Skip to content

Balancing Forces: Jogi Katende Competes in US Open Taekwondo Championships  

Jogi Katende standing in front of U.S. Open banner

By Sloane Barlow  

An International Transition

When Economics and Finance major Jogi Katende first decided to leave Uganda two years ago to study in the United States, he wanted to challenge himself. He enrolled in the Honors College to give him the best opportunity to reach his goals.   

“As an international student, it often feels like you are running a race with concrete boots,” Katende said. “However, the Honors College levels the playing field by granting international students many opportunities to explore and thrive at MSU.”  

In the past two years, Katende has become an avid researcher at the Honors College – starting with him taking an honors section focused on intensive research his first semester.  

“I knew nothing about research,” said Katende. “Through [course] UGS 200H, I participated in the University Undergraduate Research Forum, where my team’s research earned a first-place prize. I now look forward to presenting it at the National Conference on Undergraduate Research next month in California.”  

In addition to his studies, Katende is a dedicated Resident Assistant in Abbot Hall, where he maintains the safety of the residents and facilitates equitable community experiences. He also is a competitor and coach for the MSU Taekwondo Club, and Teaching Assistant for a credited MSU Taekwondo course, KIN 102K.   

“Jogi is a leader in so many spaces at MSU and beyond,” said Bess German, Assistant Dean of the Honors College. “We are fortunate to have him in our honors community, and I love to see him excel and thrive, humility, and passion in Taekwondo, as much as he does in the classroom.”  

Competitive Passion   

Last month, Katende earned the chance to compete at the U.S. Open Taekwondo Championships, making him the first MSU student in over 20 years to qualify for and physically attend the event.   

“Competing at the U.S. Open is a significant milestone in any Taekwondo athlete’s journey, given its status as one of the most prestigious tournaments globally,” said Katende’s coach at MSU, Ronald Southwick.   

Competing in the Senior Men’s Division, Katende represented Uganda as the only athlete, and MSU as the only student.   

“By attending this event, I was able to train with, compete against, and learn from the very best Taekwondo athletes in the world,” Katende said. “I even met and learned from all of my Olympic heroes and the athletes scheduled to compete in the Olympics this year.”  

Jogi Katende and Coach Southwick

Alongside him throughout the competition was Coach Southwick.    

“As a coach and competitor, Jogi has been an exceptional addition to the MSU Taekwondo Club,” Southwick said. “I am excited to witness Jogi’s growth and development on the international stage. Not only does he possess natural talent, but he also demonstrates a solid commitment to continuous improvement, setting an example for his teammates.”  

Katende too, has relied on his teammates and friends to become the successful competitor he is today.   

“My friends have gotten up at 5 a.m. to drive me across the state for training, my teammates have spent countless hours researching the best techniques for me to implement,” Katende said.   

“I am constantly in awe of how much support I have received from the MSU community,” he continued. “While I am alone when I compete in the ring, I stand on the shoulders of many individuals who dedicated themselves to my dreams.”  

Back To Top