NEW episode UP!
Welcome to a new episode of taekwondo passion.
This time we had the opportunity to talk with Master Dan Chuang, who is the USA National Team poomsae coach.
He is also involved in college taekwondo in many different ways.
He teaches at the Taekwondo Club of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) which he founded in 2000.
Master Chuang is one of the “T.Bos” coaches, a competitive sparring and poomsae group that he co founded with his friend Chinedum Osuji.
Master Chuang is also very involved in promoting and organizing competitions in the USA. For example he serves as director of the Eastern Collegiate Taekwondo Conference, a league of over 500 students from Taekwondo clubs at over 25 colleges and universities which compete in a circuit of 5 tournaments per year.
Master Chuang talked with us about his beginnings in taekwondo, how he learned the importance of building a community at college taekwondo and how we can make it with our students.
Master Chuang remarks that it is very important to get involved with students not only teaching the technical part but also to get involved in their personal development.
Otherwise the relationships don’t last and students just take some knowledge from you and then go away, and you don’t have a meaningful impact in their lives.
Master Chuang sport and competition experience was on the side of sparring. When sport poomsae came up he had to adapt and learn how the sport was evolving to give his best to his athletes.
He shared with us part of this journey of travelling to Korea to learn from the pioneers in sport poomsae.
I hope you enjoy the interview. As Master Chuang is a person that enjoys teaching taekwondo and communicating, I’m pretty sure you’ll enjoy listening to him.
On building a community
Master Chuang works a lot in an academic environment, where college students might have other interests than taekwondo.
But the MIT’s Taekwondo Club has been very successful involving students in taekwondo.
How Master’s Chuang achieve this?
One of the keys he considers that has helped him is building a community. In the taekwondo Club students have to find leadership and friendship.
Master Chuang tries to build a group mentality and to promote team goals.
For example, if they have a College competition the goal can be to be first place as a team. And then celebrating that as a group not focusing on individual achievements.
Master Chuang also mentions that it is important to provide goals for shorter periods of time. For example one month. And when the group achieves that goal, move to the next one.
Importance of learning from others and how to do it
What happens if you want to compete at sport poomsae but your style is different.
Does that mean that you won’t succeed in the sport poomsae style?
Master Chuang started taekwondo very young in a more traditional style. Not focused on competition.
So he learned poomsae in the Moo Duk Kwan, Tang So Do style.
Then in his college years and when he started coaching he specialized in sparring.
He was coach of the USA College National Team and he also coached at the Madrid 2005 World Championships.
When sport poomsae started to develop, Master Chuang felt the need to start learning again.
So he attended all the Poomsae seminars he could and he also traveled to Korea to train with Master Sang Jae Lee, one of the first masters who started to promote poomsae in social media.
He was a very good taekwondo sparring athlete, he also had very good results at national and international level as a coach.
But he didn’t let that stop him from learning again. I think that is one of the key aspects to develop yourself in the coaching area.
To be open to learn from others.
There is much knowledge out there in books and digital resources. But you can also learn in a more practical way by asking others.
And if you can, not only ask, try to go and see how others train.
You can learn a lot by talking and asking a more experienced Master or coach, but you’ll still learn more going to watch him or her in action.
Psychology of coaching, the subjective aspect of the sport, freestyle poomsae and more.
We hear a lot about sports psychology for athletes. But what about the coaches?
They also need to be in an optimal state of mind.
Can you imagine if a coach is not in the mood for training or competition, that mood can be contagious for the athletes.
During the talk Master Chuang shared his thoughts on the psychology of coaching and some other interesting topics related to taekwondo.
For example how he’d like to see poomsae in the future or how we should accept that our sport has a subjective side.
You can watch the full interview on YouTube and you can also hear it on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and other podcasting platforms.
Feel free to share your thoughts with us in the comments section.