Tae Kwon Do improves focus

While discussions of handguns permitted on Michigan College campuses for protection are raising some eyebrows, MCCC currently offers Tae Kwon Do as an art of self-defense.

Whether you’re into losing weight, adding strength, gaining self-confidence or maybe you just need a physical education credit, Tae Kwon Do can provide personal satisfaction. Tae Kwon Do students could gain better physical health and the ability to improve focus.

The martial arts classes are instructed by Mark Bergmooser who has been employed at MCCC for 11 years.

“I’m still sort of an older school martial arts practitioner and instructor,” Bergmooser said.

He will soon be celebrating his 25th year of involvement with Tae Kwon Do.

Tae Kwon Do classes are scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m., Meeting on Tuesday and Thursday each week.

With about 30 members already, there are still interested newcomers signing up to learn this form of self-defense.

Many programs individualize members into age or level groups.

Bergmooser said that the youngest student is five years old.

“I don’t take anybody younger,” he said.

Bergmooser said he thinks Mr. Hogberg is the oldest student, at 71 years old.

Eleven year old Matthew Hogberg, who has cerebral palsy, began taking Tae Kwon Do at MCCC two years ago.

“Defending is more important than attacking,” Matthew said.

Prior to instruction, small groups participated in various activities, practicing moves or doing exercises such as push-ups on the knuckles.

To start off the session, all students are arranged in specific order: belt color and age.

A black belt is of highest rank with varying degrees.

Enrollees are automatically designated as white belts, despite levels of age, strength, or experience in other defenses.

Advancement levels are depicted by color of belts with yellow being the first step up followed by orange, blue, blue with white stripe, green, and so on up to black belt.

Advancing to higher levels generally involves an eligibility process that occurs approximately every three months.

Tae Kwon Do in the past has been a participating sport of the World Olympics. The sport most likely will be excluded in the future. In the meantime, several fighting championships have surfaced in recent years that incorporate an aggressive approach in using martial arts.