Last year, I was kindly invited by Kuk Sa Nim to travel with him on the (February) 2012 California Seminar Tour, accompanied by Suh Suhk KJN Barry Harmon and Suhn Im KJN Sun Jing Suh.
After accepting Kuk Sa Nim’s invitation, I realized that this was not only a great privilege, but also a fantastic opportunity to meet the many other Master’s & Instructor’s World-wide.
Throughout the duration of the trip I decided that it would be a good idea to keep a brief ‘diary of events’, including the places that I visited and the people that I would meet along the way.
My Diary Of Events
Tuesday 31st January, The first part of my journey begins.
I leave my home in Halesworth Suffolk (UK) at 3.15am. My student JKN Robbie Kemp collects me from my house and drives me to London Heathrow Airport.
At 10.15am my flight departs for Houston, Texas and after a ten hour flight, I arrive at George Bush International airport – 2.20pm Houston time. (8.20pm UK time)
The Grandmaster’s eldest son, Suhn Im KJN Sung Jin Suh drives me to Kuk Sa Nim’s house in Tomball after meeting me at the airport. Here I rest and relax for the remainder of what was a very, very long day.
Wednesday 1st February – I awake at 7am – after a refreshing nights sleep and having had breakfast I head to HQ Tomball Dojang for training and a one-hour session with Suhn Im KJN Sung Jin, reviewing my latest material.
Afterwards I rest-up in preparation for the long journey to California. Suh Suhk KJN Barry Harmon and Suhn Im KJN Sung Jin both arrive at Kuk Sa nim’s house in the evening. Together we all eat, watch TV and then talk for a while before retiring to bed at 9.30pm ready for an early start.
Thursday 2nd February – We depart from Kuk Sa Nim’s house at 4.30am, reaching San Antonia, Texas at around 8.30am. We head west along Interstate 10, which is the fourth largest highway in the USA. This road will eventually take us all the way to Los Angeles.
We’ve now been driving for approximately 14 hours and reach El Paso, Texas at around 6pm. From here I can see the boundary between USA/Mexico. It’s interesting to witness the poverty that exists just a few miles away on the other side of the border.
After traveling through New Mexico and Arizona, we stop overnight at a Travel Inn, just outside the city of Phoenix. Total driving time so far – twenty hours.
Friday 3rd February – After a short overnight stop we once again hit the road and it’s another very early start, which I’m now starting to get used to.
After five hours of traveling through the desert and passing through some fantastic mountainous scenery, we arrive at Valencia CA, which islocated just north of Los Angeles in the Santa Clarita Valley.
We take ‘time-out’ with Master Gene Gause, eating lunch at a Korean restaurant. We then continue to make our way toward Sacramento, Northern California along Interstate 5, which is another six-hour journey.
We eventually arrive in Sacramento and thankfully find ourselves staying at a Hilton Hotel. It’s really nice that Kuk Sa Nim provides us with a little luxury after a very long journey. It’s now taken us approximately thirty hours of driving to reach our destination. This will be our base ready to start the seminar tour.
Saturday 4th Feb.
Woodlands 9.00am -2.30pm
SBN Justin Bunn and KSN Tiffany Bunn
Dublin5pm – 8pm – PKJN Seyd M. Saidi
Wheatland – Sunday 5th Feb – 9am – 12pm – PKJN Tony Reynar and other Masters & Instructor’s from the Gold Country region.
For the next five days we now have our ‘home-base’ at a student’s house in Vallejo CA, which offers us plenty of home comforts, including fresh healthy food, movies and cable TV. – In the mornings I am able to cook ‘English Breakfast’ for the Seminar Team.
Sunday 5th Feb 7-9pm – On this particular evening, we visit the family home of the late Senior Kuk Sool Master Oh Jung Lee, 9th Degree Black Belt, who sadly passed away on 31st January.
Attending the memorial evening alongside Kuk Sa Nim, Su Suhk KJN Barry Harmon, Suhn Im KJN Sung Jin Suh, and myself are many other Kuk Sool Master’s & Instructor’s from the San Francisco / Bay area.
Together we all pay our respects and offer our condolences to Master Lee’s wife and family. – It is a very sad and touching occasion.
SEMINAR SCHEDULE (Cont.)
Half Moon Bay– Monday 6th Feb. – 5pm – 8pm – PKJN Paul Carmody
San Mateo – Tuesday 7th Feb – 6pm – 9pm – PKJN Tim Sheehan
San Francisco– Wednesday 8th Feb – 6 -9pm – SBN Leora Goren & SBN Sue Wootan
Berkley – Thursday 9th Feb – 6pm – 9pm – JIJKN Tom Brewer
Rohnert Park– Friday 10th Feb – 6-9pm – SBN Debra Taylor & PSBN Jeremy Taylor
* Sightseeing at the Golden Gate Bridge
Menlo Park – Saturday 11th Feb 9am – 12 noon SBN Kristin Quintana & DBN Richie Quintana
Mountain View– Saturday 11th Feb 2pm – 5pm SBN Jeff Gullicksen & PSBN Sandra Gullicksen
Valencia– Sunday 12th Feb – 9am – 12pm – PKJN Gene Gause
Abilene, Texas – Tuesday 14th Feb – 6pm – 9pm – PKJN Philip Sage
Tomball, Texas – Wednesday 15th Feb – Return back to HQ
Thursday 18thFeb – Personal training with Master Sung Jin Suh
Friday 17th Feb– Travel home to UK
Saturday 18th Feb– I arrive back at my home
Specific Topics Covered During The Seminar Tour;
1/ The seven rules for a long life. By Kuk Sa Nim
2/ Sword sparring routines. By Su Suhk KJN Barry
3/ Sparring techniques. By Suhn Im KJN Sung Jin
4/ Four directional blocking, kicking and hand-strikes. By Myself
After reflecting back upon my trip to California, I feel that I have accomplished so much in such a short period of time.
During this two-week period I had covered over three thousand miles, passed through many different States and Cities. I had travelled across time zones, deserts, rivers, and mountain ranges. I’d also had the pleasure in meeting some really wonderful people along the way, all of whom made me feel most welcome and demonstrated the ‘family spirit’ of Kuk Sool.
My special thanks also go to Suh Suhk KJN Barry Harmon and Suhn Im KJN Sung Jin Suh, who have not only been great traveling companions, but have also been inspirational in many other ways as well.
Finally, I would sincerely like to thank Kuk Sa Nim for the invitation to join him on the 2012 California Seminar Tour and for being the ‘true’ leader that we all love and respect.