Marianne J. Dyson

Martial Arts

Kuk Sool Virtual Practice

Photo of Marianne Dyson 2-20-10.
Marianne Dyson, Kyo Sa Nim
Photo by Carol KSN, 2-20-10

Welcome to my virtual martial arts practice area. I'm now a "retired" student of Kuk Sool Won of Clear Lake in Houston, Texas, but I still practice at home and take occasional refresher lessons. Kuk Sool is a comprehensive Korean Martial Art. Grandmaster, Kuk Sa Nim, encourages us to mentally review our instruction every day. I am a writer, so mental review for me includes writing stories and creating puzzles. I created these pages to share them with other Kuk Sool students and martial artists.

Note: This website is not officially or legally associated with Kuk Sool, and any statements here should not be interpreted as reflecting Kuk Sool Won policy. To find a school near you, visit Kuk Sool Won.

What would a Kuk Sool tournament be like on the Moon? Read The Right Path and find out how a teenage girl sets a good example for an arrogant young man performing a Kuk Sool demonstration on the Moon. Note, I got permission from Masters Harmon and Harmon to use their last name for the schoolmaster on the Moon — perhaps she is one of their daughters or future granddaughters?! This story was originally published in an anthology, Eat My Martian Dust, by Baker Books in 2005. That book is out of print, so I made it available on Kindle along with my other story in that anthology. The other story is "Zeus's Eagle," about a boy whose tolerance and faith are tested by his new Martian friends.

Download both stories to your Kindle (or PC or phone usin the free Kindle app):


I am "Korean-challenged" so decided that creating some Kuk Sool puzzles might help! To solve the puzzles posted here requires knowledge of the Kuk Sool Won of Clear Lake MENTAL DRILL questions and a study of Kuk Sool Won textbooks 1 and 2. The books cover all the forms and techniques up through first degree black belt and definitions of Korean terms. Some material may also be drawn from the Sword and Staff paperback booklets (that is also included in textbook 3 available to black belts).

All puzzles are copyright Marianne Dyson. Permission is granted to individuals to make copies for personal use and for Kuk Sool school masters and instructors to make copies and distribute to Kuk Sool students. Puzzles may not be reprinted on other websites or in print publications without approval. Send permission requests via my Contact page.

Kuk Sool Won of Clear Lake Mental Drill Questions

Kuk Sool Won of Clear Lake, 2010.
Kuk Sool Won of Clear Lake Picnic, October 2010.

Note: This website is not officially or legally associated with Kuk Sool, and any statements here should not be interpreted as reflecting Kuk Sool Won policy.

To help us build strong minds, the instructors of Kuk Sool Won of Clear Lake use mental practice drills. Permission from Master Harmon was granted to share them on this web site.

For more information on Kuk Sool Won of Clear Lake, please visit their website. To learn more about Kuk Sool Won in general, go to the Kuk Sool Home Page.

What is the Student Creed?

  1. I will develop myself in a positive manner and avoid anything that would reduce my mental growth or physical health. Sir/Ma'am.
  2. I will develop self discipline in order to bring out the best in myself and others. Sir/Ma'am.
  3. I will use what I learn in class constructively and defensively; to help myself and others and never be abusive or offensive. Sir/Ma'am.
  4. We are a Black Belt school; we are motivated; we are dedicated; we are on a quest to be our best. Kuk Sool!

What are the two most important ideas?

  1. I will develop myself in a positive manner. Sir/Ma'am.
  2. I can do more than I think I can do. Sir/Ma'am.

KSN Marianne breaks 2 boards with a palm strike.
Proof of #2: KSN Marianne, age 55, breaks 2 boards with a palm strike! 2-20-10.

What is the first step in strong mind training?
Martial arts etiquette, Sir/Ma'am.

What are the two"P's"?
Patience and Perseverance, Sir/Ma'am.

What kind of school are we?
A Black Belt school, Sir/Ma'am.

Who are we?
Kuk Sool Won of Clear Lake, Sir/Ma'am.

What are we?
Winners, Sir/Ma'am.

Why (are we winners)?
Because we are here, Sir/Ma'am.

What are the three steps of the learning process?

  1. Memorization
  2. Precision
  3. Smoothness

What's the long name for the kick?
The kick that shows you can do more than you think you can do, Sir/Ma'am.

What are the two things you never do during exercises (stretching)?

  1. Never hold your breath,
  2. Never overdo it, Sir/Ma'am.

What are the five points of attention (Cha Ri-ut)?

  1. Feet together;
  2. Hands on belt;
  3. No talking;
  4. Eyes straight ahead
  5. Answer Sir/Ma'am, Sir/Ma'am.

Where's your focus point for punching?
Center of the chest, Sir/Ma'am.

