Paul Cruz does a flying sidekick over an obstacle rolling toward him Wednesday at the Northwest Colorado Tae Kwon Do School on Tucker Street. Cruz is a licensed, head instructor for the school and has been practicing Kom Do Kwan Tae Kwon Do for 21 years.

Photo by Shawn McHugh

Paul Cruz does a flying sidekick over an obstacle rolling toward him Wednesday at the Northwest Colorado Tae Kwon Do School on Tucker Street. Cruz is a licensed, head instructor for the school and has been practicing Kom Do Kwan Tae Kwon Do for 21 years.

Communities at work: Nontraditional exercise

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Paul Cruz, a licensed black belt, has practiced Kom Do Kwan Tae Kwon Do for 21 years and is currently the head instructor and business operator for the Northwest Colorado Tae Kwon Do School, 315 Tucket St.

Kom Do Kwan is a branch of Tae Kwon Do brought to the United States from South Korea. Cruz learned from Master Jim Sautel.

The discipline’s beginning stages start with stretching and focus exercises and then progress to breaking items with bare fists and feet, and eventually onto sparring and competition.

Although the physical aspect is what most people think of when they hear martial arts, the real strength of the discipline lies on the mental side, Cruz said.

Cruz believes his teachings of the Tae Kwon Do tenets and values seep further into his students’ lives than solely on the mat. For example, Cruz asked his younger students to find out the meaning to the word “courtesy” as a homework assignment after a workout Tuesday.

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