Your first class in Soo Bahk Do (手搏道) may be like no other training you've ever received!
Whether the focus of that class is on speed, flexibility, discipline or philosophy, your instructor will direct you through rigorous physical training. You WILL sweat. You WILL be exhausted. But you WILL be proud of what you learned you can do if you apply yourself! No matter how tired students are during class, afterward they often find themselves invigorated and refreshed.
Please try to drink at least 8 glasses of water (throughout the day) before your class to prevent exhaustion. Avoid drinking water two hours before class so that you are not uncomfortable with a full bladder! Eat healthy and nutritional food, and please give yourself time to digest before class, just as if you were trying to avoid a cramp while swimming. Use the bathroom one last time before you leave home, as bathroom access during class is limited at the instructor's discretion.
What to Wear
If you have a white Martial Arts uniform, that would be the best choice of clothing to wear for your first class. If you do not have an appropriate uniform, you may purchase one from the school. It is also acceptable for new students to wear loose, but conservative, clothing that you can move freely in. Pants should be of the proper length so that you do not slip on the hem and hurt yourself.
Uniforms must be clean and pressed for each class. Do not wash your belt.
Jewelry and shoes must be removed for classes in the Do Jang (studio). Occasionally in the warmer months we will practice outside for class, so please bring along comfortable and lightweight shoes, such as sneakers, flip-flops or flat-soled slip-on shoes.
When you enter the Do Jang, stand at the door and salute the flags at the head of the class, then bow and enter. If students are still entering, you may stretch on your own while you wait for them. Students line up by rank, from right to left (facing forward toward the flags), in evenly divided lines dependent on how many students are in attendance. Regardless of rank, students who are not wearing their belt stand junior to white belts, and students who have no uniform stand junior to all. Casual discussion should cease as we prepare to maintain our focus throughout the class. The senior student will begin the warm-ups when all have settled into place, selecting from the warm-up stretches and cardio they have learned in class from their own senior students or instructors.
When the instructor enters the Do Jang, the senior student will call the class to attention. Students will face and bow to the instructor at the door. Face the instructor at all times as they enter the Do Jang.
The senior student will then lead the opening ceremony. The students will salute the flags and portraits of the Kwan Jang Nim and the Soo Bahk Do founder, then be seated for brief meditation. During meditation, focus on your breathing. Imagine your mind is a cup, full of your thoughts and concerns. Pour out the cup; prepare your mind to focus on class.
After meditation, the students will stand and be directed to bow to the instructor. Training then begins.
Soo Bahk Do Training
At the instructor's discretion, classes vary in their routine from session to session. Kicking and punching techniques, combinations, slow-motion techniques focusing on form and balance or rigorous physical endurance training are all possibilities. Students may also be directed to practice their Hyung (forms), Ill Soo Sik (synchronized sparring) or Ho Shin Sul (self-defense) together or in groups. In your first class, many things will be new to you. Our instructors will be mindful of you and guide you through all of the new material, as well as translate the commonly-used Korean terms that are used in regular classes. We were all new students once, so do not feel self-conscious of your inexperience. We understand! The important thing is to stay focused and do your best to follow along.
At the end of class, students will again salute the flags, and be seated for meditation. If your heart is racing, focus on your breathing and your heartbeat to regain your composure. Upon standing, students will turn and check their uniforms, tightening loose belts or straightening sleeves and hems. Turning back around, students then bow to their instructor, who then raises his fist and shouts the traditional "Soo Bahk!", to which the students all respond strongly "Soo Bahk!", also raising their fists. The teacher then exits the Do Jang, bowing again before exiting.
Students then turn to face the senior student, and repeat the bow and "Soo Bahk!" (手搏) yell. Class is now dismissed. Repeat the salute to the flags and bow at the door on your way off the Do Jang floor.
At this point you may use the restroom if necessary, then change in the dressing room. If your instructor is present in the lobby when you enter or exit out of the room, it is polite to bow to them again upon making eye contact. It is also polite to stand and bow to them if they enter a room you already occupy. When you have said your goodbyes in English, the phrase "Anyong He Kay Sip Sa" (stay in peace) "Sa Bom Nim" (teacher) while bowing is the appropriate farewell.