I’ve been practicing Kuk Sool for about fifteen years or so now. From the time I was a child I had always wanted to learn “karate”. I lived outside of town and we usually only had one car, which my dad took to work. He was always tired when he got home and leaving to do other things was never discussed. Attending martial art classes was never really an option.
I remember telling my parents when I was young that I wanted to take “karate”, but my mother wasn’t crazy about the idea. She thought that I would use it to beat up my little brother. Maybe I would have.
I always read about martial art though. I remember watching the old Kung Fu television series when I could find it on television. I used to scan the TV Guide looking for that series. I remember getting up early on Sunday mornings to watch it, making sure to keep the volume low and sitting very close to the television so that I wouldn’t wake anyone else up.
I loved that show for several reasons. It was peaceful. The temple scenes always made me feel good. I loved watching Caine learn and progress during the flashback scenes. I liked that he didn’t always understand what the masters were trying to teach him. He was humble and hard-working, and eventually became a master himself.
I really liked “Master Po”, who was blind, but could still do Kung Fu. He was always smiling, always helpful, always peaceful.
That television show really inspired me. I was never a huge Bruce Lee fan, wasn’t really impressed by the Ninja films of the 70’s, and never really watched boxing or kickboxing. I was always attracted much more to the internal, peaceful side of martial art training.
In my early 20’s I finally did find a Kung Fu school. I trained there for less than a year before I moved away to go back to school. I learned a lot though and was making good progress. I kept practicing what I learned for the next few years.
I wanted to go back to martial art training, but I didn’t want to train just anywhere. There aren’t a lot of Kung Fu schools around Muncie, but I was willing to train in Aikido, Tai Chi, or something similar.
A few years later, back in Muncie, a coworker of mine talked about the Tae Kwon Do school where he helped teach. I knew that I didn’t want to train there, but I enrolled my two oldest children. They were there for a year or so before we moved away.
We moved to Richmond, Indiana where we looked into the local martial art schools. There were two major ones and several people who taught out of their garages. One of the schools gave me bad vibes right off the bat. An employee recommended the other one, so we visited there.
My wife and I liked most of what we saw and enrolled our kids in Kuk Sool Won of Richmond. I only got one or two nights a week off from work, and I enjoyed spending those nights watching their classes. The more I watched, the more I saw that Kuk Sool Won had everything that I wanted from a martial art.
A few months after my kids joined, I followed suit. I was working fifty to sixty hours a week, and sometimes more. My time practicing and at the martial art school was often the only time during the week that I got to spend with my kids.
We progressed quickly, practiced in our back yard and sometimes at the park if I could squeeze it in.
Practicing Kuk Sool and being part of the World Kuk Sool Association (WKSA) has been a huge part of my life since then. We have organized most of our vacations around Kuk Sool tournaments and workshops. Most of my friends are students or teachers in WKSA. About half of the members of the church we attend (admittedly small) are also members of WKSA.
So, what was it about Kuk Sool that grabbed my attention? Why is its influence so prevalent in my life?
Kuk Sool is an art that is defined by efficiency, beauty, strength, and fluidity. Everything that I was enamored with in my youth exists in Kuk Sool. But instead of being experienced through the lenses of cinema and television, it has to be learned and perceived physically.
One instructor recently posted on Facebook that Kuk Sool practice is about “bringing order to chaos.” That rings true for me. It struck me that this one aspect of martial art training is what keeps me interested after all of these years. I suppose it’s true of all martial arts to some degree, but I see it in Kuk Sool Won especially. Kuk Sool brings the chaos of life in general, and of a self-defense situation specifically, into order.
Our grandmaster, Kuk Sa Nim, designed the curriculum based on the educational system. Fundamentals are taught first followed by the establishment of a basic “vocabulary” of techniques early on and continuous expansion and improvement as time goes by. In a very real sense, he has brought order to the chaos of martial art training.
At the end of the day, we all have to find Kuk Sool for ourselves. You might have already found it; found your reason for practicing and staying with it. Maybe you are still trying to find it. My advice: study and practice. You need both to find it.
Of course, not everyone finds Kuk Sool. Some people start and quit, deciding that it’s not for them, and that’s fine. Some people never give themselves the chance. Some people think that we’re like all the other martial art schools around, and that’s too bad. I’d like for them to give us the chance to show how different we can be.
If you’re interested in finding Kuk Sool Won, use the form below to ask information. If not, I hope you find something else to bring order to the chaos of life.
Agree? Disagree? Want more information? Let me know.