Image- Martial Arts
Martial arts students line up to participate at an annual beach training event held in Half Moon Bay. Emma Spaeth/Review

The annual Kuk Sool Won martial arts beach event drew more than 75 participants on Saturday. Kuk Sool Won of Half Moon Bay has been hosting this unique training event for 15 years.

Held at Dunes State Beach, the event encourages everyone, regardless of age or ability, to come out to the beach and learn from different instructors. Six schools from around the Bay Area attended, giving students across the Peninsula the opportunity to practice with different instructors and students. 

“I like being out in the open air, hearing the waves crash, feeling the sand between your toes,” said visiting instructor Dave Hespelt.

The students and instructors line up on the beach by rank and train together. Then, each visiting instructor hosts a workshop, and the students can choose any workshop to attend. 

“It’s a great way for students to try out things they haven’t had the opportunity to and learn from someone new,” said Paul Carmody, owner of Kuk Sool Won of Half Moon Bay.

“We do it every year and it’s become a tradition in addition to tournaments and demonstrations,” said Carmody, “This is much more lighthearted. The best thing is that the students learn from other teachers.”

Kuk Sool Won of Half Moon Bay is the longest-running martial arts school in Half Moon Bay and the only one to produce its own master. Carmody has been operating the martial arts center for 22 years. In 1997, Carmody changed careers from a software engineer to a martial arts instructor, opening the center in Half Moon Bay. “I just love to teach,” said Carmody. 

Carmody’s master and teacher started the tradition of conducting black belt testing on the beach in San Francisco, and when he moved to Texas, Carmody and his colleagues started their own tradition of bringing students from around the Bay Area to train on the beach.

“I am picking up where my teacher left off. And next thing I knew, other people wanted to come too, and it became a tradition.” said Carmody. 

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