The bus trip provide students with an opportunity to get to know one another and share movies, games and stories. After watching a movie, the group settled down for the evening as the bus driver worked his way across Kansas. The next morning, we arrived at the City Museum of St. Louis. Joining up with 5 other members of our group, the now 49 members of CTI climbed, crawled and slid through the museum.
The St. Louis City Museum opened in 1997. Bob Cassilly, an artist, revamped the 600,000 square foot former International Shoe Company into a wonderful mixture of art and playground. With the help of 20 other artists, Mr. Cassilly has created an environment that patrons can climb over, under or through. Each year the artisans create new tunnels, playground features and artwork.
One of my favorite quotes from the trip was when Robbie Crandell asked “Hey, can I go stick my head in that frog’s mouth?”. Robbie then proceeded to dive into the frog and the associated tunnels. The group spent a few hours exploring the multiple tunnels, sculptures and slides. After lunch, it was time to try out the ten story slide one more time before heading out to the bus. The entire group had an excellent time and spent the next leg of the trip down to Cape Girardeau sharing stories of places they explored, and battles from the ball pit.
Friday evening the group joined Missouri students and instructors at the Southeast Missouri State University Show Me Center for an evening of dynamic classes. Black Belts kicked off the evening in a One Step Sparring class lead by Master Albrechtson. It felt great to warm up, stretch and knockout multiple rounds of one-steps. The under black belt students attended classes on self-defense, poomse, target kicking and free sparring. The evening concluded with the black belts facing off in free sparring while Mr. Sandusky led students through Poomse. Sparring students from other campuses and states provided us the opportunity to evaluate our skills and abilities against opponents we may have never met before. In the end there were many handshakes and smiles as we turned in for the night.
Saturday morning classes included circuit training with Great Grandmaster Bong Yul Shin and Great Grandmaster He-Young Kimm. Students had the opportunity to workout and learn from these two legends while the black belts worked on falling techniques. Grandmaster Charles Hildebrand provided a class on Hapkido counter techniques which provided not only the basic introduction to some of the lower belt Hapkido techniques, bu
t also the counters for those techniques. The morning concluded with an excellent class on lower black belt forms from Master Fred Sautel and self defense led by Master Rick Schutt. In the lower black belt forms class, the 1st and 2nd dan black belts worked through an impressive 30 repetitions of poomse. The class reminded all of us of what we can accomplish in a short amount of time when we put our minds to it.
After a quick lunch, the CTI Black Belt Demo Team provided a demonstration to music for the students and families attending the National Convention. As the Moo Sul Rock band played, the black belts performed basics, one-steps, poomse, staff poomse, target kicking and breaking in an impressive display of teamwork.
It was then time to experience a Great Grandmaster Shin class. GGM Shin has a way of pushing you past what you thought your body was capable up. Other students worked with Great Grandmaster Kimm on Hapkido techniques reciting the uplifting words of “I am feeling good.” Classes including many different areas until late afternoon. The students then gathered together for a group picture and headed out for pizza.
It was impressive to see the huge group, calmly and respectfully, enter the pizza place and disperse throughout the restaurant. The staff was very impressed with how polite all of the younger students are. After the evening meal the group headed back to the hotel to clean up and prepare for the evening awards Ceremony. At the Awards ceremony, students from all different Moo Sul Kwan campuses socialized, danced and sang. The group had an excellent time and enjoyed watching our fellow black belt instructors receive awards for accomplishments and achievements for the past year.
Sunday morning provided an opportunity for students to compete in the Moo Sul Kwan Olympics. Later that day the group experienced the Jones’ paradise. Master Bill Jones and Kimberly Jones opened their beautiful home to the group. We cooked, played pool, socialized and ate incredible food as the band provided entertainment for everyone. A special thanks to the Jones’ as they always provide an welcoming environment for our group.
Monday the trip back started early. Driving back during the day provided students a view of the Missouri and Kansas countrysides. Soon, we were back in Colorado, ready to tackle the new challenges and opportunities for success that lay ahead!