Friday, March 29, 2013

Wild Card

By Taryn Dywer, Purple Belt

I have been doing Moo Sul Kwan Taekwondo for a little over three years now.  When I started at the Westminster campus, I thought it would be something fun to do with my kids, something we could share.  I did it because it looked like good workout and I am not the kind of person who likes to go to the gym.

When I started my friends looked at me like I was crazy.  Moo Sul Kwan Taekwondo is something that you sign your kids up for, not something that a thirty-five year old woman signs up for.  When I started training at the CTI, I did not think that I could actually do it.  It never occurred to me that I might be able to be a real Black Belt someday, or even a Purple Belt for that matter.  I thought I would do it for a while, set a good example for my kids, and get in shape.

When I started at the Colorado Taekwondo Institute I never imagined that I would love it.  That I would spend six weeks recovering from surgery sitting in the back of class wishing that I was up there doing jumping jacks with my classmates.  That I would leave my family for five days to drive to Missouri, with people I hardly know, just for the opportunity to learn more and take classes from a Great Grandmaster , Grandmasters and Master instructors.

As I was preparing to leave for AMASEA National Convention I was talking to the Principal of my kids’ school and told him that I was going to be out of town for a few days.  I told him I was going to a Taekwondo Convention in Missouri.  I will never forget the look of shock on his face when he realized that I was going because I do MSK Taekwondo, not because my kids do it.  I could not tell if he was impressed at the idea, or thought I was crazy.  Either way, I was proud of myself.

When I arrived at the Green Mountain Campus (in Lakewood, CO) and we were preparing to leave I was terrified.  Could I do this?  Was I ready to push myself that hard?  The National Convention was something that the Upper Belts did.  Something I heard them talk about in class, but had never really thought much about actually doing myself.  I still remember my first class.  I stood in the front of the class in my starched white uniform and I was sure that the people around me could hear my heart pounding in my chest.  I was petrified.  Would I be able to keep up with those around me?  Would I make a fool of myself?  The jumping jacks started and there was no looking back.  Then the day came when Master Albrechtson told me I was ready to test for my Yellow Belt.  Somehow the thought of testing never even occurred to me when I signed up.  I hadn’t studied for a test since Grad School, which was more than eight years prior.  Could I still do it?  I had heard the physical test was grueling.  Would I make it though?  I had to trust that of my instructor thought I was ready that I was.  I went into the test and I survived.  Maybe I could do this Taekwondo thing.

We arrived at Southeast Missouri State University and we prepared for our first session of Convention 2013.  That same feeling washed over me that I felt standing in class that first day, and lining up for my first belt test.  Could I do this?  Was I right to come on this trip?  To take this journey?  Once again, the jumping jacks started and my tension began to fade.  Even if I couldn’t do it, how would I know if I didn’t try?  What would be worse, to fail or to never try?
By Taryn Dwyer, purple belt

When I started MSK Taekwondo I was intimidated to try new things, to push my limits.  At my Yellow Belt test we had gone through everything we learned and the upper belts were getting out their boards for breaking.  I was done.  I could just sit back and watch them.  Wrong.  It was announced that each CTI Campus could pick someone and let them attempt a break.  I heard my name come out of Master Albrechtson’s mouth and my heart stopped.  Just when I thought I had pushed myself as far as I could go, he wanted me to take one more step.  Could I do it?  Surely no one would think less of me if the board didn’t break.  Right?  I got a crash course in breaking and took a deep breath and kicked.  The board broke!  I felt a surge of adrenaline like nothing else.  If I could do that what else was this crazy, thirty-five year old mom capable of?

The second day of Convention rolled around I looked at the schedule and realized that I had not one, but two sessions that day with Great Grandmaster Shin.  His classes had become legendary and I realized that he was going to push me beyond any limit that I had imagined.  Since joining CTI I had survived five promotion tests, I had taken up running and completed four half marathons, I had also come back from abdominal surgery.  I was stronger than I had given myself credit for and I was going to enter his classes knowing that it was going to make me even stronger.  I stood right in front of him and bowed in. These sessions on his mat did not disappoint.  They were physically and mentally challenging, and I survived them.  I even left the first session looking forward to the challenge of the second class.

