Thursday, August 31, 2017


By Mark Scott, 2nd dan
Martial arts young girl doing an awesome roundhouse kick on target

No matter what occupation, sport, or academic pursuit, the people that excel in each area are always grounded in the basics.  In the engineering field, the best are always very good in math and science.  The best students are always the ones that do their homework and pay attention in class.  In sports, the best athletes spend the most time practicing the easy things so they come naturally.  The basics provide the foundation to do the more complex and interesting things.

The basics in Moo Sul Kwan Taekwondo are one of the most important things to practice regularly.  The basics can be found in sparring.  Good kicking and punching technique are necessary to even get a point recognized during a sparring match.  A poor quality kick or punch might land off target or be seen by the judges as dangerous and lead to a warning.  Good basics are also necessary in the self-defense techniques.  If the moves in the self-defense technique aren’t executed properly, the self-defense won’t work correctly or won’t be powerful enough to work when it is necessary.  In one-step sparring, the basics are incredibly important as the moves are executed at speed with a partner.  Moves with poor technique might end up injuring the sparring partner.  Poomse, of course, requires good basics to be performed correctly.

The basics performed in the Moo Sul Kwan basic routine also provide a foundation for the physical conditioning as well as for the other more complex parts of MSK Taekwondo.  The basics are done after the muscles are warmed up and stretched out.  This allows the basic moves to be performed with full power on each technique.  Each time a technique is executed at full power, the muscles are conditioned and trained to get even stronger and faster.  Since the basic routine includes kicking, punching and blocking, at the end of basics a full body workout has been achieved.

As the basics are perfected and the body is conditioned, confidence in each movement grows. The more the confidence grows, the proficient sparring and poomse become. During free sparring, the kicks and punches can be thrown quicker, but with more control because of all the basics practice.  The poomse moves can be quicker with better form.  The better the basics become, the more natural the moves become.  More advanced techniques can be learned because the basic moves are now natural.  The foundation provided by the basics paves the way for success.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Waiting to be Uncovered: Conifer CTI

The front of the Conifer Colorado Taekwondo Institute martial arts school

You've decided to live in Conifer or Evergreen, Colorado, nestled in the foothills enjoying the beautiful Colorado weather. Life seems pretty good but perhaps there is something missing. You decide that you would like to try something new, to push yourself and see what more the area of Colroado has to offer.  You never knew how meaningful life would become after walking through the doors of the Colorado Taekwondo Institute (CTI) right in your Conifer neighborhood.

Located on Highway 285, right in the same shopping center as Staples and 3 Margaritas, the Conifer location is really easy to get to.

Not only will you experience the most physical fitness you never thought possible, you will literally be retraining and strengthening your brain, mind, and spirit.  The instructors at the Conifer Taekwondo location and all campuses of CTI will support and encourage you every step of the way and you will feel how they care for you as you attain numerous and never-ending goals.  As you learn the fascinating and intriguing Korean Martial Art of Moo Sul Kwan Taekwondo (the Korean Art of smashing with the bare feet and hands), you will build strength and confidence you never knew you had.

Throughout the week, there are a variety of classes available to attend. Our classes are taught by expert black belts. Our spacious workout areas are outfitted with custom built suspension floors, making your experience much more enjoyable. Each room has its own ample viewing area, so that parents, grandparents and other family members can watch classes or wait for a class to finish.

Join us at the Conifer location of CTI and prepare to enjoy the best life has to offer, surrounded by the continual positivity seen in all your fellow students, adult or child age, as everyone advances and enjoys each and every precious day we are given.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Taekwondo for Physical Fitness

By Brian Steward, 4th dan

Have you been looking to improve your physical fitness?  If so, you may want to consider participating in CTI Taekwondo training to help improve your fitness.  Taekwondo at the Colorado Taekwondo Institute, sometimes referred to as Korean karate, utilizes kicks, punches and blocks for self defense.  While developing self defense skills Taekwondo training also develops strength, endurance and flexibility.  Taekwondo produces improvements in many aspects of physical fitness via a range of stretches, exercises and martial arts techniques.

A martial art classes is great for physical fitness and workout programBecause kicks are central in CTI Taekwondo techniques, flexibility is emphasized in training.  Flexibility can be improved while training first by manually stretching muscles in the legs and then further refined by performing kicks.  As flexibility increases kicks become faster and are able to hit higher targets.  An increase in flexibility leads to an increase in quality of life.  Being flexible results in improved mobility and fewer injuries, not only while training, but also in daily life.

