Kick Into Action With Fordham’s Tae Kwon Do Club


Published: September 23, 2010

Normally meeting on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 7:15 p.m. in the McMahon gym, Fordham’s Tae Kwon Do Club has played an important role for Fordham students, helping them prepare to be stable mentally and physically.

“Tae kwon do is a form of Korean karate” said Patrice Kugler, Fordham College at Lincoln Center (FCLC) ’11, President of the Tae Kwan Do Club. “It was originally used to train warriors. Today we use it for self defense.” Tae kwon do is the national sport of South Korea and is a form of martial arts. Tae kwon do helps practitioners by giving confidence to those who lack self-esteem.

Starting out with just a few members, the Tae Kwon Do Club gradually increased in size because students wanted to know how to defend themselves if ever in a bad situation.

“Our instructor Pat Natoli, fourth degree black belt in tae kwon do and first degree black belt in jujitsu, Fordham alumni, began Tae Kwon Do at Fordham,” said Noelle Gallagher, FCLC ’12. As an undergraduate, Natoli, FCLC ’99, began to practice with a small group of his peers. Their sessions gained popularity and eventually they became a club with over 30 members.

Students were dedicated to sticking with tae kwon do because of the self-defense aspect, which sparked people’s interest. “We teach by example and repetition of the physical technique of Tae Kwon Do,” said Joseph Pellicone, FCLC ’12, vice president of the Tae Kwon Do Club.

Students wanted to strengthen themselves physically and mentally, as well as learn how to defend themselves through vigorous training. In addition to tae kwon do, the club practices strength training, cardio, kick boxing and various other martial arts.

“Anyone who has achieved at least yellow belt status is strongly encouraged to participate,” Gallagher said. However, most of the students participating in tae kwon do at Fordham are beginners.

“I always wanted to get involved in the martial arts, and once I started I stuck with it,” said Fordham employee Jav Nadir. “You become a part of the tradition.”

Other Fordham students wanted to try something new. “I’ve always danced and I wanted to learn to use my body in a new and practical way,” Gallagher said.

Tae kwon do helps students keep  control of their emotions by maintaining a perfect balance between ferocity and self-control. Students have received positive outcomes through practicing tae kwon do. “I’ve become stronger, faster, met awesome people and have the confidence to know I can defend myself,” Nadir said.

Tae kwon do helps members feel more focused, along with relieving the stress of exams and school work. “Yes, the stress of school work and relationships can divide a person’s concentration and weaken the body,” Pellicione said. “Tae kwon do allows one relief from these pressures, as well as being able to focus the soul.” Tae kwon do can be therapeutic for those students who feel overwhelmed and stressed, by teaching them to let go of all the weight of worries and work.

There is a practical aspect for joining the club, as learning self-defense is important for everybody. In addition, it promotes physical and mental health in an otherwise stressful college environment. “After a long day it feels good to kick something,” Kugler said. Fordham’s Tae Kwon Do Club hopes to promote the inner confidence and spirit that comes with tae kwon do.