Convention made me realize that I may have started Moo Sul Kwan Taekwondo to share something with my kids, but over the last three years it has evolved into something more.  I still share it with my kids, but it is also something that is mine.  When I am working out I can leave all the other stuff going on in my life at the door.  Taekwondo is my time to focus on me and no one else.  I want to be pushed harder, to be challenged more, and to go farther.  When I started Taekwondo I looked at the Black Belts with respect and admired how hard they had worked to get where they are.  Now I look at them and I want to be one of them.  I want them to teach me what they have learned and I want to inspire others as they have inspired me.  I may have been a “Wild Card” going into Convention, but I came out as someone to just maybe keep an eye on.

Friday, March 22, 2013

The Cheetah, the Elephant and the Eagle

By Katie Dahl, green belt, Littleton Campus

Out on the vast African Savanna there lived a Cheetah.  She was the fastest animal around and loved to show off and boast about her speed to other animals.  One day the Cheetah was sunning herself on a rock when an Elephant ambled up to her.  The Elephant asked, "Would you like to be my friend, Cheetah?"

The Cheetah looked at the Elephant before throwing her head back and laughing.  "I am the fastest animal on the Savanna," the Cheetah said vainly.  The Cheetah got up from her rock and ran a quick circle around the Elephant.  The Elephant awkwardly spun around to follow the Cheetah's movements.  The Cheetah laughed again and jumped onto her rock.  "Why would I want to be friends with someone as slow and clumsy as you?"

The Elephant frowned and walked away.

The next day, the Cheetah was running along the Savanna, conceitedly telling every animal she passed about her agility and gracefulness.  The Cheetah was not looking where she was going as she showed off her speed. Suddenly she found herself falling into a deep pit.  She yowled when she landed on the hard ground.  She shook herself and looked around, realizing she was trapped.  She jumped at the dirt walls but could not climb out.  Her amazing speed could not help her here.

The Cheetah called out for help.  A few moments later the Elephant looked over the side of the pit. The Cheetah smiled and said, "Help me out of here."

The Elephant simply asked, "Why?"

The Cheetah scoffed and replied, "Because I am the fastest animal on the Savanna."

The Elephant walked away, leaving the Cheetah confused.  Why wouldn't the Elephant help her?  She was the fastest animal on the Savanna.  She didn't deserve to be in this pit.  She paced around the bottom of the pit, her tail lashing back and forth as her anger grew.  The Elephant should have helped her.

Just then an Eagle landed on the edge of her pit.  The Cheetah glared at the Eagle.  "What do you want?!" She shouted in anger.

The Eagle shook his head.  "You are very arrogant, Cheetah."

"So? I have a right to be arrogant. I am the fastest animal on the Savanna!"

The Eagle shook his head again.  "That may be so.  But look at where your arrogance has gotten you."  After he had spoken those words the Eagle flew away.

The Cheetah scowled and turned away from where the Eagle had sat.  She looked around herself. She was at the bottom of a pit, all alone.  She felt a moment of disbelief.  She was always alone.  She had pushed away the Elephant's friendship, because her pride wouldn't let her be friends with such a slow animal.  She had pushed away the one animal who could help her.

The Cheetah bowed her head in realization and embarrassment.  All her arrogance had brought her was loneliness.  Her arrogance made her feel better about herself, but with no one to share it with, her pride was pointless.  The Cheetah lifted her head and called out for the Elephant.  "Elephant! Elephant!"

The Elephant stuck her head over the side of the pit.  "What do you want?" The Elephant asked.

"I'm sorry," said the Cheetah genuinely.  "I'm sorry I was mean to you.  Just because I am fast doesn't make me the best animal on the Savanna.  I want to be your friend, Elephant."

"Even though I am slow and clumsy?" The Elephant asked.

"You may be slower than me, but you are taller and have a long trunk.  You can do things I can't. You are an impressive animal, Elephant. And I would be honored to have you as my friend."

