The Taekwondo Club is looking to fight its way to the top of the Ivy-Northeast Collegiate Taekwondo League this season under the tutelage of Master Larry Narcisi.
Narcisi became active in Taekwondo at an early age, and was eventually faced with two choices.
“I made a choice between whether or not to actively pursue competing or finish my law degree, and fortunately or unfortunately, I became an attorney,” Narcisi joked.
Not to let his passion wither away, Narcisi began teaching Taekwondo at Temple in 1988.
After teaching for a couple of years, he realized that enough support existed that a club could be formed.
“The Temple student body had a real good pool of talent,” Narcisi said.
“And some for whatever reason that couldn’t get a scholarship to compete in a Division-I school that were looking for an outlet for their athletic talent.”
The club was formed in 1996, and this season approximately 40 members have joined, competing in six collegiate competitions and several regional and national competitions.
“[The club] was not hard to form,” Narcisi explained, “because I found that at Temple, a lot of the students liked the style of competition. Once people were exposed to it, it really seemed to take off. People like the aggressive nature of it.”
While skill is an important part of Taekwondo, Narcisi is more concerned with a quick first step followed by fast movements and disciplined techniques.
“An explosive first step is absolutely vital to what we do,” Narcisi said.
Stamina and endurance are equally important, as each bout consists of three three-minute rounds, which can be very taxing to the body, especially when advancing into the finals of a competition.
A welcomed surprise to Narcisi was the increase in female participation in the recent years.
“The females are really stepping up and getting actively involved,” he said.
“And they’re doing really well.”
One such member is Brook Parkes, who won a silver medal at a recent competition in Detroit, silver at the All-Military Championships, and a bronze medal at a national competition held in Puerto Rico.
For the men, Roland Carpenter recently qualified for the Collegiate Team Trials to be held in April.
He also competed at the Detroit and Puerto Rico competitions, winning gold and bronze, respectively.
The team is now preparing for the upcoming Junior National Championships that are being held in New Orleans in May.
This event is first in a multi-step process to qualifying for the 2004 Summer Olympics in Greece.
“This is the year now that people are gonna start stepping up,” Narcisis said.
Regional competitions will be held from now until the end of the spring semester, and will prepare participants for the high level of competition that awaits them.
A possible competition to be held at Temple is being planned and is one of Narcisi’s goals for the rest of the season.
Steve Papurt can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.