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Rose Ann Heisel
Rose Ann Heisel
Martial arts came to my rescue as a physical and mental therapy, shortly after having two total knee replacements. If I did nothing it would be more crippling physically and emotionally for me, so getting started was really the first big step to recovery.

Haidong Gumdo, a Korean art form, means, "the way of the Korean sword." It fit my personality, and was low impact. The Koreans had a philosophy: Practicing Gumdo would make one feel better and add happiness and longevity to one's life. Gumdo creates patience. It takes time, just like it takes time to heal. Make no mistake, this practice started off as a physical chore and became a weekly fix that offered spiritual challenges, too.

I discovered the soul of myself as a woman in the martial arts. I developed a warrior's spirit of strength and determination. Gumdo was an easy outlet to release daily frustrations by swinging a sword. Yet, I was humbled by a sword system so powerful that it was practiced for centuries and passed down from warrior to warrior. Now a modern sword class allows us to take from it what we need to face the everyday challenges in our lives.

When I taught Gumdo in community education classes in Buffalo and Monticello, I learned that Minnesota women are more than capable of excelling in the male-dominated world of martial arts. If your goal is to feel ready for whatever life might throw your way, sample Gumdo. This sport draws upon real battlefield techniques, something every woman needs in her arsenal of daily living.

Rose Ann Heisel is a martial arts enthusiast, dog groomer and freelance writer. She lives in Buffalo, Minn.

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