If you don’t make awareness part of everything that you do, you will fall prey to the skills of those who mean you harm. This is from a simple pickpocket to an assailant wanting to harm you. Be Batman and prepare for all options that you can conceive!

Don’t leave things out! Make sure that you’re working to make sure that you’re safe and in control of what you can. Even the mightiest can be corrupted!

How do you value your martial arts training?

With our semi-annual seminar coming up in a month, I’ve heard the same complaint AGAIN – “I can’t afford [blank] to go.” This typically is filled in with hotel but I’ve heard a few others as well.

So? What is the value of your training? The piece about shows what I spent for the Memorial Day 2017 Weekend seminar and testing that I did. This was not the first seminar that I’ve gone to. Currently, I’m traveling to two per year. Add to that the cost of the local events attended and it becomes several thousands per year. I’m afraid to go back and total the amount from the start of my training 36 years ago.

Why do I do this? For me personally, there are several reasons.
1) I’ve made teaching the martial arts, so I need to continue learning my profession.
2) My desire for education and growth to help me become a better person.
3) My desire to help other learn about themselves.
4) The extended family that welcomes me whenever I show up that creates memories.

I could list many more with greater detail but I think that my point is made. This just illustrates what my perception of the value is. The commitment that I’ve chosen to make to follow this path is very deep. I bet I can find a couple people who have stopped bothering with me because of the choices that I’ve made.

I have seen my students illustrate their commitment to their training. Several have attended seminars (local and distant) hosted by us and others. They take this even further when they voluntarily participate in demonstrations and Anime/SciFi conventions. These are done at their own expense! Yes, I have very awesome students.

I also know that several of our Midwest Masters view their training as very valuable as they regularly travel to semi-annual regional events plus participation in joint regional events and their World Championships.

So, if you are a martial artist, how much is it worth to you? Are you willing to plan for the time and cost? Our Midwest Haidong Gumdo seminar gave two months notice with a very low seminar cost and may include one night in a hotel plus gas and food. Are you willing to plan for something two months out? Do you for other activities?

While this is pertinent to all martial arts, this does lean a bit toward the Haidong Gumdo schools that are part of our group. Lastly, please bear in mind that lack of participation can cause training opportunities to disappear due to what it costs to run them. The turnout for our events affects the planning for seminars with Kwanjangnim Jeong Woo Kim and Senior Chief Master Marshall Parnell. How valuable is your training?

Are You Doing It Right?

So, you’ve been training for quite a while and know all the basic movements. You work hard to make the basics correct. Now, as you work on your patterns, techniques aren’t fitting. Are you doing techniques differently than during basics? Why?

Have you found the combinations that are the same in different patterns? Have you discovered the progression that happens as you learn patterns? Have you worked toward making the similar movements recognizable across a set of patterns?

[Haidong Gumdo] There was a little fun had cutting milk jugs. The first couple students missed the jug on the first 3-4 cuts. Finally, a student stops and asks “Why are our techniques worse when there’s a target?” It got a good laugh but it also made a very good point. Why do techniques change when we add targets?

My thought is that basic cuts are the most correct cuts that you can do. This makes their practice vital. That your efforts are focused on making each repetition better than the previous…better than the last class. Your cuts should always be the same as during basic cuts.

[Taekwondo] This is no different in Taekwondo. Your blocks, strikes, and kicks should be done in drills to be the most correct that you can make them. Speed and power development as well as precision always need development.

Now that you’re paying closer attention the your techniques, the challenge is to not change them when you transfer basic movements to patterns. If a stance is done a specific way during drills, then it should look the same in your patterns. Your movements should look just like drills just in a mixed up order.

The applications of the techniques should be visible during your patterns. These applications have only minor variations (usually targeting) and are still performed the same across many patterns. Combinations work because the techniques fit together well enough to be successfully used. Those that didn’t work were discarded.

Your techniques have been developed and now it’s time for the next portion of your training. My students have heard me repeat the saying that a handful of my teachers all used. They’re told “Physical techniques are only 10% of an art.” This means that there is the other 90% of the art that has way much more for you to learn.

The benefits of self control, self discipline, and focus are all within the martial arts BUT they’re not in obvious lessons. Just because you came to class doesn’t mean that you learned them. Self control comes from working through the frustrations of learning new techniques or patterns. Self discipline comes from returning to class and working on the material. Focus comes from following directions and developing awareness. All of these, then, help to develop an indomitable spirit.

Once the recognition of how these traits develop, then they can be applied to other topics/subjects to become successful in all of the adventures you undertake…even when they aren’t things you’re interested in.

Hero Round Table (October 23 & 24, 2017)


Often called the TED Talks of heroism, the Hero Round Table teaches people how to be more than a bystander. From our humble beginnings in Michigan to our global series on three continents and counting, we’ve already seen attendees go on to do amazing things.

Most importantly, the Hero Round Table has created a worldwide community dedicated to practicing heroism. We have spurred academic research on what makes people do heroic things, and we help regular people act on what we’ve learned. (quoted from the Hero Round Table website)

I have a very distinct honor coming up in October. I get to be one of 21 presenters for the Hero Round Table in Michigan. I will be discussing how the martial arts helps create your Hero! These Heroes take on the daily challenge of life.

Feel free to contact me with any questions. You can use the contact form below. If you are interested in attending, please follow the link here –

Coincidence…No Such Thing

Over the past weeks, I’ve had several conversations about vacations and how they fit (or don’t) into your job. These have all come about by another’s initiation, not myself, asking if there was such a thing as a job that you didn’t need to take a vacation from or wanting reassurance that if you love your job, you’ll never work again.

I’ve found it odd that these five or so conversations happened in different cities and settings over the three weeks. I could see it happening as a regular topic in one location and setting but over a large part of Minnesota, not so much.

Today, a discussion about Taekwondo training lead to some similar thoughts. How do things get accomplished? Through effort. If the effort is toward something that you aren’t interested in, then it can become work. That’s unfortunate but, getting the work done will still make the accomplishment. So, toward this end, you aren’t “working” if you are enjoying the effort in achieving something.

Since things don’t “just” happen, there’s no such thing as coincidence. (Gibbs’ Rule #39) The efforts made to accomplish a thing (career, goal, dream) is the whole reason that you completed it. If you ask most popular music artists, you’ll hear several of them agree that they were an over-night success ten years in the making.

Many of these efforts include finding teachers and mentors that have appropriate knowledge and experience. It also includes peers are traveling a similar path. This is because it is part of your Hero Journey.

Now, I’m not saying everything will be happy and easy! I’ve been around martial arts for a long time and, every so often,, I need to not go to class. I guess this means that your attitude will most often affect whether you have to work or not. Attitude most greatly affects how you choose to put effort into an activity. Again, there is no coincidence. Only choices and effort.

2017-2018 Beginning Taekwondo Classes (SLP Community Education)

The Pine Tree Taekwondo program will be available for anyone grade 3 and older starting September 18th! There are two sections for this class. 

Monday & Wednesday 7:00pm

Tuesday & Thursday 6:00pm

These classes are offered in coordination with the school calendar. If there isn’t school that day, this class won’t meet. Please note that there are many “no class” days posted but it is inaccurate. The dates will be updated.

To see the class description and register, please follow this link –