DSS 2011 (45 of 140)Often we wonder why do we stay in the Moo Duk Kwan and why do we stay in touch with those that have shared part of our Journey.

It seems that a big part is connection. All those we meet on our journey are in some way connected to us. We have shared a time where we absolutely connected with each other sharing some common values, thoughts and goals. It is this connection that leads to the desire to reconnect after weeks, months or even years of not being in contact with each other.

Over the years this can happen in many ways, like reconnecting with childhood friends. Reconnecting with past students and training friends or even fellow testing candidates.

Recently I have been able to reconnect with many people I had good friendships with in my past and lost touch with. The conversations flowed as though it was only a few days since we had talked. It is this type of connection that unifies us and is the key to our journey.

Life long meaningful connections.

Temporary Location?

We have moved, at least temporarily, as the ACT government has set up a COVID testing site our our regular Dojang.

The new location is the Gungahlin Enclosed Oval, the entry is off Crinigan Street Gungahlin. The new space is a little bit larger which is nice. There is carpet that I am not sure about and it is double glaze which is definitely an improvement. We also have a much larger storage space but are not allowed to use the oval.

We would love to see members of other Dojang come and visit.

We are in this location until at least June 2022 with the current information that we have been given

20 Year Anniversary

We opened on Wednesday the 7th
of February 2001

On Wednesday the 7th of February 2001 Gungahlin Soo Bahk Do opened its dojang at 6:30pm. The first classes consisted of members who had moved to the “New” region in the ACT and wanted to train closer to home.
We opened at Palmerston Primary School training two nights a week. Shortly after this Monday night was added at the first Gungahlin Public Library (Ernest Cavanagh Street) at 7:00pm. When the Nicholls venue (current location) became available in 2003 the school moved and has continued to operate in this location.

Kyo Sa Nim John Olejniczak was the first new white belt to work through the doors and continues to train with us. Joining in August of the 2001 he is coming up to 20 years membership in the Moo Duk Kwan
Currently 25 people who have achieved their Dan Bon from Gungahlin Soo Bahk Do these are in order of Dan Bon:

  1. Claire Ruan – 42471
  2. Tamara Stanely – 42472
  3. Jeff Miller
  4. Matthew Wardle – 44508
  5. Lachlan McColl – 44511
  6. John Olejniczak – 44895
  7. Robert McColl – 46039
  8. Michael Lawson
  9. Gary Jones – 46231
  10. Adam Brain – 47354
  11. Peter Meadows – 47754
  12. Peter McMullen – 47755
  13. Stephen Lake – 47756
  14. Danil Casuto
  15. Keith Edworthy – 48352
  16. Nicole Karman – 48852
  17. Philip Goodwin – 48853
  18. Kyle Grant
  19. Jeffrey Song – 49520
  20. Lou Batzogiannis – 49521
  21. Mark Goldsmid – 50894
  22. Jacob Hayes – 50895
  23. Christos Batzogiannis – 51294
  24. David Smith – 51296
  25. Nazeef Raihan – 51297

Over the years the school has had very strong supporters from amongst the Dan members and this continues. Without this support the dojang could not have survived this long. We strive to provide an inclusive friendly environment for our members feeling that this ensures members will want to remain connected.

Our Instructing, Our Learning

In class this week I mentioned that as we progress we must take the reins and be responsible for our own growth. Our instructors should not need to provide all the information as they did when we were White Belts.

On reflection over a few days I realised that there are times where students are not willing/able to do this. It seems that a bit of growth is missed.

We need to take responsibility for our own learning and become more independent as we progress.


As an instructor is the role centred on being the source of all information your students receive? My personal experiences suggest that there are very good reasons to have exposure to other instructors.  Each instructor has (should have) their own teaching attributes, these allow them to convey information in their own unique way. Each instructor will convey concepts in a way that will work for a groups of students but not always all students. I have experienced this myself having being told the same thing over and over but not understanding until another instructor changed one word suddenly thinking “why was that so hard to understand”

KDJ at 2019 Camp

The 2019 Camp had this group of Ko Dan Ja to learn from



Good instructors are able to explain a technique or concept in more than one way enabling them to convey the information to a broader range of member.  They garnish ideas  from other instructors that work for them. This is why it is so important to have exposure to variety of instructors.  At the 2019 Australian National Camp we were fortunate in that we had a large number of Sa Bom present who come from a range of backgrounds uniting in the Moo Duk Kwan

Instructors generally do not want you to be clones of them, they treasure your individuality as much as much as your standardisation.

