MIT Sport TKD Club Finishes Second at INCTL Tournament

After only two weeks of training since their victorious home tournament, the MIT Sport Taekwondo Club traveled to Cornell University on Sunday, Nov. 9 to compete in the second Ivy Northeast Collegiate Taekwondo League (INCTL) tournament of the season. Despite the short resting and training period, the team, coached by head instructor Dan Chuang and led by captains Corinna Hui ’09 and Christopher J. Han ’09, once again upheld their reputation as a formidable opponent by taking second place at the tournament and remaining in first place overall in the League.

The tournament began with the forms competition (which involves competitors executing a series of choreographed techniques specific to a belt level), where the MIT team wasted no time in demonstrating their prowess. Daniel J. Sauza ’11 and Aaron L. Sampson ’10 took silver and bronze respectively in the men’s black belt division, while Erika Lee ’12 captured silver in the women’s division.

In red belt forms, Ning Wu G took bronze in the men’s division. As for the women, MIT dominated with a mind boggling triple place performance by Stephanie E. Nix ’09, Christine Chin ’09, and Elisabeth M. Markham ’09, earning first, second, and third place respectively.

In blue belt forms, Tylor J. Hess ’10 and Andrew A. Hsiao ’10 won silver and bronze, while ZheChen “Mary” Hong ’10, the only MIT women’s blue belt competitor, walked away with the gold.

For their green belt men, Andrew K. Sugaya ’11 took first place while Rafael A. “Maverick” Raya ’10 took bronze. In yellow belt forms, Joongwoo Brian Park G placed third in the men’s division while Christine T. Hsueh ’10 placed second in the women’s division.

As the day progressed, the intensity of the tournament escalated, especially as the sparring competition began.

In the A-Team (advanced) sparring division, the MIT A1 team (Ranbel F. Sun ’10, Hui, Markham) fiercely fought several matches against challenging opponents in order to earn silver. In an exhilarating match, Hui, after being down by nine points in the first round against her opponent from Rutgers University, displayed extraordinary determination and resilience by pulling ahead in the second round to secure the win for the A1 team in the quarterfinals.

In the B-Team (intermediate) division, the men’s B1 team (Wu, Jason J. Uh ’10, and Omar E. Fernandez ’10) valiantly captured the silver after a tough match up against rival Cornell’s B3 team. Wu defeated the Cornell B3 lightweight in a thrilling sudden death showdown.

Keeping up the reputation as an unstoppable force, MIT’s women’s B teams dominated their division. The B1 team (Sun, Hui, and Markham) sparred straight to the gold, while the B2 team (Club President Jacyln J. Ho ‘09, Han Zhu ‘09, Chin) muscled their way to the silver.

Even in the C team division, the MIT team proved that they were not a force to play around with. The men’s C1 team (Mark J. Yen ’11, Raya, Sugaya, and alternate WeiYang Sun ’11) fought several electrifying matches that led them to the bronze medal, while in the women’s division the C1 team (Jing “Jenny” Cheng ’11, Teresa T. “Ty” Lin ’12, Heejung Kim ’12) showed their perseverance as they fought their way to bronze.

By the end of the day, MIT finished the tournament with 517 points, behind only Cornell with 606 points. Despite placing second in the tournament, the MIT team celebrated (with bags of ice on various injured parts) the fact that they retained their overall lead in the league with 1,043 points to Cornell’s 1,011.

Currently the MIT team is training hard for the next INCTL tournament at New York University in March, for as one of the team captains quoted at practice, “a clay pot in the sun will always be a clay pot in the sun. It has to go through a burning flame before it becomes porcelain.”