I have started studying a martial art. Choi Kwang Do at Cassar Academy in Morden, and we’re signed up for 6 months. When I say we, Claire is also learning to defend herself and get fit at the same time.

We went initially on Monday evening for a free introductory session where we learned basic blocks, punches and kicks in a private session with an instructor, who like me was slim and tall but I wouldn’t consider crossing him, knowing what he must know.

Claire really seemed to enjoy it and really got a kick (excuse the pun) from unleashing onto a pad held by the instructor, as did I, even if I was a little self concious I looked like an idiot. Mind you, looking like an idiot was nothing compared to sounding like an idiot, shouting a Kihap. Will have to work on shouting loudly every time I punch or kick, and decide on what I want to shout. I don’t think they allow you to swear, making it all the more difficult.

What I hope to come away with is more confidence and not feel intimidated by anyone, plus much improved core strength and flexibility. Of course as a bonus I should also have a bloody hard punch and good kicking techniques.

Choi Kwang Do also appealed to me due to its emphasis on physiology and anatomy rather than mystical energy centres of the body, which I’m not exactly sure about. The official Choi Kwang Do web site says “Choi Kwang Do is a unique martial art based on scientific principles and developed to promote optimum health, fitness and self-defense, not winners in sports competitions.” Its quite lucky there is such a great facility at the Cassar Academy in Morden (even if their web site could do with some of my skills).

The Cassar Academy in Morden.<figcaption class="wp-caption-text">The Cassar Academy in Morden.</figcaption></figure>

For joining on the night we got our Do Bok (uniform) free, so we tried them on as soon as we got in and they are great! I mean, look how scary I already look.

Me in my New Do Bok.<figcaption class="wp-caption-text">Me in my New Do Bok.</figcaption></figure>

Now we need to concentrate and actually apply ourselves to this, its going to be tough – but first things first, we need to learn the Choi Kwang Do adult pledge, that we recite before every class, and the principles of Choi Kwang Do:

Adult Pledge

  • To set positive goals and strive to achieve them.
  • To apply self discipline to further my personal development.
  • To stand for justice and honour my word.
  • To promote friendly relationships among all people.
  • To use what I learn in class in a constructive manner.

Principles of Choi Kwang Do

  • Humility
  • Honesty
  • Gentleness
  • Perseverance
  • Self control
  • Unbreakable spirit

Add to all this a bow before entering the school floor, the school motto “Pil Sung” and a whole host of Korean commands we must know for class, there is an awful lot to learn before we really get into the nitty gritty of Choi Kwang Do, something I’m really looking forward to!

Chris Crudelli's BBC TV series.<figcaption class="wp-caption-text">Chris Crudelli’s BBC TV series.</figcaption></figure>

We’ve also got a Chris Crudelli workshop coming up, where we might learn some more cool stuff, I like Chris Crudelli from what I’ve seem of Mind, Body and Kick Ass moves on the BBC DVD we’ve been watching. Not quite sure what Jiu Fa Men is but I’m sure it’ll all be explained on the day! More on Chris can be found on twitter.com/kickassmover or his web site, crudelli.com