In my formative years back in the late 80s, early 90s I was a student of Grandmaster Soengkono’s. At the time I was not a strong student in school and I really didn’t know what I was going to do with my life or career. I approached Soengkono Tae Kwon Do for the purposes of learning self-defense, however, I didn’t know at the time what a profound effect it would have on my life as a whole.
Grandmaster Soengkono’s lessons were a process of self-discovery and confidence boosting that helped build a cornerstone for which many of my future achievements were built on. He imbued in me an indomitable spirit, that could never be crushed or taken away from me. Whenever I have had to dig deep in life, the seed that was planted has allowed me to believe in myself and carry on.
I moved to the United States in 1998 and although I have not always found the time to continue with martial arts in my life, I did start my training again quite a few times, for quite a few years, with Tae Kwon Do and BJJ, and the fundamentals he taught me have always still been there. It is just like riding a bike. The lessons that were taught to me that had applications outside of martial arts though are the ones that I am the most grateful for.
I have a 3-year-old now and I am hoping that we can find a martial arts teacher that might have a similar impact on his life. It would be hard to find one on the level that Grandmaster Soengkono is, Thunder Bay truly has someone very special there. I can speak from experience, having many different instructors in really big cities in the United States. I had some great instructors, however, none of them were truly like GrandMaster Soengkono. Confidence, integrity, optimism, self-control and most importantly leadership are only some of the traits he instilled in me. If you have kids or adolescents, I can’t speak highly enough about what he brought to my life. You can’t put a price on that.