Monday, September 20, 2021

A Long Overdue Return to Normality: The 31st DMAC

 By Katie Minden, 1st dan

Tournaments entice almost every person I know that does Moo Sul Kwan Taekwondo to do their best and keep going. To be honest, MSK Taekwondo can be very difficult, especially when I’m pushing through a low spot or a really intense time. However, tournaments just bring everything back into perspective. Truthfully, I had forgotten just how much I missed tournaments. The atmosphere, the community, the competition. It all fuels me for upcoming classes, whether it’s the ones I’m teaching or learning in. All of the preparation leading up to the tournament can be quite fun, but sometimes overwhelming. I’ve practiced so hard until the moment when I’m in front of the judges and everything just stops around me. Everything focuses on my poomse, my break, my one-steps. 

This taekwondo tournament, of course, was a huge step back to normality. We were able to compete again at Alameda International Junior/Senior High school, with some different safety precautions, but still back to where tournaments were held before Covid. It was such a surreal moment for me to walk back into the place where so many memories had been made; Winning my first trophy and being absolutely amazed at how large it was, sparring some amazing girls, and recalling the last-minute practice in the hallways. Still, the unavoidable nerves were still there. They get better every tournament I compete in, but they always come around. Usually they dissipate after poomse, but it’s always a bit nerve wracking in the first competition. My division for my competitions was also amazing. I was competing against some great opponents and I enjoyed every competitive second. Koryo is a newer poomse for me, and the first time I had competed with it, so that was incredible. One-steps was a different format this tournament than the last because we, as competitors, were able to present our knowledge of the correct distancing needed when defending against an actual attacker. Finally, breaking was amazing for me in this tournament. It wasn’t even because I won, it was all about my breaks. I wanted to try a jump spinning back kick for the first time as a break, and I broke it. It felt shocking and so wonderful all at the same time. 

In addition, I was able to help score keep and even judge almost like I would at a tournament before Covid. Because I tested and received my red belt right after we returned from our quarantine, I never experienced scorekeeping in the hustle and bustle of a tournament at Alameda. It was such an amazing and eye-opening experience in this tournament to have more of an upper-belt’s unique experience besides just competing and leaving. I had score kept at every online tournament, but it is a completely different exposure level when comparing the two. I always felt really comfortable scorekeeping, but when getting pushed into judging, it was a lot more pressure that I felt in giving the right score and really imagining myself in the competitors body to judge to the best of my ability. By the end, I was exhausted due to the extra brain power I used to judge, but it was so incredibly fun at the same time.  

All things considered, tournaments really are one of my favorite events in Moo Sul Kwan Taekwondo at the Colorado Taekwondo Institute and I feel so lucky every time I am able to participate in one. This tournament was an especially learning one for me and it provided me with great experience and new goals to train for. 

Monday, June 7, 2021

CamXpo 2021!

The patch for the CamXpo 2021, a martial arts summer camp

 We are very excited to be able to offer a summer event this year!  

In a typical summer, we hold several events: a weekend-long, family-centered, convention-style Summer Expo in a mountain resort and a sleepaway Summer Camp for students ages 9 and up. This year, we are going to run a hybrid event with aspects of both.

There are several options for participation in this event.  The entire event for summer campers will take place from July 29th - August 1st.  There is an option for families to join us July 30th - August 1st for a more Expo style experience.  The event will take place at the Snow Mountain Ranch, YMCA of the Rockies in Granby, Colorado.

Campers: 7/29 - 8/1
Students ages 9 and up are invited to the camp portion of the event.  These students will arrive on Thursday 7/29 and stay on site at Snow Mountain Ranch in the cabins or lodges for the entire event.  This event will be like camp: we will stay together, work out together, meals will be provided, etc.  This portion of the event does have a limited capacity, and we will honor students who register and pay the deposit on a first come, first serve basis.  Students who register as campers will be set for the entire weekend as far as lodging, food and supervision. 

