Tuesday, June 30, 2020

The Importance of Being a Self-Directed Learner

By Caleb Feagans, 2nd dan, Conifer Instructor
A kid practicing for his martial arts school during remote learning

As a result of recent events, the Colorado Taekwondo Institute has moved to online learning and has been conducting modified in person classes for the months of self-quarantine and during this time students of the CTI are starting to truly understand what it means to be a self-directed learner.   

One of the aims and goals of Moo Sul Kwan is to “Help students in identifying and accomplishing appropriate goals, developing a sense of self-esteem and confidence, in encouraging their desire for self-directed learning”.   CTI martial arts instructors help their students set goals and assist them in achieving those goals however, during this time we cannot get together and work out consistently twice a week. At this time we as students must now continue to work out and grow by ourselves and force ourselves to set goals and strive to accomplish those goals. 

The definition of self-directed learning is the process in which one takes initiative to set goals and takes the steps necessary to accomplish those goals.   In Moo Sul Kwan Taekwondo, we set goals like earning our next belt, increase our maximum number of push-ups, finally nailing that perfect side kick, or breaking a board with a kick you’ve been working on.   Our instructors push us every class and help us progress towards our goals, but now we cannot go see our instructors twice a week in classes so we can get that support and help.   That is why now is the time to truly become a self-directed learner by setting and working towards those goals on our own. 

 I have found that my motivation to do work-outs consistently and after a few weeks has been minimal.  I tried to do my basics and warm-ups as much as I could using the remote learning page but it was not until I created a training chart and set goals for myself that I finally started to get excited about working out since self-quarantine began.  Creating a training chart, having an accountability partner or make new small goals to achieve during this time will help bring back that sense of accomplishment.  Not only will you become stronger when we eventually return to regular classes, but you will be a better self-directed learner.  Being a better self-directed learner will not only help you with your MSK Taekwondo goals, but it will make you a better co-worker, a better student in school, and simply a better person in general.  During these uncertain times it can be difficult to motivate yourself but in the CTI one key aspect of becoming a great student is the ability to be a self-directed learner and now is the best time to show off that skill to your instructor and yourself.

Monday, May 25, 2020

One-Step Sparring

By Erik Albrechtson, 6th dan

Two martial arts taekwondo black belts practicing one steps sparring

One-step sparring is another part of our training that puts our basics into motion.  The foundations that are established first in basics and then in poomse can be built upon while practicing one-step sparring. In addition to developing speed on your techniques, there are a few additional benefits since you are training with a partner.  Timing (can you hit your stance and block just as the attacker throws theirs?), judgment of distance (can you throw your blocks, kicks and strikes with a precise distance to your partner?) and precision (can you throw your moves to the correct target position?) are three of the benefits that one-steps help a student develop. 

Be sure to practice your one-steps in walking drills too.  They will help you memorize the moves, perfect the technique and stances, and help you develop speed for each one-step.  Don’t forget there are one step walking drill defenses (start with your left leg back on the first side) and one-step walking drill attacks (start with your right leg back on the first side).

The CTI Student Manual lists 12 One-Step Sparring rules. Four of these rules mirror other rules of Moo Sul Kwan training:

Kihap - there are actually two one-step sparring rules that correlate with kihaps. One is for both the attacker and defender to go into their respective ready stance with a loud and clear kihap. The second is for the defender to kihap on their last counter attack.  

Eye contact - it’s sort of a no-brainer that there is a one-step rule about eye contact. In order to practice awareness in a self-defense situation, and to have the best possible balance, eye contact is a must!

Start slowly - this rule is similar to the poomse rule. When a student is first learning a one-step, they should perform it slowly and make each block, kick, punch and stance accurate and awesome. After a few hundred repetitions they can speed it up.

Correct stance and posture - since our power comes from being grounded to the earth, it is most important that each stance is correct and that our balance and posture is the best it can be.

Thursday, April 30, 2020

Classes in Quarantine

By Cody Jacobson, 1st dan, 04/30/20
Martial arts girl doing a sick kick while remote learning at home

Life in quarantine can be very boring sometimes. You wake up, do whatever you need to and are stuck with endless boredom.  One thing that I do to keep from losing my mind is the online CTI Taekwondo classes. These classes help you stay in shape and stay entertained.

