I’ve been teaching the traditional martial art of Kuk Sool Won for nearly thirty years.
I’d like to tell you a short story about one particular person by the name of Matthew Ball.
Around twenty-years ago a young mother brought her small fiveyear old boy into one of our free taster sessions. Immediately the youngster became enthralled with what he had just experienced and without hesitation immediately got his mum to enroll him as a member at our school. Matthew always enjoyed his martial art training and rarely missed any lessons. He was one of those young kids that would always totally immerse himself into everything that was put in front of him and was never frightened to ‘give anything a go.’
After continuously working hard for about five-years he slowly progressed through the ranks of the coloured belt system. Eventually Matthew was awarded his 1st degree black belt after, at the tender age of ten-years old.
Unlike many of children that reach that level, Matthew didn’t stop there, but continued to study and practice. After a further period of another five-years the young teenager had his sights firmly set on his second-degree black belt and in due course achieved his next Dan grade, when in his mid-teens.
A year later at the age of sixteen, Matthew made a big decision to leave School and seek entrance into the British Army. His choice was to enroll at the Sixth-Form College at Welbeck in Nottinghamshire. The only unfortunate thing, it probably meant that he’d have to stop his martial art training.
Matthew was sad that his training might have to come to an abrupt halt. However I made an offer to carry on supporting him with lessons on the premises that he would also have to practice himself while attending college. It was an agreement that worked really well for both of us and allowed him to progress to the next stage of his martial art development.
A year or two had passed when one day I unexpectedly met Matthews mother in the local High street. She excitedly informed me that her son had recently passed all his final exams. She was absolutely ecstatic and went onto say that she really believed that much of Matthew’s success was unquestionably down to the discipline that he’d gained during his formative years of martial art training.
Matthew had now set his sights on becoming an Officer. After approximately three years he graduated from Army College and had been accepted at Sandhurst Military Academy. Matthew was to enter an elite site, renowned Worldwide for excellence and leadership.
I remember Matthew telling me that being in the Army wasn’t that dissimilar to his Kuk Sool training; the discipline that was required had already been instilled in him at a very young age.
Despite Matthew’s ever increasingly workload, he continued with his martial art training, practicing hard when and wherever he could. Again he never complained but just carried on with whatever was expected from him.
With his continued love and dedication for the traditional Korean Martial art of Kuk Sool Won, Matthew went on to receive his third degree black belt at the age of twenty years old, making him also one of the youngster practitioners at that level here in the UK.
Several years have passed since Matthew graduated from Sandhurst with distinction. Subsequently he has been posted to a variety of different locations all around the World. He has climbed many mountains, both physically and symbolically. He has been leading men much older than himself in whole host of different assignments.
Last May 2014, Matthew sent me a lovely letter, which I’ve included below, which brings this success story up to-date. I truly believe that this brief statement really emphasizes the power of the Martial Arts and the enormous effect it can have on a individual’s life.