Thursday, October 31, 2013

CTI Food / Clothing Drive

I just wanted to let everyone know that the CTI Food / Clothing Drive was a HUGE success.  Thank you if you brought in clothing or food this month.

Thank you to the 73 students and family members who went door to door today collecting food!

This morning I went next door to the food bank, King's Cupboard, and their shelves were bare.  They had just spent $600 on food and fed 70 individuals just today but it had wiped them almost completely out.  We were able to fill their shelves again and give LOTS of food to the Jeffco Action Center.

The clothing donations will go a long way to replenish the shelves at the Alameda Clothing Closet and we were able to donate quite a bit to King's Cupboard for their clothing closet.

It is so great knowing that our students and families are so very generous with donations and their time.  Thank you again for everything.

Merinda Sautel, 6th dan
Colorado Taekwondo Institute

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Beginning of Mainstream Martial Arts

In the mid 20th century, Taekwondo black belts and other martial artists were considered inferior by street fighters and other newer forms of fighting. But with the sudden rise of Mixed Martial Arts training in the late 1990’s into the main events of today with pay-per-view casting, certain martial art forms have experienced a revival of interest. With the support of mainstream media, people were exposed to martial arts training and have since contributed to the growing rise in popularity, particularly in taekwondo.

Chuck Norris, 8th degree black belt Grand Master in karate, heavily popularized the sport through film, not to mention the multiple world championship titles he achieved. He has dedicated his life to martial arts training and secured taekwondo as one of the world’s greatest forms of martial arts. Many grand master martial artists are well regarded within in the martial arts community, but Norris redefined everything. Other styles are similar but not considered as efficient as Taekwondo.

Even the beloved “Al Bundy,” Ed O’Neill from the TV Show “Married with Children,” off screen, is a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu at the age of 67. Martial artists decorated by their many years of training, are generally confident and modest, and serve as a great role models for the community, especially children. O’Neill was training with one of the greatest names in MMA, the Gracie family, renown for their unique fighting style.

Another “actor” that is a notable fighter worldwide aside from Chuck Norris, is definitely Steven Seagal, a 7th-dan black belt. His action packed films and the fact he was a real life law enforcement officer has been a major influence in the martial arts community.

Arguably, one of the most famous known martial art practictioners, was Elvis Presley.  The “King” was a black belt in Karate and studied under Ed Parker, a renown Kenpo martial artist as well as a celebrity trainer.  Nowadays, the Mixed Martial Arts community is larger than ever expected.

Millions of Americans and Europeans fill up Sports Bars to watch the Pay-Per-Views on Saturday nights, especially of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.  There are several Taekwondo styled athletes involved in the UFC. Forrest Griffin, the original “Ultimate Fighter” TV series winner is notably one of the most recognized as well as a first to come to mind.  The Ultimate Fighter TV series is now on its 12th season and tops in the ratings amongst viewing pools.  The climb to popularity has been steep for martial artists in the Western world. But, with such notable figures, Taekwondo and other forms have become more mainstream than ever.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Martial Arts for Everyday Application

Martial arts describes a wide range of cultural combatant techniques that have been integrated in many facets of human existence. Long before any gun could fire or sword strike down a man, people have used their own bodies as weapons for millenniums. Even as far back as Ancient Egypt, scenes within their art and writing system of hieroglyphics depict organized fighting techniques, especially between two people, that is very much like the competitive martial arts we see today.

Throughout history, warfare has evolved to incorporate very technologically advanced equipment. Soldiers have vision in the night time, sensors detect land mines, and supersonic missiles are shot down mid flight. Firearms are only one of the many tools modern soldiers use in the field. And still, every military integrates martial arts in their training programs because it is the foundation every soldier needs to be ready for deployment.

Becoming a soldier, though, is only one occupation of the many to choose from in the world, but most surprisingly, store clerks, history teachers, and even corporate leaders may practice martial arts rigorously.  For many individuals spread among all demographics, the practice of combatant art forms serve more than just a fighting purpose. There is as much emphasis on body training as there are mental training, as well as spiritual growth.

A great example of an alternative reason for undertaking martial arts is self defense. A typical well rounded citizen does not spend their time scanning the streets for a fight. But needless to say, thousands of people every year are harmed because of the small criminal population in society. Through even basic training in self defense, several people have successful fought off attempted thievery, rape, and bullying.

Since martial arts was designed for application in all facets of daily life, other people have used it to maintain a mental discipline. To master any skill or craft, it requires constant high levels of devoted time, attention, and of course practice. The will, though, to continue training develops a mental strength  of discipline that can only benefit a practitioner. Even for self defense measures, the successful physical execution will require the same commitment on a mental level.

