Taekwondo community sticks together

Hunter LyleReporter

The air in Pelz Gymnasium was hot and stagnant, but that didn’t stop members of the SCSU Taekwondo Club from shouting, punching, and delivering some high-flying kicks.  

Taekwondo has become a sport on the global level, and is featured in the summer Olympics. It is also featured at Southern Connecticut State University.  

Senior physics major and Taekwondo instructor Paul Nicholas said he has been practicing the sport for 14 years, and has earned his way to become president of the SCSU Taekwondo club.  

During Nicholas’s sophomore year at Southern, he said the club was on hiatus. It had previously been active on campus, Nicholas said, but temporarily had been cancelled. 

“The club was around before [I got to Southern], but they discontinued it,” said Nicholas, “and then I came when they were trying to bring it back.”  

Former president, now graduate and teacher, Nicole Labrecque serves as the co-adviser to the Taekwondo Club. Nicolas said the co-adviser practiced at the same facility as himself, and when looking to start the club again, Labrecque looked to him for help. 

“The first president was Nicole and she made a table at one of the Club Fairs,” said Nicholas. “I met up with her and since we did Taekwondo at the same place, I was definitely down to help her get it started again.”  

Since returning, Nicholas said the club has gained 16 regular members, including six new members from the start of this semester.  

Junior anthropology linguistic major Jasmine Brown said she joined the club when she first arrived as a freshman at Southern, and had no experience with Taekwondo beforehand. Inspired by her older brother, Brown said she decided to take on the challenge of learning something new. 

“The club is small so everybody knows each other,” said Brown. “We’re very open and accepting so that was a big part of my learning process.” 

Brown said she became acclimated to the club and Taekwondo quickly grew into a large important passion for her. 

“Taekwondo, and the club in general, has definitely become a part of my life,” said Brown. 

Brown said at one point, she broke her foot while practicing Taekwondo, which put her out of practice until it healed. 

“Taekwondo really helped me balance my life, as a good meditative outlet for me,” she said. “When I didn’t have that things became more focused and I couldn’t focus as well.” 

The club is lead also by nursing professor Kimberly Petrovic, who said she encourages any and all students, no matter what level of experience, to come to one of their practices and try Taekwondo. 

The club, which meets on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7 PM to 8:30 PM in Pelz Gymnasium, Nicholas said competes in World Champion Taekwondo tournaments around the area and allows club members to advance progression in Taekwondo belts. 

“I think this club is an opportunity to learn something that maybe some people never really got to but want to,” said Nicholas. 

Typically the sport is an expensive passion, according to Nicholas, between the training and equipment. 

“Here, it’s a lot more accessible,” said Nicholas, “especially for college students, where you don’t even have to pay anything.”

Photo Credit: Hunter Lyle

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