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June 2018 Newsletter
Dojang will be CLOSED on Wednesday, July 4th

Thoughts on Teaching and the Constant Striving towards Emptiness and Excellence

By Chungsanim Betty Sze

One of the biggest gifts from Sabumnim that I've received over the past 21 years of martial arts is the practice of teaching. You might think I mean as an instructor, but from my first time working with a white belt to current times leading my own class as a senior instructor, I knew that my martial arts understanding deepened when "teaching." As someone who did not (and sometimes still doesn't) pick things up quickly, teaching is an excellent way to embed a technique or form, or sometimes, even more importantly, to make me realize when I actually don't know what something is.

Because of this, teaching is also a great exercise in humility. There's nothing like demonstrating a technique on someone and realizing that it doesn't quite work as well as I thought it would. Trust me when I tell you that many of us black belts are still polishing Basic Defense. Something that Sabumnim told me a long time ago that still resonates is that I needed to work my techniques so that I can do any of them on anyone at anytime. Teaching is a wonderful way to do that by constantly working with new people.

Teaching makes you revisit/rework forms or techniques that you may think you know well. Recently I worked with a high red belt on ropestick form and fixed something in my own footwork for one of the steps with which I've been having a problem. The martial artist you are today is different from the one you were a year ago and will be different from the one who you will be a year from now. Hopefully, future you will be better than the you of today because you are constantly polishing your basics.

Teaching is an excellent way to work on your communication skills and to learn how to read people. From working with many students, I realized that if someone was not getting a form or technique, that it's a good test to approach it from a different angle.  Teaching has taught me patience and empathy. Being uncoordinated for much of my early martial arts years has given me an ability to connect to those who may be challenged when they first start to practice. It's definitely easier to teach a 20 something, physically coordinated and flexible athlete. Now if you can work with the uncoordinated, inflexible person who doesn't "get" things easily (like me at the start of my martial arts journey), you're at that next level in your martial arts. It’s also so rewarding to see them progress. Constantly revisiting basic forms and techniques also lets you develop an efficient way of communicating about them. Just like speaking French over and over improves your fluency, when you teach over and over, you pick up nuances in the forms and techniques that will not only help the student but will help you.  

Make sure you embody what you teach. While Sabumnim may ask you to teach something that you learned just the day before, realize that's a rare occurrence. What will serve you is to practice something dozens of times before attempting to teach it. “Drilling the skill” and "Drilling the form" are crucial parts of teaching. If you don't know what that is, please feel free to ask me or any of the other senior instructors.


Knowing the curriculum is extremely important. Sabumnim is so generous with his knowledge but there's a reason that the curriculum is the way it is. It is structured that way to help the students grow as martial artists safely, quickly and confidently. Every so often you'll see Sabumnim have a white belt learn a higher level technique but he knows what is safe for that student. For everyone else, we should be mindful of working with lower belts on what they need to achieve their next level. Our duty as teachers (whether you're a blue belt working with a yellow belt or a senior black belt working with an orange belt) is always to take care and provide a safe environment for the students to flourish.

Teaching under Sabumnim is definitely a practice of constantly emptying one's cup, especially in learning the grand HapKiDo lesson that change is a part of life. Just when I think I "know", he surprises me about something. One thing that doesn't change, though, is his emphasis on the basics, the building blocks for a long and fruitful martial arts life. The recent April and May promotion tests made it clear that a number of the highest ranks (black belts/bodans) have forgotten this as they pursue some of the more advanced curriculum. Sabumnim told me that just in this last year, he has taught 14 forms and over 400 techniques in the black belt class and he is constantly still correcting basics.

To be ready for the next black belt test, there definitely needs to be a refocus back on basics which is best achieved by working with the lower ranks. What will be a fun exercise for the month of June is for the black belts/bodans/redbelts to work with the lower belts every time they come in. Even if it's just for 10 minutes--for example, revisiting grab behinds or outside sweeps or basic kick one steps--it will be invaluable for both the teacher and the student. Sabumnim let me know that if anyone needed coaching on teaching, to contact him. He also feels strongly that higher belts teach and assist as much as they can.

Sabumnim has said that there are those who can do, there are those who can teach, but the ideal is to be someone who can do AND teach. This is something that we should all strive for, to be like him in that regard. Some days I fail, some days I succeed, but part of being a martial artist is never giving up when I fail and to remain humble when I succeed. I may not always have the highest kick or sharpest form but when I work with people, I definitely feel like my own martial arts and my understanding of it improves.

I have left for last the best thing about teaching. It is so rewarding to be a part of other people’s journeys and helping even in a small way to change their lives for the better. With everyone’s busy schedules, there’s not much time and there’s few places where we can contribute so directly to other people’s lives and help them realize their power and potential. You can see the love and passion for teaching Sabumnim has and how he has passed that down from him to the Chungsanims, Kyosanims, and other senior instructors.

The practice of teaching has helped me grow, not only as a martial artist but as a human being. My hope for all students is to realize the priceless gifts that Sabumnim gives to us, and that we are much more than just another martial arts school, but a community that wants everyone to be the best they can be for themselves and their loved ones.

Martial Arts Legends Meet to Honor Professor Bill McCloud at Second Annual Borough Hall Awards Ceremony

By Danielle Uchitelle

On Saturday May 19, family, friends, and fellow warriors gathered in the ornate main courtroom at Brooklyn Borough Hall to celebrate the birthday of Professor Bill McCloud, and the martial arts lineage shared with Sabumnim and the other Grand Masters in attendance.  I’ve never been in one room with so many senior martial arts legends, some I had met at other events and some I was meeting for the first time.