If you're searching for an activity that is fun, useful, and in all ways beneficial, then martial arts should be your first consideration. Any practitioner, both beginner and grand master levels, can attest to the everyday benefits derived from martial arts training.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Great Exercise for All Ages

The martial arts have been around for many generations. Many people practice the sport for many different reasons. Some people do it for self defense, other people do it so that they can stay in shape. Some of the people that can benefit most from the martial arts are the elderly people. It can be a vital thing for them to learn because of their age.

Practicing martial arts is great exercise.  It is one of the many benefits that you can notice right away. As a person gets older, their body needs to get more exercise than it had the previous year. The martial arts are perfect for that need. The martial arts use all of the body parts. The legs, arms, thighs, stomach and chest all benefit when you are practicing the martial arts.

The martial arts can also be an amazing aerobic exercise. It depends on the reaction time of your kicks and punches, but martial arts can easily get your heart rate up. Elderly people are very susceptible to ailments such as heart disease, stroke and cancer. Getting lots of oxygen into the body can help avoid this, and the martial arts can be a great tool that can lend a hand.

Another spectacular benefit that the martial arts present for the elderly is that it is great for protection. Any elderly person that learns the martial arts will be able to protect him or herself when it comes to certain dangers. Often elderly people live by themselves, so knowing the basics of self defense can really help.

A lot of people looking to prey on someone will look towards the elderly because they think that they are weak and defenseless, but if an elderly person is skilled in the martial arts, a predator will not know what hit them, literally! Learning how to defend oneself can also serve as a great confidence booster.

Martial arts can usher in an amazing benefit not just for elderly people, but for anyone. They will not be alone and they will get a sense of community. Senior citizens can often be very lonely. Martial arts classes have plenty of people who attend class every day. Taking Taekwondo can be a great way for senior citizens to meet new people that have similar interests. It will provide them with a way to leave their same daily routine for a while.

Martial arts impact on an elderly person’s life can be great. There are many positive qualities that the elderly can adopt through practicing the martial arts.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Shoo the Bullies away with Taekwondo

Not unlike many other kids around the globe, Maxine Ingram was a target for bullies in her school.  But unlike many her peers who were bullied, she was targeted for being blind.

One day in a school corridor she was singled out by a few bullies because she was blind. At this point she had two choices: to stay and fight the bullies or back down and take a rough beating.  Luckily, for Maxine, she was trained in martial arts, so she was able to fight back. But she wasn’t always trained to keep the bullies at bay.

Maxine Ingram, from Trimsaran, in West Wales, was born entirely blind after not having sufficient oxygen at birth. Following her few years at a blind institute, she was transferred into mainstream education at the age of seven.

"My mother wanted me integrated in an able-bodied school,” said Maxine. “She believed spending so long in a specially-equipped blind school would only make entering a sighted community more difficult.”

Her mother Val often encouraged Maxine's three siblings to 'rough and tumble' with her to give her more confidence to fight back.

"It definitely did the job too, trust me, because children can be very nasty!" Val said.

While Maxine did have a good circle of friends at school, she was soon to become the target of bullies.

"A lot of the kids were quite mean,” said Maxine. “They'd call me 'one-eye bandit' and things like that. It didn't affect me too badly until they beat me up. I obviously didn't see the first punch so they knocked me quite hard and it took me by surprise. But once I felt the initial hit I was able to strike back. And I did.”

Once Maxine had begun her martial arts training, "No-one wanted to mess with me after that," she said.

"I'd tried most sports but because I'm totally blind I'd have to have a guide. All I needed for martial arts was a sighted training partner and a coach. It's just you, your referee and your opponent. My disability allows me to catch sighted and visually impaired opponents off guard. My grip is incredibly strong, which they don't like, and also my spatial awareness is good.”

And now that 12 years have gone by, Maxine, 26, is preparing for her second Paralympic trials as the only British female judo player at her level sighted or blind.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Trio of excellence

Renee Bramhall isn't a “mean” person, and at first glance she isn’t very intimidating at 5 foot, 1 inch, but none of that matters when it comes to taekwondo.

The sport is meant to be a peaceful martial art that focuses on avoiding conflict and being prepared to defend yourself if a situation escalates. Still, some might ask how and why this 47-year-old got started. Until three years ago, Bramhall was more comfortable on a treadmill or elliptical machine.

When her boys, Chris, 10, and Steve, 11, showed an interest in taekwondo, Bramhall signed up, too. They had observed Swanson’s taekwondo students practicing in the Cooper YMCA gym while there for swimming lessons. “I got into it to support the boys,” said Bramhall.

