Talon

Charlie Hartwell excels at competitive Taekwondo

Kicking down his opponents to 12th internationally

Sophmore+Charlie+Hartwell+places+first+in+the+Amateur+Athletic+Union+National+qualifiers+in+2018.+
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Charlie Hartwell excels at competitive Taekwondo

Sophmore Charlie Hartwell places first in the Amateur Athletic Union National qualifiers in 2018.

Sophmore Charlie Hartwell places first in the Amateur Athletic Union National qualifiers in 2018.

Photo courtesy of Saori Kuida

Sophmore Charlie Hartwell places first in the Amateur Athletic Union National qualifiers in 2018.

Photo courtesy of Saori Kuida

Photo courtesy of Saori Kuida

Sophmore Charlie Hartwell places first in the Amateur Athletic Union National qualifiers in 2018.

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Sophomore Charlie Hartwell competes in Taekwondo and is ranked no. 12 in his weight division nationally. Hartwell has been doing Taekwondo for 10 years and competes internationally, placing second in his last three competitions.

Taekwondo as a form of Korean self-defense that is characterized by its extensive use of kicks. According to Hartwell, there are two types of Taekwondo, traditional and competitive. Traditional is more form-based, and competitive is similar to what is portrayed in the Olympics, which is mainly kicking.

“As for competing, it is something that brings you into a bigger world, allowing you to really hone your skills,” teammate Luke Behrens wrote to the Talon.

Hartwell said that competitions are long and require a lot of waiting. Competitors fight once in each bracket, and if they lose they do not get to compete for the rest of the day.

“You have a match number and you wait until your match is up, and then fight once. You then have to wait until the rest of your bracket is done before you can move on the next round. You keep fighting like this until you win finals, or lose a match,” Hartwell said.

According to Hartwell, Taekwondo can require a lot of hard work, including weight cutting, having to lose a certain amount of weight, to make it in to a smaller weight class. Athletes do this so that they don’t fight large athletes that weigh much more than themselves.

“Taekwondo is a weight class sport so I would say that the hardest part of the sport is definitely cutting weight because, similarly to wrestling athletes, you need to make a certain weight. I usually have to cut 17 pounds every couple months,” Hartwell said.

Hartwell’s coach, Derrick Kwak, wrote to the Talon about how you need to have a variety of skills to be successful in Taekwondo. Because there are so many rules, a fighter must abide by these standards and still be able to take down their opponent. For instance, they need to have different kicking techniques and be very fast.

“Taekwondo emphasizes kicking. Athletes must have good flexibility, agility, balance, core strength, and explosiveness. Skill sets you need in Taekwondo are footwork [and the] ability to move very fast in and out of the ring. You have to chase your opponent and also be able to evade from attacks very fast,” Kwak wrote.

Hartwell said he has to miss many days of school to go to tournaments, which have taken place in Spain or Vegas, to name a few. He also misses school for practices, needing to reschedule tests and quizzes in order to be able to fit in the necessary work hours.

“[Taekwondo is] just like any other big commitment is going to take time away from your social life,” Hartwell said. “When training for tournaments, we aren’t allowed to miss practices, so sometimes it has to be Taekwondo over school work and grades.”

According to Kwak, Hartwell is a role model for many teammates and has a good attitude that can help lift the spirits of the team.

With all of his hard work at practice, he has worked his way to no. 12 in his division nationally.

“Psychologically it’s hard to overcome someone you lost to in a combat sport, but Charlie routinely beats someone he lost before,” Kwak wrote. “He knows how to learn, how to analyze, and beat that person and this is a quality that is rare.”

Although Hartwell does not see himself pursuing Taekwondo as a career, he feels that Taekwondo has been a major part of his life and has helped shape him into the person he is today. He hopes to continue to work hard and further progress in his fighting.

“I have been doing Taekwondo since I was pretty young, and through it, I have made really great relationships and great connections to other people. Overall, I think the sport has taught me great discipline and respect,” Hartwell said.

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