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The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express


Tristan Christ, 22, psychology major, assists a fellow taekwondo classmate. Photo by Evan E. Duran || [email protected]

Martial arts have many forms and varieties of physical activities, rangeing from karate, kung fu, taekwondo and many more that are not as well known.

Though these forms of self-defense classes are taught mainly in a private martial arts facility called a dojo, City College has a specific class devoted to martial arts, taekwondo.

Jang-Ha Oh, best known as City College’s women’s soccer coach, also teaches the taekwondo class. In a recent class Oh, clad in white, and looked on while students kicked into taekwondo.

Oh said that he likes being involved in the two diverse sports. “I love and enjoy teaching the taekwondo class,” Oh said. “Kung fu uses more arms than legs, with taekwondo it’s more legs than arms.”

Oh, who received his black belt in taekwondo in 1982, is a longtime martial arts master. He has been teaching the sport at City College since 2007. Though the sport is popular, it’s roots are in a far away land.

“[Taekwondo] originated from Korea,” Oh says with great enthusiasm. “It is the main form of [martial arts] there.”

Not only is taekwondo a form of martial arts, it is also an Olympic sport without the use of weapons. The word “taekwondo” translates to the art of hand and foot fighting.

At the start of the class, students stretch and bow to one another before getting into action. The energy of the class seems to concentrate on the spirits of the students. They seem eager to learn and at the same time getting a workout.
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“We start with blocking, low blocking, inside blocking, outside blocking,” Oh said. “Then [we] practice from 8 to 10 strikes such as spear handed strikes and backhanded strikes.”

Throughout the class, the students start off with a specific stance called “Poomsae,” a combination of 18 taekwondo defensive stances.

Once they have a grasp on the stance, they move onto another stance. The students say they enjoy the class, both physically and mentally.

“It’s a great class,” aeronautics major Cheng Vang, 21, said. “I’m going into the air force so it’s basic self-discipline.”

With a few breaks in between to refuel themselves with water and a breather, the students go back to practicing kicks and strikes.

The last 20 minutes of class, the students gather into groups of five or six to practice what they’ve learned that day.

At the end of class, Oh addresses his students as if they were in an actual training ground with eight-second intervals of stretching followed by a bow.

“It builds confidence and [aspects] of self-defense,” Rebecca Reyes, 19, said. “It’s a fun class, we learn basic techniques and it’s something new.”

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