In turn, her boys keep her committed and going. All three have achieved brown belt rank. Bramhall’s husband refers to the trio as the three ninjas.

“She’s one of those people who have a positive outlook on life and who is always encouraging her boys to try harder,” said instructor Jason Swanson. Renee and both of her boys have attended additional activities such as an optional Friday night sparring class and tournaments.

At the two tournaments in which she’s competed, Bramhall took first in sparring for brown belts in her age group and a first and third place for her form. “It takes a little bit of extra courage to do that, to test their skills against others outside of class,” Swanson said.

Bramhall said she gets a lot out of the art, including exercise, practice in self-control and discipline. She added that learning self-control is good for kids and parents alike.

Swanson shared that he has seen Bramhall develop some additional patience, in part because she knows herself how difficult the techniques are that she and her boys are learning.

For Bramhall, the atmosphere at Swanson’s is just right. “Everybody is really friendly,” she explained. “They’re always supportive. They’re right beside you, encouraging you with the techniques.”

For example, Bramhall said, if she is sparring, an instructor might stop the fight and suggest a specific move. “They want you to get better,” she stressed.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

18th MSK Black Belt Symposium

This year's Symposium was fantastic!  Moo Sul Kwan upper belts got together at the Inn at SilverCreek in Granby, Colorado, for a three day weekend of training and fun.

The AMASEA and Moo Sul Kwan provide its instuctors and future instructors consistant education and training in their martial art.  The American Martial Arts Sports and Education Association was founded by Great Grandmaster Lee H. Park, founder of Moo Sul Kwan in the United States in 1981, to further the expertise of its instructors.

The past seventeen Symposiums have been held at different incredible places in Colorado, from Winter Park to the UCCS Campus, to Breckenridge and more.  This year's annual special upper belt event took place on October 11 - 13.

The theme of the 18th Moo Sul Kwan Black Belt Symposium was, "Again and Again."  There were seminars classes in advanced kicking, poomse, teaching, staff, self-defense, sparring and much more.  Events, such as the Symposium Adventures V and the Symposium Saturday Night Banquet kept everyone filled with many experiences!

This year's MSK Black Belt Symposium staff included; Grandmaster James M. Sautel, Master Merinda J. Sautel, Master John T. Sautel and Master Erik R. Albrechtson.

Our own black belt band, Hoshinmotion, played at the Saturday evening Symposium Banquet.  Between songs, special CTI World Tour Etiquette Commercials were shown featuring the theme, "Etiquette in South Korea" to the delight of the crowd.

The next CTI event is the annual Lee H. Park Team Championships in December.  It will be our 5th CTI Hanmadang and is at Alameda International High School.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Keeping Your Children Focused

It is no secret that education is undoubtedly vital for a child’s success in life. They can read the Saturday paper to scan the employment ads; they can write a thank you card to a person who interviewed them for employment; they learn how to create a good resume; They can make correct change; these are all crucial skills for child to learn if they are going to survive in the competitive job market when they grow older. But are there some things that a public school cannot teach a child? If you are looking to expand your child’s horizons even further, prepare them for the real world even more, or even help them do better in school, then you might want to get your child involved in martial arts.

Martial arts promote self-discipline in ways that hardly any other after-school activities can match. They will learn to focus on achieving their goals, they will learn how to rely on their self rather than a group, and they will feel a need to attend class regularly (even when they don’t feel like it). All of these attributes of discipline will carry over into their work at school.

The ability to memorize will be taught to them in the forms of the martial arts. These forms of martial arts movements can be fairly complex and can really test a child’s ability to remember them. This stimulation of the brain helps children remember their studies better.

Their child’s ability to focus is a huge dilemma for some parents. In martial arts, students must watch, listen, and engage all other senses to learn the techniques, at the same time tuning out distractions. By the time these children reach black belt, they have a incredible focus.

Respect is something that will make or break a child’s efforts at school. Martial arts highly emphasize the value of respect and children will be at a big advantage at school and in later life if they treat others with respect. They will also learn respect for self, which means they will be able to resist peer pressure.

The martial arts build accountability from day one. If you master a series of techniques, you earn your stripe or belt. If you don’t do your best, the disappointment you feel at not getting your belt will teach you to be accountable to yourself and try much harder next time. Being accountable to oneself is necessary for success in school, and also in life.

Give your children the edge in school; get them in a martial arts program. You won’t regret it.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

The Tenets Working for Us

By Don Johnson, 1st dan

The tenets of Taekwondo: courtesy, integrity, perseverance, self-control and indomitable spirit.  They are the basic principles of success used to reach the goal of Moo Sul Kwan black belt.  Principles are like gravity, they work whether you know them or not, but if you make them a part of your daily life, you cannot fail.