Normally, when we are not in quarantine, you go to two or more classes a week.  Now, we can't do that.  So, the ingenious solution thought up by Grandmaster James Sautel along with other upper black belts is recorded classes that can be viewed and performed at home.  These classes help you stay in shape while away from the campuses and advance your training.  Now, seeing that we are not going to classes it is vital that you continue your usual class routine.  That way, when we do return to in person classes you are in shape and ready to learn.  If you don't keep up, you will be out of shape and have to spend more time getting back into the routine of class.

The online CTI classes help you stay on top of your basics and your weekly class routine.  One thing that helps me in particular and can maybe help you is to watch and perform an online class on the normal day you would do a class in person.  You don't necessarily have to do it at the same time and duration but it helps.  Always remember to accomplish your other exercises like Poomse, One-Steps, and Self-Defense.  I like to split up the week to focus on different aspects of our training.  Some days I practice more on Poomse and only a bit on One-Steps and Self-Defense.  Other days, it's the exact opposite.  That allows me to work more on new techniques/moves and those things that I really need to work on.  It is a good thing to stay in the routine of things.

Even though the online classes help you stay in shape there is more to doing them than that.  Doing a class provides a break from your surroundings that have become all too familiar.  You can focus on your  Moo Sul Kwan Taekwondo and forget about everything else for a little while. It is a great escape from reality.  The classes are also led by great instructors.  These amazing black belts include Mr. Murphy, Mr. Kreutz, Mr. Brauch, Ms. Trapp, Mrs. Lindner, Ms. DeTienne, Mr. Slinkard, Master Meyung, Ms. Sautel, Master Garner, Mr. Jacobson, and Master Albrechtson.

The classes are split up into four sections.  The Tigers section (3-5 year olds), the Junior section (6-11), the Teen section (12-15), and the Adult section (16+).  Try and do the classes that are for your age group.  If they are too easy or you are looking for a challenge try the group above yours.  If you are an adult, try the Teen workouts.  They are just as hard if not harder.  Along with the main workouts there are also videos to follow along with that cover poomse, self-defense, and one-steps.  It is still important to practice these things on your own.  If you are looking for another workout to do on the same day or if you don't have time for a full one, try a CTI Short Workout.  These are shorter workouts that still get you in a sweat.  These classes are a great way to break up a boring day in quarantine.  They get your exercise and keep you going!

Friday, April 24, 2020

Colorado Taekwondo Institute - Producing Leaders Since 1983

By Mark Scott, 2nd dan, CTI LeAD Team
Martial arts students learning leadership qualities at a Taekwondo tournament

A good leader is inspirational, accountable, decisive, honest, and empathetic.

Inspirational – To be a leader, you must inspire others to follow your example.  You must provide a worthy example to persuade others to follow.  When you expect your followers to do something, you must be willing to do the same thing.

Accountable – The leader must be willing to take the blame for the team’s failures, and share the credit for the success of the team.

Decisive – Making decisions when they need to be made and sticking by those decisions help inspire others to follow the chosen path.

Honest – Having honesty and integrity are two of the most important qualities of a leader.  Making ethical decisions and sticking to core beliefs will always lead a team to success.

Empathetic – Understanding the worries and problems of the followers is one of the keys to becoming a true leader. 

Work – At work I became a leader by doing the best work and working harder than is expected of me.  By doing work above the normal expectations, others see the need to follow the same pattern and become better.  I give all areas of the job equal effort, even the parts that I might now enjoy.  By showing I do everything that I expect the other team members to do, I earn their respect.  I also ensure that I understand each of the struggles of the other team members which builds trust as we try to solve the problems together.

Sports – In sports, the leader sets the example by having more focus and working harder.  I can be a leader in sports by practicing hard, keeping in good shape, and focusing on my part.

Community – A leader in the community is an active participant in the community.  For me to be a leader, I should participate in community events. I should obey the rules or norms of the community.

Students of the Colorado Taekwondo Institute should be leaders in the community because of the structured teaching and values learned through the training in CTI.  The Aims of Moo Sul Kwan teach us many valuable skills we need to be a leader.  The student objectives championed by the CTI curriculum help sculpt the us into productive members of society.  The tenets of Taekwondo are behaviors we learn to exhibit that all leaders should show.

