Black Belt Society

I have over ten years of experience in Korean martial arts, and it all began at the age of 12, when my parents enrolled me in a neighborhood Tae Kwon Do school. After two years of advancing through the ranks quickly, I had an empty feeling about my training. Too many instructors had come and gone in the school, and the sense of a concrete art was lacking. I decided to leave the school.

I graduated from high school, and continued on with academics and sports by enrolling in a local junior college. There I received my AA degree in Natural Sciences while playing collegiate basketball for two years, After graduating, I decided to concentrate more on academics and not continue to play basketball.

Ms. Michelle Griese
With more time on my hands, I took a good took at myself and at my life. I was trying to be independent and self-sufficient, when I noticed a sense of doubt. I have always been self-confident, but I am aware that this world is not always the most kind. My piece of mind about the ability to defend myself in a tough situation or just feeling balanced in a hurried situation was lacking. I decided to go on the hunt for a new martial art. This time, I knew what I expected from a martial arts school. I knew what I did and did not like about my previous experiences, so I sought out to find something that would fit exactly what I was looking for.

I wanted a balanced martial art taught in Korean traditions, from a school that was stable. I wanted to make sure that I wouldn't be swapping instructors every other month. I picked up the phone book, and toured about five schools, that appeared to possibly fit the bill. Only one made the final cut: The First Tang Soo Do of Fremont.

This school was lead by chief instructor, Mr. David Bell who had over 20 years of experience. He was teaching an art that I was not familiar with, Tang Soo Do (a traditional Korean martial art backed by the World Tang Soo Do Association and Grandmaster Jae C. Shin). I viewed many of his classes both lower rank classes and classes with black belts, and saw classes taught with such structure. Adults and children were training side by side, learning the same material, and being taught with equal passion. Mental, Physical, and Spiritual aspects of being were put to the test. I knew immediately that there was no other school for me.

It's been three and a half years since I have signed up. I've already accomplished so much here. I have put myself through so many tests, and gone through all sorts of emotions. There is no empty feeling anymore. The incorporation of mental and spiritual aspects into training has filled the void. With these experiences, I have teamed how to handle myself in a way that sets me apart from most of the people that I meet today. I am now a Second Degree Black belt and an instructor, and I am enjoying every minute of it. I hope to pass all my experiences onto the students that come to the school. Students that I have taught will soon be in the Black Belt Society, following in my footsteps, just as I have followed in those left by my instructor. Achieving black belt status was not my goal. I only strive to be a balanced person, and to carry myself with the character fitting of a World Tang Soo Do Black belt. Within this association are nine degrees of black belt, so I only just began, and still have so much to learn. I await it all eagerly, and cannot wait to pass the knowledge onto you.

There is something for everyone in the art of Tang Soo Do. Through a very traditional approach to this Korean art form, tools are learned that can be applied in everyday life that will help you to achieve success in whatever you do. It gives balance of the Mind, Body, and Spirit.

Tang Soo!

Ms. Griese teachs at The San Francisco Peninsula Tang Soo Do