Looking at each tenet:

  1. Courtesy-  Humans are social animals designed to work together.  Our ability to succeed is improved with help from others. By being courteous more people will be willing to help us achieve our goals.
  2. Integrity-  Honesty and high moral principle will prevent us from taking short cuts or slacking off.  As Abraham Lincoln said " You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can't fool all of the people all of the time".  We know when we are giving 100%, and integrity will keep us on course to our goals. 
  3. Perseverance- Unlike baseball, in MSK Taekwondo 3 strikes and we are not out.  Keep pushing and never quit.  Success is just around the next corner. 
  4. Self-control-  The exercise of restraint over ourselves keeps us from being sidetracked from our goals.  If we don't control ourselves someone else will. 
  5. Indomitable Spirit-  An unconquerable will that gets us past any set back we come across.  We will persist without exception because failure is not an option.  Our outer world is determined by oury inner thoughts, whether we think we can, or think we cannot, we are right.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

History of Taekwondo Competition for Kids

Most people think of taekwondo as an adult sport—at least when it comes to competition. Children learn the sport and may participate locally, but many think “Competition is for adults.” There were no competitions designed specifically for children until recently. Previously they were treated just like smaller versions of the adults.

The Beginning

There is no question that taekwondo is a great sport for children to learn but until recently there were no competitions designed specifically for children. Kids taekwondo competition was virtually unheard of. Does that mean children didn’t compete? Certainly there were competitions, but the children were treated simply as small adults rather than actually having competitions that were designed for them. The training techniques and rules for competing were no different than those for adults.

In fact, the very first world taekwondo championship for children only recently took place in Sindelfingen, Germany. This was the result of efforts by the World Children Takewondo Union to change the rules of the competition in order to allow children to compete on their own merits. This also would allow them to enter into a class of their own rather than having to meet the qualifications of adults.

New Rules

This competition took place on February 2nd and 3rd of 2013 at the Glaspalast. The venue is no stranger to those in the world of taekwondo since both the 1979 World Championships and the 1998 World Cup were both held there. It allowed 1050 children from 31 countries and approximately 120 clubs to compete in Kyorugi and Poomsae contests. There were also two new competitions introduced: Family Poomsae and Family Kyorugi.

In order to accommodate the children the World CTU introduced special rules for Kyorugi. For starters the fighting area is smaller than the one the adults use, and there is a limit to the point gap that is allowed to occur. The point gap is limited to five points if it occurs in round two or three, and at that point the fight stops immediately. This prevents any of the children from losing with a point gap of six or more points. This is in the children’s favor because many children who lose with a high point gap will lose both the fight and their desire to continue participating in taekwondo. This also helps the parents who may have to deal with crying children along with their own disappointment.

During the Family Poomsae and Kyorgui both children and one of the parents compete together. The purpose of this introduction by World CTU is to not only motivate them but also provide a means for parents and children to spend more time together and to encourage them to communicate more. Their hope is these special family contests will serve their purpose well.    

Contest Results

There were five potential winners in the competition, and they were as follows:

  • First Place in the Team Score – “Team Berthold Brecht Schule” from Nuremberg, Germany
  • Second Place was awarded to Team Elite, also from Nuremberg, Germany and one of the strongholds in Germany’s Taekwondo competition
  • Third Place went to Team Tyrol from Austria
  • Fourth Place went to Team Greece
  • Fifth Place went to Team Dachau from Germany

The World CTU is proud of the success of this first championship effort with another World Children Takewondo Championship scheduled in 2014. World CTU promises to work hard to make improvements in the system for competition for children as each year approaches. The competition in 2013 was an excellent experience and just the beginning for more and better competitions to come according to the World CTU president. His remarks came following the awards ceremony.

Early Preparations

The competition did not proceed without a great deal of planning. Prior to the start of the competitions, the World CTU held the very first General Assembly to discuss many of the rules and foundations of the Union. These items of discussion included the following:

  • Statutes
  • Rules
  • Regulations
  • Budget plan

This was also the time when they chose to appoint some important executive officials that included two Vice Presidents. Their goal at this point is to motivate supporters for World CTU all over the world but especially in Asia. Congratulations sincerely with all the global Taekwondo family for the 1st World Children Taekwondo Championships in Germany.

The Future

This very first contest is only the beginning for setting an invaluable place for everyone worldwide to communicate the taekwondo spirit with one another and share friendship through competitive games. This is only the beginning for the children who will now be able to play kids taekwondo on their own levels rather than attempting to compete on the same level as adults.