Koryo Do

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Martial Arts and self-defense classes

adult 1Looking for a Martial Arts studio? What about if we could tell you that there are places where you can get what you didn’t think existed?

Younger Kids. At the very least, our curriculum for younger kids covers activities designed to teach these students how to focus, behaving in groups and paying attention to class. In addition to those we also teach the basics of danger awareness, gymnastics and conditioning.

Teenagers and young adults. Our teenagers and young adult program starts with the same basics of conditioning, coordination and self-defense but then get into deeper programs that helps dealing with bullying, stress management and goal attainments.

Adults. We have several adult programs that cover everything from cardiovascular health, flexibility, conditioning, self-defense, stress relief, self-confidence, bullying in the workplace and much more. Our emphasis has always been in practical applications and quality of life and having students enroll with no experience and late in life is nothing uncommon for us.

In our particular case, our instructor pool boasts several hall of fame instructors as well as multiple Martial Artist Masters and one Grandmaster.  In other words, few schools if any can compete with the professionalism, experience and knowledge level we provide.

You and your dear ones deserve the best so come and try us. You will see the difference!

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The Real Martial Arts

Xmas 2014I was looking this morning for ideas for our December marketing campaign. I looked into photos, different campaigns and quite a lot of propaganda.  At the end of the day I was extremely disappointed as all I could find out was about the ability to fight and in a way be able to beat others.

I know that we teach punching, kicking and fighting but there is so much more about the martial arts that we makes us what we are and I think we are losing. The martial arts I know is a family where we care for each other. It is, to quote some of my students, a happy place where you can feel safe. This is a place where we teach about self-confidence, leadership, balance and even love. Yes there is the physical aspect where we exercise and work on coordination, balance and much more but the farthest thing in our minds is developing the ability to hurt others.

So at the end of the day I decided to start a campaign in FaceBook where for every posting I put I wrote a sentence related to things we teach at our school, Koryo Do School of Tae Kwon Do. I don’t know how many people will get it nor do I know if I will get any new students because of it but at the very least I know that I would have presented to the world the meaning of the Real Martial Arts and the way of life of our brotherhood.

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Why we do what we do

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Nails In The Fence

NailsThere once was a little boy who had a bad temper. His father gave him a bag of nails and told him that every time he lost his temper, he must hammer a nail into the back of the fence.

The first day the boy had driven 37 nails into the fence. Over the next few weeks, as he learned to control his anger, the number of nails hammered daily gradually dwindled down. He discovered it was easier to hold his temper than to drive those nails into the fence.

Finally the day came when the boy didn’t lose his temper at all. He told his father about it and the father suggested that the boy now pull out one nail for each day that he was able to hold his temper. The days passed and the young boy was finally able to tell his father that all the nails were gone.

The father took his son by the hand and led him to the fence. He said, “You have done well, my son, but look at the holes in the fence. The fence will never be the same. When you say things in anger, they leave a scar just like this one. You can put a knife in a man and draw it out. It won’t matter how many times you say I’m sorry, the wound is still there.”

The little boy then understood how powerful his words were. He looked up at his father and said “I hope you can forgive me father for the holes I put in you.”

“Of course I can,” said the father.

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Pokemon Go – “the good and the bad”

Pokemon Go Hunting TipsAmazing and incredible are words I will use to describe the phenomenon of Pokemon Go.  They are still playing with the Beta version and the growth is amazing.  So far there hasn’t been a place where I walk in and people don’t know about this game.  But like with everything there is good and bad.

The good comes from the basis of the game which makes you get out of the house, socialize, talk and walk.  By itself this is great as technology was making us into an antisocial/dysfunctional community.  I was seen more couch potatoes and wordless conversations between people sitting across each other.  Now with Pokemon Go I see people in public places talking with one another and sharing information.  From the clinical standpoint is almost like a miraculous cure for people suffering from mental illnesses as the obsession with the game is overpowering their fears and limitation of breaking their routines and socializing.  I actually already know of cases that if the information wasn’t first hand I wouldn’t believe the changes I’m seen.

On the other hand I also see the negative potential of this game as abusers may see Pokemon Go popular spots as hunting grounds for other purposes.  I also see a negative factor as some players may get to be so involved in the game that they will forget the basics regarding safety and common sense.

Based on that thought I couple of my instructors came with the idea of creating a Pokemon Go safety tips column that we will update on a regular basis.  I actually want to go farther and organize Pokemon Go hunting parties where we go as a group hunting for Pokemons for an hour then break for a self-defense class.

I like this idea because as we go hunting in packs and with one or two black belt instructors the chances of someone trying to take advantage of anyone within the pack are reduced.  Also because we get the opportunity to teach participants something of value that will stay with them regardless of where they are.

In the meantime, Pokemon Go, as everything else, has good and bad potential but it is up to us to maximize its benefits while minimizing the risks.

 

 

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Planning for the future

Special (Online)Summer is here and most families simply are just looking a this time as a time to relax from the school routine.  I get it as we also look at this time as an opportunity to spend time with our kids and perhaps, sleep a few more minutes before rushing to who knows how many summer camps.   Yet this could also be an opportunity to prepare for the future.

