The Taekwondo Club kicked into gear on February 8 with their inaugural fundraiser and awareness event in the Mann Student Center. Organized by Junior Craig Brown and Mathematics Professor Marcus Fries, the objective is to add another activity for students to get involved in this semester.

The event itself was a speed kicking competition in which the participant who could perform ten front kicks in the fastest amount of time would win $30 in Cub Cash. Out of those who participated, Freshman Ben Chung won with a time of 4.26 seconds. The event served to provide a glimpse as to what students could expect to see if they joined the Taekwondo Club, and donations were encouraged from those participating in the competition.

Brown uses nearly 20 years of experience of competing as an Olympian and training aspiring fighters to give ENC students the chance to learn the skills of Taekwondo. Brown attributes the club’s startup to the overwhelming support he received once students and faculty heard about his Olympic achievements — he had competed in the 2004 Athens Olympic Games, representing Great Britain and has since run multiple clubs based there. Upon arriving at ENC in the fall, Brown proceeded to train and instruct athletes for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

“I have been approached many times by students and faculty about their interest in a Taekwondo club on campus. It originally was not my intention, but the support I received has been unreal,” said Brown, speaking about the creation of the club.

Professor Fries will be helping Brown with the club, using his experience with mixed martial arts to co-instruct sessions with Brown, as well as lead some sessions of his own. Fries will be co-instructing with Brown on Tuesdays and Thursday from 6 pm to 7 pm, and the two will alternate leading sessions every other Saturday at 5 pm. The first official Taekwondo meeting took place on February 16 in the Lahue Gymnasium multi-purpose room.

Despite his experience, the hardest part of starting the club for Brown has been obtaining insurance for the athletes competing. Brown has been in touch with many Taekwondo Clubs, from MIT all the way to his hometown in Great Britain. After an entire semester of planning, Brown received approval from Athletic Director Brad Zarges and Director of Student Life Keri Lewis.

Brown’s arrival gave Professor Fries the opportunity to be a part of ENC’s inaugural Taekwondo club. “I had expressed interest to the Athletic Department about starting a Taekwondo club once I received my black belt,” Fries said, “and one day Craig walks into my office and says he also expressed interest in starting a Taekwondo club. I was thrilled to have someone with his experience with the same interest as me.”

Above all, both Fries and Brown are hoping to give ENC students a fun way to get involved on campus, as well as the opportunity to compete against other collegiate Taekwondo teams across Massachusetts.