Kickin’ it with THE CU Denver Taekwondo Team

CU Denver Taekwondo alumni Jenny and Howe training for a tournament. Photo courtesy of Leif Larson

CU Denver Taekwondo alumni Jenny and Howe training for a tournament.
Photo courtesy of Leif Larson
A bold way to engage in the campus community

The word Taekwondo can be loosely translated to the way of foot and fist, which perfectly describes the concept of Taekwondo. Taekwondo is a martial art developed in Korea dating back 2,200 years. It is primarily characterized by its emphasis on various kicking techniques such as fast kicks, spinning kicks, and head-height kicks. Although the main focus of Taekwondo, or any marital art, is self-defense, those who practice Taekwondo not only work on their body but also their train their minds while focusing on respect and discipline. This philosophy is a part of the goal of the CU Denver Taekwondo team.

The CU Denver Taekwondo team was founded in 2014 by CU Denver alumna Jenny Kim as a part of the club sports program which seeks to provide students the opportunity to develop organizational, leadership, and community skills while participating in their favorite sports at a level that is not as demanding as a Division I team.

The CU Denver Taekwondo team, coached by fifth degree black belt Master Zak Kirk, focuses on sparing, which is when two competitors engage in a form of controlled combat and poomsae or ‘forms,’ which are a demonstration of a combination of offensive and defensive Taekwondo techniques. Members of the Taekwondo team are also given the opportunity to learn and participate in other martial arts aspects such as weapons, grappling, and practical self-defense. During the fall semester, the focus is primarily on introducing new team members to the sport and preparing members for belt tests where the student will demonstrate all that they have learned in hopes of increasing their belt rank. The spring semester focuses more on competition, as team members will compete in events at Taekwondo tournaments such as the Colorado State Championships and the Korean Academy of Taekwondo Tri-Medal Tournament Series.

This may sound intimidating, and a lot of students are worried that they need previous experience to join the team, but this isn’t the case. No previous martial arts experience is required, and there are no tryouts to join the team. The only requirements the team has is that students should be interested and engaged. Joining the Taekwondo team gives CU Denver students the opportunity to work on being healthy, meet new people, be a part of a community, have a wonderful college experience, as well as earn or be on the path to earn a black belt by the time students graduate.

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