The Aims of Moo Sul Kwan teach students to become self-directed learners.  Leaders must always keep learning and adjusting to changes to keep on the right path.  A good leader must also learn how to set goals which is another one of the Aims.  Setting an appropriate goal as a leader inspires followers and pushes them to achieve more.  Another Aim for us as students is to learn how to teach others.  This is another important quality for a leader.  A leader must be able to demonstrate and teach properly for the followers to succeed.

The student objectives guide us to becoming healthy, productive members of society.  The objectives are not only for learning self-defense and keeping ourselves in shape, but also teach us to be confident, outgoing, and respectful members of society.  Through all of the training and events, we learn to interact and relate to other people in an appropriate manger, showing respect.

The Tenets of Taekwondo are behaviors which we learn as part of our training.  The behaviors spill over into our outside lives as well.  Being courteous to everyone becomes the standard response.  Having integrity in our dealings just feels right for a CTI student.  We also learn to have perseverance in all of our work and activities.  As a CTI student, you can’t achieve any belt without sticking to a goal.  The self-control is perhaps the most important for a leader.  We are always being tested for self-control, as things in life always change, and the unexpected always happens.  Lastly, indomitable spirit keeps the leader strong and the followers encouraged.

All of the training and teaching from CTI create strong, moral, and capable leaders out of the students.  The CTI program design trains not only the body but also the mind to sculpt us into well-grounded, respectful and thoughtful students and citizens.  Who better to become leaders outside of MSK Taekwondo, than the CTI student who gets tested both physically and mentally in every class and event.

Tuesday, April 21, 2020


By Deb Denny, 1st dan, CTI Masters Club Member

There’s an old, well known story of a chicken farmer who found an eagle’s egg.  He put it with his chickens and soon the egg hatched. The young eagle grew up with all the other chickens and whatever they did, the eagle did too. He thought he was a chicken, just like them. Since the chickens could only fly for a short distance, the eagle also learnt to fly a short distance. He thought that was what he was supposed to do. So that was all that he thought he could do. As a consequence, that was all he was able to do.

A martial arts kid doing remote learning at homeOne day the eagle saw a bird flying high above him. He was very impressed. “Who is that?” he asked the hens around him. “That’s the eagle, the king of the birds,” the hens told him. “He belongs to the sky and we belong to the earth, we are just chickens.”  So the eagle lived and died as a chicken, for that’s what he thought he was.

Potential, this is what the eagle had in spades and was unaware of it.

Working through challenges in MSK Taekwondo will naturally result in personal advancements.  Challenges become stepping stones for unlocking our potential.  Potential, latent abilities or qualities that may be developed for future success, are unlocked through our awareness and effort. Every action such as mastering a movement or perfecting a technique create improved self-confidence and self-esteem.  Performing strong basics result in physical strength, reflexes, mental agility, muscle strength, and form a foundation upon which to release potential.  Overcoming challenges and seeing our potential released in MSK Taekwondo creates a strong personal character that naturally translates to our everyday lives.  The perseverance learned in MSK Taekwondo becomes a habit, allowing you to release your potential and succeed in all aspects of life. Releasing potential takes ongoing sweat equity, “Continuous effort is the key to unlocking our potential.”

Friday, April 17, 2020

MSK Taekwondo for Austism Spectrum Disorder

By Deb Denny, 1st dan

Two adult martial arts students kicking with a roundhouse kickFor children and adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), there is a large variety in severity and types of symptoms. Most people on the spectrum face some challenges with communication, social interactions, balance, repetitive behaviors and communications. Treatment has been limited to limited several therapeutic methods such as speech-language therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, and behavioral intervention. These methods have proven to be intensive, expensive and time-consuming.  Numerous studies have shown traditional martial arts such as Kung Fu, Karate, Taekwondo, Mixed Martial Arts to reduce stereotypic behaviors, improve emotional and social function, and improve cognition and attention.  Starting martial arts such as Moo Sul Kwan Taekwondo may be a better way to protect the person’s dignity than a healthcare intervention, avoid labeling, reduce the person’s perception that s/he is “different”, allow for the improvement of symptoms in a less restrictive environment. Most of all the benefit of having your child participate in a sport that other children take for granted is a dream come true for parents.

