Friday, July 21, 2017

The Traveling Student

By Nina Madayag, 1st dan
5 members of black belt families traveling in Sweden and Norway

The very first Aim and Goal of Moo Sul Kwan Martial Arts is to encourage appreciation of one’s own culture and that of others.  At the Colorado Taekwondo Institute (CTI), there are numerous opportunities to travel abroad.  In fact, since the CTI was founded on October 1, 1983, there have been eight World Tours. Here is a list of the places the black belt team has traveled to:

  • Russia- 1983
  • South Korea- 2001
  • Ireland- 2004
  • Mexico- 2006
  • New Zealand- 2007
  • Germany & Austria- 2011
  • South Korea II & Jeju Island- 2014

and this year . . . Sweden/Norway - June, 2017

One way that CTI students can get to know other cultures is by traveling with the team on a Black Belt World Tour.  It is such an exciting experience and what’s amazing is that you can get to see the world and get to learn about other cultures.  The best way to learn about other cultures and how to represent our culture well is to follow the five basic tenets of taekwondo while traveling.  These five tenets are:

  • Courtesy
  • Integrity
  • Perseverance
  • Self-control
  • Indomitable spirit

When traveling in a large group, you always have to remember to be courteous - this means to your group and to others.  Courtesy is the showing of politeness in one’s attitude and behavior toward others.

Sometimes with international travel, there can be obstacles in your way that may be stressful.  For example, you could lose your luggage or realize you forgot something that is significant to the trip.  Although, just because these acts occurred, does not mean to be disrespectful to fellow students and instructors.  Many members of the team may experience events that will get in there way throughout the entire trip, but part of getting through these obstacles is having courtesy. When meeting people from another country, you should have integrity.  This means to be honest and trustworthy.  Integrity is the quality of being and having strong moral principles. 

Being part of a CTI Black Belt World Tour is fulfilling a very big duty.  Part of this duty is having ethics and sticking with the group and doing the right things.  As a traveling student with MSK, honesty is one of the most significant qualities to have.  As Zig Ziglar once said, "With integrity, you have nothing to fear, since you have nothing to hide. With integrity, you will do the right thing, so you will have no guilt.”

Self-control is the ability to control oneself, especially during difficult situations.  Self-control does not mean to act crazy or goofy especially when you are representing MSK and the United States. But it also means not getting in a bad mood even if you are tired or not up for the workout.  You have to have self-control and put your best effort into the task.  At the end of every class, we repeat the saying “Ho-shin”, which means, self-control before self-defense. We do not just repeat this saying for us not use it in life.  We mean it every single time we say it, so we can use it at MSK Taekwondo, school, home, and work.

Traveling abroad can be tiring, but you have to use perseverance. Perseverance is working harder when you have already worked your hardest. Perseverance is never giving up no matter the circumstances. During a tough workout or a long promotion test, perseverance can and will help you get through it. Julie Andrews once said, "Perseverance is failing 19 times and succeeding the 20th.” This quote means, although you might fail the majority of times, you should never quit until you succeed.

Showing your fellow students and instructors you have indomitable spirit can really make a trip wonderful!  That is because by having this quality, you can help others keep up their energy when they are lacking it.  When a group is not feeling the energy to do more, indomitable spirit can help.  Indomitable spirit is being courageous in tough or tiring situations.  Using this quality throughout a trip will help both the students and instructors.

So, by following the five tenets of Taekwondo, you can make any trip memorable.  It is a magnificent experience and privilege to travel abroad with the CTI.  To make it a fantastic trip, follow all the guidelines and you will be ready for the next CTI Black Belt World Tour!

Friday, July 14, 2017

Building Confidence With Taekwondo

By Brian Steward, 4th dan

Confidence is a very utilitarian tool which is helpful in almost all aspects of life. In a professional setting confidence can lead to new opportunities.  Confidence can start new interpersonal relationships and can improve existing relationships.  Even in artistic and creative situations confidence will help with creation and communication of ideas.  Confidence is especially important for adolescents and teenagers to learn.  It is critical to build confidence early on in life as it becomes easier to use and maintain confidence with practice.  A direct and effective method for building confidence is through a process of setting and attaining challenging goals.

Practicing martial arts has many benefits, including building confidence and self esteem in adults and childrenInstruction at the Colorado Taekwondo Institute is excellent at building and maintaining students’ confidence.  Our students learn to set and achieve short, medium and long term goals while in classes.  The short term goals of our students include learning new techniques and perfecting known techniques.  Earning a new belt and winning competitions are common medium term goals which students might set for themselves.  The ultimate long term goal of our students is to become certified Moo Sul Kwan black belts.  All of these goals, from learning a new technique to earning a black belt, are challenging to realize. Instructors at the Colorado Taekwondo Institute work with students in a positive manner to help students progress towards their goals.  Furthermore, instructors work to instill habits of self directed learning in their students so that the student will be able to accomplish goals on their own, regardless of the amount of dedication and practice that is required.  Because of the effort and perseverance necessary to achieve goals in CTI Taekwondo, every goal which is attained by the student leads to deep feelings of pride, satisfaction and above all confidence.  Confidence building in martial arts is not limited to the process of setting and accomplishing goals.

