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Martial arts can change your life in 48s, if you let it.

Yes it was the 48s of the Nunes vs Rousey fight that I had on my mind when I wrote this post title. Images and commentary about the much publicized  fight were all over social media and got me thinking about how much life can change in a single moment.

Even a moment lasting less than 60s.

Although MMA is currently the top draw card in the popular press when people think of martial arts, it is not what lead me to practice my art.

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Photo: Kuk Sool Won Grandmaster In Hyuk Suh with me at the training Seminar in Dublin, California

Yes, martial arts is fundamentally about fighting. However in a traditional martial art  it’s about using your body as a weapon while also honoring it as a vessel for enlightenment.

Respect, self-discipline, control and increased self-awareness are an integral part of a traditional martial arts journey.

Every person who practices a martial art has their own reasons for doing so and has their own expectations. The teacher and school where you choose to receive your martial arts instruction will set the tone for your training. Finding a school that matches your martial arts world view is what sets you on the path of your martial arts journey.

It’s the moment that you make that decision, which usually happens in the blink of an eye that can change your life… if you let it.

I’ve seen all types make the decision to start but only a special few allow martial arts to change their lives. It’s not just about training, it’s a way of life and when committed, it will change the way you make decisions about the things you prioritize.

So when making resolutions and/or setting goals here are three things that I’ve come to know:

1. Growing and learning is a life-long process

2. When you do the work, you reap the rewards

3. Helping others also helps you.

Whatever your chosen art, embrace it and enjoy the journey.

Martial Arts Testing: California’s Got Kuk Sool Talent

Pain quote VT kick 894

November is Testing Time again. The fourth and final one for the year. It’s a time for the instructors to assess our skills and for us to establish where our knowledge gaps are.

It’s s bit like a stage performance, a live show with an audience after several dress rehearsals but it also includes a panel of judges. It could be akin to a California’s Got Kuk Sool Talent Show.

Pain is part of the process. As a previously exercise averse individual the concept of pushing your body till it hurts is counter-intuitive. I didn’t expect to discover where all my muscle groups were when I got out of bed in the morning!

Now however I know that the pain is an indicator of effort. If you’ve worked hard enough a bit of pain is a gold star on your workout sheet and if you don’t feel it you either didn’t work hard enough or its time to ramp up your routine.

I’ve been practicing my spin kicks knowing that for testing I would need to do a high spin kick to break my board. It made me very nervous. “So what part of testing causes you the most anxiety? ” our Chief Instructor, Master Saidi asked me. “Board breaking” I responded “followed by techniques and then forms.” And yes that essentially covers everything we do in testing besides body conditioning.

When considering my level of martial arts skill in relation to the task ahead, I felt like Hiccup in How to Train your Dragon saying ” you just gestured to all of me!”

Spin kicks make me dizzy, I can probably do about five in one direction before my world moves like a merry -go-round. Besides that my limited flexibility in my hips means that I struggle to get good height. So my hip flexors ache too.

The objective then is to not have to kick the board more than once.

I failed. My first kick knocked the JKN’s hand who was unfortunate enough to be holding my board. The next kick broke it but the execution left loads of room for improvement. If this had been a talent show I would not make it to the next round.

The night before in class had been one of my best kicking sessions in a while with my awesome training buddy Ramya. I was nailing the target soundly and powerfully with my heel. My leg was almost straight and my accuracy was great. It had boosted my confidence but at testing there was no hint of this history.

I could hear the voice of the Kuk Sool Won Grandmaster In Hyuk Suh in my head saying “you need more practice!”

Peaking the night before made no difference. It was only about how good you are on the day. Sometimes despite the preparation the cosmic forces deal you an unfortunate hand but that is when the show must go on.

What was heartwarming though was hearing the applause and encouragement from our fellow students. Having a martial arts family helps!

It was also inspiring to watch the more advanced belts execute their techniques. Visible indicators of what can be achieved with committed training. Watching my fellow students made it clear where the Kuk Sool talent resides.

Although failure can be disappointing, tenacity keeps us going and perseverance yields results. You do get what you work for. Masters have failed more than students have even tried. Failure and disappointment are part of the journey too but true strength lies in picking yourself up and trying again.

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are solely those of the author in her private capacity and do not in any way represent the views of Master Saidi or that of the World Kuk Sool Association.

Dublin Martial Arts School to compete in Kuk Sool Won tournament in Sacramento

Master Saidi, Staff and Students after a training session at the Kuk Sool Won of Dublin school

Master Saidi, Staff and Students after a training session at the Kuk Sool Won of Dublin school

Dublin, California, March 26– The stage is set for a traditional Korean martial arts competition as scores of Kuk Sool WonTM students from the Pacific coast region gather in Folsom, Sacramento for the annual tournament. This year the Kuk Sool Won of Dublin School, Martial Arts Academy of USA will be represented with over a hundred students, under the leadership of Master Seyd Saidi.

