KSW Glasgow is fast approaching the 4th Anniversary of opening. One of the best things that comes with this milestone is seeing students, who came to us as beginners, become black belts.  At the 2017 Scottish tournament we had our first student who started their Martial Arts training with us achieve the rank of Jo Kyo Nim (1st Degree Black Belt). She also happens to be an English teacher so we asked her to write about her experience in Kuk Sool Won over the last 3 and a half years. Here is JKN Fiona’s story.

Every journey starts with a step and sometimes that step changes you.

Group of Martial Artists stretching

One of Fiona’s first few classes

Mine came as the result of a conversation with a new friend who happened to be a first degree black belt (JKN) in Kuk Sool Won. I had always been curious about Martial Arts but it wasn’t until I was invited to a brand new school in Glasgow that I did something about it. My first class was on a cold Monday night in October. It was me and three black belts. One third degree (PSBN) and two first degrees. We warmed up. I watched a black belt form and was then introduced to my very first form. I watched and tried to copy. The nerves and uncertainty disappeared and at the end of the class I knew that I was hooked. I was coming back.

Martial Arts Grandmaster standing beside student

The Grandmaster with Fiona

I started training two months after Kuk Sool Won Glasgow began. We trained in a small studio on Sauchiehall Street and over the months we gained more students, more black belts transferred and we started our journey to becoming the school we are today. My body took a little while to get used to things but as I was introduced to more parts of the syllabus, I began to understand what makes Kuk Sool Won so special. The attention to detail and sheer variety allowed me to find parts that really challenged me and also parts that I could do well.

Person being thrown in Martial Arts practice

Fiona practicing hip throws

We outgrew our first studio and twice moved across Glasgow until we found our permanent and present home in the Glasgow Martial Arts Centre. As the years passed, I found more friends, completed gradings which allowed me to progress through the coloured belt ranks and realised just how much there was to understand in Kuk Sool Won. I discovered that I was good at throwing people around, that I had a passion for techniques, that I had a habit of losing balance and that I could spar with the boys and hold my own.

Kuk Sool Glasgow has become my second family and through this I have met so many wonderful people from across the world. When I promoted to JKN at the end of May, I could hear my school cheering for me as my name was called. Knowing that my instructors and fellow students are always behind me, pushing me to be my best and supporting me when I fail is an invisible safety net that is invaluable.

Martial Arts Instructor and Student

KSN Andrew and JKN Fiona after her promotion

The journey to black belt has not been smooth. It has seen me break bones, strain muscles, go home a patchwork colour of bruises and it has mentally challenged me in ways I did not expect. However, it has been the best thing I have done and I cannot wait for what comes next. The feeling of reaching a long awaited goal is fantastic and knowing that there is much more to come excites me.

So if you have ever thought “I’d like to do something like that”, what are you waiting for? Come and join us.

I promise you, it will be the best thing you ever do.

JKN Fiona.