This past weekend was full of Haidong Gumdo training for our Midwest group of masters and their students. We had three 90 minute training sessions that covered much of the required curriculum. The students got to hear the descriptions from several master instructors. The funny part is that, to me, they all sounded like they said the same thing.

The training sessions were fun even as everyone (the 51 students) worked hard to understand and develop their technique further. One remarkable note here, too, is that over half of the students were also testing later in the day. We have 11 testing in various gup ranks and 17 testing to Chodan and higher.

Throughout the day, during breaks, the students from eight different schools chatted and compared notes. As the day progressed, you could see some friendly challenges to keep the work fun and everyone going. No one took a break from any of the training sessions, even those testing.

No one left after bowing out at the end of the training sessions. Those not testing merely changed to street clothes and stayed to support their classmates. The family and friends joined the support for all testing, not just their own. The test for the Dan level students was challenging as we used some new cutting targets. All of them stepped up to the challenge without hesitation. The eight masters in attendance agreed after some discussion that we made the targets a bit too difficult. it was a very successful experiment, though.

So, why is this post titled “Overwhelming”? It is the best descriptive word for what happens when you get eight masters and many of their students together and it feels like you have all trained together from the start, instead of only seeing each other at these events. The support for each other and the positive challenges only make them all better. When people look for family, that’s what this whole group is. The connections get built quickly and run deep!

I am forever grateful to be able to be a part of this whole group’s journey!

Author: Master Robert Frankovich

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