Our Learning

We all learn in different ways and it is important that we understand how we learn as individuals. This enables us to accelerate our own education. As Martial Artists our relationships with others Martial Artists (Instructors, Seniors, Juniors and Peers) evolve. With our personal instructor these often become extremely close.

As our understanding grows there are times when our instructors may not always be able to provide us with the information we want. It is not a shortcoming in any way just a slight divergence in the journeys of two people. Accepting this is part of our personal growth. Understanding that there are many different paths on this journey opens opportunities to learning from others and researching for ourselves.

It is up to the individual to take control of their own learning when this begins to occur. This eventually leads to different relationships with instructors becoming more like a Mentor / Guide / Peer. Perhaps you begin discussing concepts together to develop each others understanding of them further. A good place to look is at the National organisations for Soo Bahk Do Moo Duk Kwan

If you ask your instructors they will often tell you that they learn more from the questions their students ask than they ever did as beginners.

This is a link to the US Federations Gup and Dan Manual that has good range of information in it Member Manual


Beginning Level – Cho Dan

When we begin our Martial Arts Journey we see the day we started as the beginning this perspective however changes as we progress. As we attain each rank our understanding evolves, the new technical knowledge and philosophy drive this growth. Once we reach Cho Dan we are ina position to take larger steps in our understanding

Striving for each new rank members (myself included) often feel that they are not ready or not proficient enough to test for that Rank. In many respects we hold ourselves back failing to understand that we holders of knowledge.

IMG_20190530_161359_835As results for our newest Dan members were presented I was again thinking about each member at Gungahlin Soo Bahk Do who has achieved Dan Rank and the importance each individual has to the dojang and your fellow members. For this reason all members who achieved Chodan at Gungahlin Soo Bahk do are listed below, unfortunately there are some of you that we do not have records of your Dan Bons in Australia



First Name


Dan Bon




Cho Dan





Ee Dan





Cho Dan





Ee Dan





Sam Dan





Sam Dan





Cho Dan





Cho Dan





Ee Dan





Cho Dan





Cho Dan





Ee Dan





Cho Dan





Cho Dan





Cho Dan





Ee Dan





Ee Dan





Cho Dan





Ee Dan





Ee Dan





Cho Dan





Ee Dan





Ee Dan





Cho Dan





Cho Dan


It is important to acknowledge that Cho Dan is a new beginning. It is when the emphasis in training and application shifts towards internal focus after years of working with the External Focus(physical). This new beginning influences our movement and thoughts in a profound way expanding our understanding.

30 Years On – Still Learning

On the 29th of February 1988 my Martial Arts Journey began, my twin brother Mark Koina Sa Bom Nim had started in November 1987. The first lesson was at “Lennons Health Club” in Kippax a building replaced now with apartments. In this first lesson I have strong memories of Gerard Donaghue as the instructor and Julie Garbode Sa Bom Nim as a 1st Gup. It began with Tang Soo Tao the art formed by Master Robert Caputo in 1974. Master Caputo trained and lived with our Kwan Jang Nim HC Hwang in Korea before arriving in Darwin, Australia in the 1970’s.

I started with a good friend, Jeffrey Miller, who tested for Cho Dan around ten years later than I a clear demonstration that we are always welcome back. At Lennons we became accustomed to the Green Shag Pile carpet and the mirrors on three walls of the Aerobics room we trained in. I vividly remember seeing one green belt in class learning Pyung Ahn E Dan and thinking that I would never be able to do that!

1988 Testing

I sat every testing with Jeffrey Miller until Red Belt. With my first testing at the Belconnen Community Centre, the same day the Mark Koina Sa Bom Nim amd Andrew Brown sat their 8th Gup Testing. Shortly after this classes stopped at Lennons and we moved to St. John the Apostle Primary School in Florey. It was at this point that regular classes were taught by Glenn Sa Bom Nim.

As Red belts (3rd Gups) we were all expected to assist in junior classes. When the Dan members were away (an annual event) the Red Belts were expected to run all classes. It was an early introduction to running the Dojang and Instruction. This was the beginning of a deeper understanding of all that we had taught and a glimpse of the understanding that comes from teaching others.

