The coronavirus lockdown came into force just as students and their supporting families from Kuk Sool Won™ of Yeovil martial arts were due to be travelling the UK motorways up to Norwich to take part in national Black Belt testings.
Student Eleanor was due to take her last national testing towards reaching her Black Belt in Kuk Sool Won which is a traditional Korean martial art. Eleanor had been in the process of completing a mixture of testings in the home dojang in Yeovil as well as national testings. Students’ knowledge is also tested by competing in UK and European tournaments.
SBN Steve Runnacles (4th Dahn) and school owner says, “as Black Belts we have a “never give up spirit”. A lockdown did not stop us or our students. We immediately converted our usual classes onto zoom and created an online training portal for our students.”
Gradings were also transferred online allowing Black Belt testings to continue. Online testings were more intense as students could be spotlighted online. Students also had to be mindful of their surroundings but not lose any of their martial arts movement.
SBN Steve also says “with the help and support of her parents and younger brother, Eleanor’s determination meant she continued with her regular training, completing online classes and testings as well as submitted videos of her training for critiquing”.
Kuk Sool Won™ of Yeovil martial arts did not rest during lockdown. SBN Steve together with his wife and co-instructor Sally managed to secure a unit on the Lynx Trading Estate and between online classes and other commitments were determined to convert the unit into a full time dojang for the benefit of their students.
As lockdown restrictions eased, SBN Steve and his wife Sally started to add outdoor training to their zoom classes. From the 4 July, indoor training was permitted. With a one-way system in place combined with hand sanitising social distancing and limited student numbers, SBN Steve says “it’s great to be back training on the mats with students. We are so proud of our students, who with the help of their families kept training during the lockdown, keeping both physically and mentally fit, both great Black Belt qualities”.
It was fitting that on Saturday 15 August saw Eleanor promote to a First Degree (1st Dahn) Black Belt and the official grand opening of the full time dojang for Kuk Sool Won™ of Yeovil martial arts.