By MiaBella Brickey
Age 12, Cho Dan
Ms. MiaBella Brickey is our senior Cho Dan with a unique story. She is an inspiration to many in our community and a joy in the dojang. Below is her essay she wrote during her Cho Dan test:
What Soo Bahk Do means to me is strength (I have become much stronger), balance (I have learned how to be ‘heavy’ or ‘light’), safety (I have learned how to protect myself), being prepared (I have learned to be one step ahead of my opponent), and making good decisions (I have learned how to do the right thing). I started Soo Bahk Do in third grade. What it meant to me then is very much different from what is means to me today. Back then, Soo Bahk was a class for me to go to every week and it was something I liked doing with my friends. I had fun pairing up with my friends and working on my ‘one-steps’. I thought it was something I was just going to try, I didn’t know that I would keep training. I didn’t think that I was good enough to become a red belt. I grew to love and understand the art, but really I did not realize the deeper meaning of Soo Bahk Do until I was a green belt. As I became stronger and as my understanding of the art grew, I found myself loving it more and more. I started to realize that I could become a black belt and I began to feel more confidence in my abilities. I began to believe that I was actually good at it!
My class and I ended up with the opportunity to go to California where I competed in a sparring competition. I hadn’t done a lot of sparring and in my final bout I was paired with a boy who was older and bigger than I was. I was scared and nervous, but did my best. Although I did not win, I did win third place! I was so proud of myself! Soo Bahk Do has helped shape me to become the person I am today. Master Corrales has helped me to understand and embrace the concept of “peaceful confidence”, and has helped me with my flexibility and my overall fitness. I have become stronger by being disciplined with my forms and my stances and in becoming healthier by respecting my body and eating correctly every day. What I mean is, I have been eating healthy food not junk food. That is why you don’t want to do drugs and drink to much alcohol because what you eat or drink plays a big role in your life! You have to understand that everybody has their bad days and everybody has had the thought of not wanting to go to class or even wanting to quit. I’ve had those days, but I have never thought about quitting. Soo Bahk Do is too important to me. Every time I would think about that, I would say to myself, “Are you really just going to give up like that?” or “Is that really the best sidekick I can do?” Knowing that I am almost a black belt, I think that giving up now would be the worst decision I’ve ever made. I’m so close and I’ve worked so hard to get this far that I can’t even imagine quitting. That’s not the kind of person I am. For example, there used to be six of us that were testing in April and I remember Master Gibbons calling us the six pack… Now there’s only four of us, and were all extremely excited to accomplish something that we’ve all been working on for so long. My friends that are testing with me are awesome when it comes to supporting you, they help me when I need it, they give me advice when I ask for it. Soo Bahk Do is something I look forward to every week and I enjoy it a lot. Master Brian Corrales has inspired me for so long, and Mr. Snarr has taught me to be confident in myself. Mr. Rios is what I want to look like when I’m an E-Dan and I will always look up to him. He is always working hard and giving class a lot of effort. He is usually the one that is sweating the most after class. And he stinks. 🙂 Mr. Snarr always shows incredible discipline and is a huge mentor. He is always encouraging me with my breaks and helps me polish my technique. Master Corrales is the master of discipline. He expects and encourages 110% from me every day. Master Corrales is also a great mentor. Master Corrales has helped me to believe that a person’s physical size is not as important as ones mental strength and determination. He has taught me that through hard work and discipline that I can become anything I want to be. Soo Bahk Do has also helped me with my schoolwork. For example, I used to hate taking tests. I would get so worked up over them and because of the pressure; I would not do very well. Soo Bahk Do has taught me that if I try hard enough and set my mind to it, I can do it, and I can succeed.
Soo Bahk Do is like another world for me. I can go to class and just forget about my day, or my problems. I become one with the art. I think that some day Soo Bahk Do will not only change my life but it will help me to change the lives of other people, too.
I think that every body should try to do Soo Bahk Do. I think it will change a lot of people’s minds about Martial Arts. A lot of people think its just kicks and punches and fighting. But really it’s not! It is so much more. It is a way of life. It is a way of being successful and a way of being healthy throughout life. Soo Bahk Do is one of the best decisions I ever made. Master Corrales told me, “You can’t run too fast for too long.” He told me that because I have a busy schedule. I know that sooner or later I will not be continuing with one of my sports, but I hope I can continue Soo Bahk for a very long time. I am very lucky to be able to train Soo Bahk Do and I’m very lucky that I have such a great instructor.
That is what Soo Bahk Do means to me.