What knuckles do you strike with on a punch?
First two big knuckles, Sir/Ma'am.

Where's your thumb on a knife hand (Soo-Doh)?
Top of the hand, Sir/Ma'am.

Where's your thumb on a reverse knife hand (Yuk Soo-Doh)?
Bottom of the hand, Sir/Ma'am.

How strong should your horse stance be?
Strong enough to hold a person on each leg, Sir/Ma'am.

What is it you never do on bent leg kicks?
Never snap the knees, Sir/Ma'am.

How do you prevent snapping the knees?
Pause for a second, Sir/Ma'am.

What do you never touch on your falling techniques?
Your head, Sir/Ma'am.

What touches the ground hard?
Your hand, Sir/Ma'am.

What touches the ground softly?
Your body, Sir/Ma'am.

How do you bring the power?
Spread the fingers, Sir/Ma'am.

How do you do your joint locks and throws safely?
Slowly, Sir/Ma'am.

What's the Golden Rule for target training?
Never hit a target full power the first couple of times, Sir/Ma'am.

What's our (sparring) safety rule?
No contact, Sir/Ma'am.

What's the first technique rule?
Posture, Sir/Ma'am.

What's the second technique rule?
Three or more combinations, Sir/Ma'am.

What's the third technique rule?
Move in a circle, Sir/Ma'am.

What do you never do on a spin kick?
Never drag the heel, Sir/Ma'am.

Kuk Sool Text Books

Order Kuk Sool
Volume 1 Textbook.

More Information

Space Station Science in Korean.

My award-winning children's book, Space Station Science, is available in Korean from my Korean publisher (Darun). I can sign them in Korean or English. Order Autographed Copy. BTW, space is pronounced "oo joo" in Korean!

Photo of 2nd degree women at Tournament 10-9-10.
KSN women at tournament. R-L, Back: Donna, Beth, Stephanie, Marianne; Front: Yvonne, Carol, Christa, 10-9-10.

Photo of Kuk Sa Nim & Marianne Dyson 2-20-10. Kuk Sa Nim presents Marianne Dyson with Kyo Sa Nim certificate, Photo by Carol KSN, 2-20-10

Kuk Sool Promotions 2-20-10. Kuk Sool Promotions, Photo by Carol KSN, 2-20-10. Click for Larger photo.

I was a guest at a science fiction convention called ApolloCon in Houston in June 2009. As a "warm-up act" prior to the masquerade, I decided to put together a Kuk Sool demo with a Star Wars theme: i.e. staff sparring using light sabers! Kuk Sool friends, Carol Phillips and Yvonne Jaurique, offered to help. Just for fun, I included a part for the convention's guest of honor, Wil McCarthy. Carol recruited John Zipay to introduce us. Cliff Davis volunteered as cameraman. Michael Martin, another Kuk Sool black belt, added the intro and credits. The following video is the result of all our efforts. We hope you enjoy it!

Marianne Dyson, Yvonne Jaurigue, Carol Phillips, photo by Elze.

A group of Kuk Sool black belts visited Houston in July-August 2007. Here is a medium-resolution of the group that joined my husband (in black T-shirt) and I for dinner on July 29, and toured Johnson Space Center August 3. More photos in high resolution are available on request.

Photo of JKN Yvonne Jarique holding trophy and wearing medals.

Congratulations to 2006 Grand Champion Woman, JKN Yvonne Jaurique! (promoted to KSN in 2009)

Photo by Marianne Dyson


Read my review of Master Barry Harmon's book: 5000 Years of Korean Martial Arts, and order your copy:

I recommend 9th degree Master Choon-Ok Harmon's biography:

My review posted on Amazon:

What is a mermaid in Korea? That is something I'd never heard of before I read this book. I also had no idea what it was like to grow up in poverty so severe that a mother would consider poison rather than watching her children starve to death. Thankfully, the children worked together with their mother to survive, and Choon Ok Harmon grew into a strong and beautiful woman.

I recommend this book not only to students of martial arts (and it is a powerful story for why it is so important for women to learn to defend themselves!), but also to women everywhere who may feel that they have no control over their future. The lesson of this book is that "you can do more than you think you can," and "keep a positive attitude and never give up!"

Parents considering whether or not to give this book to their kids may want to know that the subject was raped, and that this fact and its consequences are discussed in the book. The topic is handled with sensitivity, and I think it is an important one for teen readers, especially girls.

Despite the serious subjects of poverty and abuse, the book maintains a light spirit and has some parts that are laugh-out-loud funny. I especially enjoyed the bar scenes where her martial arts' skills were put to the test! And, this book has a very happy ending!

Visit Author Ana Maria Rodriguez's website.

Thank you for practicing Kuk Sool with me!

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