By Dylan Schaeffer
UPPER BURREL, Pa – The Martial Arts Club at Penn State New Kensington chose a new president to manage and gain support for the club this past October.
Brendan Gaffney, a 19 year old sophomore at Penn State New Kensington, filled the role of club president after the previous president left the campus for an internship.
Gaffney was the vice president of the club last year and organized several martial arts demonstrations. He has seven years of training in the South Korean martial art of Tang Soo Do and enjoys teaching members new forms of self-defense so that they can protect themselves in the real world.
“I’m a rather idealist[ic] person,” Gaffney said in an interview. “I’d like the world to be much more peaceful, but there are numerous situations in the world where you might need to defend yourself and protect the people who are close to you. “
“I [also] hope to satisfy people’s curiosities,” Gaffney said on Tuesday. “Really it’s just about… trying to continue education of what people want to learn.”
According to Gaffney, there is no real upper or lower limit on the amount of people who can be in the club. Campus rules dictate that for a club to be recognized by the University, it must have at least seven members. The Martial Arts club has just over this limit, which is a slight cause for alarm. The more people who become interested in the club and show up at meetings, the more secure of a position a club has on campus.
Though many in the club are experienced in varying types of martial arts, many just show up to learn something new. When asked who could show up at meetings, Gaffney replied simply “anyone.” He went on to say that “absolutely anyone can stop by. I don’t care if it’s a 4’9 girl who has absolutely no upper body strength and no martial arts training. I’d be happy to teach her something to defend herself.”
Others can support the club as well, as to secure its place on campus. “Other people can support the club by spreading the word that we are meeting,” said Gaffney. He added that if anyone has friends who are interested, “have them stop by.”
He is also supportive of those who have anything to teach the club. “If you feel that you know something you can share with others, I’d love for you to come by and teach me something,” he said.
According to Gaffney, the schedule of events at every meeting “mostly depends on what the people attending the club want it to be.” Meetings are held every Friday at noon in the wrestling room at the school gym.