• By: Eric Murphy

Curtis Lu is a Homegrown Taekwondo Champion

In just two months, Ottawa’s Sabum Curtis Lu has won four gold medals for taekwondo in local and international tournaments.

The 19-year-old’s first two golds came on June 13, during the Gen. Choi Legacy World Cup. That tournament, held at Algonquin College here in Ottawa, honours one of taekwondo’s founders, Korean major-general Choi Hong-Hi, who passed away in 2002. The event drew in more than 300 competitors from around Canada, the United States and Pakistan.

Lu won in sparring and patterns, which requires athletes to cycle through precise movements to show their strength and discipline.

Ott Do
Ottawa’s taekwondo team at the USTF tournament near Boston.

Lu’s next win came just last month on July 25, during the USTF International open taekwondo championship held west of Boston, Massachusetts. Facing opponents from more than five countries, Lu walked away with two more gold medals, again for sparring and pattern black belt division.

The larger Canadian team, all of whom were from Ottawa, also brought home another gold and a bronze medal from the competition.

Raised by two taekwondo masters, Lu was training before he started elementary school.

“I was technically three when I started, but I’ve been around it since I was born,” he says.

Lu currently holds a third degree black-belt. Although black is the highest belt colour one can achieve, it has different ranks, each harder to achieve than the last. Lu’s two sisters are second degree black belts, his mother is an eighth, and his father, taekwondo legend Phap Lu, is a ninth degree black belt.

“It’s a family affair,” Lu laughs, adding that only a handful of people in the world have a ninth degree like his father. “I’d say around 10 or so. It’s a lifelong journey.”

Curtis Lu’s father was a member of General Choi Hong-hi’s inner circle, and he helped the founder spread his new martial art across the world. Now, Phap Lu owns multiple Lu’s Taekwondo training gyms here in Ottawa.

Aside from training and winning taekwondo tournaments, Curtis Lu also studies Marketing at the University of Ottawa. He plans to follow in his parents’ footsteps by continuing his training and eventually running the gyms.

“The big plan is to take over my dad’s school,” he says.

Lu has his eye on an upcoming September tournament in New York City, but it may interfere with his school schedule. Regardless, you’ll definitely want to keep an eye out for what this promising local athlete will win next.