When you choose Colorado Taekwondo Institute - Moo Sul Kwan Taekwondo, you are engaging in a practice that emphasizes overall character development, cognitive development and physical skill development. Patterned movements require a mind and body focus, and this combination is extremely valuable in creating a strong mind-body connection for physical and mental training.An additional benefit of adding Moo Sul Kwan Taekwondo into your ASD regimen is that it is fun and rewarding. Many occupational therapy and physical therapy routines are boring and difficult to stick to, as well as expensive.

When practicing Moo Sul Kwan Taekwondo, children and adults get to focus on themselves. While participating in class the focus is on their own movements, their own progress, and their physical and cognitive achievements. As students take visual and verbal cues to reproduce the movements as shown by their instructors, they are required to pay attention and try their best, which is all within their control to accomplish. With each action that repeats the movements from the last, they can progress at their own pace and enjoy accomplishments along the way.

If you’re looking for a new activity to improve upon symptoms for yourself or someone else with autism spectrum disorder, we hope you’ll give Moo Sul Kwan Taekwondo a try.

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Drawing Parallels with History

By Amy Krupp, red belt, CTI LeAD Team Member

Karate kids practicing Taekwondo at home with remote learning
It’s 2020, and the year has certainly started off with a bang.  In the midst of a worldwide novel coronavirus pandemic, there has been a lot of recent discussion about our history.  Discussion of isolation, quarantines, cleaned out grocery stores, and general unease, and how similar these things are to the pandemics of the past, such as polio, the Spanish flu, and the H1N1 virus.  We are also studying the behavior of these past pandemics for methods to help us contain this newest virus, and slow the spread to keep more people healthy and safe.  In the midst of all of this, our training here at the Colorado Taekwondo Institute has changed.  In order to do our part to lessen the spread of this virus in Colorado, schools are closed.  Businesses, restaurants, and hotels are closed.  People are working from home as much as possible, and are being asked to practice social distancing.  As a result, our normal weekly classes here at the  CTI have stopped.  But the training hasn’t stopped.  We’ve just moved underground.

The Grandmasters, Masters, and instructors of the Colorado Taekwondo Institute have put together a series of instructional videos for various ages and belt levels.  They are designed for students to continue their training from home by having virtual classes that cover warm-ups, basics, poomse, self-defense, and one step sparring.  With all of this discussion of history during recent events, our at-home training made me think of a different aspect of history- Moo Sul Kwan's history.

It wasn’t all that long ago really that Korean martial arts were an underground martial art.  During the Japanese occupation of Korea from 1909-1945, all activities directly related to Korean culture and history were banned by the Japanese, including the practice of Korean martial arts.  But that didn’t stop the martial artists of our past from practicing their art.  They just did it underground.  They practiced their art in the privacy of their homes, passing the art from parent to child, and instructor to student.  And through their perseverance, Korean martial arts survived.  And thrived.  And is the most widely practiced martial arts in the world.

What we are going through now pales in comparison to what the Koreans went through during those 36 years.  But the spirit of the training is the same.  We can’t come together and train right now.  We can’t attend in person classes with our fellow students and our instructors.  But we can still train.  We can use this time as an opportunity to become stronger.  To fine tune our skills, and really focus on the areas that we need to improve on.  We can train at home as an outlet to all of the stress we are experiencing right now in these times of uncertainty.  And we can remember those martial artists that came before us; those men and women that didn’t allow the art to die.  Think about Great Grandmaster Park, and the Moo Sul Kwan traditions.  Don’t let your training slip- keep training, keep pushing.  Today we have the advances of the 21st Century.  We have computers, tablets and smartphones - so use the CTI REMOTE CLASSES videos and you're keeping our tradition going strong!

Keep that mind set of self directed learning, and set your own goals to keep you motivated.  Then, when all of this is behind us, we can come back to class even stronger than we were before, and make new history together.

