Kicking off the new year with a strong beginning

Junior Grace Ryu, the president of the Diamond Bar High School Taekwondo club, plans to have her members compete in local tournaments.

Recruiting students across all skill levels, the newly founded Taekwondo club fosters a growing fitness community on Diamond Bar High School campus. 

After kicking off in April of this year, the club successfully held its first general meeting in the wrestling room the same month. The space quickly transformed into a welcoming community for taekwondo enthusiasts, mixing students of all skill levels. 

“It was very inviting—like, they saw you come in and told you to come over and join them,” senior Albert Chammas said.

From the get-go, junior Grace Ryu, the club president, encouraged a judgment-free zone by chanting words of motivation and blasting high-energy music whenever members met up. After officers set up a demonstration, participants would await their spot in different drill lines to practice their allotted task. 

“I teach them not one-by-one, but as a group,” Ryu said. “Some people don’t want the full attention. They just want to have fun, so I accept that decision and guide that way.”

On top of merely having fun, Ryu and Chammas commend taekwondo’s other benefits, including being a method of de-stressing and a reliable form of self-defense.

“There’s definitely physical benefits, because during the club meetings you’re doing exercise,” Chammas said.

Coming from a background rooted in the practice, the club president carries out her family’s tradition through mentoring newcomers. In addition to twelve years of prior experience, she currently works at her father’s taekwondo studio, applying her trained eye to stimulate a growth mindset in martial artists of all ages.

“Not just from student to student, but also like teacher to student, I could see what this club had for the students here,” Ryu said.

Reminiscent of her own experiences in taekwondo competitions, Ryu says she hoped to bring the DBHS team to similarly large-scale, ambitious environments. However, the absence of  other schools to compete against presents itself as a challenge to that aspiration.

“My long-term goal is to compete in local tournaments, because even in local tournaments, just having the experience itself is a really good idea,” Ryu said.

Currently, the club is still seeking to expand its community within the school by promoting through club rush and Instagram. The eighth-grade orientation back in May was the first and most significant step for the club’s recruitment. Keeping participants on their toes, the club aims to recruit more members.

“We welcome everyone with open arms,” Ryu said. “Come here, just have fun. We learn from the bottom and grow.”