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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


Kuk Sool Kids versus Dojo Daycare. Why the right martial arts Master is critical for teaching your kids.

Dojo Daycare cover

Honor, kindness and respect are qualities that we all would like our children to possess. Learning self-defense while increasing self-confidence and self-respect allows young martial artists to grow both physically and emotionally.

As a ‘Kuk Sool Mom’ with two ‘Kuk Sool Kids’ I have witnessed first hand the benefits that are derived through martial arts training. As expats it is often a lengthy process integrating into a new culture and establishing friendships but once my husband enrolled our children in Kuk Sool we did not look back.

My somewhat shy 9 year old son is blossoming and my precocious 6 year old daughter shows remarkable self-discipline during training. “What is martial arts?” their Instructor, Master Saidi, asks and they enthusiastically respond “To develop and maintain, a positive, disciplined attitude Sir!”

As a writer observing this growth and transformation I thought it would be great to write a children’s book exploring the martial arts journey and the significant lessons learned. Angela, a lovely friend of mine in publishing who is aware of my new-found Kuk Sool Won passion, then introduced me to the picture book Dojo Daycare by Chris Tougas.

The illustrations in the book immediately appealed to me as they were bright and bold and captured the mischievousness of the little ninjas. The story has wonderful rhythm and describes how six young ninjas are dropped off at Dojo Daycare and proceed to spin out of control while their instructor is trying to get them to reflect on honor, kindness and respect. The voice of reason in the story is that of another child who gets the remaining lot to cooperate and work together. A thoroughly entertaining story that young kids will enjoy.

Simultaneously though, it highlights the crucial role of the martial arts instructor and the scenario you do not want to find your kids in.

This sort of behavior would of course never be tolerated in a real world Kuk Sool Won dojang. My children view their martial arts Master as a super hero and have the utmost respect for him. The etiquette they are taught from their very first lesson when they bow into class permeates all their other interactions.

There is no way that such rampant disregard for his instructions would ever be evident in class!

The Chief Instructor at the Kuk Sool Won of Dublin school is Master Saidi and he is passionate about what he does and connects with his students in a way that helps them reach their full potential. It’s wonderful to have found a remarkable martial arts teacher who displays humility, care and patience while also instilling respect and being able to drive his students to be the best they can be.

Since he also frequently spouts profound, insightful and quote worthy information I think I am well on my way to having enough material for a book!

He has taught thousands of students at his school over the past 25 years and each one has been changed in the process, regardless of their age. Many things can influence the decision to start martial arts training but choosing the correct Master is the most critical element to yield the best results.

The martial arts journey is one of self-discovery, discipline and fulfillment and the right instructor  will help your kids stay motivated and engaged while achieving their goals.

As Seth Godin says “A great teacher teaches commitment and not just techniques.”

So take your time, do your research and make the decision where you all come out winners!

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.

Further information if you would like to purchase the Dojo Daycare picture book:

Trade Cloth, Picture Book
US $16.95
Owlkids Books

DOJO Daytrip is the follow up title coming out Fall 2015

Trade Cloth, Picture Book
US $16.95
Owlkids Books Fall 2015

Dojo Daytrip cover

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.

Crystallizing my Green Destiny

Green destiny_edited-1

Swords have always fascinated me, I’m not exactly sure why. There is something about the beauty and the power they yield and the potential to be destructive and deadly while also being aesthetically pleasing. As Taylor Swift sings in Blank SpaceDarling, I’m a nightmare dressed like a daydream“.

Due to my fascination with swords it has always been a goal of mine to complete a martial arts sword form. I started learning a Tai Chi sword form about 12 years ago but my Sifu relocated and I never got to complete the training. It has always felt like unfinished business.

I loved practicing my form with the sword outdoors and watching the blade gleam in the sunlight. It felt like an extension of me. Beautiful and deadly. Graceful and unflinching.

At the end of last year I finally had the opportunity to start Tai Chi again and found a great teacher in California named Tim Ghazaleh who has been teaching Yang Style Tai Chi for more than 25 years. He was taught by late master Wu Ta-yeh, a disciple of the late Tai Chi master Tung Hu Ling. I was told that in 2-3 years I could become proficient in the sword form and that filled me with excitement!

Then I had a conversation with my children’s Kuk Sool Won instructor, Master Saidi and he said that with hard work I could learn a black belt sword form in three years! It was music to my ears! My Green Destiny was calling!

For those of you wondering about Green Destiny I discovered it in the movie Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon that tells the tale of Master Li Mu Bai a great warrior and swordsman. His sword, the Green Destiny, is legendary, powerful and mystical and he decides to retire and give the sword to his old friend as a gift – only it gets stolen.

I was also thrilled to discover that the sequel, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon: The Green Legend is going to be released this year! An interesting convergence of thought…

My Tai Chi sword has been tucked away in its hockey case for 12 years. Today I took it out for a photo for this post. I still enjoy holding it. I have plans for it.

At my first Kuk Sool Won class I thoroughly enjoyed the sword play even though they were padded training versions. With Tai Chi I never had someone come at me blade in hand, we trained side by side in harmony. In Kuk Sool Won I had to strike and block and get out of the way and I wasn’t really fast or controlled enough but it rocked!

At the end of the class one of the senior black belts named Rick commented that I went “all bushido” on him and I had to smile. Bushido was the code of conduct followed by Japan’s samurai warriors.There is a sad but beautiful Japanese legend retold in the movie the 47 Ronin. It’s a story of honour, courage and loyalty.

Unfulfilled dreams and unfinished business can either be catalysts for regret or stepping stones to help us crystallize our visions for our futures.

What will you do with yours?



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.

It’s a Surprise – Open It!

A diminutive student dressed in black yet exuding a quiet confidence enters the dojang. He greets his martial arts Master with a cheerful “Kuk Sool” and promptly hands over a rather large, carefully and colourfully decorated box. “I made this for you Sir, it’s a surprise.”

He then crosses the mat barefooted to place his shoes neatly in the closet and finds a spot to sit cross-legged on the floor while waiting for his class to begin.

The New Year is a surprise that each of us has been given. Some of us have accepted it graciously and others reluctantly or indifferently. We have a choice to engage with it however we wish to.

It can remain as is, untouched, and still life will happen. Time will pass.

Or we can choose to open it, to interact with it, to accept its contents but also to add our own dreams, our own pieces that will shape what we experience.

The Master places the box on his desk and smiles. He is aware that this surprise has involved careful thought and planning and is touched by the connection it represents.

“Have you opened it Sir?” a tiny, yet insistent and expectant voice pipes up from the back of the class.

The box is opened to reveal a small and intricately detailed paper bird with wings outstretched in flight.

“It’s wonderful!” the Master exclaims and the little student beams with pride. He has shown his appreciation and demonstrated his gratitude.

The bird has left the cage and the box is now open to opportunity.

We all have the capacity to use small moments to acknowledge the impact that someone has had in our lives. We have the opportunity to value and recognize our connectedness and aspire to be a positive influence in all our interactions.

This year is your surprise. Will you open it?


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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