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An Essay by Dianna Hume
Yuk Dan (6th Dan) #29789
Cascade Moo Duk Kwan

I was asked to relate the Moo Duk Kwan experience of the older female practitioner for the Facebook page dedicated to Women in the Moo Duk Kwan. Thank you for asking me to share my observations and experience.

One of the objectives for the page, Women in the Moo Duk Kwan, is to share the art by increasing the visibility and the membership to include women and men of all ages. The organization under the guidance of the Kwan Jang Nim HC Hwang, extends the welcome mat to all, men and women, regardless of age or ability. As a “woman” in the Moo Duk Kwan, I am pleased to join other women to support the vision of the Founder to share the art both locally and globally.

I have been a Moo Duk Kwan practitioner for 34 years, starting in 1986 at 42 with my children, and have trained consistently during that time. When I started, I was one of the older practitioners. However, within a year, I was joined by two practitioners over the age of 65. I was inspired by their example of persistence and courage as they adapted their training to their age and ability. One practitioner, Richard O’Donovan began his journey in the Moo Duk Kwan at age 67 – he committed to “give it a try” for 4 years. O’Donovan Kyo Sa Nim continued training in the Moo Duk Kwan until his death. During that time, he became a 3rd Dan/Kyo Sa and started his own dojang in his 70s. He attributed his mental acuity, positive attitude and good physical health to his involvement in the Art. When he died (well into his 80s) taps were played as his ashes were given to the ocean: and we celebrated a life well lived.

My instructor, Curt McCauley SBN, and my friend and fellow practitioner, Nance Boday encouraged me to attend Ko Dan Ja in 2001 at the age of 56. The learning challenge was energizing and exciting; yet even more impressive was the acceptance and support of my fellow candidates. Upon my return, I was inspired to continue training, teaching SBD and self defense classes. I focused on encouraging female practitioners to train and become leaders; and encouraging older adults to train. It is well documented that to remain healthy, both mentally and physically, aging adult activities should include new material and patterns (eg. hyung, ho sin sool, etc), active mobility, balance training, stretching and breathing (Moo Pahl Dan Kum). Thus, Soo Bahk Do is a perfect fit for the aging adult.

A section of Song of the Sip Sam Seh that particularly resonates with me is the following:
“What is the purpose and philosophy behind the martial arts? Rejuvenation and prolonging of life beyond the normal span. So an eternal spring.” (Song of the Sip Sam Seh).

So, I continue my training as the Moo Duk Kwan and I both turn 75.

In 2006, Leonie Broman SBN invited Gabriela Brown SBN and me to attend the 1st National Australia Soo Bahk Do Moo Duk Kwan Women’s Camp. The aim was to encourage women to join as members of Soo Bahk Do Moo Duk Kwan throughout Australia and internationally; and to appreciate fully the benefits of training for improved health in all aspects of life – physical, mental and spiritual. With the support of her instructor, Michael Austin SBN of Darwin and the good wishes of HC Hwang Kwan Jang Nim, Broman SBN and the women of Region 1 were gracious and welcoming. The 40 women who attended this camp were committed and exemplified outstanding Moo Do Shim Gung. For 4 days and nights we shared the Art with these strong like-minded women. The camp was an exhilarating experience for all. We strengthened Moo Do friendships while contributing to the Founder’s Vision in Action.

I remain inspired by the women who are part of our art. The integrity, commitment and expertise of the women in our organization is outstanding. When I attend seminars, camps, Nationals and Ko Dan Ja Shim Sa I am inspired and encouraged by the example of senior women like Sandra Schermerhorn SBN, Leonie Broman SBN, Lisa Kozac SBN, Lisa Donnelly SBN and Gabriela Brown SBN, Denise Mullins SBN, Anna Oulashin SBN, just to name a few. I find I am also learning from younger leaders in the Art. Women like Carly Burris KSN, Vicki Kenyon SBN, Jennifer Gibbons SBN, and Lauren Anderson SBN, Heather Molombo, and Ji-Seon Kim are just a few among many. I may not be able to achieve their level of physical ability, but I certainly admire their expertise and appreciate their unwavering support.

Soo Bahk Do Moo Duk Kwan has made me a better parent, partner, and teacher. My daughters are resilient, strong and successful. They no longer train, but the lessons learned have stayed with them, and they are able to face challenges and difficulties with strength and grace.

To women of all ages, this is your opportunity! Believe it will happen, be consistent in your effort and you will not only improve your skill: you will also grow as a person. As women in the Moo Duk Kwan, we can strengthen and ensure the future longevity of ourselves and our Art by demonstrating harmony, trust and love among us.

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Roberto Bonefont

Began training in 1967 at the age of 16, as a member of the Brooklyn Highland Park Y.M.C.A., under the guidance and training of Mr. Mike Masley, Jr., Dan Bon 10180, and tested for Cho Dan on June 18, 1969.  Now a certified 4th Dan Ko Dan Ja, and was issued his original testing date Dan Bon 13927 by Kwan Jang Nim H.C. Hwang based on his petition to honor that date and evidence showing Mr. Mike Masley and his instructors,  Mr. Robert Sohn, Dan Bon 6037 and Mr. Vincent Nunno, Dan Bon 7291, were legitimate representatives of the Founder, and Kwan Jang Nim Hwang Kee and the Korean Soo Bahk Do Moo Duk Kwan Association in 1969.
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