Martial Artists Test In Korea


Microsoft Word - Martial Artists in Korea.docxMost tourists travel to see the sights and eat the food. But five students from Kwon’s Karate in Manhasset recently flew to South Korea for a different reason entirely. They spent a week in the southern mountains training in the Korean martial art of Soo Bahk Do. Already master-level practitioners in the art, the five were testing for the rank of 5th degree black belt, a self-defense PhD of sorts. Safe to say, this was not your typical tourist trip.

Their days began at 6AM and often continued until after midnight. “We spent most of the time training with highly skilled Korean master instructors,” said William Trevino, 36, a black belt since 1990. “Or else we were meditating or discussing martial arts philosophy over Korean food.” Sleep was not a priority, presumably.

Trevino, a professor of theater at St Joseph’s College in Brooklyn, explained the appeal: “Very few people have the chance in modern life to challenge or even to stimulate their bodies and minds at the same time. We find that Soo Bahk Do gives us that opportunity. So our time in Korea was very rewarding.”

The group’s Manhasset instructor, Master H.Y. Kwon, himself a ninth degree black belt in Soo Bahk Do, was present for the entire week, providing guidance and inspiration, Trevino said. “We’ve all studied with Master Kwon for years, so it was an honor to have him there.”

What’s next for the practitioners? No doubt they’ll find time to be regular tourists, relaxing on a beach somewhere. But they’ll also be training. Their next belt test is only six years away.

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Elizabeth Johnson is former editor of Manhasset Press and Manhasset Press Magazine. Growing up in nearby Garden City and attending New York University, she is well-versed in the locale and knowledgeable about the beat she covers. Her community involvement is extensive and includes the Manhasset SCA, Kiwanis International, Manhasset Chamber of Commerce, St. Mary’s Church, and various civic and local charitable organizations. Curious by nature, her travels, community service, love of the arts as well as local sports give her the inside view to unique content. During her time at Anton, she has received several awards from the New York Press Association and the Press Club of LI, including the coveted "Best Community Newspaper" several years in a row.


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