Saturday, March 21, 2020

Drawing Parallels with History

By Amy Krupp, red belt, CTI LeAD Team Member

Karate kids practicing Taekwondo at home with remote learning
It’s 2020, and the year has certainly started off with a bang.  In the midst of a worldwide novel coronavirus pandemic, there has been a lot of recent discussion about our history.  Discussion of isolation, quarantines, cleaned out grocery stores, and general unease, and how similar these things are to the pandemics of the past, such as polio, the Spanish flu, and the H1N1 virus.  We are also studying the behavior of these past pandemics for methods to help us contain this newest virus, and slow the spread to keep more people healthy and safe.  In the midst of all of this, our training here at the Colorado Taekwondo Institute has changed.  In order to do our part to lessen the spread of this virus in Colorado, schools are closed.  Businesses, restaurants, and hotels are closed.  People are working from home as much as possible, and are being asked to practice social distancing.  As a result, our normal weekly classes here at the  CTI have stopped.  But the training hasn’t stopped.  We’ve just moved underground.

The Grandmasters, Masters, and instructors of the Colorado Taekwondo Institute have put together a series of instructional videos for various ages and belt levels.  They are designed for students to continue their training from home by having virtual classes that cover warm-ups, basics, poomse, self-defense, and one step sparring.  With all of this discussion of history during recent events, our at-home training made me think of a different aspect of history- Moo Sul Kwan's history.

It wasn’t all that long ago really that Korean martial arts were an underground martial art.  During the Japanese occupation of Korea from 1909-1945, all activities directly related to Korean culture and history were banned by the Japanese, including the practice of Korean martial arts.  But that didn’t stop the martial artists of our past from practicing their art.  They just did it underground.  They practiced their art in the privacy of their homes, passing the art from parent to child, and instructor to student.  And through their perseverance, Korean martial arts survived.  And thrived.  And is the most widely practiced martial arts in the world.

What we are going through now pales in comparison to what the Koreans went through during those 36 years.  But the spirit of the training is the same.  We can’t come together and train right now.  We can’t attend in person classes with our fellow students and our instructors.  But we can still train.  We can use this time as an opportunity to become stronger.  To fine tune our skills, and really focus on the areas that we need to improve on.  We can train at home as an outlet to all of the stress we are experiencing right now in these times of uncertainty.  And we can remember those martial artists that came before us; those men and women that didn’t allow the art to die.  Think about Great Grandmaster Park, and the Moo Sul Kwan traditions.  Don’t let your training slip- keep training, keep pushing.  Today we have the advances of the 21st Century.  We have computers, tablets and smartphones - so use the CTI REMOTE CLASSES videos and you're keeping our tradition going strong!

Keep that mind set of self directed learning, and set your own goals to keep you motivated.  Then, when all of this is behind us, we can come back to class even stronger than we were before, and make new history together.

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

46th CTI Super Bowl

By Cody Jacobson, 1st dan, 04/01/20

The CTI Super Bowl is one of the best tournaments of the CTI year. And this previous one, on February 28-29, 2020 was one of the best ones yet.  This amazing event is one of the greatest out of all the events we hold.  It has been one of my favorite tournaments for a long time.

An adult woman black belt breaking a board using martial artsThis tournament is a special one.  Usually, at tournaments, the only competitors allowed to win the Grand Champ, and the amazing sword that goes with it, are Black Belts.   This tournament was for the lowerbelts. They had the chance to win the Grand Champ.  Last tournament, the winners of this award were Karen Carreon (Red Belt, Conifer Campus), Jason Stencel (Red Belt, Westminster Campus), and India Ross (Brown Belt, Westminster Campus) .  A lot of people did really well and the competition was at its best. It was very entertaining to watch.

While the lower belts did phenomenally well during their day of competition, the Black Belts did well too.  Even though they could not win the Grand Champ award, they still had a very great tournament.  One of the best things to watch was the breaking. The younger black belts did fantastic but the 3rd Dan and up power breaking was killer.  The competition was entertaining and thrilling. Special rules were put in place for the sparring divisions, each round lasted three minutes.  The first 30 seconds were one sparrer using hands and the other feet and then it switched.  The last two minutes were regular. The competition was very fierce. 

