Since the club was founded in 1994, many of the members have become black belts. Some of us would like share a little about ourselves and our journey in Tae Kwon Do. We look forward to seeing you in class!

  • Master Jack Nitschke

    Tae Kwon Do has been my avenue for approaching life for many, many years. My martial arts path began at the time of meeting my instructor, Master D’Amico, in September of 1986 at the start of my sophomore year in college at Penn. That path wound through an amazing first year of exposure to incredible feats and pushing limits that went beyond anything I had known, to powerful experiences in Nigeria, to the difficulties of returning to the United States, to the challenges of training after long days of manual labor in carpentry, to the move back to Oklahoma to embark on my professional calling and starting a club there at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, to graduate school at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign and starting Tae Kwon Do at UIUC, to meeting my future wife (now Master Alonso) in the back of my Do Chang there 2 years later, to our move together to Madison in 1998 and together starting Choi Tae Kwon Do here at the University of Wisconsin, to the richness of my career in neuroscience and psychology, and to each of our 3 children joining us and the challenges and joys and growth the 5 of us have experienced on our journey together. Tae Kwon Do has been a foundation for it all and is a source of unending growth and giving in my life. The 5 aims to achieve are guideposts, and love pervades it all.

  • Master Carmen Alonso

    I have been practicing Taekwondo for 25 years and have come to realize that this beautiful art offers us a discipline from which we can live a life with great courage, compassion, and integrity. It is a path in which one gets to know the inner territory of who we are. It is a path where we can learn how to cultivate healthy habits of mind and body. It is a path of servitude. It is, indeed, the path of the warrior.

  • Brant Olson

    3rd Dan, last evaluated in 2015. Outside of TKD, spending time with two young kids, sneaking out for the occasional date with their amazing mom, and playing a little ultimate frisbee in the summer months.

  • Amy Rettler

    I feel very blessed to be part of this unique Tae Kwon Do community. I am currently a 2nd degree black belt, which I received in 2014. I share this community with my husband, Brant Olson, who is also an instructor in the club, and we frequently bring our two young kiddos (Asher and Lucia) to class. They are already trying to do jumping jacks and punches! Outside of work and Tae Kwon Do, I love to play Ultimate Frisbee, run, hike, camp, and explore the world.

  • Melinda Elmer

    I have trained on my own during most of my time as a student of TKD. I currently live in Southern California and begun my time in TKD at the University of Illinois back in 1994. I tested for my Second Dan in 2013. I work in Real Estate and strive to apply the 5 aims to achieve in my business and life.

  • Jeff Bissing

    I last tested in 2014 for 2nd Dan belt. I live in Madison with my wife and two boys. Outside of Tae Kwon Do I enjoy bicycling, running and woodworking.

  • Arun Kurup

    2nd Dan black belt in 2013, always up for tennis, frisbee, and food. Please let me know when you’re near D.C.

  • Ty Christian

    Ty has been with the club since 2003, and works on campus as a Systems Administrator for the Center for Healthy Minds. In his free time he enjoys gaming, parkour, and touring the world with his heavy metal band Lords of the Trident.

  • Bryan Seybold

    I began Tae Kwon Do in 2006 and earned by black belt in 2010. I appreciate the community, joy, and lessons from Tae Kwon Do that I apply in my life. I now live in San Francisco, California switching between work as neuroscientist and computer scientist.

  • Dave Seybold

    I train with other students in Fridley, MN (northern suburb of Minneapolis) through the city’s parks and rec department. I started training in the UW Madison club in 2003 and earned my current rank of 1st dan in 2014. Outside of Tae Kwon Do, other physical activities are a big part of my life and I enjoy mountain biking, racquetball, ultimate frisbee and a host of other indoor and outdoor sports.

  • Erica Liu

    I earned my 1st Dan in September 2014 (the time between my first day of Taekwondo and black belt was almost 20 years!). Currently I serve as Pastor at Pres House in Madison, WI.

  • Sarah Robinson

    I started with the club in 2001 and got my black belt in 2016. I express myself mainly through food I cook, which is to say, loudly and often, and the only thing I like more than training with this amazing group of people is feeding them.

  • Andrea Kleesattel

    Cellist living in New York City, teaching ages 3-77. Earned first dan in September of 2016.

  • Jude Sullivan

    I earned my black belt in September 2016. It was a long time coming as I had started a martial arts practice while in college and left it just prior to my black belt evaluation. Twenty-five years later it happened – never give up! My life is full and rich and extremely busy. My wife, Kris, and I have a blended family with 6 kids, 2 grandkids and 5 (5!) granddoggers.

  • Jennifer Bird

    After practicing Karate with her family, started training in Tae Kwon Do in 2013, obtained black belt in 2016, and looks forward to learning and growing with everyone!