When I look back over the years that have followed my first class in 2011, the rewards of KSW are plain to see: I’m physically stronger and fitter than I’ve even been (a sum total of 40+ years stoically attempting not to be a couch potato); I’ve made some really good friends; I’ve broadened my knowledge of Korean history and culture: and I’ve gained confidence, mental clarity and focus.
Having no previous martial-art experience, my husband (who is now also a JKN), my daughter and I set about checking out — and trying, in my daughter’s case — various martial-art schools in the area, but it was KSW (Boston)’s energy combined with its helpful and friendly environment that finally made up our minds for us. To this day, I love the energy aspect of KSW: that it’s not just about physical training, but also a much deeper mind and energy experience. That’s not to say that the physical side isn’t important to me: a Gold medal as a Yellow Belt and another as Dahn Bo Nim in sparring and a Silver for techniques at the KSW European Championships prove to the contrary.
Without doubt, the experience I gained helping out in the children’s classes since my days as a Blue Belt have certainly set me in good stead for instructing in class as a Black Belt. The most rewarding aspect of being an instructor is witnessing and playing a role in the amazing personal transformation that each student goes through on their journey from White to Black Belt. I have seen many people join KSW, but the most impressive are the initially shy, insecure and self-conscious individuals who have gradually blossomed into confident, leaner, beautiful people.
Thanks to the school’s very friendly, helpful and sympathetic instructors, I recall soon overcoming the trepidation I had felt as a White Belt myself. Above all, I appreciated the Black Belts’ unwavering patience despite their having to show me the same movements or techniques multiple times — something that I was not once made to feel embarrassed about. Now, as an instructor and as someone to whom patience does not always come easy, I continuously remind myself of my early KSW days, thereby striving to improve myself as a person.
Of all my memorable moments in KSW so far, receiving my JKN Black Belt from Kuk Sa Nim tops the list. I now look forward to continuing the next stage of my KSW journey.