Taekwondo Club teaches self-defense, ethics to SF State students

SFSU karate
Evan Ballar demonstrates a difficult spinning kick while Master Mike Wong holds a small paper as a target in the mat room of the gym on Sep.28, 2011. Photo by Nelson Estrada.

University Police aren’t the only people working to keep SF State‘s students safe. The members of the Taekwondo club, led by several high-degree black belts, work toward a safer campus by expanding their own knowledge of self-defense and teaching others.

Master Bill Dewart, a disciple of Taekwondo for 45 years, is the volunteer leader of the Taekwondo club at SF State. Dewart is an eighth-degree black belt who has been teaching beginner Taekwondo at the University for four years. In 2007 he decided to create the club to allow students to take their skills to the next level. He hopes to spread the principles of self-defense and respect to his students and the University as a whole.

“I realized there was nowhere for students to go after they left my class,” Dewart said. “I wanted to give (the students) a chance to continue their training.”

Club members have many personal goals, but on a social level they hope to create a safer campus for their peers. The members are putting on a seminar for both faculty and students Oct. 29 in Burk Hall from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

The seminar, open to all ages and skill levels, will focus on self-defense and the importance of knowing how to protect yourself and your loved ones.

Dewart also hopes to extend the ethics of Taekwondo: honesty, integrity, focus and achieving goals beyond people’s comfort zone. Dewart, with help from assistants Master Mike Wong and Master Evan Ballar teach their students about the emphasis of contributing to society.

Dewart said all members of the club who are promoted to black belt must first be certified in first aid and CPR in case of an emergency on campus.

“You can’t measure your worth on this earth by money,” Dewart said. “It’s the question of ‘Was your community better off with you being a part of it?’”

The members of the club expand on these values three times a week.

“It’s nice to know I can defend myself and others if I have to,” said Jessica Canonoy, a freshman at SF State and member of the club.