Cardiovascular health can also be improved by training in Taekwondo.  Exercises like jumping jacks are paired with dynamic activities such as sparring to keep the heart rate elevated while training.  The longer the heart stays elevated, the better the cardiovascular health is.  Taekwondo training is energetic which results in little time for rest meaning that heart rate remains elevated through a large portion of every training session.  Enhanced cardiovascular health has many well known benefits including reduction in body weight, reduction of blood pressure and reduction in total cholesterol levels.

Taekwondo techniques require muscular strength to be effective and require muscular endurance so that they can be used in any situation.  Muscular endurance and strength complement each other in martial arts; it is useless to be able to throw only one strong punch, just as it is useless to be able to throw a hundred weak punches.  Muscular strength is built in Taekwondo with body weight exercises, like pushups and situps, and also through performing martial arts techniques, like kicks.  Repetitions of both techniques and body weight exercises not only increase the strength of muscles but also increase the endurance of the same muscles.  These training techniques result in toned supple muscles.

Taekwondo training can dramatically help individuals in attaining their fitness goals.  Whether your goal is to lose weight, to develop balance, to improve flexibility, to boost cardiovascular health, to strengthen and tone muscle, to enhance body control or to augment agility training in Taekwondo will be a great workout program for you.  General health will be positively affected by training in Taekwondo because of the balanced approach to physical fitness that is required for successful Taekwondo techniques and required for general self defense skill.


By Patrick Stolle, Littleton CTI Campus

Korean writing on the back of the Camp Moo Sul Kwan UniformAt the Littleton location of the Colorado Taekwondo Institute, “Ho-Shin” is how we conclude every workout session.  It means “Self-Control, Self-Defense.”  It is simply worded, but very deep in meaning.  It underscores the goal at CTI to provide its students the ability to take control, or be in control of their lives through the development of martial arts self-defense skills and techniques.

Self-defense skills can be developed at any age.  And CTI instructs students as young as 2 years old with varying levels of advancement in the martial arts style of Moo Sul Kwan Taekwondo.  It is one of the primary goals of CTI to assist students, regardless of age, in developing self-esteem and confidence through mastery in martial arts.

Self-esteem and confidence are core components to self-defense.  It is through confidence that allows a student to execute with precision and purpose a martial arts technique or movement.  It is also through confidence that allows a person to appropriately and strategically act in confrontational or challenging situations.

 So when we say “Ho-Shin” we are confirming that we possess the self-defense skills to protect ourselves, if required.  We are confirming that we have the confidence to use these self-defense skills accurately and decisively.  We are confirming that we have the strength of character to use these skills, or choose not to.

 That power to choose, is a very profound form of defending one’s self.

Friday, August 18, 2017

So Long and Thanks for all the Fish

By Katie Dahle, 1st dan

This year I challenged myself to do something I hadn’t before in my Moo Sul Kwan Taekwondo training.  The CTI Triple Crown (participating in Moo Sul Kwan Summer Expo, Camp Moo Sul Kwan and the CTI Black Belt Team World Tour).  June was full to bursting with things to do, places to go, and people to meet.  This year’s Expo was my fifth, but Camp and the World Tour were new to me.  Expo started June off right with some hard workouts, an exciting Broken Knuckle Challenge, and a blast of a banquet.  After that it was a fun filled week in the mountains at Camp where I crafted my first tye-dye shirt, made new friends, and learned so much.  By June 19, I was eager for the excursion to Sweden and Norway.
Martial arts lady black belt breaking a board with a roundhouse kick
I’d traveled abroad before with big groups, but this was by far my favorite trip I’ve ever taken.  Traveling with a group like this, full of kind and considerate people that I’ve gotten to know over the years through tournaments and other events, added an extra layer of great memories to bring home.  Not only did we see great sights and tour interesting places, we were there to understand and appreciate these cultures and to better ourselves physically, mentally and spiritually.

Learning about the history and culture of Sweden was exciting as we went to Birka, the Vasa Museum, took a bike tour of Stockholm and spent Midsummer at the Skansen open air museum.  Traveling by water is such an important part of Sweden’s history, going back to the mighty Viking era and resulting in the ambitious build of the doomed Vasa ship.  I was very interested in their celebration of Midsummer.  I appreciate how a culture would continue to celebrate nature and the summer season because of how fleeting it is at that northern latitude.

Norway became not only a learning experience about their history, but a lesson in their landscapes.  We traveled from east to west and back while we were in Norway, seeing how tundra like the environment gets at a higher elevation, how rich the forests are close to the coasts and the majesty of the fjords.  The environment of Norway was breathtaking and a real highlight of the trip.