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

46th CTI Super Bowl

By Cody Jacobson, 1st dan, 04/01/20

The CTI Super Bowl is one of the best tournaments of the CTI year. And this previous one, on February 28-29, 2020 was one of the best ones yet.  This amazing event is one of the greatest out of all the events we hold.  It has been one of my favorite tournaments for a long time.

An adult woman black belt breaking a board using martial artsThis tournament is a special one.  Usually, at tournaments, the only competitors allowed to win the Grand Champ, and the amazing sword that goes with it, are Black Belts.   This tournament was for the lowerbelts. They had the chance to win the Grand Champ.  Last tournament, the winners of this award were Karen Carreon (Red Belt, Conifer Campus), Jason Stencel (Red Belt, Westminster Campus), and India Ross (Brown Belt, Westminster Campus) .  A lot of people did really well and the competition was at its best. It was very entertaining to watch.

While the lower belts did phenomenally well during their day of competition, the Black Belts did well too.  Even though they could not win the Grand Champ award, they still had a very great tournament.  One of the best things to watch was the breaking. The younger black belts did fantastic but the 3rd Dan and up power breaking was killer.  The competition was entertaining and thrilling. Special rules were put in place for the sparring divisions, each round lasted three minutes.  The first 30 seconds were one sparrer using hands and the other feet and then it switched.  The last two minutes were regular. The competition was very fierce. 

Signifying the end of the CTI year, attendance levels at the tournament were very high, in fact it was the largest Super Bowl of all time!   Students of all ages and ranks competed in divisions, some with eight people in them. This has been one of our best tournaments yet, and more are on the way.

Sunday, March 1, 2020

The Importance of Adaptability in Moo Sul Kwan Taekwondo

By Sean Huntley, red belt, CTI LeAD Team Member

Adaptability, one’s ability to adapt or change in a situation, is important everywhere, however, it is especially important in Moo Sul Kwan Taekwondo. In MSK Taekwondo things are constantly changing, reshuffled. You have to be able to keep up with all of it, and so you must be adaptable. If you can't change with everyone else then you will have a hard time in MSK Taekwondo and other aspects of your life, I know, I have personal experience. I hate change, I always want to have a plan, but I’m in MSK Taekwondo, and so I need to be able to be flexible. I will point out some examples of when I needed to be adaptable in MSK Taekwondo, as well as ones that you could find yourself in. I will also explore how to be more adaptable, so next time something changes for you it won't be that hard.

Many martial arts black belts doing a synchronized side kickI am a testing red belt, and as such I need a black belt journal. The CTI Black Belt Symposium is a big event, like expo, for upper belts.  Now, I was looking forward to going to the 2019 CTI Symposium because it would allow me to fill out a large portion of pages in my journal. I got to the first presentation of a black belt and I realized I had forgotten by journal at home. At first I was panicked, what would I do without my journal? Then I calmed down and realized that I had to take notes somehow, so I grabbed a hand out I had gotten from another class and took notes on that. Throughout Symposium I took notes on whatever I had, papers, folders, even boards. When I got home I filled my journal in with those notes I had gathered and i got a good amount of pages. I could have given up on taking notes and just stopped trying, but I adapted and got through that unfortunate situation.

Another experience I have had where I had to adapt in MSK Taekwondo was every team tournament and demo. Now, with the team tournament happening soon, as of this writing, I have realized just how much my team demo has changed. We have gone through about 10 different ideas of how to make it look, always adjusting, rearranging moves, or switching formations. If anyone has been on a team or a demo they know how much it changes each time you practice it. This is why you need to be flexible when you do things like this, you are in a team and your teammates might have different ideas than you have. If you are rigid and unchanged in how you want the demo to go then your teammates will have problems with it, they may not try their best, they may feel upset because you are not listening to them, they might be confused on the demo and wanting to simplify it so they can look good while doing it. If you keep the demo the same you might be missing out on a really creative idea that could help your team. If you are participating in a larger demo you have to be able to be open to change and, however hard it is, go with the flow. Although it is less of a problem for me now I have always have problems working with others, I always wanted things to look my way. It was hard working with others on a team basics demo my first time at it. Over time I learned that you had to be flexible when you work with other people and today I work much better with teams. When creating or participating in a demo you have to be adaptable so the demo can grow and change to become even better and you can work well in a team.

