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Martial arts: you can do it, this is your invitation!

You have the freedom of choice. You can choose to take action or be overwhelmed by your imagined shortcomings and do nothing.

JT IM high five

Photo 1: A high five at Kuk Sool Won Testing Day after a successful board break

Recently my ten year old son asked me whether he could audition for his elementary school’s variety show. I was somewhat surprised as he tends to shy away from the limelight.

He needed three other students to participate and thankfully there were ten others including  my seven year old daughter, who were more than willing to share their love for Kuk Sool Won martial arts with their peers. They called themselves the Kuk Sool Crew.

It was heartwarming to see them band together and practice. They were filled with enthusiastic energy and their excited smiles when they got together were a joy to behold.

Their eagerness to try something different was  inspiring. Although they were nervous it didn’t stop them from taking a chance.

We all have choices to make and chances to take every day. I had always wanted to do martial arts but I thought my age would be too much of a limitation. It took someone to invite me to try before I began my martial arts journey at Kuk Sool Won of Dublin, California.

An invitation from the school was a catalyst for my kids and their peers to try something different. An invitation from their martial arts Master triggered the start of my Kuk Sool Won adventure.

There are numerous martial arts styles including Karate, Jui Jitsu, Taekwondo, Hapkido, Kung Fun, Wushu and Jeet Kune Do to name but a few. I started out trying Tai Chi too. If you check out the newly launched Martial Nation website you can see the multitude of options.

VT and EA

Photo 2: My training buddy Eveline and I at the Kuk Sool Won of Dublin dojang in California

You can choose to stay on the sidelines and dream or you can launch yourself into the fray. The choice and the decision is yours.

There aren’t always obvious invitations to create the spark that ignites us into action but if you need one then here it is!

If you’ve ever dreamed of trying martial arts – this is your invitation! The universe is inviting you – will you accept?

The only permission you need to follow your dreams is your own.

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

Pay attention 007: Situational Awareness and martial arts

KSW Quote Q 007

Situational awareness is a useful skill and it requires paying careful attention to your surroundings. Since we were Bond movie fans as kids my brother often used to tell me to “Pay attention 007” and I even use it on my kids now too.

In the Bond movies Q (the Quartermaster) famously says to James Bond “Now pay attention 007” and then in one exchange says   “I’ve always tried to teach you two things: First, never let them see you bleed;” Bond responds: “And second?” and Q says: “Always have an escape plan”.

It’s remarkable how scenes and lines from movies spring to mind in various situations. I happened to be parking my car on the way to the dojang and my Kuk Sool Won Master walked across the tarmac and picked up a nail and said to me “Why don’t other motorists notice these things? I often have to pick them up.” He then proceeded to scan the area for anything else potentially dangerous and found some other nasties too. It was a small moment but a lesson nonetheless. Especially as I didn’t notice it when I parked my car.

Must be a martial arts awareness thing I said – just like Jason Bourne in The Bourne Identity. I had recently read a mixed martial arts thread discussing How to Develop the Situational Awareness of Jason Bourne and that’s probably why it came to mind then. I am usually so involved in my lists that I don’t pay attention to much else happening around me unless I have my camera in hand.

My camera increases my mindfulness since it focuses my attention. When I walk or even drive somewhere I often remember the locations of a particular flower or tree in bloom. It seems to me that martial arts training does the same. Intention gives focus which in turn makes one more mindful.

There is a Korean term called “Jung Shin” that means focusing your mind and heart 100% on the moment. It’s not always easy to do. When we are involved in sword play or practicing techniques there are a number of bodies in motion simultaneously and sometimes in an attempt to get out of the way I inadvertently move into the path of another student.

The busyness of life and our emphasis on the next task does not usually allow this attention to permeate our days.

I would love to be able to do what Jason Bourne did. To be so aware that as you move your mind automatically registers the detail. Perhaps technological advances will allow us to have the scanning abilities of the Terminator at some point so we can speed read and analyse our surroundings. I know that it can be learnt to a certain extent because when I have my camera I scan for interesting details all the time. It’s also clear that when you are a martial arts expert like Master Saidi then situational awareness is part of the package.

The more attention you pay the better your situational awareness will be. It seems as with most other types of learning, the more you practice, the better you become.

 

 

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.

Shooting a martial artist: The point of view paradox

Master Seyd Saidi from Kuk Sool Won of Dublin. Photo courtesy of Sharon Cohen (The Vanity Flare)

Master Seyd Saidi from Kuk Sool Won of Dublin. Photo courtesy of Sharon Cohen (The Vanity Flare)

The scene in the Indiana Jones movie Raiders of the lost Ark where an assassin  is wielding a very deadly looking scimitar and dramatically displays his prowess with it only to promptly be shot by Indy is a memorable one. This post however is not about that kind of shooting – it’s about portrait photography.

I am passionate about floral photography and it’s a subject that fuels my creativity but I find photographing people stressful and nerve wracking. Flowers tend not to object if they don’t look perfect in a shot.

My friend Sharon Cohen is a professional portrait photographer and although I’ve seen the striking images she produces I had not seen her in action at a shoot before. I had engaged her services to capture images of my martial arts instructor, Master Seyd Saidi, for a journalistic piece.

Master Saidi is one of nineteen 6th Dahn Kuk Sool Won Masters in the world and has a remarkable life story. He is passionate about teaching martial arts and has done so for over 25 years. He continues to inspire young martial artists and has a flourishing Kuk Sool Won school based in the Bay Area of California.

We arrived at the dojang and I helped Sharon to unload her equipment. It took several trips to do so. The lighting was going to be critical. The training hall has vaulted ceilings with fluorescent lights and since the training area is surrounded by mirrors all sorts of crazy light bounces happen.

Sharon took some preparation shots to test the lighting and asked me to pose in front of the backdrop. I was not comfortable on the other side of the lens but I had great fun playing with the swords.

Vanessa Thomas, student at Kuk Sool Won of Dublin. Photo courtesy of Sharon Cohen (The Vanity Flare)

Vanessa Thomas, student at Kuk Sool Won of Dublin. Photo courtesy of Sharon Cohen (The Vanity Flare)

There was plenty of activity both by the subject and the photographer. Stances were changed, kick height and position were altered while Nikon lenses were swapped and lighting altered and backdrops re-positioned. I had both sword envy and lens envy!

Once the shoot was in progress some interesting dialogue occurred that reminded me of Stephen Covey’s book “The 7 habits of Highly Effective People” and the Point of View Paradox with  the young and old woman.  The example demonstrates how a conditioned mind affects how we perceive things and that two people can look at exactly the same image and see completely different things.

Sharon was concerned about capturing his face, eyes and expression sharply with the best lighting and minimal shadows while Master Saidi’s concern was ensuring that the stances, hand and foot positions and angles of the weapons were technically correct. Thank goodness for modern camera technology and previews. They could discuss the captures and decide when a retake was necessary. However since both are highly skilled professionals there were actually very few retakes.

This process was a valuable prompt. Since being made aware that my own conditioning also affects my perceptions I do still wonder whether I consciously recognise it often enough when dealing with others. Do you?

 

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 Won Association.

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