Friday, March 30, 2018

Moo Sul Kwan Martial Arts: Experience of the New Old Guy

By Brian O'Reilly, green belt

I am new to Moo Sul Kwan Martial Arts. I’m 50 years old; but I’m not old! Thanks in large part to Moo Sul Kwan Martial Arts!

Martial arts for adults in fun and exciting adult martial arts classesI have been an athlete for nearly all of my life and involved in a wide range of organized sports, exercise and recreational activities. Participating in sports as a youth is very different than participating as an adult.  When you are young, there is so much to learn about your body, your competitive spirit, how to train, and how to interact with opponents, teammates, referees and coaches. I grew up around athletics as my dad was a high school coach for 40 years.  I asked my dad at an early age why sports are important for a student athlete who will never be good enough to “go pro” and make a career as a professional athlete.  His answer pointed out the obvious physical and mental benefits of exercise for people of all ages.  He also stressed the equally important personal and social lessons of learning a skill, consistent hard work, commitment, loyalty,positive interaction with teammates/authority figures, sportsmanship and how to navigate through successes and failures.  He pointed out that all of these lessons are available through athletics, especially in a solid program lead by a great coach.  He stressed that these are life-lessons and should transfer into adulthood to create the leaders of tomorrow.  Adults who never learn these life-lessons struggle personally, professionally and can have a negative impact on society as a whole. Fortunately I have been surrounded by great teachers, coaches, bosses and mentors.  As an adult the life-lessons of athletics continue to ring true and help me grow, physically, mentally and spiritually as a well-rounded person.  Moo Sul Kwan Martial Arts is now my sport of choice as a 50 year old man.

Moderation was never really my thing.  My body has paid the price over the years for extreme living. Broken bones are par for the course in any contact sport; but years of heavy weight-lifting and CrossFit programs resulted in various surgeries which eventually slowed me down as an adult.  I was unhappy during the recovery/healing times, craved physical activity, and competition. Yet, I was also worried that I would be back under the knife again if I kept up the same extreme and active pace. I had always been fascinated with the Martial Arts from afar, so I thought I would give it a try.  There were so many options available it was difficult to choose; but after some in-depth research I joined The Colorado Taekwondo Institute and the study of Moo Sul Kwan Martial Arts.   I was very fortunate to have landed where I did!

Moo Sul Kwan Martial Arts at the Colorado Taekwondo Institute (CTI) was exactly what I needed.  The Colorado Taekwondo Institute was founded by Grandmaster James M. Sautel, 8th Dan Black Belt, in 1983, and there are now several locations throughout the Colorado.  CTI works in association with the Moo Sul Kwan Martial Arts Institute and the American Martial Arts Sports and Education Association.  Moo Sul Kwan Martial Arts was brought to the United States by Great Grandmaster Lee H. Park in 1969 and serves as the model for training at all Colorado Taekwondo Institute locations.  The CTI mission statement is “To encourage and develop world-class leaders through educational excellence and Moo Sul Kwan Martial Arts traditions”.  For the past year and a half, my personal experience with CTI and Moo Sul Kwan Martial Arts training has been in line with the CTI Mission Statement and the life-lessons I have been taught growing up.  The aims of Moo Sul Kwan Martial Arts, the tenets of Taekwondo and the philosophy, goals and operation of the Colorado Taekwondo Institute complement my lifestyle, goals, ethics, exercise and competitive needs. I enjoy the ability to challenge my body in new ways, and for many years to come, which will lead to healthier longevity without the high-risk of injury.  I also enjoy the mental and emotional challenges related to learning a new discipline and starting out a program as a rookie.  I’m the new old guy!  Starting Moo Sul Kwan adult martial arts is new experience that teaches humility, patience and perseverance.  I believe that a little suffering in any forum is the requirement for success.  As a 50 year old, that suffering can be more apparent than when you’re an 18 years old athlete!  But that challenge to stay involved, active and fight through the aches and pains has its rewards.  The rewarding and positive experience of Moo Sul Kwan martial arts for adults at the Colorado Taekwondo Institute is more than physical.  The bonding and team support with fellow students, support by upper-belt students and black belt instructors is a mental and emotional reward by itself.  Most prominent though is the inspirational guidance, instruction and care provided by Grandmaster Sautel.  I am fortunate to have found Moo Sul Kwan adult martial arts, which provides comprehensive body, mind and spirit training, knowledge and self-defense skills. I am fortunate to have found The Colorado Taekwondo Institute, which honors the traditions of Moo Sul Kwan Martial Arts while providing a positive and exciting modern-day forum for training, learning and competition.  I am very fortunate to be surrounded by supportive CTI Students and Instructors…and I cannot say enough about how lucky I am to study under CTI founder Grandmaster Sautel.  I’ve added him to my very short, selective and influential list of heroes. In talking to fellow students I know that I’m not alone as he inspires so many others at CTI.  I am always happy to have the opportunity to share my positive experience with others, especially those with similar backgrounds and needs.  CTI and Moo Sul Kwan martial arts for adults have provided everything I was looking for and I’m excited to continue my training for many years to come.

Monday, March 5, 2018

The Uniform

By Devon Bilyeu, 1st dan

Martial arts upper belts at a Taekwondo tournament wearing uniformsIn the martial art of Moo Sul Kwan Taekwondo, the uniform is very important to the practice, like many other martial arts and sports in general.  The uniform is important in aspects such as discipline and respect, along with smaller details like rank. To start, the uniform is a method of, and represents the discipline of the sport.  Everyone is required to wear a uniform, with few to no exceptions, therefore a method of discipline. Another reason for a uniform is that it shows respect. Wearing a uniform when practicing MSK Taekwondo shows respect not only to the sport itself, but also the people working out around you, showing that you are dedicated to the sport and upholding the Moo Sul Kwan values while wearing it. Wearing the uniform also shows respect to the instructor, implying that once you put it on, you are ready to learn and practice the martial art. The uniform also shows rank, with a plain white uniform with a colored belt for training, under black belt students.  MSK Black belts wear a special, embroidered uniform with black lapels and stripes on the right sleeve showing the dan. The uniform is also part of the history of Taekwondo, relating all the way back to when Taekwondo and similar martial arts were practiced and taught in the Korean military. The Taekwondo uniform we have today was originally derived from the military practice uniform, and has changed over time.  Wearing the uniform also pays respect to the heritage of Taekwondo, relating all the way back to Korea.

The belt is also included in the uniform, possibly being one of the most important parts, used for showing rank as well as keeping the uniform fastened. The belt is an indicator of rank, with colors showing different ranks, with black being the highest. Once the goal of black belt is reached, the belt stays black throughout the belts, with embroidery showing the level of black belt.  The belt also is a huge part of the uniform in terms of keeping it tidy.  The belt ensures that the lapels of the uniform are held in place properly, keeping the uniform looking clean and, well, uniform.  One final point is to make sure to always keep the uniform clean. If the uniform is dirty, then it is disrespectful to the sport and the instructors.  Because the uniform is white, it is easy to tell when it is dirty and needs to be washed, so make sure to keep it clean! Overall, the uniform is a huge part of the martial art Taekwondo, possibly one of the biggest, its importance outweighing almost any other aspect.