R.J. Smith founded the Kel-West Society of Martial Arts in 1995 to convey his passion of taekwondo and hapkido to his home, but extra importantly as a manner to introduce holistic kinds of martial arts to help no longer simplest with self-defence however additionally intellectual properly-being.
“Martial arts isn’t approximately beating human beings up,” stated Smith.
“It enables with cardio, it feels accurate, it’s a strain comfort, enables with meditation, and you can begin to experience the power within the whole network.
“An critical precept of martial arts is peace of thoughts.”
Smith is proud to have the longest standing Korean martial arts college inside the Okanagan Valley, but acknowledges that it hasn’t usually been easy.
Whether it become lack of interest from the community, humans signing up for the latest fad like MMA, or the politics of the martial arts world, Kel-West has stood the check of time celebrating its twenty fourth anniversary.
“I think it’s quite an accomplishment, colleges of this nature generally tend to return and go,” said Smith.
“I don’t recognize why we’ve lasted this long, but we’re a safe college, and accept any stage. But it takes attempt to maintain the school going, and I assume that’s why applications like (ours) retain to live.”
Smith, a third-diploma black belt and national trainer who has forty one years of revel in in taekwondo and hapkido (a Korean fashion of self-defence martial arts), started the groundbreaking martial arts college at the former Westbank YMCA in 1995 as a not-for-earnings organisation, and has seeing that moved to the Kelowna facet.
Since then, Smith has tried to no longer simplest provide self-defence teachings, however also to provide an outlet for people who looking for fun sports and for humans struggling with accidents.
Now 60 years antique, Smith has recovered from his very own private injuries together with a near-death vehicle coincidence in 2012 that prohibited Smith from coaching for over a year.
Smith used martial arts to find a way back to the happiness of coaching.
“It’s critical to me, as a fitness tonic, and it (enables me) cope with health conditions. But people pass into martial arts trying trophies or enhance ranks,” stated Smith.
“But it comes all the way down to, ‘Do you revel in your exercise session? Does it make you glad?’ Martial arts are about happiness.”
Kel-West martial arts college students have collected greater than three hundred medals, and Smith has coached at the Canadian national taekwondo championships.