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The Caw: Ryan Jensen Comes From a Tail-Kicking Taekwondo Family


Ravens center Ryan Jensen isn't the only Jensen you'd have to worry about in a dark alley.

Jensen is the guy who stuck up for Joe Flacco after he was nearly decapitated by Dolphins linebacker Kiko Alonso. Jensen's also the guy who pridefully calls himself an "annoying mosquito."

Well, Jensen is also a guy who comes from a tail-kicking Taekwondo family.

Yeah, it's aaaaaaall starting to come together.

Jensen was a two-time Taekwondo national medalist in the Junior Olympics when he was sparring at ages 12 and 13. He won the silver and bronze.

He followed in the footsteps of dad, Dean, mom, Jane, and older brother, Seth. Jensen's dad is a fifth-degree black belt. His mom is a third-degree black belt. His older brother is a first-degree black belt and was a Junior Olympics gold medalist in sparring.

Jensen only got up to a blue belt, but said he fought in the black-belt divisions in age and weight classes above him.

"I didn't like the whole forms aspect. It was boring to me," Jensen said. "I just wanted to go out there and fight. Surprise, huh."

Jensen started his Taekwondo training in his parents' studio in a small-town Colorado when he was 3 or 4 years old. They had hundreds of students, and it was a way for them to channel their competitive nature. Both parents were college athletes as well.

"That was something to start our love for competition," Jensen said.

"At a young age when I was doing it, I think it helped with foot speed and balance. I always recommend that kids get into martial arts, not only for the athleticism aspect but also the discipline aspect. There's a lot about integrity that martial arts can teach you."

While there would undoubtedly be some swagger in being a family full of black belts, Jensen said it never led to any trouble. After all, one of the tenants of the studio was that if any student got into a fight outside of class, and it wasn't in self-defense, they were automatically kicked out.

That must have been the principle Jensen applied when sticking up for Flacco on Thursday Night Football too.

"We are with each other so much that all of us are family," Jensen said of his Ravens teammates. "Growing up, I was always taught to protect your family, no matter the situation."

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