YONGSAN GARRISON, South Korea — The 2nd Infantry Division Tae Kwon Do team made a big splash this week in its debut in one of South Korea’s biggest tournaments.

The team comprising 22 active-duty soldiers, took one silver and four bronze medals in individual fighting competitions and captured top honors in the team demonstration division.

Not bad for their first appearance in the World Hwarang Tae Kwon Do Championships in Jenchon, coach Kim Mun-ok said.

“There were teams from 34 countries competing, and this is a very prestigious tournament,” said Kim, who is known as Master Kim. “Since this was the first time we participated, I think the results were very good.”

While the team allows soldiers to show off their skills, Kim said the tae kwon do program is an important tool for the whole division.

“For the soldiers, tae kwon do teaches them discipline and respect. It very much helps them with their physical conditioning,” he said. “But it also helps them to learn something about the Korean culture and shows Korean people that the soldiers are interested and want to be good neighbors.”

And in competitions such as the Hwarang championship, named after a famous Korean military hero, they’re easy to pick out.

“The demonstration team is pretty easy to spot,” said Staff Sgt. David Ruiz, the team’s top noncommissioned officer, from Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 1-15 Field Artillery.

“They wear the BDU camoflauge pants, the 2ID headbands, the whole thing. People definitely know it’s them.”

As the team’s victory in the demonstration competition shows, the 2ID team is known for more than its uniforms.

The group was led by Spc. Marquez Rosado, of Company D, 1-2 Aviation, who won a silver medal in the heavyweight division.

Bronze medals were captured by Sgt. David Lewis, 44th Engineer Battalion; Pfc. Byron Johncox, Company B, 1-9 Infantry; Pfc. Michael Churchill, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1-9 Infantry; and Spc. Kim Ti-mon, 50th Engineer Company.

The team’s next competition will likely be in late November, officials said.

Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign up to receive a daily email of today's top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign Up Now