I have been involved in martial arts since the early 1970s 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 to name a few. In 1988 a friend (Jeff Green, now Ji Do Kwan Jang Nym or Senior 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, Master Bob Zefo. 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 defensive tactics to other law enforcement personnel.
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 (non-Kuk Sool) 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 celebrate Kuk Sool Won™ of Peoria’s Second Year anniversary and conducted a Ribbon cutting ceremony, Black Belt Testing, and Seminar.
- 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
- 2021 – Promoted to Sixth Degree (Head Master)
Joo Im Kwahn Jahng Nim Ben Mitchell has competed in hundreds of tournaments and has won numerous titles and grand championships, and conducted demonstrations and fundraisers for charitable groups in the community.
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.