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2018 Atlantic-Pacific Tang Soo Do Federation
Northeast Region Black Belt Camp & Dan Shim Sa

by Gary Starecheski, Sam Dan


As we arrived Friday afternoon, June 1st, faces familiar and new greeted us, and all were welcoming and full of energy anticipating the weekend activities. Master Duva's orientation gave us a taste of what was to come, and also set the tone with the entire group meditating on the phrase "Everyone is my instructor". Federation Masters clearly love teaching Tang Soo Do, but this phrase brought into focus the fact that they also love learning Tang Soo Do and that each of us has contributions to make. To know that all of us would be learning and teaching brought deeper meaning to the camp.

Friday evening emphasized hyungs, and we were encouraged to set individual goals which actually made the group experience more meaningful. Group hyungs led by Kwan Jang Nim St James are always a highlight of camp as our individual energy is magnified by every group kihap and action, and most especially by the beat of the drum. With our attention focused, Kwan Jang Nim was able to teach shil ki, points of emphasis of each hyung, and specific details needed for the best hyung performance and benefit. This primed us for the rest of the evening spent on hyung requirements specific to each rank. Each group was privileged to learn from Master instructors skillfully using um or yang energy applied through teaching methods tailored for each student.

 
 

Saturday opened with "Start Strong" sessions offering a choice of mind, body or spirit emphasis, followed by breakfast and group photo. As the Dan Shim Sa had already started with the written test, there was an extra energy permeating the camp. While the Masters were at the Shim Sa, camp classes were handed over to Bu Sa Bom Nims to teach kicking mechanics, sparring methods, and boxing.

Lunch provided an opportunity to refuel and strengthen connections with our Tang Soo Do family.

The completion of the Dan Shim Sa brought renewed energy as those participants returned for the afternoon sessions. Self-defense skills were broadened and sharpened as adults and children had concurrent sessions. Il Soo Sik Dae Ryun sessions expanded our understanding of the purposes and utility of this traditional method, while introducing new variations. The final afternoon session offered a choice of weapon training. When asked "what was one of the coolest things at camp?", some youth members enthusiastically replied "the weapons class because we got to choose which weapon to work on!". One of the offerings covered traditional weapon knots and wraps under the expert guidance of Bu Sa Bom Nim Harmon, who provided a unique experience.

   
   
   
   
   

After dinner, the kids continued in Tang Yang mode working on their demonstration planned for Sunday, while adults moved into Tang Um mode for a fascinating session on healing. Kwan Jang Nim's explanation of the theory of energy meridians and healing through acupressure was followed by practical application with partners. Many tired bodies felt rejuvenated as energy returned to stiff muscles. The emphasis on health and healing fits in perfectly with The Song of the Sip Sam Seh which says "What is the purpose and philosophy behind the martial arts? Rejuvenation and prolonging of life beyond the normal span. So an eternal spring."

Participants welcomed time to relax and socialize for the rest of the evening until lights out forced us to try to sleep after such an exciting day. Sleep did come easier this year with air-conditioned comfort!

Sunday's emphasis on "last set, best set" started with a choice of Tang Um or Tang Yang. Master Duva led a group in the unique experience of Forest Bathing while Master Drewicz kept another group moving in creative hyung practice to the musical accompaniment of Queen. Through different means, we all felt recharged and focused for the fantastic session on knife self-defense.

Camp ended with a very special demonstration of hyung shil ki by the kids and, of course, group hyungs led by Kwan Jang Nim. After a physically and mentally challenging weekend it might seem that the final hyungs would have less energy than the opening hyungs, but the opposite always occurs. This is the spirit of Tang Soo Do manifest in action.

   
   



 

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