Other benefits of martial arts training also contribute to improved student confidence building.  Weight loss often accompanies martial arts training and can provide improved body image and confidence. Increased body control will come with Taekwondo training and will serve to boost the confidence of students. Taekwondo classes at the Colorado Taekwondo Institute are invaluable for students of all ages who are shy, timid or who just want to feel better about themselves.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

CTI Black Belt Team World Tour '17, Part II

By Helen Grenillo-Weaver, green belt


It was another bright and early day the next morning with everyone still working out as hard as they could! The day of the Midsummer Festival had arrived. We went to the Skansen Musuem to experience one of the most important holidays in Scandinavia (only 2nd to Christmas)! It was still early in the day when we got there, so we broke off into groups to explore the vast area on our own until it was time to meet up and witness the raising of the Maypole. The zoo here was one of the coolest ones I have ever seen. Every animal had ample space and comfort. Most of the animals were natives to Scandinavia, so it was the perfect place for tourists to go and see a little bit more of what makes up the country. After getting a good look at all the cute animals and more fantastic city views, we made our way over to the food and flower crown crafting.
Colorado Taekwondo Institute - world-class martial arts in Lakewood, Littleton, Westminster, Golden and Conifer, Colorado
As you can imagine, the days are often short, dark, and cold most of the year in the Scandanavian countries. As a result, celebrating the coming of Summer has become a huge deal. The maypole looks like a giant cross covered in greenery and flowers. Most Swedes weave a flower crown, so of course many of us part of CTI did so as well! When the maypole was raised, most people circled around it, linked hands, and danced around it to traditional music of the holiday. There was a lot of laughter amongst everyone from tourists trying to figure out what was going on to the Swedes trying their best to show us the ropes. It was a great way to interact with the locals and to educate ourselves on the different culture.

It may sound crazy, but we were almost having TOO much fun to the point where we were exhausted and ready to re-charge. Almost. We continued to keep up the pace! However, the bus wasn't planned to pick us up from Skansen for another few hours even though we were ready to go find food and explore new areas. Our hero, Almar, flew in and saved the day as always! He set us up with a ferry for all 78 of us to ride back to the main part of town! Needless to say, Almar is the best. It ended up being a much more thrilling ride home than the original plan! When we got off the ferry, we were dropped off right in the heart of old town to do some souvenir shopping. Old town is what we were looking for all along with all the cool shops, less traffic, and freedom to hang out right in the middle of Stockholm. We split off into small groups to eat dinner, relax, and talk about the holiday we just got to celebrate for the first time!

The Sweden part of our journey came to an end and it was time for the trek to Norway! The bus ride was long, but as always, the scenery was spectacular enough for it to be worth it. Once in Oslo, we had some time to look around all the shops and get a glimpse into their way of life. It turns out Norway has a fascination with trolls since we were able to find them on almost every block of the city! Be sure to look at all the cool, handcrafted statues in the pictures we all took.

The next day, we took a guided bus tour through Oslo. Our lovely guide showed us important landmarks and told stories about the city. We got to see the Norway Olympic Ski Jump from 1952, once we got further out of the city. It was a site to behold! It's hard to imagine even professionals jumping off of this, but we were told that when Norwegian kids learn to ski they jump off it too! In the summer when there is no snow, there is a zip line starting at the top and travels far past the jump into the woods below.

The next stop on the bus tour was The Vigeland Park. A whole park is dedicated to one artist's work, Gustav Vigeland. The statues were assembled in a circle and as you went around the people aged from infant to elderly.  I think it helped our group in general get a glimpse into a different culture's mindset, which is ultimately one of our group's goals to broaden our education.

Later that day, we all learned how to navigate a Norwegian train station in order for us to move onwards to Bergen! The train ride was a long one, but the seats were comfortable, we were able to walk over to a café wagon and as always, the scenery did not disappoint. We didn't get to Bergen until the sun was setting at about 11:30 p.m. We had a busy site seeing tour the next day, so we all went to bed as soon as we got to the hotel.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Camp MSK '17 Brings Rewards

Kids jumping at martial arts summer camp at Snow Mountain Ranch, Colorado

It was one tough group that made it through Camp MSK '17!  Moo Sul Kwan campers spent the week at Snow Mountain Ranch in Colorado, and had a great time!

Grandmaster Sautel led the Camp Teaching Staff that included Master instructors; MIndy Sautel, John Sautel, Bill Jones, Erik Albrechtson, Alice Meyung, Fred Sautel and Clayton Garner.

This year's Camp MSK was sandwiched right in between the MSK Summer Expo and and CTI Black Belt Team World Tour.   After an excellent Expo, everyone seemed to be in prime shape for the 20th Camp MSK.  The pressure was on to have the best Camp possible and springboard the team to Norway/Sweden. 

At Camp MSK '17 there were so many things that everyone accomplished.  Poomse, sparring, exercise, biking, swimming, breaking, hiking, one-step sparring, basketball, volleyball, table tennis, self-defense technique, and so much more was enjoyed by everyone.

