ISU Karate Club to compete in first competition abroad

Tomy Hillers

Members of the ISU Karate Club will participate in an international tae kwon do tournament in South Korea this week. The club will compete against more than 2,300 other athletes from around the world.

This is the club’s first time attending the International Cultural Festival and International Tae Kwon Do Championships. Five alumni from Minnesota and 22 ISU students left for a university just outside Seoul, South Korea, Saturday.

During the week-long stay at Yongin University, the students will take time to enjoy the many cultural aspects of South Korea, said Irene Faass, graduate student in English and karate club member.

“The tournament will consume most of the students’ time, but we will also be attending a cultural festival, visiting high schools, ceramic factories and rice farms,” Faass said. Members will also train in martial arts classes while in South Korea.

“There will be over 1,500 competitors from Korea and 800 competitors from other countries,” Faass said. “The tournament will consist of forms competitions and sparring competitions.”

The athletes will be divided by sparring competitions in a number of weight- and gender-class divisions, said Gina McAndrews, club member.

It’s going to be very hard to predict the outcome of the competition, given its many variables, said McAndrews, postdoctoral research associate in agronomy.

“This is our first international trip,” said Yong Chin Pak, instructor of the club and adjunct instructor of health and human performance.

“We have had a few individuals attend the tournament, but we have never had the whole team invited.”

The ISU Karate Club has always placed in the top three in the National Collegiate Tae Kwon Do Championships, which was hosted at Iowa State in 1992 and 2000.

Faass said the team’s placement in the national competition, as well as Pak serving as the president of the National Collegiate Tae Kwon Do Association, may have helped the team receive an invitation this year, Faass said.