By Rex A. Splitt, 2nd dan
Years ago our youngest son (5 years old at the time) was wanting to learn martial arts. We researched several different schools and when I talked to the instructors at the Moo Sul Kwan school in Craig, CO, it was very evident this was the school for our son. The educational aspect is what most attracted us, as well as the background of the Sautel’s and their attitude towards learning for their students.
After several months of watching our son’s participation and seeing other adults in classes, I realized that this would be a great way for me to exercise. I had a high stress job and was looking for exercise and a way to relieve the stress in a positive manner.
So I joined and began my path towards black belt. The physical fitness aspect was phenomenal. I felt better, my fitness level greatly improved, and my stress level was significantly reduced. Watching our son grow and mature through the program was exciting. He developed the courtesy, integrity, self-control, concentration, and respect that made him the young man he is today.
Several years later our oldest son was promoted to 1st Dan Jr. black belt. That was interesting as now I called him Mr. Splitt and answered him “Yes sir,” and “No sir.” During this time our youngest son joined, as did my wife. So it was a family activity that all of us enjoyed. We have great memories, photographs, videos, and talk about those often at family gatherings.
After several years I was promoted to 1st Dan black belt and helped lead the school in Craig. I remember talking with parents of students and many of them saying how much Taekwondo helped their children. I saw students with learning disabilities start classes and within weeks their grades improved. Students struggling to get D’s were soon getting B’s. It was not uncommon by the end of the school year to see A’s on their report card. That achievement alone improved their self-esteem and self-confidence.
Teachers in the school system were amazed at how students improved once they enrolled in the CTI program. The teachers would make comments, “Your child is in Moo Sul Kwan isn’t he (she)?” They saw the change in respect and the student’s ability to concentrate improved. There were a few teachers that would recommend to parents they enroll the child in Moo Sul Kwan because they had seen the benefits to other children.
So back to my initial question as to why I joined CTI. It remains the physical fitness aspect. I know at age 57 cardiovascular health and physical fitness is important. I feel better, I have more energy, and my stress is under control. This is the only exercise activity that I have ever been able to stay with long term. It never gets boring! There is always more to learn and more to improve on. The CTI program is flexible to your physical needs. If there is some activity or technique that you cannot perform because of a physical issue, the instructors understand and they find a way to work around that issue. So the program is for ALL ages, not just the younger generation.
Another reason is the CTI family. The friendships you make become life long friends. Friends you can always count on to be there for you. Some of my best friends are part of the CTI family. They provide the support and encouragement I need. I also want other parents and students to be able to experience what my family did. There is a special bond between my sons and I because of our participation together in Taekwondo. I enjoy seeing students grow and mature through the CTI program. Seeing a student graduate from high school, obtain a college degree, get married and start a family just warms my heart. It provides a sense of satisfaction knowing that I helped them become that young adult.
I have been blessed to be part of the CTI family. Our sons have excellent jobs and are wonderful young men thanks to the leadership and vision of Grandmaster Sautel and the instructors of CTI. CTI help me as a parent reinforce the ethics and morals I was teaching my children. Our oldest son and his wife are expecting our first grandchild this year. Who knows, maybe my grandchild will be a CTI student someday and I will get to teach him or her!