Marine Tae Kwon Do team medals at Senior Nationals

26 Jul 2007 | Lance Cpl. Thomas J. Hermesman

Kicking some tail and taking names; the Marine Corps Tae Kwon Do team competed July 10-11, in the 2007 Senior Nationals in San Jose, Calif.

The team came home from its first-ever national competition with three gold medals, four silvers and one bronze.

Marines on the team come from different bases across the nation. Matthew Dalrymple (team captain), Brandon Pastor and Shawn Cho are from Camp Lejeune. David Carter-Perkins and Jacob Oakley are from Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point. Adam Prim is from King’s Bay and Jonathan Cobb comes from Twentynine Palms, Calif.

“It’s not easy to build a strong team when Marines know their first job is to serve our country,” said Master Missy Cann, the head instructor for the All-Marine team since March, 2006. “But our team gets together as much as possible.”

The dedication from Marines on the squad showed through. Cann said the competition marked the first time in her 20 years of coaching that the Marine team out-numbered all of the other Armed Services teams. The Marines’ strong showing garnered a lot of support from spectators and fellow athletes alike.

“The All-Marine sport shirts and sports bags attracted a lot of attention when we walked into the competition,” said Cann. “Many people stopped and wanted to talk to the Marines. When we walked out, several people asked ‘Are they in the ROTC program?’ We said ‘No! They are the real thing!’ People were impressed with their performance, walking around carrying ‘The Few, The Proud, The Marines’ attitude.”

Freddie McDonald, another instructor with the Marine team agreed.

“Support from retired Marines at the competition was great,” he said.

“There is not an abundance of competition in this area, and our Marines showed serious skill in the competition,” explained McDonald. “The Marines on the team have seen that this really is a learning process.”

Training in tae kwon do is much like the martial arts seen in movies; as a matter of fact most of the martial arts in media entertainment is either tae kwon do or directly derived from it.

Tae Kwon Do is a Korean phrase, loosely translated into “the way of the hand and the foot.” Just like many other martial arts, Tae Kwon Do is focused on the control of mind and body, the style encompasses combat techniques, self-defense, sport, exercise, entertainment and philosophy.

Some main techniques and style used during Tae Kwon Do are kicks, thrown from a moving stance, the martial artist uses the legs longer reach and greater power to push back and disable the opponent from a greater distance.

It also includes various blocks, open-handed strikes, punches, take-downs, throws and some joint locks.

The Marines on the team are well on their way to grasping the concept.

“[Shawn] Cho had prior experience in tae kwon do in his youth; he is very strong and very aggressive. He was very humble in learning the sport; I expect a lot to come out of him,” commented McDonald. “Brandon Pastor had no problem with the traditional parts of Tae Kwon Do, but he did have a lot to learn about the Olympic style of fighting, he has come a long way.”

“We are doing our best to recruit Marines who have previous Tae Kwon Do experience,” explained Cann.

The strategy seems to be working.