The Elephant smiled and lowered her trunk into the pit.  The Elephant grabbed the Cheetah and lifted her from the pit.  The Cheetah smiled up at her new friend.  "Thank you, Elephant. You are very strong."

"You're welcome, Cheetah.  You are the fastest animal on the Savanna."

"Thank you." The Cheetah replied, feeling happier than she had ever been.

Together the Cheetah and the Elephant walked off onto the Savanna.

The Cheetah learned that day that while arrogance made her feel better about herself, it pushed everyone else away, leaving her alone. By using modesty, she is still able to feel good about what she can do, while having a friend she can share those happy feelings with.  The Cheetah learned that by being modest she will always have friends who can help her if she ever gets in trouble.

Friday, March 15, 2013

CTI Family and Friends Month!

This month is our special Family and Friends month at the Colorado Taekwondo Institute!

For this month only, family members and friends can participate in classes at any of our CTI Campus locations (Lakewood, Littleton, Westminster, Golden and Conifer), compliments of the CTI!

Here's a special opportunity to experience how our CTI students and instructors train in the Moo Sul Kwan Martial Arts.  All you have to do is wear loose fitting workout clothes and be ready to have the best of times!  Official Moo Sul Kwan uniforms are also available for sale if needed.

Click here to read some interesting testimonials on our CTI Programs!

Check with your CTI Campus instructor on how to get in on the action!  This is a wonderful chance to workout with your friend and/or family member in a very special art that we are so excited about!  Don't think about it - just do it!

Click here to find the CTI Campus location nearest to you and to contact the instructor.

Friday, March 8, 2013

A CTI Taekwondo Birthday

By Hope Morgan, 1st dan

I was a ten year old orange belt when I had my birthday party at the Colorado Taekwondo Institute, Westminster Campus.  I remember thinking it was the absolute best thing in the world – to be able to show off my “skills” to my friends, to combine such a significant part of my life with such an important celebration.  Now, as a seventeen year old black belt, I assist my mom and instructor with birthday parties for their younger students.

Just recently, a student of my mom’s, Lydia Willis, had her seventh birthday party at  the CTI, and I had the pleasure to help.  I got to watch her have the time of her life!  I got to see how being “black belt for a day” and working out up front made her ecstatic.  It took me back to my own birthday, and how that experience as such a young child impacted me in the most surprising ways.  It wasn’t hard to see how pumped up Lydia was.

Hope Morgan and Lydia
It’s always been tradition that the instructor helps the student cut the cake with a long sword.  Before the party had begun, Lydia had gone to her mom and said, “Mom, I get to cut the cake with a big sword!”  I don’t blame her for being so excited; it was definitely one of the most memorable moments from my party.  I really wanted to be the one to share that experience with Lydia, and I had to practically beg my mom to let me do the honors.  When you think about it, that one slice only lasts for a minute, but it’s something unique that any kid would be excited to do.  And Lydia was definitely excited.  I don’t think she stopped smiling and giggling throughout the whole thing!

After the party, my instructor, Master Albrechtson, pulled up a picture of he and I cutting my cake with the sword on my birthday that happened so long ago.  Next to it, he pulled up a picture of Lydia and I cutting her cake.  It was so insanely crazy to see!  I got to share one of my best days with Master Albrechtson, and now I get the gratification of being that iconic figure in a younger child’s life.  One doesn’t grow out of those memories.  Now my wish is for Lydia to continue her journey through Moo Sul Kwan Taekwondo, and someday be the one assisting or teaching her own student’s birthday parties. Maybe one day we can add a picture of a Ms. Willis helping an excited student cut the cake.

A Taekwondo birthday party at the CTI is really one of the best things for a child to experience.  It brings out that pride in students, allows them to showcase their skills to their friends and family, and enjoy a fun celebration working out with their loved ones.  While I may be “too old” for a birthday party at the CTI, I will always have the pleasure of sharing ones with younger students at my campus, and that in itself is the most rewarding thing I could ask for.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Westminster and Littleton: Taekwondo Training in the Denver Area

Westminster Taekwondo and Littleton Taekwondo are two places you can come to learn about the practice of taekwondo and also about yourself. If your life ever feels out of control and your mind scattered, come and see what the peace and focus training of taekwondo can do for you.

