Updated: Aug 3, 2021
So you've decided to try this Kuk Sool Won thing (is that some kind of Korean cooking class?) You assure your friends and relatives that it isn't, but to be honest you aren't sure what to expect.
While trying anything new can be nerve-wracking and uncomfortable, the great news is, you're already moving in the right direction just by choosing to start. So while you're building up that positive momentum, here are a few tips to help you get the most of out your introduction to this new experience.
Show up to your first class early.
its a great idea to arrive a few minutes before the official lesson start time to meet your instructor and get oriented to the class space. The instructor will be able to answer any questions you may have, and fill you in on the expectations for that day’s lesson.
Be sure to bring water, tie back long hair, remove any jewelry, and wear comfortable athletic clothing that you can move freely in. This may look like athletic leggings, basketball or running shorts, or gi* pants, with a t-shirt or tank top. Whatever you choose, just be sure it will be comfortable, modest, breathable, and stay in place while kicking, squatting, and rolling.
*many types of martial arts utilize loose, canvas type pants, which are highly recommended for Kuk Sool as well. Don't run out and buy these for your first class, as your uniform will use specific ones, but if you have them laying around from another discipline (like Karate or Tae Kwon Do), feel free to use them for your initial classes. We don't recommend the heavier Jiu Jitsu gi pants, as you may find yourself overheating in them.
Be conscientious with your personal hygiene: don't be that dude. Remember that you'll often be in close contact with other students so be polite and avoid discomfort by maintaining personal cleanliness. If you are feeling unwell, consider postponing your class until your symptoms have subsided. Keep in mind that we practice barefoot in KSW, so arrive with clean feet, and remember to keep your toe and fingernails trimmed to prevent injury to yourself or others during class.
Always stretch before practice.
Stretching is important before any physical activity, and especially so in martial arts. We'll stretch together as a class as we warm up, but you'll achieve the best results by stretching before and after class, and on your own throughout the week. Try 10 minutes of stretching per day and see how much better you feel.
Show up ready to learn. The most important thing to prepare is your mindset. Leave whatever has happened in your life earlier in the day outside the dojang and arrive ready to be present, positive, and humble during your practice. Embrace the idea of learning something new and release any expectations or pressures you have put on yourself.
Being consistent is key to improvement in anything. In Kuk Sool we have dozens of forms and over 3000 techniques, which can seem daunting when looked at as a whole. Regular class attendance will help you to progress gradually through each set of techniques and forms and continue moving in a positive direction. Consistent practice of 10-20 minutes a day will help you to become comfortable with the various material faster than you might think. If you focus on trying to improve 1% each day, you’ll have improved 360% in a year of practice! Better a little everyday, or even a few days a week, than a marathon practice session only once in a while.
There is so much joy in learning something new if we give ourselves space to enjoy it. Martial arts can be serious business; learning to defend ourselves and others from potential threats, but let's face it: This stuff is also a ton of fun. So let yourself relax a bit and enjoy Kuk Sool. Laugh at yourself a little, and focus on the joy of acquiring each new skill.