thus increasing the size of our brain’s representation of specific body surfaces and muscles when we follow through with instruction; Our brains are further enhancing. As we think about the moves more and gain more in-depth understanding of them, I envision the connections within the frontal lobe becoming stronger and more numerous.

Level Four (1st dan and up)

The model concept allows our instructors to focus on what may be important for a student at any level of training.  The frontal lobes are at work with planning, making decisions and integrating details.  Perhaps with each new student, new neurons are born (neurogenesis) with corresponding new pathways.  The intense learning and consolidation into long-term memory that has happened at this level occurred through intense brain activity and enhancement.   A fascinating endeavor would be to obtain brain imaging of an individual on day one of TKD and a follow-up scan as a Black Belt.   I believe we would see a bigger brain with many more of those colorful, increasingly active pathways.


In conclusion, I hope I have provided some interesting insights into the neurophysiology of our Moo Sul Kwan Taekwondo practice with CTI.  Intense neuronal activity is continually happening in our brains as we delve deeper into the Psychomotor, Affective and Cognitive Domains. This activity happens not only during actual classes and events, but also when we practice and think deeper about the moves at home or elsewhere.   As our practice extends to all areas of our lives, we are utilizing these neuronal processes more and more throughout our days.

Perhaps you have consciously or subconsciously felt these changes by having better attention and energy, better time management and organization, and better overall mental clarity.  The motor pathways have strengthened along with our bodies.  All of this is a result of how our brains have grown.  Every detail of improvement has been facilitated by the networks we have created and strengthened in our brains as we grow to higher levels of mastery in the fascinating Martial Art of Moo Sul Kwan Taekwondo.

[1] Green, C.S. and Bavelier, D. (2008). Exercising Your Brain: A Review of Human Brain Plasticity and Training-Induced Learning. Psychol Aging. Dec; 23(4): 692–701.

[2] Scholz, J.; Klein, MNat Neurosci. 2009 Nov; 12(11): 1370–1371. Training induces changes in white matter architecture. Jan Scholz,1,*Miriam C. Klein,1Timothy E.J. Behrens,1,2 and Heidi Johansen-Berg1

[3] Neuroplasticity: changes in grey matter induced by training.Draganski B, Gaser C, Busch V, Schuierer G, Bogdahn U, May A. Nature. 2004 Jan 22; 427(6972):311-2.

[4] Schwartz, J.M. and Begley, S. (2002). The Mind and The Brain. Neuroplasticity and the Power of Mental Force.

[5] Simultaneous Processing of Information on Multiple Errors in Visuomotor Learning Shoko Kasuga, Masaya Hirashima, Daichi Nozaki. August
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