Members get kicks from recently developed Taekwondo Club:

Culture, martial arts, physical activity mix together

Eddie Burgin & Emily Mendez, Entertainment Editor & Staff Writer

Taekwondo, a new club at East, is a form of mixed martial arts from Korea that students use as a means to stay active while COVID-19 impacts some social functions.
Jeremy Angumei, a senior, started the club and instructs club members by leading stretches and different kicking methods every Monday in the cardio room.
“The reason why I started the club was because I just felt really really motivated to do taekwondo, and I just wanted to do it somewhere,” Angumei said. “My favorite part is the really flashy kicks.”
Cultural aspects interest the club’s leader.
“Since I’m Korean, I should learn Korean martial arts,” Angumei said.
Despite the challenges of COVID-19 guidelines, taekwondo club focuses on forms and stretches instead of physical contact.
Due to the club being brand new, it is looking to increase the number of members.
“It would be cool if we could boost our amount of kids getting in there and spreading the word,” club sponsor Bradford Smith said.
Taekwondo developed during the 1940’s through 1950’s and blended various Korean fighting styles, with influence from karate and Chinese martial arts. It is a peaceful and nonviolent form of martial arts; its literal meaning being “to step on fists,” and is used to stop or prevent fights, not encourage fights.
While different from Karate, it is similar in the senses of abrupt linear movement, and it involves colored belts with various meanings.
David Boyd, a senior and the club’s spar and form instructor, attests to this.
“I have been a Taekwondo teacher for about two years while in Memphis,” Boyd said.
Once I got my black belt, that was my next [step] to get money… I know that I can help the club a bit,” Boyd said. “I was a two-time sparring and weapons champion for Memphis County.”
“I was really interested in it, also really interested in MMA (Mixed Martial Arts), and I used to do wrestling back in the day,” Smith, a computer-aided design teacher, said.
“For me personally, I would love to learn a thing or two,” fellow club sponsor and geometry teacher Dianna Jameson said.
“But what I’m more excited about is… this additional physical activity for students to have,” Jameson said.
There has been a reported 32% reduction in physical activity due to the pandemic, according to a working Iowa state study.
Taekwondo club offers a way to get exercise with Angumei’s favorite – flashy kicks.
There are many different inspirations to get involved into the sport such as “Chuck Norris, Bruce Lee movies, [and] Karate Kid,” Boyd said.
Currently there are no plans for competitions or contact sparring, but every Monday at 2:20 to 3 PM is a chance to learn more about Korean culture, balancing and stretching technique, and quick spin kicks.