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Renowned martial artist featured at clinic

Academy of Korean Martial Arts blackbelt Gabe Mosley said aweekend that includes instructions from one of the biggest names inKorean martial arts is almost too good to be true.

“It’s a lot of fun and it’s a good workout,” Mosley said. “Andit’s really an honor, because Master Steve is just amazing.”

Master Steve Seo is a sixth-degree blackbelt in Hapkido and thedirector of techniques and skills for the World Kido Federation,based in Pleasanton, Calif. Seo is the son of Grand Master In SunSeo, who is the WKF’s chairman and president, as well as thehighest-ranking practicing blackbelt in the world. Seo was inBrookhaven for the weekend to put on a Hapkido seminar that wasattended by martial artists from as far away as Louisiana andGeorgia.

And the opportunity to study under someone like Seo, AKMA ownerand instructor Steve Kincade said, is a really positive thing forlocal martial artists. He said as the world has gotten smaller andmartial arts circles have become tighter, it has become morepossible for places like Brookhaven to be the site of clinicstaught by experts of Seo’s caliber.

Seo said during his seminar he worked with martial artists ofall ages on core concepts important to Hapkido – everything fromself-defense to striking, blocking and kicking.

“We’re working on the kicks because kids like to see thosethings,” he said. “But more than that, we’re working on realisticways to apply the things we learn here.”

Mosely said that’s the whole reason he got into martial arts:Being able to protect himself.

“I just do it so if anyone comes up trying to attack me, I cantake care of myself,” he said.

And that is why, Seo said, much of the seminar focused on thingslike the practicality of low kicks.

“The higher your kick goes, the more potential you have for abad situation,” he told the group. “Plus more flexibility isrequired, and it requires more training. There’s more risk with ahigh kick, so you have to be careful how you apply thosekicks.”

Of all the people who could teach such concepts clearly and withaccuracy, Kincade said, Seo is one of the top in the world.

“He’s the best technician I’ve ever worked with,” Kincade said.”And I’ve worked with some of the best.”

But the respect is mutual, Seo said. He said it is along-standing partnership as martial artists and friends that madehim more than happy to make the long trip to the Deep South.

“I came here because of my friendship and professionalrelationship with Master Steve Kincade,” Seo said. “He’s one of thetop Hapkido instructors in the South, and I’ve always beenimpressed not only by his level of skill, but also how he treatspeople.”

Kincade said he and his instructors are just excited to be ableto offer the opportunity to his students and people in the area tostudy under Seo.

“I just have the utmost respect for him, and you know, the worldisn’t so big anymore,” he said. “It’s great because we can have thesame quality training here as in Seoul, Korea.”

The Academy of Korean Martial Arts is located on WhitworthAvenue and hosts classes throughout the week, as well as occasionalseminars on weekends.