One of my favorite parts of the trip was the food.  Food is a great way to understand and immerse yourself in a different culture.  The seafood was outstanding and as much as I love Colorado, it is far from any source of good seafood so this trip was my chance to indulge.  The salmon, herring, and mussels I enjoyed supplemented a hearty diet of meat, bread and butter, all important staples of a Scandinavian diet.  The chocolate balls were also a highlight and I wish I could have brought a whole suitcase of them back with me.

The trip was full of adventure and great company!  I was sad when we went to the airport at the end of our journey across two great countries, but I was satisfied and full of good memories.  I couldn’t have asked for a better trip for my first black belt world tour.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Failure is Not a Option

By Eric Evans, 2nd dan

Failing, seems like a negative word until you consider that it is the only way we achieve a higher level of understanding or training.  Webster defines failing as ‘a usually slight or insignificant defect in character, conduct, or ability.’  The key word for me in that definition is slight.  Failing is not total; it is not the end.  It is just a slight defect that has been put in our way to teach us something.

“A minute’s success pays the failures of years.” - Robert Browning, Scottish poet

Two black belt kids doing a kick and block at a fjord in NorwayAs a student of Moo Sul  Kwan Taekwondo, the slight defects are always present.  You can always improve a Poomse to a new level through perfect practice.  As martial arts students we are not satisfied with the current defects in our character, conduct, or ability.  We consistently look to improve faults that keep us from achieving success.  This consistency eventually pays off at a tournament, test or during routine practice.  Think back to a time when you reached a goal or achieved a difficult task.  It took multiple steps, attempts, and failures to get to that point.

I used to think failure was a bad thing.  I strived to never fail, which is impossible.  This constant anxiety is detrimental to success.  Teams thrive when they can trust each other, hold each other accountable, and help build each other up through struggles.  Failing forward is how you can take an ok idea and make it great.  In software development for instance, it is important to create software that accomplishes something for the end user.  This does not mean that the software will not have bugs or areas that need improvement.  Great software and applications are a continual process of improvement.

Whether you are in Taekwondo, Karate or another martial art.  Take the lessons you have learned in class and use them in your everyday lives.  Learn from each of your failures and then fix them!  Failures only hold us back if we continue to make the same errors and do not take action to correct and learn from them.  ‘To Err is human, to forgive is divine` - Alexander Pope

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Complimentary Opposites

By Brian Steward, 4th dan

Famous physicist Niels Bohr’s moto was contraria sunt complementa.  In English this translates to opposites are compliments, meaning that two things that are wildly different will work well when put together.  Niels Bohr never practiced martial arts and was actually describing the nature of light and matter in the universe when he adopted this quote, but the underlying concept is useful when considering many aspects of life including Taekwondo.  Taekwondo has many different opposing pairs of techniques or concepts.  For instance a block is opposite from a strike and a targeting a low area is opposite from targeting an opponent's head.  The concept  of complementary opposites can be particularly constructive when thinking about one steps and sparring in martial arts.

Martial arts black belts performing side kicks and spear finger strikesWhile sparring, it is vital to use techniques that work well together during combinations.  There are many ways to put a combination together but combinations made while thinking about complementary opposites will be especially effective.  A double kick which targets the same area on both kicks may be effective, but a double kick which first targets a low area and then targets the head can mislead the opponent and be much more likely to impact.  Another complementary pair in sparring are kicks and punches. Novice sparrers will often utilize combinations that contain only hand techniques or only kicks.  This leads to combinations that run out of steam more quickly, are more easily defended against and which are not as effective as possible.  Simply adding a kick to the end of a hand combination can surprise and overwhelm the opponent.  By adding a kick to a hand combination the combination gains not only an extra limb to use as a weapon, but also gains new angles from which to attack.  After throwing a single or double kick in sparring it is critical to follow up with hand techniques; those who don’t end up falling prey to their opponents counter attacks.  The concept of complementary opposites is even more developed in one steps, which connect basics and sparring.

In the Colorado Taekwondo Institute Student Manual there is a list of one step sparring rules. Many of these rules contain the idea of complementary opposites.  There is a one step rule which says that there must be a block before a counter strike.  Another rule states that target areas are changed in one step techniques.  There is even a rule about practicing both sides of a technique.  All of these rules, which highlight the concept of complementary opposites, are built into the structure of every one step.  Even outside the written rules one steps display the idea of complementary opposites.  Every one step technique that has a kick as part of the defense follows up that kick with a hand technique.  The only kicks which are not followed up in one step sparring are performed by the attacker, giving the defender the opportunity to use their defense to demonstrate the deficiencies of attacks which are not complementary.