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Midwest Tournament 2010

I attended the Midwest Kuk Sool Won tournament, which was held in St. Louis last month.The opportunity to meet many people from the wider Kuk Sool community and come together for competition and demonstration is always enjoyable.  This tournament was no exception.

It has been several years since I attended the Midwest tournament.  It is smaller than the fall tournament in Houston, but no less enjoyable.  In contrast to the Houston tournament which draws participants from far away, the Midwest tournament tends to draw more regional participants.  I started my Kuk Sool training in the Midwest many years ago, so this tournament provides me an opportunity to see Kuk Sool friends and colleagues I might not see at the Houston tournament.

A view of the tournament floor, taken mid-day

A view of the tournament floor from the stands, mid-day

As usual, I was called on to assist in judging.  It’s an honor to serve in that capacity, but it is never an easy task.  I recommend always remembering to thank your judges when you compete, as they have a difficult job.

Masters Harmon and Harvey review rules and judging before the tournament begins

Masters Harmon and Harvey review rules with the judges before competition begins.

I also competed at this tournament.  For one of the events I competed in (3rd dahn empty hand form), our judges were using a new system which is modeled after Olympic judging.  Rather than each judge assigning a single point score to a competitor’s whole performance, they assign scores for different sections of the form and different aspects of the form.  These scores are then combined through an arithmetic formula to compute the total score.  This is an exciting evolution in the way performances are judged at Kuk Sool tournaments, as it increases accuracy and reduces the possibility of bias.

There was a moment of excitement toward the end of the competition when we were all told to evacuate to the basement due to a tornado warning.  After about twenty minutes crowded into halls and racquetball courts down in the basement, we were allowed to return and continue the tournament.

Of course the demonstration after the tournament was enjoyable.  Here are a few highlights (of which I managed to get good pictures):

Sa Bum Nim Steffen Kellog from St. Paul, Minnesota performs a throwing technique on one of his students:

The St. Paul, Minnesota team demonstrates their Jool Bong (rope staff) skills:

Master Barry Harmon demonstrates advanced animal-style techniques:

Master Sung-Jin Suh demonstrates an advanced form (Oon Nak Hyung):

Finally, I wanted to mention that my friend Nicole Jones Jo Kyo Nim from St. Paul, Minnesota won grand champion in her division.  (This means that she got the highest total medal values across all events amongst her peers.)  Congratulations Nicole!  I look forward to following your on-going Kuk Sool career.

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