Just prior to our Cho Dan Testing in 1992 with, An1992 cho-dan-test-groupdrew Brown, Mark Koina, Natasa Dukic and Anthony Manning, Kriton Glenn Sa Bom Nim made the decision to leave Tang Soo Tao and form a new school Tang Wu Do. This testing was held at the Belconnen Community centre, an interesting connection of firsts when I look back. Our Cho Dan Testing and the first testing in a new organisation.


Testing for E Dan in 1994 was memorable for the training starting before sunrise travelling to various locations around Canberra and learning a new Hyung to present the next day. Who can forget meditating in the bush and discovering that your focal point on the mountain across from the river was in fact a wombat that up and moved as the sun cleared the horizon. As well as performing fitness requirements in ways that made them more difficult than the cho dan candidates performing theirs.

2002 was a busy year for us, Glenn Sa Bom Nim spoke to his senior students and we decided to formalise our connection to World Moo Duk Kwan. A small group of use attended SEALS in Darwin deciding the night before to sit a testing grading us formally into the Moo Duk Kwan. This was the year of my Sam Dan testing in Tang Wu Do and the rank that was recognised in transition to the Moo Duk Kwan. It was an exciting experience, being introduced to the Standarised Il So Sik, Ho Sin Sol and
Yuk Ro Hyung and then performing them a few days later in a testing.

In 2003 the Australian Soo Bahk Do Moo Duk Kwan Federation Incorporated. The result of many hours of work to create a constitution and the merging of two organisations that each trace their lineage through Master Caputo back to the Moo Duk Kwan.

Attending the 2005 Ko Dan Ja Shim Sa in Sok Cho Korea was my first attendance at a Moo Duk Kwan Ko Dan Ja Shim Sa (testing with Andrew Brown, Derek Koina SBN, Julie Garbode SBN, Master Gillian Dean, Rick Diaz SBN and Roberto Fontora SBN – the Dan Bon after me – to name a few). It was an amazing experience with an amazing group of Sa Dan Candidates. On this occasion I was unable to attend the 60th Anniversary as I had recently changed work places.

In 2007 I attended SEALS in Canberra and was involved in the organisation of the event.
In 2010 I travelled with Mark Koina Sa Bom Nim to test for O Dan in Ramona California forming a second group of 20141120_110940friendships the likes of which are only formed at Ko Dan Ja Shim Sa’s (Richard Wilcox SBN, Ernie Medina SBN, Rodrigo Cruz SBN, Gabriella Brown SBN, Chuck Smith SBN, Marylee Hendricks SBN and Scott Ridlon SBN). In 2011 I was fortunate enough to be able to travel to the US and train in San Diego with Kenyon Sa Bom Nim.

After this I have been fortunate enough to travel a little more regularly. In 2014 my senior student (Master Mark Ross) was intending to sit his Sa Dan Testing so I planned travel to Ramona California to support him and the other three candidates from Region 3 Australian (Jim Keho Sa Bom Nim, Matt Heal Sa Bom Nim and Mick Gillespie Sa Bom Nim). A few week prior to departure Master Ross was informed that his leave application was denied and was unable to attend. At this stage I decided to attend in order to reconnect with fellow candidates from 2010 and luckily trained with Chuck Smith Sa Bom Nim, Rodrigo Cruz Sa Bom Nim and Richard Wilcox Sa Bom Nim. The following year was the 70th anniversary so I travelled to Seoul to attend the Ko Dan Ja Shim Sa and the 70th anniversary, this was the year that Master Ross sat his Sa Dan testing and I was pleased to be able to support him and witness this event.

In 2016 I was able to sit my Yuk Dan at the Korea Ko Dan Ja Shim Sa with Craig Connor Sa Bom Nim from Perth. This provided an opportunity to reconnect with some members whom I had not seen since 2005. After testing I was able to travel to Hawaii and spend some time with Richard Wilcox Sa Bom Nim in Maui. The following year the opportunity presented itself to travel to Europe. While in England I was able to attend class in Preston and train with Hedges Sa Bom Nim and catch up with Master Gillian Dean.

This year promises to have great opportunities locally (well in Melbourne) with Kwan Jang Nim attending SEALS.