In August this year the school will mark its 25th anniversary. Master Saidi is one of only sixteen 6th Dahn Kuk Sool Masters and has trained thousands of students over his 35 years of teaching.

He reminds his students as they prepare for tournament that “growth happens outside of your comfort zone”.

The Kuk Sool WonTM of Dublin team includes students ranging in age from under 5 years old to adults. The youngest representative from the Kuk Sool WonTM of Dublin school is Kashvi at 3 years old and along with her training partner who is 4, will be making their tournament debut.

A respected guest at the event will be the Founder and Grandmaster of Kuk Sool WonTM, In Hyuk Suh. Other senior Kuk Sool WonTM Masters will also be present in addition to a range of black belt practitioners who will serve as judges for the event.

All Kuk Sool WonTM schools in the Pacific coast area of California will be represented and close to a thousand participants are expected.

There has been a growth in popularity for this martial arts system due to its comprehensive nature and the range of styles, techniques and weapons it includes.

This tournament is governed by World Kuk Sool Association Tournament rules and guidelines, and the event is only open to current and active members of the World Kuk Sool Association, Inc.

The event allows students to meet and interact with practitioners of all ages and abilities, and from all walks of life, and to experience the shared identity of a global martial arts system.

Students will compete in various categories including open hand forms, techniques, sparring and weapons forms. There is an array of weapons in this martial art system including bo staffs, swords, knives, fans and spears which draws a crowd at the Masters and Instructors demonstrations held at the tournament.

Each participant is awarded points for their achievements and the schools compete to obtain the highest overall score.

About: Besides the fact that learning Kuk Sool has an impact on every student that enrolls at his school, Master Saidi strives to provide a nurturing, disciplined and goal-oriented environment for his students. The Kuk Sool WonTM of Dublin School is an established Martial Arts Academy located in Dublin in the Bay Area of California and is proud of its track record of excellence in the teaching of martial arts. For information about his school and the Kuk Sool WonTM martial arts system please see contact information below.

Contact Information:

Kuk Sool WonTM of Dublin, Martial Arts Academy of USA

4558 Dublin Boulevard CA 94568

Phone: (925) 551 – 8200

Website: http://www.kuksoolwonofdublin.com

Practice, patience and patches

The Grand Master and founder of Kuk Sool Won, In Hyuk Suh,  has a saying that has become ingrained in mind “With patience and perseverance all things are possible.” His other well known saying is “We need more practice!” and I know for sure that it applies to me.

Grand Master In Hyuk Suh and Master Saidi

Grand Master In Hyuk Suh and Master Saidi

February 16 was President’s Day so there was no class. My training buddy sent me a text to confirm that the school was closed. I expect she was feeling the withdrawal symptoms too.

We had such a great training session last week and we were both starting to feel a bit more confident about our forms. Master Saidi had given us some extra pointers and demonstrated how the form movements pertain to a conflict situation so that we visualise the applications.

We repeated our forms side by side and it felt really awesome to see the flow of movements conducted in unison.

We had also had some falling practice with one of the higher ranked belts, a blue stripe, which made the techniques look a lot more impressive. It’s amazing how being observed adds a layer of pressure and thankfully we got through ok. Patience is certainly a necessary virtue when learning martial arts.

I couldn’t recall when last I had to try and roll. In my experience it’s not a movement that the average adult gets to do very often. Master Saidi made it look so easy “Just roll on your shoulder not your head!” Fear gripped me again. My inner ear issues made me susceptible to vertigo and I wanted to be sure that I could get back up again after rolling. “Perhaps you should practice at home” I was jokingly told. Well it was now or never I figured – one of those situations again where you feel the fear but do it anyway – so I did!

Now that we would be going to tournament we also needed to get patches for our doboks. The patches certainly add a touch of flare to the already intimidating  black uniform. I am rather excited about getting mine – it will feel like an outward sign connecting me to the ancient traditions of this martial arts system.

Kuk Sool Won Uniform (dobok)

Kuk Sool Won Uniform (dobok)

Wikipedia had the following interesting points about the uniform:

“The uniform material is stronger than a standard Tae Kwon Do uniform, but lighter than a Judo uniform, as it must allow the user to perform the complete spectrum of martial arts techniques. Kuk Sool Won uniforms are black as opposed to white, mainly to differentiate them from other martial arts, such as Tae Kwon Do which focus more on sport aspects and have adopted white as the primary color of their uniforms. However, an alternate reason could be that according to Korean tradition, the color black is associated with wisdom.”

Tournament is approaching and we have special training sessions to help us iron out all the errors and increase our confidence. I am planning to attend every single one of them! I need more practice!

 

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are solely those of the author in her private capacity and do not in any way represent the views of Master Saidi or that of the World Kuk Sool Association.

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