The Martial arts of Hapkido and Taekwondo, taught to me by Grandmaster Sung Soo Lee, has enriched my life in so many ways―it’s been the ultimate personal development system. Firstly, my confidence and a feeling of psychological and physical wellbeing has stayed with me and only improves as time goes on. Over the years, my health, fitness, co-ordination, reflexes, concentration, focus, resilience, mental toughness and overall self-confidence and self-esteem have improved immensely. The benefits of training in martial arts have also assisted me in winning competitions and tournaments in my other sport of tennis.
I have won 33 events in martial arts championships, including 19 world titles at the World Championships of Martial Arts run by the International Martial Arts Council (IMAC) every June in Las Vegas and 1 in Febuary 2020 the NASKA compete World Championships. I also dedicate these championship wins and my success in Hapkido and Taekwondo to one of the best instructors and grandmasters in the world Senior Grandmaster Sung Soo Lee, a 9th Dan black belt in Hapkido and Taekwondo, who has been an amazing instructor and mentor to me, and is a man who I and so many others highly respect and admire. He has inspired me to reach my peak in my training and teaching, and we have had such a mutually fulfilling relationship for so long that he is like a second father to me―I will always respect and be ever thankful to Grandmaster Lee. Having the privilege of teaching others Hapkido and Taekwondo has been an exceptional and personally satisfying contribution to society, and I have seen students develop into better and more confident people. I have always emphasized to my students the philosophy of non-violence, respecting others, politeness, manners and doing the right thing by other people, to develop themselves to their full potential. One of the biggest compliments I have received was when I met one of my black belt students after many years. He was so excited to see me. I said, “Great to see you, David! How’s life?” His reply was, “Great thanks to you.” He went on to say that the confidence of knowing how to defend himself if needed, combined with my philosophy and my positive attitude to life has really stayed with him. This made me feel so good. I am a strong believer that you are a product of your environment, and that your parents, teachers, coaches and friends are all influences and mentors that make a major impact on your attitude to life and your philosophy.
“View rightly, feel rightly, think rightly, speak rightly, order rightly, contribute rightly, have rightly, conduct rightly.” ― Grandmaster Sung Soo Lee’s Hapkido Moohakkwan and Taekwondo Jidokwan Federation membership card.
Grandmaster Lee has an inspirational and positive attitude to life and really lives by this philosophy, which is very similar to that of my parents, Walter and Aileen. This combination of healthy influence has made me and my students into better people. Martial artists just seem to have greater discipline and respect towards others. The physical moves such as the hand and foot movements for a self-defence situation seems to have a reverse effect, in that it makes you more peaceful, respectful, disciplined and much more likely to not fight. Martial arts are also a complete system of life skills. They give you the self-confidence and self-esteem to ignore bullies, as practitioners know they have the skill to protect themselves if it ever did get physical, creating true physical and mental empowerment. As well as learning “stranger danger”, increasing personal safety, and the skills to protect yourself and your loved ones from potentially dangerous physical confrontations, the other health benefits of martial arts are:
Martial arts also teach important morals and values, like self-respect, respect for others, honesty, modesty, courtesy and integrity. They also assist in learning social skills which result in better relationships and friendships. I have found martial arts to be a great stress release and after teaching for over 30 years, I have seen aggressive or hyperactive people calm down and become more relaxed, and shy, unconfident people increase their confidence. It levels people out psychologically and helps them to evolve. This results in greater emotional and physical health and happiness, which is ultimately what people want and strive for in their lives. Regarding the use of the techniques taught, I have always emphasized the importance of verbal methods to diffuse a potentially dangerous situation and employing non-aggressive techniques as a priority in any situation. The kicks and punches are only to be used if your life is in immediate danger, or if the attacker has a dangerous weapon and you have no means of escape. In my career, I have heard of about 20 of my students finding themselves in threatening situations, that were able to defend themselves successfully. However, none have caused a major injury to an attacker and just did enough to enable themselves to get away unharmed. A lot of students have also said they have talked an aggressor down with some of my verbal methods I have taught them, while others have said they have never had to use the techniques. However, their knowledge of martial arts gives them peace of mind, makes them feel safer, more confident and less fearful.
There is an expression, “Better to know and not need than to need and not know” In fact, Psychology Today magazine did a study that said people who continue to practice the martial arts for prolonged periods are different from the general population in these ways. ‘They have a lower level of anxiety, an increased sense of responsibility, they are less likely to be radical, they have an increased level of self-esteem and are more socially intelligent, particularly those who have attained the rank of the black belt. I truly believe if everyone practiced martial arts, taught by a good instructor with a great philosophy, the world would be a safer place with less crime, less need for drugs or excessive alcohol, less depressed people and less bullies. Training in martial arts develops self-esteem, self-confidence and self-worth which results in ultimate peace of mind and happiness. Martial arts also overcome fear and obstacles in life but they have to be introduced in the right way. With over 30 years’ experience in teaching I like to offer a separate beginners class, and before people attend, I ask them to watch some of my television segments and one of my free tuition videos, so they are more prepared for what they will be learning in the class. For those who are too far away to attend my classes or workshops I offer an online learning system at www.martialartsclassesonline.com.
Taekwondo is an Olympic sport and that there are no punches to the head unlike boxing and the UFC, making Taekwondo much safer. I emphasize that we have a philosophical attitude and a traditional attitude to Taekwondo and I have even taken out the punches from the first two forms. The reason is that the students need to mentally grow to understand the consequences of punching someone, particularly to the head, which in Australia is now punishable by a minimum of 10 years in jail, known as the “one-punch law”. So, I teach palm pushes and lower kicks for beginners until I think they are mature enough to understand violence and its consequences. Hapkido and Taekwondo are very popular martial arts; it’s up to all of us Masters and Grandmasters to keep the tradition and promote the many benefits and life skills people can learn to improve their lives and their philosophy. Our research has revealed alarming Australian statistics about violence, and evidence that the problems are increasing. For example:
Motivational Masters is a worldwide workshop and online learning system designed to motivate and empower individuals through martial arts movements. It’s not just about fun and games; we’re providing valuable self-defence skills, life skills and anti-bullying tips to build confidence, self-esteem and mental toughness, as well as physical fitness. We see people of all ages; there are separate classes and workshops for children, adults and seniors, plus mixed family classes. You don’t even have to be physically fit to join in. All our classes and workshops are non-contact, easy to learn and safe to practice for any fitness level. Beginners start in small classes with individual attention and can work their way up to competition classes if they choose.
Passion, dedication and focus has been the secret to my success―you can do the same! Thank you for reading my story and for more information about my programmes please visit my websites www.motivationalmasters.com.au www.selfdefenceaustralia.com.au