I have been involved in martial arts since the early 1970’s, when I saw my first Bruce Lee movie “Chinese Connection”. Between 1970 and 1988, I trained in and studied numerous martial arts such as Chinese Gung-Fu, Tae Kwon Do, and Shao Lin Boxing just to name a few. In 1988 a friend (Jeff Green, now Kwan Jang Nym or Master) invited me to come to a free class at his Do-Jang on Simmon street in Galesburg, Il (Kuk Sool Won™ of Galesburg) to meet his instructor Bob Zefo (now- Kwan Jang Nym). After that class I was hooked, I was promoted to 1st degree black belt in 1991, and began formally teaching. I have taught all ages and have developed a rather unique teaching style for children’s classes, with the understanding that:
- The attention span of children is considerably shorter than that of the average adult, so the class must be broken up from time to time with game-like drills that relate to martial art concepts.
- Children think visually rather than verbally, so teaching examples must be developed differently than that of the adult student.
I have taught many Keeping Kid Safe seminars, Women’s Awareness and Self-Defense programs, as well as being a Defensive Tactics Instructor for the Illinois Department of Corrections, as well as teaching other law enforcement personnel Defensive Tactics.
MARTIAL ARTS EXPERIENCE
1970 – Began studying and training martial arts
1981 – Participated in my High school talent show (Galesburg H.S. see photo)
1982 – Won my First Open Tournament competition while in Kuk Sool Won
1988 – Began training in Kuk Sool Won under Master Zefo
1989 – Began Tournament competition while in Kuk Sool Won
1989 – Appointed Defensive Tactics instructor for Illinois Department of Corrections
1991 – Awarded 1st degree black belt in Kuk Sool Won (Master Sanchez)
1991 & 1992 – Won “Greater Midwest Nationals Championship” title in open competition (Fighting, Forms, Weapons and Breaking)
1991 – Competed against the “American Gladiators” (a popular TV show) and won 1st place
1997 – Appointed by Grandmaster Suh to take over Kuk Sool Won™ of Peoria under Master Zefo
1998 – Awarded 2nd degree black belt in Kuk Sool Won under Master Zefo
2001 – Relocated the school from Prospect st. to Big Hollow Rd.
2003 – Grandmaster Suh, Mayor Ransberg and a host of other Masters visited our school to celebrat Kuk Sool Won™ of Peoria’s Second Year anniversary and conducted a Ribbon cutting ceremony, Black Belt Testing and Seminar. ( see photo)
2003 – Awarded Third Degree Black Belt in Kuk Sool Won™ under Master Zefo
2007 – Promoted to Fourth Degree Black Belt
2012 – Promoted to Fifth Degree (Master level) in Houston, TX
Pyung Kwahn Jahng Nim Ben Mitchell has competed in hundreds of tournament and has won numerous titles and grand championships, as well as conducted demonstrations and fund raisers for charitable groups in the community. (see photo)
Martial Arts Goal: To teach my instructors to be better instructors and become more successful than I am in life and Martial Arts, which will in turn flow down to their students. I want to give my students and the public a safe, positive facility to grow stronger and learn to succeed in all walks of life. My students learn Discipline, Respect, Confidence, Self-Defense and gain physical fitness while having fun.
Favorite Proverb: One who dares to teach, should never stop learning!!!
Principle Phrase of Life: You’ve gotta do what you gotta do…before you can do what you want to do.