Letter: Learning an ‘action philosophy’ | AspenTimes.com

Letter: Learning an ‘action philosophy’

Our valley has many opportunities for after-school activities, but there is one that is unique and that few people know about. It is a Korean martial art called soo bahk do. It was founded in 1945, soon after World War II and the the Japanese occupation of Korea ended. Its creation after some of the most traumatic and bloodiest events in history was not a coincidence. Its founder, Hwang Kee, started soo bahk do to improve human relations and promote peace. Our local soo bahk do school, Rocky Mountain Martial Arts (with schools in Aspen, Basalt and New Castle), has adopted a philosophy similar to that of Walter Paepcke when he founded Aspen Skiing Co.: Take people into a place where they have fun, educate them and expose them to new ideas, and send them back out into the world where they are happier and can spread the message of whatever they learned.

In soo bahk do, the fun is learning how to defend yourself, and the message is what it teaches you. Many people in soo bahk do have been training for over 20 years; I’m 11 and have been training for six years. As part of a project for testing for my “cho dan” (similar to a black belt), I collected testimonials from students, parents and teachers to tell my community about what a cool thing soo bahk do is. As one teacher said, “Soo bahk do is not an activity or a club or a gym. It is an action philosophy, a tool that helps me grow. It is confidence, conviction, compassion. It keeps me strong and shows me how to be soft at the same time.” To find out what other teachers, students and their parents have to say about soo bahk do, search “Rocky Mountain Martial Arts” on Facebook.

Willa Schendler


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