This month's blog was going to be titled "The History of our Art", however this essay produced by one of our latest Dan (Black belt) Candidates was so moving and shows the history of in our art in the making I felt I had to share it with with you and with the kind permission of Lennon and his Parents I bring you;
"My name is Lennon and I am currently 10 years old. I live in Burscough with my mum, dad and two little sisters Amiee and Grace. I began my journey in Soo Bahk Do when I was just 4 years old and I became a Little Dragon at McKinstry Family Martial Arts. I started Martial Arts to help me build my self-confidence and focus. To make new friends and be a part of a supportive team. Also, as a way to improve my fitness and core strength. I remember feeling so small when I first set foot on the dojang but I was instantly made to feel welcome and important and I knew at that point that this is a place I would grow in both strength and confidence. We would complete homework in Little Dragons and I remember one particular one when they asked me to write out my future goal. At the time I said my goal was to become a Dan belt before I was due to start high school in 2021. This felt like such a long way off but that midnight blue belt caught my attention and I had to make it mine. I made lots of friends at the Little Dragons, I felt supported by them and we would help each other with any difficulties and problems that we faced, giving encouragement and praise to each other. Two of the friends that I made during my time as a little dragon were twin brothers Luke and Harry. Together we have worked our way through the little dragon belts and moving up to the family class and senior class. We have been together as a good support for each of the gradings and we are now set to complete our Dan grading together in June 2020. It feels amazing to be going through this journey and beyond with my now two great friends.
When I turned 6 I was told by a teacher in school that I had stage fright because I struggled to feel confident about speaking out loud during assemblies and class discussions. I felt like the words would jumble and I would get them mixed up, I would panic. This really knocked my confidence and I stopped offering up my answers in class. I have since found out that I have dyslexia and that explains a lot about how I was feeling. My mum spoke to Mr McKinstry and asked for his help in building that confidence back up. Over time Mr Mckinstry started to get me involved in taking the class warm up. First of all when the class was a smaller group of peers, but as I started to shine and grow in confidence I began feeling happy and ready to command the attention of any group size with all different age groups. I researched and practised at home with my sister to come up with some different warm up techniques and to build up my coordination, balance and stamina I would then try them out at my class. Everyone seemed to really enjoy them and they often ‘groan’ when I am leading because they know that I will work them hard, and I am the plank champion.
By doing the warm ups it has really developed my understanding of the Korean language and I was curious to develop this further so as I became more senior I could open and close the sessions following the guidance and instructions given by Mr Mckinstry. I am now at that stage and I can see that the lower belts look up to me and I inspire them to keep working hard because with hard work and dedications they can also get to the level I have. As a senior I help and support others in the class and work with Mr Mckinstry to help demonstrate the forms, self-defence and one step sparring. My favourite one-step sparing moves are numbers 17 and 18 because they have the jumping back kick and this is a challenging move that I have had to show determination in getting right, and I have. In self-defence I like to show my ability to escape a sleeve grip. My favourite form so far has been Nai Hun Ji Cho Dan because it is a short but strong, powerful form.
In July 2018 when I was 8 I took part in my first display team at the Ainsdale show, I was reluctant at first and my past worries started to creep back, but I knew I had come on too far to miss out on the opportunity. We performed together in front of a big audience and I felt strong and proud to be a part of the Mckinstry Family Martial Arts team, showcasing our skill and ability. I went on to perform in a second display in July 2019 at Tesco in Burscough, this was again an amazing experience and it felt good to stand confident and I especially enjoyed showing everyone my board braking skills. My favourite technique for doing this is a front snap kick.
During my Dan year of training I have been going to the senior classes with Master Hedges. I have been encouraged and praised no end and this has made me gain strength in the knowledge that I am part of an amazing martial art and the values that it has taught me I will keep with me forever to push me to set a new goal of being a Grand Master.
Now age 10 thinking back to that 4 year old starting out I can see not only how far I have come but also the journey that I still feel excited about being a part of at Mckinstry Family Martial Arts. Once I have my Dan belt I hope to start working with the Little Dragons so I can inspire them with my story of setting that first goal and my journey to my Midnight blue dream. It feels scary but I know I am ready for it with the support and encouragement of my family, Mr Mckinstry and my friends I am ready for it to come and take me on.
In summary Soo Bahk Do Moo Duk Kwan, to me, means confidence. The confidence to face life’s challenges head on without hesitation."