At Club Taekwondo, we train students in the Olympic style of the Korean martial art so they can compete against other schools. We travel to 5 or 6 tournaments a year at schools along the East coast. We’re a very close family and accepting of everyone – no matter the experience level each student has.
Why do you think your organization is important and meaningful on campus?
Since we are the biggest martial arts club on campus, I feel like we need to represent martial arts as a whole. I believe taekwondo is more than a sport. Taekwondo represents a culture. To some people, taekwondo is a lifestyle. We get involved with Korean culture night, and we learn some of the language, too. I want students to know that they can join our club just to learn a cool skill or for exercise and walk away knowing more about a different culture.
How did you decide to take on your role as secretary of Club Taekwondo?
When I was younger my parents encouraged me to get involved in martial arts. My dad wanted me to learn how to defend myself. So, I quit soccer to take up taekwondo, and I fell in love with it. When I came to Penn State, I decided to join Club Taekwondo over Frisbee – which I played all throughout high school. Last year in the club I was a general officer and a THON chair, too. Being in this club has had such a big impact on my time here at Penn State. Some of my very best friends I have I’ve made through this club, and it’s a huge family environment. As my involvement within the club increased, I decided I wanted to take on more of a leadership role.
How does your work with Club Taekwondo to give you the opportunity to use your gifts and passions?
What I learned from doing taekwondo for so long is that it not only teaches you marshal art but it teaches you life skills as well. You learn manners. You learn it’s important to respect your elders, be polite, listen to others, and have a sense of responsibility. To be honest, I’m not that good at martial arts. But through this club, I’ve learned to practice things I am good at. I’m good at talking to people and networking, and I’ve been able to practice that through my leadership and involvement in this club.
Why do you think your organization makes a difference in this world?
I think our club is important because we teach culture in a way that’s easy for most people to understand. This club allows us to bring Asian culture into other peoples’ worlds for a little while. I also think this club is important because we help a lot of students with low self-esteem gain confidence. When I started my freshman year, I was nervous because I didn’t think I was good enough to compete. I soon learned, however, that everyone in the club is on the same page. We may start at different skill levels, but we all grow together. I love being able to take in first year students and watch as they grow and become comfortable around others.
Anything to say for students who might want to join this club?
I would recommend this club to anyone! We all help each other out in the club – no one should feel intimidated. We all started not knowing anything, but you eventually learn from others and get to teach others along the way. Everyone and anyone should feel welcomed to join!