Family Weekend: 7/30 - 8/1
This event is open to all students.  This portion of the event is structured more like our typical Expo, and families who attend this event are responsible for their own lodging and meals.  Families of younger students will come up with their students.  Students will participate in classes Friday evening, throughout the day Saturday and Sunday morning.  There will be a celebration on Saturday evening as well.  Outside of class time, there will not be extra supervision for younger students, and families will need to come and pick their students up (this is not the case for students doing the entire camp as detailed above).

There is no limit on the number of students who can attend this event; however, please be aware that lodging at Snow Mountain Ranch, in Granby and in Winter Park is filling fast for the weekend.

Students and families who choose this option will need to make their own lodging reservations.  

Lodging options for weekend portion:
Snow Mountain Ranch has a few rooms available on-site.  They also offer campgrounds.  You need reservations to camp.  Our understanding is that all accommodations at Snow Mountain Ranch are filling quickly, so please be advised that you should book quickly if possible.  You can make reservations by clicking here or calling 1-888-613-9622.
The Inn at Silvercreek is nearby in Granby. The Winter Park Mountain Lodge is nearby in Winter Park. The Vintage Hotel is nearby in Winter Park. You are welcome to book anywhere else you are able.  We also recommend looking at Air BnB and VRBO.

You can register for this event by clicking here.  The summer camp portion will fill up quickly, and you can reserve your spot by paying your $50 deposit as soon as possible.  We will honor the capacity limits on a first come, first serve basis.

Contact your instructor if you have any questions about the CamXpo 2021!

Friday, May 14, 2021

3rd CTI Online Championships Does it Well!

A martial arts black belt lady doing a jump back kick and breaking a wooden board
A record number of participants took part in the 3rd Colorado Taekwondo Institute Online Championships on April 23 - 24th. 

267 students and instructors of all ages and belt levels competed in Poomse, One-Step Sparring, Breaking, Target Kicking and more in the exciting two day event.  This was actually a hybrid event, where many students competed on line from Colorado, Missouri, Kansas, Ireland and Utah.  At the same time, students competed from three different CTI Campus locations, depending on what division they were in.  There were Moo Sul Kwan black belt judges at each CTI Campus, and a panel of MSK judges online for the remote competitors.

Moo Sul Kwan / AMASEA Black Belt competitions took place on Friday evening at the Westminster Campus of the CTI.  There were many highlights in poomse, one-step sparring, staff poomse and breaking.  Saturday morning through the early afternoon saw students from white through red belt compete well in their individual divisions.  Competitions took place at the Green Mountain, Golden and Littleton Campuses of the CTI and online.

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Modesty in Daily Life

By Meredith Botnick, purple belt

Modesty is an important part of life, and can have a large impact, both positive or negative, in your day to day success. At school, work, Moo Sul Kwan Taekwondo, and many other places, an attitude of modesty or lack thereof will determine your reputation. Whether it be a good reputation or bad, the level of modesty you display will be one of the biggest determining factors.

A martial arts lady doing a high front kick in a taekwondo class
Throughout my career, I’ve worked with both modest and humble people as well as immodest or arrogant people and it’s shaped how I want to present myself as a leader in my industry. As a Naval Officer, the finest officers I served under were the epitome of humble and modest in their actions, and they fostered a truly positive command climate. The arrogant officers, on the other hand, not only created a toxic command climate, but also in the aviation community created a very dangerous environment in which the likelihood of a mishap was far greater. Currently as a civilian, I’ve seen firsthand how an arrogant team lead can cause a significant decrease in productivity and an increase in errors with people’s work.

Outside of the work environment, a modest attitude can really help with various relationships in your day to day life. Specifically with MSK Taekwondo, being a modest, attentive student will break down many barriers to learning and allow you to reach your full potential as a martial arts student. In other areas, being modest and humble will lead to more and richer friendships. If you constantly talk about yourself in a manner that comes off as bragging or insensitive to those around you, people will not want to associate with you. This is another area I’ve experienced firsthand, both with a friend of mine who constantly brags about herself and with myself inadvertently coming off as arrogant. In my case, it was completely unintentional but still threatened some very close friendships.

At the end of the day, you choose how you want others to see you, and adopting a humble, modest attitude will help you be far more successful in your day to day life than allowing yourself to be arrogant. The latter can be so off putting to those around you that you will likely drive most people away, whereas striving to be humble will make people gravitate toward you and want to help you succeed in whatever you try to accomplish.

