Apart from being ‘forced’ to some Judo lessons by my Dad at a young age (!) I came to martial arts in 2000, studying the Japanese art of aikido. In 2010 I decided I wanted to explore other martial arts, and began looking for a kicking and striking art, rather than a throwing and locking self defence system. I visited two local clubs but didn’t like what I saw – competitive clubs with a ‘macho’ feel which I sensed had high injury rates and a focus on winning trophies rather than developing their students. With a little more time ‘surfing,’ I found Hampshire Choi Kwang Do.
My first visit to a Choi Kwang Do lesson was very different than the other two clubs, and most other martial arts clubs I’ve seen. Everyone was very welcoming and there was a very warm feeling about the classes. Students worked hard, fitness levels and discipline were high, but everyone was smiling!
My early weeks included a lot of one on one tuition from senior instructors, and constant encouragement to progress. I was very soon completely hooked, with lessons the highlights of my week. I have now progressed to Assistant Instructor level, and enjoy passing on what I’ve learned as well as continuing my own development.
Choi is an amazing martial art and it’s after two years I’m beginning to really appreciate the fluidity and power of the techniques. Like any great martial art or skill, the basics can be learnt in weeks but take many years to master.
Choi classes are a mix of fitness, technical development and good all round fun. I’d urge anyone with an interest in fitness or self defence to come along and try some classes. It can seem very alien at first – people in uniforms, bowing and speaking in a foreign language! – but underneath it you will find a great bunch of people from all walks of life who just want to learn self defence in a genuinely friendly and safe environment. Everyone progresses at their own pace, there are no competitions or ‘egos,’ and newcomers and white belts are treated with as much respect as the most senior instructors.
All the best