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Martial arts teaches defense, social skills

For centuries people from across the world have been involved in the practice of martial arts. Campus students are taking part in this on-going tradition of cultural history and physical ability.

Ye-Seui Lee, ?07, began TaeKwon-doe at a young age because it was an opportunity to become involved with friends outside of school. Now the art has grown into a paramount part of her life.

?I do TaeKwon-doe because I have been doing this since I was five,? Lee said. ?I also do it because I have my friends to do it with.?

Lee recently moved from Korea to receive a better education and has enjoyed her time here because of family and the general atmosphere.

?I go back and forth from Europe to America, because I have to finish school here,? Lee said. ?I also came here because I have family in Fresno and there are good schools here. I like living here because the people are nice and I like the schools.?

TaeKwon-doe is the defensive art of kick and punch. Until this year Lee was constantly participating in TaeKwon-doe, but had to stop due to a knee injury that required surgery.

?The hardest thing about TaeKwon-doe is the practicing from three to five hours a day,? Lee said. ?I have also broken my arm four times doing this sport.?

Martial arts can range from Judo, a self-defense sport, or Wushu, which requires full contact with a variety of weapons such as sword, knives and sticks.

?I think more people should do martial arts,? Lee said. ?It helps you physically and mentally and, if you are good enough, you can go to the Olympics.?

TaeKwon-doe is not the only available form of martial arts. Karate can be traced back to 6th century China when Dharma developed a system to promote physical defense for monks and missionaries.

?I attend Pacific martial arts for my karate training and I am a brown/black belt,? Richard Garcia, ?08, said. ?I put in six to seven hours of practice a week.?

Karate is a striking art in which you block and weaken your opponent?s blows while striking with maximum impact.

?I compete in karate competitions,? Garcia said. ?I decided to start competing because it is a good way to test my skills. I continued doing karate because people always said I could not do anything. I wanted to prove them all wrong so I stuck with it.?

Like Lee, Garcia started training at the age of five and thinks that people should be more open to experiencing new things such as martial arts to help with social skills.

?Karate is different from other sports,? Garcia said. ?Other sports require groups, but in karate if you mess up you only have yourself to blame. I think it is up to a person to at least try karate.?

Lee is not the only campus student to participate in TaeKwon-doe. Dan Crosby, ?06, has been involved in the defensive art for three years.

?I am a brown belt and I put in about five hours a week for practicing,? Crosby said. ?I have not yet competed in matches, but I am planning on competing soon. I plan to enter in sparing matches.?

Students not only participate in martial arts for the athletic involvement, but also for the historical context.

?I enjoy doing TaeKwon-doe for its oriental history,? Crosby said. ?It makes me feel like I am reenacting history. I gives me something to do, and also gives a sense of accomplishment.?

For more information regarding various types of martial arts go online to www.karatedepot.net.

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  • T

    Tracy TakedaAug 26, 2009 at 11:27 am

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  • J

    Jennifer BoudreauAug 26, 2009 at 11:27 am

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    Janae FordAug 26, 2009 at 11:27 am

    Haha, that was a tough race!

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