Monday, April 5, 2021

Hello Poomse My Old Friend

 By Amy Krupp, 1st dan, CTI Instructor

Kids karate students and instructor posing after martial arts class in Conifer Colorado
One of the most rewarding things about training in Moo Sul Kwan Taekwondo is the opportunity to become a well rounded martial artist.  We don’t focus our training in only one area.  We spar, we break boards, we train in self defense, we constantly push our bodies to higher levels of fitness and endurance.  We perfect our basic techniques of punching, blocking, and kicking.  Everyone has their favorite aspect of training.  Mine is, without a doubt, poomse (korean for "pattern movement").  Poomse is a very individual aspect of training that allows you to work on your basics, your form, your power, your balance, your cardiovascular fitness, your grace, and your technique.  There’s also something very beautiful about performing that perfect poomse, when everything is working for you.  You stick every stance.  Execute every punch, block, and kick with maximum power and technique.  You’re in zone- everything in the world fades away other than you, in that poomse, in that moment. 

Training in poomse also keeps you honest.  Poomses are like friends.  You have your old friends that you’ve known since you were a little kid (or a white belt).  They stick with you.  Throughout your training, you’ll do four directional punch hundreds, maybe even thousands of times.  You’ve spent so much time with it that you’ll never forget it.  Just like that old friend you’ve had since elementary school.  It’s an old, trusty friend that will never let you down. 

Then you have the friends you’ve known since middle school (blue belt).  They were in all of your classes with you, you ate lunch with them, and talked to them in the hallway between classes.  You spent a lot of time hanging out with Taegeuk O Chang; you thought they were really cool with their sweeping hammer fists and elbow smashes.  They’ll always be your friend, right?

Then you have your new poomse.  The one that you’re learning now.  It’s new, and fun, and exciting.  It has jump 360’s and flying side kicks in it!  You want to spend all of your time with this awesome, new friend.  You hang out with them all the time, spend all of your free time with them, and really work on strengthening that friendship.  You even think they may become one of your best friends (I mean… not your very best friend. No one will ever replace Four Directional Punch. But this new friend may be a close second).  Pretty soon you spend so much time with this new poomse, that you start to forget about Taegeuk O Chang.  You step into chumbi.  You of course remember the sweeping hammer fists, but… what move comes next again? 

This happens to the best of us.  You become hyper focused on your new poomses, and forget about those middle ones.  Don’t neglect the To Sans, Taegeuk O Changs, and Chung Guns.  If you don’t get a chance to do them in class, practice them at home.  Don’t get stuck mid-poomse, forgetting what comes next.  Be well rounded, not only in your Moo Sul Kwan martial arts training, but in your poomse training.  Poomses are trusted friends- with a little bit of love and attention, they’ll always be by your side.

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

The Philosophy and Practice of Modesty

 By Khristen Paisley, purple belt, CTI Black Belt Club Member


A martial arts black belt master instructor standing with adult taekwondo student recently promoted to red belt
Modesty is largely recognized as one of the greatest virtues.  Modesty is the ability to be content with the wholistic self.  One’s skills, abilities, as well as personal qualities both positive and negative, the whole self.  True modesty is a balance between self-confidence, as well as not deprecating oneself for it is in self deprecation that false modesty is found and is a disguise for arrogance.  Arrogance is the embodiment of excessive pride, advertising oneself perceived and often self-proclaimed excellence and often is a disguise for insecurity.

Growing up many of us often were told by our elders that no matter how great, how smart, strong, fast “we think we are,” there will always be someone better than us.  It is in that phrase that they were attempting to teach us modesty and humility.  Because that’s the truth.  There will always be someone that has achieved a higher level than we have.  That is what ought to keep us honest, humble and modest.  Because it is in that that we truly can appreciate that in order to be in the highest level that we need to work for it. 