When was the last time you dedicated yourself to something? Was it a hobby? A job? Your family? With so many obligations in life, it can be difficult to remember what it feels like to set your sights on something, and go at it with everything you have until at last it is achieved. We at the Colorado Taekwondo Institute understand this drive and need for achievement, and we invite you to join us in a group setting.

If you are living in the Denver area, there are a couple of campuses you should come check out for yourself. We have Westminster CTI Taekwondo, which situates you in a beautiful setting next to the mountains, a perfect backdrop for the peace of mind your journey will be built on. Are you further South? Check out Littleton CTI Taekwondo, another site conducive to a focused, ready mind.

Wherever you choose to practice, you will notice something in common: you will be surrounded by other people motivated by the physical and mental challenge that faces them when they enter the taekwondo institute. And while it is commendable to chase your goal completely by yourself, many people find it not only easier to stay motivated in a same-goal community, they find their victories and improvements more meaningful when they can share them with others.

Need to blow off steam after a long, stressful day? Want to feel your muscles move after sitting in a desk too long? Our taekwondo institute can get you up and moving again. A sedentary life can lead to mental strain such as boredom and discontent, and it also brings about physical problems like obesity and a weakening of the heart. Practicing taekwondo for a few hours a week can do wonders for your body, toning muscles and teaching you self defense skills to keep yourself safe. It also teaches you to take control of your body, aligning it with your mind.

Of course, there are many martial arts schools to choose from. But Westminster CTI Taekwondo and Littleton CTI Taekwondo are two places you can come to learn about the practice of taekwondo and also about yourself. If your life ever feels out of control and your mind scattered, come and see what the peace and focus training of taekwondo can do for you. Learn among the company of friends what it means to take control of your mind and become a positive force in your community.

Friday, March 1, 2013

It Can't be Overstressed

By Eric Evans, 2nd dan

It is human nature for people to place a value on everything they posses or encounter.  Society tends to measure status and success by our appearance, social status, jobs and possessions.  It is the intangible items that are truly beyond measure.  Everything you have can be taken away from you.  Your money, home, clothes, even your life can be taken.  The one thing no one can take from you is your education.

At each campus of the Colorado Taekwondo Institute, including our classes in Golden, we place a strong emphasis on education.  Because it is an integral part of life, CTI places education at the top of their priorities.  Students are required to complete monthly homework, study for tests and learn about their body.  They are also exposed to the education of their culture and the culture of others.  This is a process that must be constantly and consistently practiced as students hone their ability to become thoughtful, self-directed learners.  These skills must be applied outside of Moo Sul Kwan Taekwondo in our daily lives in order to become more effective.  Much like poomse, your ability to learn only enhances with practice.

You may consider school boring or a waste of your time.  You may have even bought into the misconception that you will never use the skill and concepts you learn in school in the “Real World.”  One of my personal favorites is “Who uses Algebra any way?”   You use algebra everyday of your life!  You may not realize it but even children use it.  Consider the situation where a child is saving money to purchase a new toy.  They currently have x dollars saved and they need to save y more to earn the much needed 49.99 toy.  Algebra enables them to determine how much more money they need to earn before they are rewarded for their hard work.

CTI students learn to strive to be in the front of the classroom while studying in grade school or college, just striving to be in a leadership position of a CTI class.

  • By placing yourself in the front of the classroom you:
  • Remove distractions from fellow students
  • Remove obstructions from your view
  • Become the example for other students to follow
  • Place yourself in a position that requires your full attention
  • Have a higher level of retention of the information or lecture being provided.

The value of education cannot ever be overly expressed.  It enables us to perform simple tasks like counting money back to a customer, without the aid of a computer, to more complex tasks such as the ability to solve a quantum physics equation.  It is the only thing that can never be taken away from you.  If not for the dedicated men and women of older times in regards to education, MSK Taekwondo and everything we do and enjoy would not be what it is today.