The way I see it is we need to plan so that our loved ones are prepared to the challenges the future may entail.  So rather than worrying about bullying lets give them the chance to learn about self-esteem.  Also, rather than dealing with attention issues; why don’t we teach them how to learn and process information.  What about giving them the ability to avoid violence by learning self-defense and while doing that getting in shape? There is a lot more that our loved ones can learn from martial arts but from personal experience one of the things I have seen at my school is loved ones taking classes together and by this experience creating a bond that normally lasts a lifetime.

So, planning for the future and enjoying this summer may be easier to do by simply picking the right activities to share together. Remember; it is never too late to act.

 

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St. Valentine’s Present

Valentine 3It’s just a matter of love.    It’s not only showing your love to them with a present or gesture but finding the right one. But is that what love is all about?

For me love is about them.  Doing the best I can for them, spending time with them, worrying about them and above all making sure they are safe (them been those I love). Yet I have seen too much to understand that I cannot be there with them to protect them all the time.  Also that life is about living and that I have to let them make live their own lives.

Luckily enough I realize what love meant to me during my time in the military and corrected the situation once I got out.  At that time I opened a Tae Kwon Do school and had my kids come out to train and teach on a daily basis.  This one simple decision allowed me to teach them how to defend themselves, be in a safe environment, getting to know them, make the right decisions and give to the community.

It has been over twenty years since that time and we are still training and teaching.  If you were to ask me the reason for this I’ll simply respond with one word, Love.   Love to our community and every student that crosses our path, love to teaching and the martial arts but above all, love for the opportunity to help others grow and make their lives a little better, a little safer.

So if you love someone like we do, bring them over for a class or even better have them come with you and become part of a life experience that will stay with both of you for the rest of your life.  If you don’t want to make a long term commitment take a self-defense class but if you want the whole experience join us and be part of our martial arts family.

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Groundhog Day

Groundhog Day 2Yesterday I had a great time with my younger son as we had lunch and discussed life and work experiences.  While we cover many topics the one that I remembered this money was his reference to Groundhog Day.  He went as far as referring a movie, that although I have seen it many times he has never seen, Groundhog Day with Bill Murray (1993). In this particular movie the main character relives the same day multiple times until he learns something and changes his life.

My son tale was a little more colorful as he explained that some people don’t learn from experiences.  For example, as he described, if every morning you get to work and the first thing you get is a shotgun in the face; how go thru the same motion day after day, year after year?  You will figure that after a couple of times people will learn to duck or simply use another door.  We both laughed at this as the visualization was quite graphic but so real.

My subconscious kept this thought in my mind and I realized that we all want to change something in our life, lose weight, learn new skills, avoid an abusive relationship, get a better quality of life, etc.  Yet there is no magic pill for this and while painful at times the first thing it requires is an action plan so here is my recommendation for you to break the Groundhog Day cycle:

  1. Set up a goal;
  2. Be realistic with your goal;
  3. Break your goal into short term targets that you can track;
  4. Implement;
  5. Have patience and stay focus.

So think about your life, recognize your Groundhog day moments, take a moment to laugh at yourself and DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!

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Tomorrow is a new day!

Tomorrow is a new day  I want to get in shape!
 I want to lose weight!
  I do not want to be afraid!
  I want to be able to defend myself and those I love!

How many of you are thinking about this or something similar, yet don’t know where to start?  Even worst, you will simply let it slide and won’t act on it altogether?

My point is as follows:

This year I promoted a good friend of mine to 6th degree black belt.  That by itself is quite significant as I have only promoted a little over twenty black belts in over forty (40) years as an instructor.  During his test he demonstrated several self-defense techniques, fought a couple of times and performed techniques that anyone out of shape wouldn’t have been able to keep with him.  He also had two twenty year (20) old black belts working with him during part of the test cycle and even them were winded at the end of the test.

I also promoted another gentleman to a first (1st) degree black belt.  This one in particular is over fifty years old and his test was quite a challenge by itself.  He demonstrated self-defense techniques against weapons and multiple attackers.  He also broke boards using many techniques and showed a remarkable physical condition as he demonstrated the kicks and fighting forms he learned.

Both of them loss weight, learn how to defend themselves and hare not afraid of taking control of their lives.  Neither one of them is that much different from you and while one of them started a long time ago the other one was already middle age when he embarked on this journey.  So what are you waiting for?

Tomorrow is a new day and in my book is the perfect time to start living a new life.

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Starting Tae Kwon Do at 50. Are You Nuts? – David Haynes, author

martial arts excellent

Water aerobics would make more sense; or maybe even yoga, so why choose one of the “hardest” of hard martial arts, known for its powerful, and sometimes aerial, kicks? The short answer is that it was accidental. My 11-year-old son wanted to give it a try, so I brought him in to Koryo Do School of Tae Kwon Do for a try out class because it was the closest to our house. I took a seat, intending to relax while I watched my son work up a seat. I only got to sit for about five minutes before being invited to join in and learn some simple self-defense moves. I was hooked. Unfortunately, my son discontinued coming after about a year, but I continued. Almost four years and about 1500 hours of training later I’m about to test for black belt.