In Moo Sul Kwan Taekwondo, the first lesson that we learn after “try hard, pay attention and do your best” is that nothing is given and everything in earned.  It is in this lesson that we can begin to appreciate that there is no such thing as entitlement.  Grandmaster James Sautel often brings up in class that it might take one person 250 reps of something to become proficient, while it might take another person 572.  The real point of that is that you must work, you must practice, no matter what your natural abilities are.  That is where modesty and humility come in.  For if you are the one that may only “need” 250 reps to become proficient, it makes no difference if you aren’t willing to do the 250 reps, the person that needs to do 572 reps will beat you each time because they know they must work harder, and instead of doing 572 they will do 700.  It is more than doing the bare minimum.  It is a desire to do the work to be the best and know that you must keep working.  The higher level a student attains the more work and maintenance is needed to hone and even keep the most basic skills learned at the beginning of their martial arts education and journey.  In so doing we also learn humility. 

The student that feels they can get away with only doing the bare minimum to get by and rely on their natural talent are falling into the trap of arrogance.  Unfortunately for that student, the instructors at CTI are well trained and can spot these situations.  They know if a student is just doing the bare minimum because it shows.  It shows when a person asks the same question all the time, when they just “aren’t getting it”.   Now, this isn’t to say that if a person is asking the question multiple times that they are arrogant, they simply may not have been given the information in such a way that they are able to assimilate the information and they are working hard to understand it until they gain that illusive “lightbulb” moment.  The instructors can spot the difference.  It takes a level of humility to say “I’m just not getting it yet,” and modesty to recognize it.

At our Colorado Taekwondo Institute, the culture is well established.  It promotes modesty, humility, self-confidence, and positive self-esteem.  It is in our tenets, our aims and our objectives even if not explicitly stated.  It is one of our core values, as is hard work, paying attention and doing our best.  There is no entitlement, everything is earned, and it begins when we earn our first belt, when we begin as white belts.  That is our first step in our journey to a greater understanding of modesty.

Monday, March 8, 2021

Taekwondo in Quarantine

By Mark Scott, 3rd dan

Martial arts students taking a group picture after practicing taekwondo during covid quarantine
Being part of Colorado Taekwondo Institute, we learn about the tenets of Moo Sul Kwan Taekwondo.  During this time of working at home, and working out at home, the tenets are more important than ever.  We need the use perseverance to continue to follow the rules of social distancing and wearing a mask.  Wearing the mask especially requires perseverance when it gets hot and more difficult to breath.  It requires indominable spirit to keep it on believing that wearing the mask will help someone, even when we are sure we are not sick.  Wearing the mask is helpful if nothing more than being a good example.  It also requires self-control to continue following the rules and to not be angry when people around don’t seem to care.

Even the limited workout in the CTI schools that we do with social distancing requires application of these tenets.  Wearing the mask during workouts definitely makes breathing more difficult and the workouts harder, so perseverance to continue working and trying hard in class.  It requires self-control to keep following the social distancing rules.  Doing poomse inside the square is a challenge.  But just like doing mirror image or doing poomse without the hands, staying inside the square makes you focus more on the stances and the upcoming moves to plan for shifting and shuffling of feet.

In all parts of the current life dealing with the current pandemic, we can all use self-control and indominable spirit.  Not being able to do the things we want to do and go the places we want to go can be frustrating, but we must adhere to the rules.  We must do the right thing in the hopes that we can prevent more people from dying.  We have to believe our self-control to wear our masks can make a difference.  Someday we will be able to enjoy the things we are missing now, and they will be all the more fun because of it.

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

The Emperor's Seed - A Story About Integrity

By Jen Hancey, brown belt

There was once an Emperor from China who had no children and needed to choose a successor.  Thousands of children from across the kingdom came to the palace and were surprised when the Emperor exclaimed that he was going to choose one of them.  He gave them all a seed.  They were to go home to their villages, plant the seed in a pot and tend it for a year.  When they return in a year, the Emperor would judge their efforts and choose his successor.

A group of taekwondo martial arts in a class for adults and children
There was a boy named Ling who received his seed and returned to his village.  His mother helped him to choose a pot and put some soil into it.  Ling watered his pot every day.  Once a week, the children of the village would get together to compare their plants.  After a few weeks, there were signs of life in all but Ling’s pot. 

