I am a Martial Artist.

by | Feb 27, 2024 | Getting Started, Training

Words I never thought in my 40+ years I would ever use to describe myself.

I began my martial arts journey at Kuk Sool Won Kirkcaldy in 2012 at 31 years of age to fill in my time after finishing my amateur show jumping career and to keep myself in shape.

I don’t do Martial Arts.
I am a Martial Artist.

The preceding journey has been so much more than I could have imagined and leaves me thanking the stars for the google search ‘martial arts Kirkcaldy’ when Kuk Sool Won Kirkcaldy popped up first on the list – clever Master G. 

My first class

I can still recall my first class, peeking in the door of the room, seeing Master G who is currently a 5th Dahn – then a lowly 3rd Dahn and now 2nd Dahn Jamie – then a fresh out the packet white belt sitting on the floor stretching and chatting. I learned the first beginner-level self-defence technique called Ki Bohn Soo #1 that night and still vividly remember the pain in my right knee from repeatedly kneeling on the wooden floor over the next couple of weeks. 

I was hooked. 

Cue a few months later and now training to be a police officer, I was attending class when I could and showing off my newly learned Ki Bohn Soo #5. Watching in awe when Master G practised with weapons and wondering will I get to do the same someday? I was in love with the fans and couldn’t envisage being a high enough rank to be taught how to wield them! 

Fast forward another few months and I experienced my first testing, oh my word. I could never have fully prepared for that 2 hours but I astounded myself with how much I wanted to pass and how much I was willing to give to get it. In those early days of the club we did not have a range of belt colours testing, just white belts and yellow tabs due to being a new club so testings were intense on the cardio as we didn’t know enough syllabus to fill the time.

And so started my journey into the world of fitness in its many forms. 

Police, Fitness & Flexibility

I was already running for my police fitness exams – something I detest and cannot find a way of enjoying; so to better my cardio and strength I used Shaun T’s Insanity. After a few weeks Master G commented on how much my fitness and flexibility had improved; well that was enough to have me searching for other ways to develop myself for my study of Kuk Sool; yoga, pilates, barre, weights, step were all in the mix and brought different things to my overall fitness, flexibility and mobility. 

Life was good and even better when I broke my first board with a palm strike. Training in martial arts has given me a new sense of myself and gave me a quiet confidence which has been extremely beneficial in situations at work.

When I joined the club it was just about to celebrate its 1st birthday and only had a small number of members but as time went on the club started growing and new members joined up.

Hidden lessons

Master G did not like people turning up late for class, he’s still not a fan, and at that time it was burpees for being late. I made sure I was always early to avoid this penalty however some did not follow my path and after they were late numerous times Master G changed the penance and it was doled out to all the class, with the late person standing watching at the side. I had just obtained my blue belt at this time and after a few such instances I went in the huff and stopped going to class. Luckily for me, Jamie came looking to ask why I had not been and made me realise I was actually punishing myself by not going as I was missing out on progressing when everyone else was. 

I am so grateful to Jamie for this. 

The Red and Brown belts were a whirlwind and before I knew it I was a Da Bohn Nim, a Black Belt candidate, starting my two-year journey in testing to become a Black Belt along with my training partner Bryan. 

Pregnancy, Getting my Black Belt and World Championships

2018 the 60th Anniversary year of Kuk Sool Won. I promoted to 1st degree black belt and I was in my first trimester of pregnancy. Extremely exciting times. Alongside my (now) husband and Thomas I attended the World Championships in Texas. An amazing experience and one I really hope to repeat, 2028 for the 70th perhaps! 

My pregnancy went smoothly and I continued to train throughout with Master G ensuring I was being sensible of course. 

COVID, Lockdown and Zoom classes

I got back to training pretty quickly to keep my sanity and to forge out some ‘me’ time then COVID hit and as we all know the world hit the pause button. 

To keep our club going Master G asked the black belts to take shots at creating short workouts for our members which they could do at home, this was right up my street and very enjoyable to film but not something I’d give my day job up for. 

2021 and slowly slowly we got back to training, making use of our local park for socially distanced classes but more to the point Master G was getting his own Do Jang for us. 

Highlight of the new Do Jang had to be practising Jool Bong with the Black Belts, socially distanced of course, and honing our inner Bruce Lee to try and give the best copycat scream. I know you are trying this right now! It was great to be back with the team and having fun. 

Tying the knot

I finally got married to Rob after 18 years and couldn’t resist a quick picture posing with his Scottish dirk in a stance from our Sword Form Jung Guhm Hyung. 

The world was returning to the new normal and training was back, I kept working towards my 2nd Dan, all the time in disbelief that not only was I a Black Belt but I was not stopping at the first hurdle. 

Kuk Sool is so addictive due to the variety of syllabus and our club is fantastic at taking it to the next level of understanding. We are not robots, we are encouraged to question and go find answers instead of being handed everything on a silver platter. 

My training was progressing well and I was on track for my 2nd Dan. I astounded myself at a workshop by smashing a glass bottle with a palm strike, long gone were the days of palm striking a board and being impressed! 

I was having a Stroke

August 2022 caught me completely off guard. I woke up in the morning not feeling right, luckily Rob was home and using F.A.S.T realised I was having a Stroke, cue the ambulance and subsequent stay in hospital. Fortunately for me it was a minor stroke and I had no major lasting effects but at the time it was truly terrifying. 

Kuk Sool training has given me such a sense of achievement and learning to fail up and treat failings as learning points not negatives has changed my mindset for the better. Failure is fertiliser. I wasn’t going to let this blip slow me down, especially when it could have been so life changing. 

When one teaches, two learn

November 2022 I gained my 2nd Dan and became an assistant instructor to Master G. 

Teaching is a great way for me to test my knowledge of Kuk Sool and the kids certainly keep me on my toes, they are not afraid to call me out when I have a mind fart but I always applaud them for this as it shows they know their stuff. 

Life keeps on moving and our family were blessed with having another baby and yes I continued to train and teach right up until 2 weeks before his arrival. 

My 11 years of training has had such a positive impact on my body and mind. So much so I was back to training after 8 weeks, forging out that ‘me’ time again. 

I’m working towards my 3rd Dan – there’s no time for slacking! That’s when I can get those fans that I have dreamt about for 11 years. 

Our community

I love being part of Kuk Sool Won Kirkcaldy, the people who train there are supportive and welcoming. We encourage our team to train safely and manage any of their injuries be they short or long term issues, we want people to enjoy training with us and see the benefits of movement not just for the body but maybe more importantly for the mind. We are teaching a comprehensive system of traditional martial arts, we are not here to punish or injure. Master G has a focus on technique, principle and application, in that order, for a reason. 

You’re ready, start now!

Start your Martial Arts journey now. Let us know what we can do to help.

To take advantage of the week of free lessons simply call or email Graeme on:
07817 460 635

About the author

About the author