A representative from the office of Borough President Eric L. Adams presented awards paired with civic proclamations to a number in attendance, including WMAC’s own Chungsanim Betty Sze and sibling duo Gabriela “Gabby” and Atticus “Izzy” Lee.


In addition to heartfelt speeches by each award recipient, there were a few short presentations, including one that I was asked to deliver. I had been instructed to speak on the topic of “Martial Arts After 40”, certainly the only martial arts subject I was qualified to speak about in this room jammed wall-to-wall with such renowned masters and teachers.  I briefly related my experience of starting on my martial arts path after the age of 40 – twenty years after, actually – and the struggles and rewards of working to perfect myself as a martial artist.

I look forward to these martial arts gatherings, a chance to meet the living legends I’ve heard Sabumnim speak of so often.  I like the feeling of being embraced by an extended family of warriors whose shared lineage I try, in my own after-40 way, to live up to every time I step on the mat.

Thank you to the dojang Spring cleaning crew!

 

     

      

       


     

CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR GRADUATES!

 

                                     

 Mary Feng (Blackbelt) graduated from SUNY Downstate University with a Doctorate in Physical Therapy! We will all miss her as she has moved to Texas, but know she will drop by whenever she is in town!

                                   

Carlito Raimondo (Black Belt) graduated (in 3 years) from Bard College with a double major in Anthropology and Environmental & Urban Studies.

                             

Ash Laraque-Ho (Junior Black Belt) graduated from Hamilton College.

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENTS

 

Warrior Weekend

Friday, June 15th, 6pm-10pm $149
Saturday, June 16th, 12pm-6pm $199

 

NEW! Children’s Warrior Weekend Leadership Camp

Friday, June 15th, 9am-5pm $149

 

Upcoming JULY Seminars: The Modern Day Warrior

Register 3 days in advance to get a discounted price of $99/seminar

Space is limited. Register at www.happykicks.com

 

Code of the Gun

Learn the hidden code that reveals over a hundred techniques

Saturday, July 14th, 2pm-4pm

 

Rope Stick

One of the most unappreciated yet highly valued self-defense weapons of ancient and modern times

Saturday, July 21st, 2pm-4pm
 

Rope sticks available for sale! See the front desk

John, our dojang tailor, is back! If you need any patches put on a new dobok or have other alteration needs, bring them to the front desk.

HAPPYKICKS SUMMER CAMP!
Summer Camp weekly sessions are held the entire month of July, and weeks of August 20th and 27th. Sign up and pay in full before May 15th to receive $50 off! 
 CLICK HERE TO ENROLL
 
At World Martial Arts Center's Summer Camp kids learn how to address the realities of today's world. We have a fun curriculum that is packed with martial arts and life training. In addition to three daily Hapkido classes, kids learn the basics of money management, how to identify healthy foods, master chess strategy, writing and counting in Korean, and much more. We head outside of the dojang on trips to Pier 6 water park, mini golf at Pier 25, the Museum of Natural History, rock climbing at Brooklyn Boulders, and other fun spots around the city. Our day camp is a great way to spend the summer having fun while learning leadership, martial arts, and valuable life skills!

Rare Martial Arts

Frank Kuzler (Hubai), and his documentary called The Fringe are moving closer to completion. A labor of love for over 12 years, The Fringe is a feature-length documentary centered around the infamous downtown NYC theatre festival FringeNYC, exploring what it means to be “fringe” in society both past and present.

The film heads into post-production with target release date in early 2019. Currently, Frank and his team are running a Kickstarter campaign which has a few days left and a goal of $25,000. They are excited to report that they are over the 85% mark, and are entering the home stretch running!

To learn more about the film, see the campaign link (or ask Frank) https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1748223033/the-fringe-a-documentary-feature-film and, of course, any support and sharing is extremely appreciated. 


      
JUNE REMINDERS:

BRING YOUR GLOVES TO ALL  CLASSES

PROMOTION Tests
  • Children: Saturday June 23rd 9am
  • Adult: Friday June 29th 7am and 7pm
BLACKBELT Classes
Mondays
7:15pm -Techniques
Wednesdays 
6:15pm - Advance Forms 

BODAN Classes
Wednesdays 
6:15pm - Advance Forms
Thursdays
6:15pm - Forms
 
WHITE BELT and Up Class
Saturdays
1:45pm - 2:30pm Dagger Forms 1 - 4 and Yang short form
NEW AND IMPROVED CURRICULUM USB KEYS ARE HERE WITH INCREDIBLE CONTENT!
 
HapKiDo curriculum USB keys are available for purchase at the front desk. Each one is packed with techniques, forms and a lot of extra material, and can be easily accessed from your computer, tablet, iPad or phone. The USB keys will make it much easier and faster to learn your test requirements. They will also lessen the stress level of those that feel they have a challenging time remembering new material. The price runs from $60 depending on the amount of information they contain.
 
BLACK BELT BIRTHDAYS




JUNE
Grand Master Billy Davis 6/11
Kyosanim Steve Vaccaro 6/6
Justin Erland 6/3
Sebastian Hungerbuhler 6/4
Allan Kessel 6/4
Paul O'Neill 6/7
Mary Feng 6/10
Tomas Huerta 6/15
Susan Ferugio 6/20
Pete Caban 6/20
Carmelo Mulia 6/20
Jade Chen 6/27
Ross Henderson 6/28

JULY
Sabumnim 7/27
CSN Jon Waks 7/31
Aedan Hunter 7/2
Jacqueline Briggs 7/6
Janett Pabon 7/8
Christy Witt 7/7
Gabriela V. Battenberg 7/17
Henry Epstein 7/23
Gwen Akin 7/26
Jodi Reamer 7/29
Rachel Pagani 7/29
Jake Gsell 7/29
Isabel Kirsch 7/30

 

Health Section

 



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