What kept me coming back was a combination of things. Initially it was for the workout and having fun with the other (usually much younger) students. Later it was for the physical and mental challenge, and the fact that I realized that I was actually making progress. My kicks, which had started at about knee high, were beginning to approach waist high. The sky was the limit!

Taking on a challenge like tae kwon do after the age of 50 may seem daunting, but with a little common sense and good instructors you will find yourself accomplishing things you might never have thought possible at your age.

These are some of the lessons I have learned, sometimes the hard way, during my training.

Physical flexibility

There’s no way around it. You are not as flexible as you once were. If you are athletic and in reasonably good shape, as I was when I first started, you may not be aware of how much your flexibility has changed over the years until you really start pushing the limits, and tae kwon do will push those limits. Good news, though. You will be surprised at how much your flexibility can improve with stretching and patience.

Trust your instructors, but also trust your body

Many of the students in your school are young and can jump right into stretching without warming up. You can’t. Before stretching make sure you have done some activity that has warmed you up enough that you are sweating a little. Your instructors will teach you effective stretches, but it’s up to you to know what your body is trying to tell you. Go into your stretches slowly and increase slowly. Also, come out of your stretches slowly. Don’t push a stretch if it becomes too painful, you might cause muscle, tendon, or ligament damage. Increasing flexibility takes time. Just push a little more each time and you’ll see results. Some of my kicks that started off at knee or waist height are now head high. Some of my other kicks are not, and they never will be. I’m OK with that.

You will see students and instructors performing impressive jumping and spinning kicks. Eventually, with practice, you will also be able to do some of these kicks, but try to accept that there may be some kicks that just aren’t possible for you as an older student. Don’t fall into the trap of trying to compete with younger students. It will end badly.

What you lack in flexibility, you will more than make up for in wisdom, patience, and persistence.

Stamina

Stamina will come with time. Push yourself, but know when you are pushing too hard. Being tired or exhausted is good, passing out is bad. Your instructors want you to progress, but not at the expense of your health, so speak up if you are feeling dizzy or nauseous. As an older student you should pay special attention to nutrition, hydration, and trying to make sure you get enough sleep. Bring your own water, or a sports drink if you wish, to every class. Make sure you hydrate sufficiently before and after class. Your stamina will increase as you gain cardiovascular and muscular strength, and also as you gain proficiency. When you are proficient at a form, kick, or combination you will relax and expend less energy.

Sleep is more important than you might think. We process new information and build neural pathways at night. You will be learning increasingly difficult forms and combinations that require internalization, and a full sleep cycle is essential to that process. Learning a martial art is like learning a new language.

Mental flexibility

This is the big one. As we get older our neural pathways become less plastic. We have been doing things the same way for forty or fifty years and it’s hard for us to change. This has been my greatest challenge in my practice of tae kwon do. I have always been an athlete. Running marathons, playing high school and college football, lifting weights, cycling, wind-surfing, and surfing. I always thought of my physical strength as an asset, which it can be at times, but as my master has told me over and over again, “your strength is your weakness.” What he means is that I’ve relied on my strength for so long it’s hard to let it go. In tae kwon do your strength comes from technique, not muscle. I’m still working on it, but my advice to you is to relax and let your body take over. Don’t overthink. Trust that your body, with training, will know what to do. Also, try not to get discouraged if you can’t do it “perfectly” the first time. The “side kick” is one of the first kicks you will learn in tae kwon do, but masters will tell you that this kick can take decades to perfect.

Family and responsibilities

As an adult you have a lot of responsibilities. Family, work, etc. You may not be able to come to class every day, but it’s important to make a schedule and stick with it. Know that every week you will be going to classes during specific hours and on specific days. If you leave it to chance you will always be able to come up with an excuse not to go. Newly learned skills disappear quickly if not practiced on a regular basis. Also, your family will appreciate knowing exactly when you will be at home or at tae kwon do class. The best scenario is to take classes as a family, if possible. Always be conscious that your time at class is time away from them, and if you need to miss a class every now and then for family time, so be it.

Goals

Tae kwon do, like many martial arts, uses a belt system to mark progress and skill level. Training for and passing belt tests are great goals to work toward. Working toward the next test helps keep you focused. As older, successful, adults we are often very goal-oriented anyway. If you eventually earn a black belt, don’t think of it as a “diploma.” A black belt simply indicates that you have gained the basic foundational knowledge necessary to continue growing as a martial artist. I look at tae kwon do as my “retirement health plan” that will, I hope, help keep me fit, mobile, and engaged into my nineties and, maybe, beyond. I’ve met masters from various martial arts who are in their eighties and can put most twenty-year-olds to shame. Your black belt will simply be another sign post that you pass on your continuing journey in tae kwon do.

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