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Young lady doing a side kick outside in a martial arts class

Moo Sul Kwan Martial Arts: Experiences of the New Guy

By Brian O'Reilly, 10/12/20, 2:15PM MDT

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I am new to Moo Sul Kwan martial arts. I’m 50 years old; but I’m not old! Thanks in large part to Moo Sul Kwan Martial Arts!

I have been an athlete for nearly all of my life and involved in a wide range of organized sports, exercise and recreational activities. Participating in sports as a youth is very different than participating as an adult. When you are young, there is so much to learn about your body, your competitive spirit, how to train, and how to interact with opponents, teammates, referees and coaches. I grew up around athletics as my dad was a high school coach for 40 years. I asked my dad at an early age why sports are important for a student athlete who will never be good enough to “go pro” and make a career as a professional athlete. His answer pointed out the obvious physical and mental benefits of exercise for people of all ages. He also stressed the equally important personal and social lessons of learning a skill, consistent hard work, commitment, loyalty, positive interaction with teammates/authority figures, sportsmanship and how to navigate through successes and failures. He pointed out that all of these lessons are available through athletics, especially in a solid program lead by a great coach. He stressed that these are life-lessons and should transfer into adulthood to create the leaders of tomorrow. Adults who never learn these life-lessons struggle personally, professionally and can have a negative impact on society as a whole. Fortunately I have been surrounded by great teachers, coaches, bosses and mentors.  As an adult the life-lessons of athletics continue to ring true and help me grow, physically, mentally and spiritually as a well-rounded person. Moo Sul Kwan martial arts is now my sport of choice as a 50 year old man.

Moderation was never really my thing. My body has paid the price over the years for extreme living. Broken bones are par for the course in any contact sport; but years of heavy weight-lifting and CrossFit programs resulted in various surgeries which eventually slowed me down as an adult. I was unhappy during the recovery/healing times, craved physical activity, and competition. Yet, I was also worried that I would be back under the knife again if I kept up the same extreme and active pace. I had always been fascinated with martial arts classes from afar, so I thought I would give it a try.  There were so many options available it was difficult to choose; but after some in-depth research I joined The Colorado Taekwondo Institute and the study of Moo Sul Kwan martial arts. I was very fortunate to have landed where I did!

Moo Sul Kwan martial arts at the Colorado Taekwondo Institute (CTI) was exactly what I needed.  The Colorado Taekwondo Institute was founded by Grandmaster James M. Sautel, 8th Dan Black Belt, in 1983 and there are now several locations throughout the Colorado. CTI works in association with the Moo Sul Kwan martial arts Institute and the American Martial Arts Sports and Education Association.  Moo Sul Kwan martial arts was brought to the United States by Great Grandmaster Lee H. Park in 1969 and serves as the model for training at all Colorado Taekwondo Institute locations.  The CTI mission statement is “To encourage and develop world-class leaders through educational excellence and Moo Sul Kwan martial arts traditions”.  

For the past year and a half, my personal experience with CTI and Moo Sul Kwan martial arts classes training has been in line with the CTI Mission Statement and the life-lessons I have been taught growing up.  The aims of Moo Sul Kwan martial arts, the tenets of Taekwondo and the philosophy, goals and operation of the Colorado Taekwondo Institute complement my lifestyle, goals, ethics, exercise and competitive needs. I enjoy the ability to challenge my body in new ways, and for many years to come, which will lead to healthier longevity without the high-risk of injury.  I also enjoy the mental and emotional challenges related to learning a new discipline and starting out a program as a rookie.  I’m the new old guy!  Starting Moo Sul Kwan martial arts classes as an adult is new experience that teaches humility, patience and perseverance.  I believe that a little suffering in any forum is the requirement for success.  As a 50 year old, that suffering can be more apparent than when you’re an 18 years old athlete!  But that challenge to stay involved, active and fight through the aches and pains has its rewards.  

The rewarding and positive experience of Moo Sul Kwan martial arts at the Colorado Taekwondo Institute is more than physical.  The bonding and team support with fellow students, support by upper-belt students and Black Belt instructors is a mental and emotional reward by itself.  Most prominent though is the inspirational guidance, instruction and care provided by Grandmaster Sautel.  I am fortunate to have found Moo Sul Kwan martial arts, which provides comprehensive Psychomotor Domain, Affective Domain and Cognitive Domain training, knowledge and self-defense skills. I am fortunate to have found The Colorado Taekwondo Institute, which honors the traditions of Moo Sul Kwan martial arts while providing a positive and exciting modern-day forum for training, learning and competition.  I am very fortunate to be surrounded by supportive CTI Students and Instructors…and I cannot say enough about how lucky I am to study under CTI founder Grandmaster Sautel.  I’ve added him to my very short, selective and influential list of heroes. In talking to fellow students I know that I’m not alone as he inspires so many others at CTI.  I am always happy to have the opportunity to share my positive experience with others, especially those with similar backgrounds and needs.  CTI and Moo Sul Kwan martial arts have provided everything I was looking for and I’m excited to continue my training for many years to come.


Colorado Taekwondo Institute


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