What does becoming a Master level Martial Arts Instructor mean to me?

By: Kim Mukalian

My Journey in Martial Arts training began over 20 years ago at the Dragon Gym. Why here, why then? Well basically I needed to find some inner courage and strength to rebuild my own being and find self worth. This was a realization to me after years of being suppressed and controlled both physically and mentally by a person whom I thought “loved me”.

After several failed attempts to leave the situation and having my self esteem and confidence taken from me, I prayed and asked for guidance and had had enough! There had to be more for me, more that I could believe in instead of fear?

So I stumbled across Dragon Gym Martial Arts in the yellow pages in the phone book, took a ride down, had a one on one training session, and felt at home and excited about beginning a future here.

Downingtown Martial ArtsI remember meeting Grand Master Chae T. Goh and he helping me through some knee issues, allowing me to train in a training shoe so that I could wear my orthotics. Also, one hot summer night playing dragon tail and hearing him say how elusive I was as the others tried to capture my tail. Kimmie, Dragon Gym Kim was what Grand Master Goh called me and wrote on a magazine spread that I was featured in, proudly displaying it on the now green walls. Again, this was a place I knew I felt safe and at peace, regaining that self confidence I had so sadly let slip away.

I have learned so much here that has shaped me, from that once shy person filled with so much self doubt that many of my closest peers here may not have even known. I’ve been pushed beyond my physical and mental breaking points but not broken, made stronger and more resilient. I’ve been humbled by former Masters Instructors to teach me that not only being a good athlete is needed one must also be mentally sharp. One must rely on not only speed, high kicks and power but also on craftiness, precision, technique, skill and calm judgment not haste. I’ve learned to set those goals reach them reassess then set new ones, in the process helping others through my experiences.

My journey here at the gym and in my life outside the gym has taken me out of some places I care not go again, but having gone through that adversity has shown me how strong of a person I really am. Had I become a statistic if I had not opened those yellow pages 18 years ago? My answer to that is that through faith God gave me the strength. And the Dragon Gym and my commitment to training my mind, body and soul gave me the place to bring it all together. I have a beautiful family a caring and supportive husband routing me on through this goal of becoming the Dragon Gym’s first female 4th Dan Martial Arts Master Instructor.

So my wonderful journey has led me to now stay humble to my beginnings; respect and honor myself to be that inspiration, friend, teacher, supporter and role model to all those I come in contact directly and indirectly. That to me is what this journey to becoming a Master Level Martial Arts Instructor is a full circle a cycle to give back.

Kim Mukalian