tae kwon do

My View on the Life Cycle of a Martial Artist

As I checked my cumbersome six-foot bo staff case in at the Southwest ticketing counter for a trip to teach private lessons in San Diego, the employee asked a familiar question, "Are these fishing poles?" After some small talk about the case actually containing martial arts equipment (never call it a "weapon" at the airport), he was surprised and immediately complimented my dedication for spending 15 years studying the martial arts. I left him with a "thank you sir" and began to ponder the dedication that all martial artists display, that impressed this gentleman so much. We typically begin our training in childhood, fall in love with a particular style, and some of us even make a career out of it. I believe that this life journey of a martial artist can be generalized into three phases: Introduction, Growth, and Sharing.

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Many Different Organizations Govern this Unique Sport

Sport Karate is an umbrella term that refers to martial arts competitions in which a martial artist from any style is welcome to compete. A wide variety of artists from karatekas to kung fu specialists test their skills against one another in divisions like forms, weapons, point sparring, breaking, and more. These divisions are broken down even further to specify what type of performance is expected for a given competition. For example, an extreme weapons division may require a certain number of acrobatic techniques to be combined with foundational martial arts techniques, but the competitor's stylistic background will likely determine what kind of foundational techniques they use.

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Stephan Bonnar is a professional wrestler, a retired professional Light Heavyweight MMA fighter with the UFC, a two-time Golden Gloves Champion and holds a Black Belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Tae Kwon Do.

Bonnar joined Black Belt Magazine for FightBack, a week-long fundraising event for Red Cross' efforts to support first responders, medical staff, and others on the front lines in the fight against COVID-19. This session was hosted by Nate Quarry, a fellow (former) MMA fighter and TV host and analyst. They talked about their time on The Ultimate Fighter, training, and what the future holds.

Brothers Simon and Phillip Rhee joined Black Belt Magazine for a live seminar to raise funds for Red Cross' fight against COVID-19! This live training session featured not one but both martial arts legends, demonstrating techniques and new skills for everyone to learn during quarantine.

Simon Rhee is a world-class martial artist, stunt performer, a 7th Degree Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do, a 4th Degree Black Belt in Hap Ki Do, and a many-time Grand Champion of the tournament circuit.

Phillip Rhee is a master martial artist holding a 6th Degree Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do, a 3rd Degree Black Belt in Hap Ki Do, a 1st Degree Black Belt in Kendo, and is an actor and filmmaker best known for creating the "Best of the Best" film franchise.


Jeff Smith is a martial arts instructor, best known as the former seven-time PKA World Light Heavyweight Karate Champion, and holds a 10th Degree Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do. Smith fought on the undercard of the "Thrilla in Manila" event, featuring Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier.

Smith volunteered his time to FightBack in order to help raise funds for medical professionals and first responders on the front lines against COVID-19.

This training session, lead by Smith, is perfect for at-home workouts. It starts with footwork drills using a jump rope, striking/kicking, and movement.

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