Black Belt Society

I found Tang Soo Do when I was almost 40 years old. I was a wife and a mother of two very active sons and, had become very adept at putting others before myself. I was not unfamiliar with the martial arts because my husband, at the time, had studied Tai Chi and was training in Aikido, and my youngest son was taking Tae Kwan Do classes. When First Tang Soo Do of Fremont opened, my husband suggested I go and talk with the instructor. Training for myself was something that I seriously had never imagined myself doing. However, I was looking for a form of exercise that would keep my interest a couple of days a week and was attracted to the idea of learning some self-defense techniques. I was concerned about my age, and the fact that I had not done any strenuous exercising in years. I found out this was an art form that anyone from 8 to 80 could learn and enjoy. To this day I cannot explain it. Something felt so very right from the moment I walked into the studio and met my Sah Bum Nim, Mr. Bell.

Ms. Marlene Collins

My path to achieve a black belt was filled with so many emotions and was dampened by more than a few tears. The process literally made me look myself in the eye and examine the person I was. It stripped me bare before I could start rebuilding the person I have become. It is the single most rewarding and self fulfilling thing I have ever achieved for myself. Never in my wildest dreams would I have realized the inner strength I possess had I not found Tang Soo Do.

This experience for me was not without it’s humorous moments and there are many things I can look back on now with a smile that did not seem so funny while I was trying to actually accomplish them. There were times I felt a love/hate relationship with my Sah Bum Nim. He would say, “do it.” I would say, “I can’t.” He would say, “I know you can. You just need to want it bad enough.” Then I would do it! I would not always be happy with him. But I would do it! Mr. Bell never ranted or raved. He never needed to. He has a much more successful gift. He has the gift of being able to make a person confront him or her self. No one can hide from that. You know if your excuses are legitimate or not. When you begin looking at your inner self and listening, that is when the breakdown of who you really are begins. And, through that self-examination, you cannot help but begin changes that turn you into someone different, someone better.

Tang Soo Do will always be a part of me and it’s tenets and teachings will always direct my life. Thank you Mr. Bell, and thank you to all the teachers who have continued to pass this wonderful art form on to their students.