The weeks passed and Ling continued to water his pot every day.   After a few months, the pots really came to life.  Some had trees starting to grow, some had flowers and some had leafy shrubs.  Poor old Ling still had nothing growing in his pot, leading the other children to make fun of him.  Ling continued to water his pot every day.  A year passed and it was time to return to the palace to show what had grown and decide on the new heir.

Ling was anxious as his pot still showed no signs of life.  “What if they punish me?  They won’t know that I’ve watered it every day, they’ll think that I’m lazy.”  His mother looked him in the eye and explained that whatever the consequences were, he had to return and show the Emperor his barren pot.  Ling and the other children entered the palace gates.  By now, some of the plants were looking magnificent and the children were wondering which one the Emperor would choose.  Ling was embarrassed as other children looked at his lifeless pot and scoffed.   The Emperor came out and started to make his way through the crowd, looking at the many impressive trees, shrubs and flowers that were on display.  The boys all puffed their chests out and tried to look as regal as possible, hoping that they would be chosen as the heir to the empire.

Then the Emperor came to Ling.  He looked at the pot then he looked at Ling.   “What happened here?”  He asked.  “I watered the pot every day, but nothing ever grew.”  Ling muttered nervously.  Then he grumbled something to himself and moved on.

After a few hours, the Emperor finally finished his assessment.  He stood in front of the children and congratulated them on their efforts.  “Clearly, some of you desperately want to be Emperor and would do anything to make that happen, but there is one boy that I would like to point out as he has come to me with nothing.  Ling, come here please.”  “Oh no,” thought Ling.  He slowly sauntered to the front of the group, holding his barren pot.

The Emperor held up the pot for all to see and the other children laughed.  Then the Emperor continued, “A year ago, I gave you all a seed.  I told you to go away, plant the seed and return with your plant.  The seeds that I gave you all were boiled until they were no longer viable and wouldn’t grow, but I see before me thousands of plants and only one barren pot.  Integrity and courage are more important values for leadership than proud displays, so Ling here will be my heir.”  I enjoyed this story because, to me, integrity is something that is within YOU as well as something someone else might see or recognize.  At the end of the day, YOU know your own truth - if you have really been true to the character you portray to others, or if you have been deceptive. Sometimes it can be a difficult thing to prove to others if you have been honest, or have a high code of honor, but what really matters at the end of the day is what YOU KNOW ABOUT YOURSELF and TRY to emulate to others.  Like the homework states, ethics goes beyond being honest. However, it’s also matching not only your words to reality, but your ACTIONS.  What we do every day, on a consistent basis, is the proof of who we really are, at our core.  I think most people try to be good, but it means so much more to have integrity.  To strive to be TRUE to what is just, fair, upright and faithful not only with others, but with yourself.  To me, that is the definition of Integrity.

Integrity should be used in even aspect of everyday life - it’s great when it’s in the “big” moments, like the story in the homework with the racquetball tournament, but it should be used in the LITTLE moments too. Are you being kind and honest  to others, are you being kind and honest to YOURSELF?  Treating yourself with kindness and integrity is important too.  We all know it should be used at work, in the schools, and when we interact with our friends, family and co-workers and community members, but it’s important to not forget to honor and be trustworthy to yourself.  Are you feeding your body the way it should be fed?  Are you working out to the best of your ability?  Are you practicing taekwondo at home on a regular basis?  Others do perceive our actions and the content of our character, but only you know the truth and your true integrity.

Thursday, January 28, 2021

22nd LHP Team Champs - Online Success!

Five martial arts karate kids doing punches with blindfolds over their eyes

Our second CTI Online Championships was held January 22 - 23, 2021. 

This special two day online event featured team and individual divisions involving CTI students and instructors of all ages and belt levels of Moo Sul Kwan Taekwondo.

244 Moo Sul Kwan martial artists of all ages had an excellent experience at this unique online tournament!  Due to the fantastic organization skills of our black belts at each CTI Campus location,  the event ran extremely well!  Special thanks goes to Master Alice Meyung and Grandmaster Mindy Sautel, along with Master Erik Albrechtson, Grandmaster John Sautel, Master Clayton Garner and Master Andy McDaniel.

