June 18, 2024

Martial Arts and Self Defense Club Chartered for the Spring Semester

Tim VandeBrake '25

GCSA recently chartered The Martial Arts and Self Defense Club, headed by Tommy Yoon (’23) and Susan Wohlmuth (’24). The club’s goal is to provide a space for students to explore a variety of styles, including Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Taekwondo, Muay Thai, Karate, and Judo. 

Yoon, the acting club president, has 15 years of experience in of Taekwondo, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and Muay Thai. Having spent his freshman year without a car, he found that consistent training was hardly possible without access to an off-campus gym membership and transportation—certainly not accessible to students who wanted to start from scratch. This motivated him to establish the club this year. 

Wohlmuth, the club’s vice-president, has 6 years of experience in Kempo Karate and Krav Maga. Since coming to Gordon, she has missed practicing martial arts as consistently as she has in the past. Last year, the Covid-19 pandemic left few opportunities to practice even off campus. This year, she helped start the club in order to both personally practice again and to offer students the chance to learn and improve in their skills as a campus community. 

One purpose in creating the club, Yoon says, is to create an awareness of martial arts across campus: “A lot of people think that martial arts are just violence and nonsense, but I believe martial arts are a great way to build up mental strength of people, and also confidence and respect within the community.” 

Wohlmuth shared a similar explanation. “I also think that it gives a certain sense of spiritual and self-discipline, because you have the ability to defend yourself … but you always have to control yourself.” 

“Anybody can come into the club,” says Yoon. “I just want a place where people can learn no matter their experience.” This club, Yoon adds, will provide students with a place on campus to learn self defense and improve fitness and physical well-being. “[Martial arts] gives a lot of people confidence and strength within themselves.” 

Wohlmuth added: “The main thing I want to teach is how to defend, and also basic strikes and kicks.” This approach will focus on holds, and the best ways of getting out of them, in addition to practicing forms to improve technique. 

According to Wohlmuth, the club is nearly ready to begin meeting regularly, as the leaders are still in the process of looking for a coach and an available room for the meetings. Once these two requirements are met, club activities will start. Wohlmuth added that: “It never hurts to show up at least once to see if you like it or not…. It’s going to be an open environment for people to learn at any level.” 

The club leaders are tentatively planning to meet twice per week, on Fridays from 4:00-6:00 PM and Saturdays from 12:00-2:00 PM. Meetings will likely begin at the beginning of the spring semester. For those interested, contact the leaders: [email protected] and [email protected]. 

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