If the classes and lectures Harvard offers don't give you enough of a kick, there are no less than seven different martial arts clubs on campus that certainly will.
Eagerly seeking new members, the Tae Kwon Do Club, the Shotokan Karate Club and the Kung Fu Club among others, are taking advantage of a burgeoning interest among Harvard students in the martial arts.
In addition to four student-run organizations, Harvard sponsors three programs of its own through the Athletic Department.
Leaders of the campus martial arts movement, which now claims about 150 devotees, trace its origins to the Kung Fu Club, a 13-year veteran at Harvard. Most of the other organizations have sprung up in the past five years.
Tom R. Selover, a Divinity School student and founder this year of the Won Wa Do Club, yesterday gave one common explanation for his unusual extra-curricular activity: "I'm studying Chinese religion...and I have a strong interest in East Asia." He added, "I'd heard [Won Wa Do] was a new kind of thing, and I wanted to try it I'm also participating in Tae Kwon Do."
Other participants explained that the physical exertion of martial arts, rather than spiritual interest, attracted them to Harvard's clubs.
Two Boston-area instructors lead the new Won Wa Do group, which meets weekly. The discipline combines the physical training typical of the self defense-oriented martial arts with an emphasis on "inner meditation."
In contrast, the World Tae Kwon Do stresses only physical training. Club members practiced kicks, punches and blocks on their first day, concentrating on what instructor Tom S. Krulewald '83 called "focus."
"We try to work on speed of action, strength and force--the idea of focusing all of your strength in one kick or block," Krulewaki explained.
Tae Kwon Do Club members have attended international tournaments in New York, where their teaching master, Duk Sweng Son, resides.
Twice a year, the 15-member organization stages an exhibition at Memorial Hall.
Kung Fu was popular here long before the television series of the same name appeared said club President Gregory J. Crane, a computer technician at William James Hall.
A martial art of Japanese and Korean origins, Kung Fu is "largely external, with a graceful blend of a hard style and internal meditation style," Crane said.
Kung Fu relies on using an opponent's strength against him. About 20 people now belong to the club, Crane said.
Most Kung Fu masters do not bestow ranks on students, but Crane's group follows its "own system," he explained. "We offer yellow, brown, and black belt status, based on the number of semesters of study."
At Harvard, all hard work has its rewards