Photos from our Green Mountain Campus!

The action began on Friday evening with black belt and some upper belt competitions in: Team Poomse, Team One - Step Sparring, Team Staff One - Step Sparring, and Team Target Kicking.

White through Red Belts competed on Saturday in Team Poomse, Team One - Step Sparring, Team Target Kicking, Team Most Kicks and Team Creative Basics to Music.

Black belt and student teams competed on Zoom from their individual CTI Campus locations.  They were remotely judged by Moo Sul Kwan black belt judges led by Grandmaster James M. Sautel, 8th dan.

Stay tuned for our next CTI ONLINE Championship Tournament - April, 2021!

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Benefits of Having Family in CTI Taekwondo

By Lars den Hartog, 1st dan

A martial arts teenager doing a front kick
Since I started CTI Taekwondo nearly five years ago, my little brother, Knox, has done it with me.  Having a family member in Taekwondo has made the experience one I can share with someone else, and not just a solo journey.  The ability to converse, learn, teach, and grow with my brother is beneficial not only to our success in Taekwondo, but our relationship as well. Connecting over something that we both have in common brings us closer and keeps us motivated to do our best.

While our age difference has prevented us from competing together and training in the same classes, we are still able to find time at home to work on our technique with one another. Whenever Knox has questions on moves, techniques, strategies, or anything of the sort, I’m always able to help him and assist in him reaching the highest level of training.  Before promotion tests and tournaments I always help Knox make sure his poomse and breaks are looking good.  This not only helps him, but brings my training to a higher level.  Watching and critiquing his technique reveals things that I need to work on myself.  Through this, we are both able to grow and advance in our training far more than we would have if our journey at the Colorado Taekwondo Institute was a solo one. 

Along with assisting one another in our technique, there is an underlying level of competition between us that brings our training to a higher level.  Each of us wants to be better than the other.  This, in turn, brings our motivation to succeed at classes, competitions, and other events to greater heights.  A healthy level of competition would not be possible if I didn’t have my brother in Taekwondo with me.

There are, however, far more benefits to having family in Taekwondo than just reaching a higher level of training.  Having family in Taekwondo has greatly increased my motivation and dedication to Moo Sul Kwan Martial Arts (The style of Taekwondo that is practiced at the CTI).   Whenever I experienced times when I didn’t want to attend class or a tournament, seeing my brother do those things would always motivate me to go and have fun as well.   We constantly push one another to attend events and achieve the highest level of success.  Without having my brother in Taekwondo with me, I wouldn’t have nearly as much determination to succeed and prosper at the Colorado Taekwondo Institute. 

Due to my parents having two children in Taekwondo, they have become familiar with the level of dedication and hard work that it takes to reach black belt rank, and the continuation of martial arts education past that. They constantly prompt us to achieve the highest level of success, and stress the importance of it. With the continuous amount of encouragement from my family, I am determined to attain the highest level of training and education through the Colorado Taekwondo Institute.

Sharing the experience of training in Moo Sul Kwan Martial Arts with my brother has proven to be a constant stream of healthy competition and motivation that I wouldn’t have otherwise. Training with family has not only made my journey at the Colorado Taekwondo Institute a more fun and exciting one, but a far more comfortable and advantageous one as well.

Monday, January 4, 2021

The 22nd LHP Team Champs is Coming

Mark your calendars for the 22nd Lee H. Park Team Champs!

A martial arts team competing in tournament in Denver, CO.

Our annual LEE H. PARK TEAM CHAMPIONSHIPS will take place January 22 - 23, from the Campus location of each of our students.

That's right!  Because of the recent pandemic, we will hold our very first ever LHP Team Champs where the competitors go to their CTI Campus and compete from that location!  Our competitors will have the unique opportunity to perform from their "home turf" - this will bring some interesting twists into this year's championships.

This is our 12th CTI Hanmadang  (where students and instructors take part in team competitions in poomse, one-step sparring, creative basics, target kicking and more!) and will show one way how Moo Sul Kwan martial artists keep the traditions of their art alive, while adapting and progressing with modern times.

More information can be found here