Michael Wilson, owner of the Choi Kwang Do Martial Art of Cartersville, said it was the first time international guests visited his studio, and it was the largest workshop he had hosted.
“It was fantastic. What we do is, I know a lot of different activities — not just martial arts — but they go and they do their activity for an hour and they part ways and that’s it,” Wilson said. “Our art is more like a family. We build strong, lasting relationships with the people we meet, and we have friends literally all over the world. So when they come together it’s kind of like a family reunion.”
Instructors from Gabon, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Moldova and Russia were among those who took part in the workshop. Wilson said the workshop focused on more than simply working on techniques or breaking a sweat.
“We worked on improving our techniques and things of that nature, but during these particular workshops, we talk a lot about working with the students — kind of the science behind how to be productive with other people and help them be productive. We spend a good amount of time talking about the impact choi kwang do has had on all of our different communities as well,” he said.
Wilson’s students had the chance to work with the international instructors. He said it was a good opportunity for them to broaden their horizons by meeting people they ordinarily would not be able to see.
“A lot of our students, they’re not rich people, so they can’t travel the globe. Plus, if you don’t have people that you know in different places, you don’t really have the motivation to travel,” Wilson said. “So just meeting people from all over the world is really special to them because it’s something that doesn’t happen every day.”
Wilson’s students range from children the ages of 3 to 5 years old up to senior citizens. His eldest member is 71 years old, he said, while the oldest practitioner of choi kwang do is a 98-year-old woman.
The martial art itself was founded by Kwang Jo Choi, who Wilson said designed the martial art to be safe for practitioners by engineering the moves and drills after consulting scientists.
“I guess, basically, just that what our focus is on that we’re not trying to build Olympic athletes and sports champions. We’re trying to help people be more productive and better at life, do good physical activity, positive goal setting and working with positive role models,” Wilson said.
Wilson founded his studio in 2004 and it has expanded twice due to growing classes. Eighteen instructors, trained by Wilson, work with groups of students that range from “just a few” to 20 per group.
Those interested in choi kwang do may contact Wilson’s studio at 678-721-5166. It is located at 1239 Joe Frank Harris Parkway, Cartersville.