Signifying the end of the CTI year, attendance levels at the tournament were very high, in fact it was the largest Super Bowl of all time!   Students of all ages and ranks competed in divisions, some with eight people in them. This has been one of our best tournaments yet, and more are on the way.

Sunday, March 1, 2020

The Importance of Adaptability in Moo Sul Kwan Taekwondo

By Sean Huntley, red belt, CTI LeAD Team Member

Adaptability, one’s ability to adapt or change in a situation, is important everywhere, however, it is especially important in Moo Sul Kwan Taekwondo. In MSK Taekwondo things are constantly changing, reshuffled. You have to be able to keep up with all of it, and so you must be adaptable. If you can't change with everyone else then you will have a hard time in MSK Taekwondo and other aspects of your life, I know, I have personal experience. I hate change, I always want to have a plan, but I’m in MSK Taekwondo, and so I need to be able to be flexible. I will point out some examples of when I needed to be adaptable in MSK Taekwondo, as well as ones that you could find yourself in. I will also explore how to be more adaptable, so next time something changes for you it won't be that hard.

Many martial arts black belts doing a synchronized side kickI am a testing red belt, and as such I need a black belt journal. The CTI Black Belt Symposium is a big event, like expo, for upper belts.  Now, I was looking forward to going to the 2019 CTI Symposium because it would allow me to fill out a large portion of pages in my journal. I got to the first presentation of a black belt and I realized I had forgotten by journal at home. At first I was panicked, what would I do without my journal? Then I calmed down and realized that I had to take notes somehow, so I grabbed a hand out I had gotten from another class and took notes on that. Throughout Symposium I took notes on whatever I had, papers, folders, even boards. When I got home I filled my journal in with those notes I had gathered and i got a good amount of pages. I could have given up on taking notes and just stopped trying, but I adapted and got through that unfortunate situation.

Another experience I have had where I had to adapt in MSK Taekwondo was every team tournament and demo. Now, with the team tournament happening soon, as of this writing, I have realized just how much my team demo has changed. We have gone through about 10 different ideas of how to make it look, always adjusting, rearranging moves, or switching formations. If anyone has been on a team or a demo they know how much it changes each time you practice it. This is why you need to be flexible when you do things like this, you are in a team and your teammates might have different ideas than you have. If you are rigid and unchanged in how you want the demo to go then your teammates will have problems with it, they may not try their best, they may feel upset because you are not listening to them, they might be confused on the demo and wanting to simplify it so they can look good while doing it. If you keep the demo the same you might be missing out on a really creative idea that could help your team. If you are participating in a larger demo you have to be able to be open to change and, however hard it is, go with the flow. Although it is less of a problem for me now I have always have problems working with others, I always wanted things to look my way. It was hard working with others on a team basics demo my first time at it. Over time I learned that you had to be flexible when you work with other people and today I work much better with teams. When creating or participating in a demo you have to be adaptable so the demo can grow and change to become even better and you can work well in a team.

The last example I will talk about is sparring. Sparring is one of the most important places to be adaptable in Moo Sul Kwan Taekwondo. When you spar you have to make split second decisions, there is no time for a large plan. Sure, you can plan out a fake or a kick, but you can't know what your opponent is going to do. You could know their sparring strategy, but if you make a plan it could be shattered in an instant as your opponent makes one unexpected move. Now when I spar I keep my opponents sparring strategy in mind, but stay loose and focus on what my opponent is doing, no plan. This works quite well, as now I can change my attack, block, or where I am putting my hand or foot based on what my opponent just did. When sparring, you should focus on the moment, not getting caught up in a plan that was foiled. You have to be adaptable in sparring because if you are not you will not be able to defend yourself from and attack an unpredictable opponent.

MSK Taekwondo is ever changing, and so as a student you have to be adaptable. While you need to be adaptable in all aspects of taekwondo events, like tournaments and expos, team poomse and demos, and sparring are some of the most important. Try to be flexible when you go to class and do anything MSK Taekwondo related, make a plan B, go with the flow. If you allow yourself to be adaptable it will raise you to a new level of understanding.