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About

Welcome

Our six martial arts clubs each bring a different approach to the instruction and practice of martial arts, and we believe this diversity is part of our strength.

We welcome new students at the beginning of each semester. So whether you’re a UC Berkeley student or live/work in the vibrant Bay Area community, we invite you to join us and find out how training in martial arts can change your life. All six of our clubs are very beginner-friendly; our instructors are top-notch, and our facilities are safe places to study martial arts to improve yourself.

Our academic year includes the UC Open, the Chinese Martial Arts Tournament, and our UC Yongmudo Championship. These annual events not only offer learning opportunities for our students but also contribute to the martial arts experiences of our local and international community. We encourage you to learn more about them over the course of the school year.

For those of you who are already a part of our martial arts family, we hope to see you soon, and for those of you who are planning to check out our program, we hope that you’ll find a home with us. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask any of our instructors for recommendations and options.

Sincerely,

Dr. Russell Ahn

Director, UC Martial Arts Program

Mission

It is the purpose of the Martial Arts Program to preserve the philosophy, techniques, and traditions of martial arts and to develop a scientific understanding of the physical and spiritual implications of human performance.

A prominent feature of the University of California at Berkeley, the UC Martial Arts Program is an expanding, dynamic organization dedicated to providing outstanding martial arts instruction to the campus and surrounding communities. Since its inception in 1969, the Martial Arts Program of the University of California’s Berkeley campus has had a twofold mission. In addition to providing successful, quality technical instruction in all martial arts/sports, the UC Martial Arts Program also endeavors to maximize the academic resources of the university to develop martial arts/sports through research into their philosophical, spiritual, and scientific implications.

In addition to offering martial arts classes not only to Cal students but to the residents of Berkeley and neighboring communities, UCMAP and its six clubs are active in organizing and hosting instructional seminars, symposiums, and martial art camps, as well as in furthering the presence of martial arts in collegiate, national and world competitions. Pooling together hundreds of its members, UCMAP has ample resources to run such events, especially in a university environment, benefiting from its diverse members.

UCMAP boasts Olympic hopefuls, well-trained instructors, and partnerships with the premiere martial arts educational facility in Korea, Yongin University, and Korean National Sport University. The Berkeley program consistently sends student teams to national and international competitions but also emphasizes scholarship and a focus on the future by the creation of a research facility and the establishment of the International Martial Arts Research Institute (IMARI). IMARI has been published academic journal of martial arts of monograph series that contains an annual compilation of martial arts papers on art, physics, physiology, instruction, and philosophy for an international readership. It’s easy to see how UCMAP reflects the mission of UC Berkeley as an academic institution in both spirit and culture.

The University of California Martial Arts Program is unique in its amalgamation of athleticism and scholarship, vision and history, innovation, and tradition. What began as one man’s passion is now a well-established institution steeped in UC Berkeley’s culture of high standards.

History

Top-flight university, top-flight martial arts program.

That was the vision of Dr. Ken Min, who started the first major university-based martial arts program in the nation in 1969 and then went on to lead the movement to introduce taekwondo as an Olympic sport. The program started with a handful of martial arts, organized into clubs of interested students, which met in the wrestling room. Nearly 40 years later, the few tiny groups have grown into a six-club martial arts powerhouse that has made a large impact on the international martial arts community. 

The UC Martial Arts Program offers instruction in Taekwondo, Judo, Karate, Taiji, Wushu, and Yongmudo (Korean Self-defense). Over the years, rather than having them exist as separate clubs, Dr. Min brought the different arts together to create a solid overall martial arts program. Instruction in UCMAP clubs is carried out by high-ranking instructors in their particular martial arts, many of whom are themselves students of Dr. Min.

Comprised of nearly 600 members and many more alumni, UCMAP has trained many successful competitors and teams, hosted many tournaments, and is held highly regarded as one of the top producers of martial artists in the country.

The future of the UCMAP was secured in 1995 with an award of an incredible one-million-dollar endowment by the Ministry of Culture and Sports, the Republic of Korea, and the World Taekwondo Federation. The award is unique in the United States’ academic community, establishing a permanent position for martial arts instruction at UC Berkeley. No other university in the United States has ever raised such an endowment. The Korean gift, officially named the Ken Min Endowed Directorship for Taekwondo and the Martial Arts, celebrates the achievements and lifetime commitment of Dr. Min. When Dr. Min originally talked about retiring, its students and staff were concerned that strong leadership for the program would come to an end. As a result, Dr. Min approached the Korean community for support to continue the program that he spent over a quarter of a century developing. Following a review of UCMAP, the Korean government deemed it worthwhile to support. The Korean Ministry of Culture and Sports awarded the money to Cal to ensure that the program would continue to teach Asian philosophy and culture for years to come.

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