Camp MSK '17 lasted for six days and always started out with a black belt workout at 6:00 AM followed by a red belt workout, both led by Grandmaster Sautel.  After breakast, everyone worked on various elements of their Moo Sul Kwan technique, team demontrations and more!  This year, the very first Camp Clash took place with the Camp Teams competing in different areas each day.  This year, each Team was named after a Colorado Mountain Bird!

On the last morning of Camp MSK, demonstrations were performed for parents, family members and friends. Each were done to music and symbolized that team's bird.

Special guest Master William R. Jones, Cindy Tusa and Pam Sautel fed the hungry group all week with the finest food of the summer! 

Be sure and register soon for next year's super Camp MSK '18 June 17 - 22!  (Upper belts and adults, ask about the special pre-Camp training that goes June 15 - 17.)

Sunday, July 2, 2017

CTI Black Belt Team World Tour '17, Part I

Martial art black belts traveling Norway & Sweden in tie dye shirts

It was June 15th  . . . I stopped the dusty, fully loaded U-Haul for a moment and thought about all the things that just happened during the previous two weeks . . . we had had the Moo Sul Kwan Summer Expo XXXIII on June 2 - 4, at the Keystone Ski Resort . . .  the Expo went exceedingly well, and now we had just finished up one of the finest Camp MSK's of all time . . .

I thought about how hard our students, instructors and special guests worked during those two major events . . . from Great Grandmaster Shin to our newest white belts, everyone had success through good old-fashioned hard work . . . could we keep it up?

As I was turning right, out of the Snow Mountain Ranch entrance, it occurred to me that I wouldn't be this far west for a long time, geographically speaking that is  . . .  everything was headed east for awhile . . . it was time to "keep pushing" to the next set of adventures - and it was going to take us halfway around the world! . . .  could we do it? . . .  is there anyway this could the best World Tour just like Expo and Camp? . . .  is everyone still energized, in shape and in-focus?  . . .  could the larger size of the group cause problems? 

Yes. Yes. Yes. and No! 

CTI Black Belt Team World Tour '17 was made up of 43 Moo Sul Kwan black belts and 35 family members, friends and lower belts.  Seventy-eight people of all ages, backgrounds, shapes and sizes.  This 8th leg of our World Tour was to Sweden and Norway in June, and was one to always remember!

Our group made its way to Stockholm, Sweden, through Heathrow Airport in London.  When landing in Stockholm, our exclusive CTI World Tour travel guide, Almar, was waiting for us.   Almar was our guide on CTIBBTWT2K'11 and we requested his expertise on this trip too.  We boarded the two big buses and headed to downtown Stockholm and the Scandic Sjofartshotellet where we would stay four fantastic nights!

There were so many experiences we had during our stay in Stockholm.  Make sure you speak with people that were on the trip, and ask them about it.  Here is but a short list:

We checked into our rooms and had time for our first group dinner.   Then it was off to bed to get ready for what was to come.  The next day was the longest day of the year, and we took full advantage of it (just like each and everyday of the journey)! 

We started off with a workout at at 6:30 AM.  Everyone was ready to go!  We took off jogging along the waterfront making our way to a nice park hidden in the trees.  It even came with an outside amphitheater that we used to our advantage.   After returning and having the first of the many wonderful breakfasts on the trip, we headed to the City Hall of Stockholm where we would board our ship for our ride to Birka!

Birka is Sweden's first city and Viking stronghold, is in the middle of Lake Malaren.  Birka was settled in the 750's and is one of UNESCO's World Heritage Sites.  The two hour ride to Birka was fun!  The weather was great (as it would be the entire trip), and the group got the chance to see the magnificient scenery.  We made some small stops along the way enjoying the cruise.  A very nice walking tour followed with a period-dressed guide who took us around the island.  He provided us with the interesting stories, facts and history of the Vikings who settled and lived here.   When the very full day to Birka was over, we sailed back to Stockholm.  The group was split into smaller groups and everyone explored different interesting places for dinner in this city made up of seventeen islands.

The next morning began at 6:00 AM with our second workout in Sweden!  Before we got started, some black belt promotions took place.  We then ran to our favorite workout spot in Scandinavia, and after a good warm-up, basics and poomse, we worked with our parents who came that morning to exercise with us!

Another fine breakfast and we headed off to the Vasa Ship Museum.  This world-class museum was incredible.  This ship sunk in 1628 and was raised 333 years later.  It's the only 17th century perserved ship in the world and was sight to see!  When the Vasa tour was over, there was a little frisbee tossing for the locals.  Then everyone went to lunch at different spots in Gamla Stan, the Old Town of Stockholm a preserved medieval city center and where Stockholm was founded in 1252.

After lunch,  it was time for our first bike tour of the trip!  We divided up into four different groups and explored different parts of the city.  Dinner was at Blasieholmens Akvarium Restaurang and everyone had a great time, especially with the suprise dessert! 

Again, there was so much more that happened during these first couple of days . . . ask a trip member about their experiences, and look for more in Part II.