The KSW (Boston) school first opened its doors in 1995, and I’m proud to say that I was there — at that very first class! Shortly before, I’d read in a local newspaper about a new Korean martial art coming to town, so I went along to a demonstration to find out more and was immediately struck by its diversity.
In truth, KSW has gone on become such a core part of my life that not even living in Australia could deter me (more on that later…): it has improved my fitness and flexibility, it has introduced me to some great people, it has strengthened my mental attitude and respect for discipline (both in and out of class) and it has helped to make me a more rounded person. KSW has given me so much, which is why I consider teaching the Colour Belts — an opportunity to give something back to this wonderful art — to be an extremely rewarding experience. I enjoy being able to pass on my knowledge, and it is hugely satisfying to see students not only demonstrate what they’ve been taught in class but also, crucially, enjoying themselves in the process. Their abilities and self-confidence seem to improve at a phenomenal rate.
Unarguably my most memorable KSW moment is during my time in Australia, when I was honoured to be promoted to 2nd-degree Black Belt by Master Alex Suh SIKJN, following two consecutive (and intensely hot!) days of grading. Probably coming a close second are the five years I spent in the southwest-coast city of Perth, training and helping to grow KSW in Australia. Closer to home, I will of course always cherish the Gold medal I won as a Red Belt for techniques at the U.K. Championships in Norwich.
If asked to offer one word of advice to anyone wishing to take up KSW, it would be: persevere. Your very first class may seem daunting, but everyone is very helpful and there are always Black Belts available who are happy to guide you. As you progress through the ranks, grit your teeth, try your hardest and reap the rewards!