FACULTY SPOTLIGHT: PROFESSOR SHARES MARTIAL ARTS INTEREST IN CLASS

ALEXA GANZEVELD, KNIGHTLIFE EDITOR

“It is a good way to get out your aggression and stress in a relatively safe environment,” Eric Sommermeyer, an assistant professor of accounting at Wartburg College, said. Sommermeyer teaches accounting and portfolio management courses, but during an IS 101 course last year, Sommermeyer put his fifth-degree black belt in Tang Soo Do, a form of Korean martial arts, to use.

“I taught IS 101 last year and my section was history of martial arts,” Sommermeyer said. “I taught them some Tai Chi that they could use for relaxation. I taught them some basic self-defense for if they were being attacked, we went over some of the styles of martial arts in class that people are not as familiar with.”

Tang Soo Do is a karate-based Korean martial art that incorporates fighting principles from Subak, as well as Northern Chinese martial arts. The techniques combine elements of Shōtōkan, Subak, Taekkyon and Kung Fu. Tang Soo Do is a style that emphasizes breathing in its forms and practice, no contact or light contact sparring, and the building of character within its participants, according to the Live About website.

Sommermeyer began martial arts in middle school and continued through high school. He took a brief hiatus during college, but returned to the sport after he moved to the Cedar Valley.

“Now as a martial arts teacher, I’m able to pass that confidence and ability on to other people,” Sommermeyer said. Sommermeyer also plays classical violin and guitar and speaks both German and Russian.

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