The last example I will talk about is sparring. Sparring is one of the most important places to be adaptable in Moo Sul Kwan Taekwondo. When you spar you have to make split second decisions, there is no time for a large plan. Sure, you can plan out a fake or a kick, but you can't know what your opponent is going to do. You could know their sparring strategy, but if you make a plan it could be shattered in an instant as your opponent makes one unexpected move. Now when I spar I keep my opponents sparring strategy in mind, but stay loose and focus on what my opponent is doing, no plan. This works quite well, as now I can change my attack, block, or where I am putting my hand or foot based on what my opponent just did. When sparring, you should focus on the moment, not getting caught up in a plan that was foiled. You have to be adaptable in sparring because if you are not you will not be able to defend yourself from and attack an unpredictable opponent.

MSK Taekwondo is ever changing, and so as a student you have to be adaptable. While you need to be adaptable in all aspects of taekwondo events, like tournaments and expos, team poomse and demos, and sparring are some of the most important. Try to be flexible when you go to class and do anything MSK Taekwondo related, make a plan B, go with the flow. If you allow yourself to be adaptable it will raise you to a new level of understanding.

Monday, February 17, 2020

The Benefits of Participating in CTI Tournaments

By Abbey Salamera, red belt, CTI LeAD Team Member

The patch from the CTI Superbowl, a martial arts tournamentThe Colorado Taekwondo Institute hosts four martial arts tournaments every season that runs from September to April. These four tournaments are the Denver Martial Arts Championships, the Lee H. Park Team Championships, the CTI Superbowl, and the All-City Champs. Since there are only a few tournaments every year, it’s important to take every chance to take part in a tournament. From a white belt competing in their first tournament to a black belt judging at a tournament, each Moo Sul Kwan student must know why we participate in tournaments and what we get out of them. There are several benefits to participating in CTI tournaments and will help any participant grow into a better Moo Sul Kwan student.

One of the benefits of participating in CTI tournaments is that it gives students an opportunity to take the curriculum taught to them in class and practice it in a different environment. The Alameda High School gym differs immensely compared to the dojangs within the six CTI campuses. At the high school, the rings limit space to do poomse, force students to face different directions, and the wooden floor impacts each and every step taken in the gym compared to the soft carpet in a dojang. This allows students to imagine what it would be like in the real world because most likely, if you were being attacked, you would not be defending yourself on carpeted floors in a safe space. Thus, the environment of tournaments enables students to practice their Taekwondo in a new space that’s more applicable to defending themselves outside of class.

Another benefit of participating in CTI tournaments is that it encourages independence within each Moo Sul Kwan student, raising their self-esteem and shaping them into leaders. As opposed to working out as a class of 10-20 people, students approach tournaments as themselves and must be confident in their knowledge of poomse, sparring, and breaking to compete. Within this setting of a competition, students can not really rely on other people to help them out and instead rely on their knowledge that they have worked hard for in class. Furthermore, by interacting with new black belts and making sure to ask them what they can work on, students will develop their understanding of concepts by hearing advice from other people. Thus, tournaments provide personal learning experience for Moo Sul Kwan students to expand their Taekwondo knowledge and become a leader.

Finally, a benefit of participating in martial arts tournaments is that it’s an awesome social event that allows you to meet new people that share the same interests as you. When limited to your campus, students have the same 10-15 people they interact with and learn new things with. However, when participating at tournaments, students meet a variety of people from tiger white belts to the master instructors that could eventually become close friends. Not only does attending tournaments motivate students socially, but it gives them opportunities for friendly competition, especially when divisions consist of the same people at every tournament, and motivates them to become better students in general. As a result, participating in CTI tournaments welcomes students into an amazing community where they can meet new people and learn from them as well.

By participating in CTI tournaments, students will grow and thrive into confident, informed leaders that inspire the future of the Colorado Taekwondo Institute and Moo Sul Kwan. The benefits of participating in tournaments are not limited to those mentioned above. Students will only truly know the benefits of participating in tournaments if they actually attend one, so make sure to register for the upcoming tournament and every other chance there is to become a better Moo Sul Kwan martial artist.