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This just in:

Hello Sir and Maria,

Thank you very much for helping L. train  hard to become what she is today [a black belt].  She is very proud of her achievement.
Thank you Maria for capturing the moments. The video is awesome.
Warm regards,
From the proud parents

From Henry B’s mom:

Maria and Erik,
Just wanted to thank you for a great party today.
Henry said it was the best party he’d ever had,
And all the grandparents agreed.
(And so did we…)
Please thank all the students that’s came to help with the class and
The demo for us! Your program has been and is great for Henry,
And it’s by far the best program of any kind for kids in Alameda.
Katie summed it up when she said that if you two taught basket weaving,
She would sign her kids up!
The balloons were inspired and we are still getting a lot of mileage out of them
At home.
I will send you some photos if any are worthwhile.
Again, we can’t thank you enough!

“Hi Sir and Maria,  I was reminiscing about the good ol days in Alameda and came across your website. Great work!  It makes me wish I was back in Alameda so I could train with you–I hope you know that the four years I spent in with you were invaluable–I learned so much about myself and others and am better because of it.   I learned that I could do anything that I set my mind to and that hard work was not an obstacle. Thank you for all that you do and thank you for all that you did for me.   I am living in Oklahoma working at OSU in their prevention programs I have two adorable boys 5 and 3 and my latest athletic challenge has been running I have ran 9 half marathons and 1 full marathon and currently training for my second full.  Confidence, determination, and hard work are values that you helped give me… Thank you for all the great memories. Next time I visit Alameda I will definitely stop by.   Take care, Becky D. T.

“If You Are Not Strong, Something’s Wrong.” Erik Lee

This year we were Editor’s Choice for Best Place to Bend, Balance, and Break a Sweat in the Best of Alameda Magazine 2012-2013:

Here are some testimonials from students and some clippings featuring our students.

Black Belts Vedad and Acen were saluted in Alameda Magazine’s 2010 issue honoring top Alameda’s students . They join Melissa who is also a black belt from our school and won the award two years ago and has now graduated UC Berkeley!

Congrats also go out to Black Belt Elaine who is now on her way to Harvard University!

Hi Sir and Maria! “As you both know, your martial arts program played a huge role in my development as a person, student, and athlete, so of course I wrote an essay about it on my college apps, including the one I sent to Harvard! I’m sending you a copy of that essay, because it’s good for people to know what a wonderful program Alameda Martial Arts has, and how much their kids will benefit from spending time with you two and learning from you. I hope you are having a fantastic break, and thank you both so much for everything you’ve done for me, for so many years. My time spent at Alameda Martial Arts was among the happiest times in my childhood, and I wouldn’t trade away a single practice. Thanks again, Elaine Spencer Here is Elaine’s essay: “Throughout elementary, middle, and high school, as other girls my age were taking ballet lessons or rising the ranks in Girl Scouts, I took Kuk Sool, which is traditional Korean Martial Arts. I loved the physically demanding nature of the program, as Sa Bum Nim (instructor) Erik Lee trained me amidst a classroom full of students to steel ourselves against the pain that accompanies hours of stretching, attacking punching bags, and kicking wooden boards. At the same time, we balanced our intense work-outs with light-hearted games of dodge-ball, and battled each other with “swords,” styrofoam noodles normally used for poolside entertainment. Finally, after five years of faithfully coming to class throughout the rainy days and steamy-hot, I earned my black belt as a freshman in high school, and was presented with it at our annual tournament, which hosts martial-artists from as far away as Alberta, Canada. As high school became more demanding, and I had reached the top-tier level, I gradually stopped coming to these classes, transferring Mr. Lee’s mottos like “The More You Sweat the Better You Get” to school sports, like cross-country and track, and surprisingly my AP classes. I attribute my ability to put everything aside to reach the standards set by my teachers to the way I was raised devotedly and blindly following my instructor’s orders to run faster and kick harder, because I always knew that he would only ask me to push my limits, not to do the impossible or damaging. This same faith is the reason I make a point not to blink an eye when teachers assign me hours of homework, and when my coaches challenge me to run six miles instead of five. Taking martial arts provided me with a brand of self-confidence that isn’t always found inside traditional classroom settings, as I entered high school ready to ignore my lack of height and build (I have yet to top 5 feet or 100 lbs.) and to daily voice my personal beliefs and opinions, because in the back of my mind I have the beautiful strength that comes from knowing I’ll be a difficult person to take down in a fight, and I certainly can’t be made to cower.”


When we moved to Alameda, my wife and I started looking for a martial art to take. We called all the studios on the island, and Sir, Erik Lee, sounded the nicest and even invited us to come take a class to see if Kuk Sool was for us. We took the class, and were completely impressed with Sir: he knows the material, is amazing in its performance, and is fantastic at teaching it to his students. Sir Rocks. We were also impressed that Kuk Sool does not sell balck belts. The process of getting a black belt requires at least four black belt tests, so in Kuk Sool, a black belt means more than paying for the belt. Richard R. – Black Belt


“I wanted to compliment both you [Maria] and Sir [Erik] on the Tiny Tigers Class..The class [is] focused and defined without losing any f the fun or intensity. I have witnessed easy-going as well as difficult students, and watched both of you handle them with a grace and respect that you should be proud of! I can’t wait till Samantha turns 3 next September so that she can join as well. ” Tyler.


“Hip Hip Hoorah! Carlos is doing a marvelous job in all of his school work, participation in classroom discussions, completing his work using a lot of effort, and being a leader in citizenship both inside and outside of our classroom! Wow!”. Letter forwarded from Provi (Carlo’s mom) who credits us with his improvement.


We wanted to thank you and Sir for taking the time to really teach and prepare Kyle for the tournament. He was really excited to go to his first tournament and had a great time… We didn’t know what to expect when it came to Kyle. Though he practiced at home, we weren’t able to tell if he was really doing it well enough to compete. The extra practices at the school were very helpful and we did notice big improvements after each ession. Still, we just didn’t know what wouuld happen…Could he do it?…Would he forget? Would he get nervous? The answers came that Saturday… He started with his form. he didn’t seem nervous at all. In fact, he did it smoothly. We were amaxed at how well he did it. We were even more surprised when he got a bronze out of it. Next was technique. Problem was his partner, Carlos, was busy competing himself. The judges had him pick somone unfamiliar to be his parner. We thought surely this was trouble. Here was an unfamiliar partner and a girl almost a head taller to boot. Yet, he did his techniques without problems. In fact, his defining moment of the tournament came with his last throw. He was able to effortlessly throw his partner over his shoulder and down to the mat! There was not a hint of awkwardness…That moment demonstrated to us that Kyle had indeed learned his lessons well. And that Sir and you had taught him well. The gold medal was almost an afterthought to that moment. [In sparring] we marveled at the kicks Kyle pulled off as well a the energy he put into the matches. The effort got him a silver medal but again another moment shone even brighter. Jerry Chow had come by to sit with Kyle and give him advice. We were touched that he cared enough to do that and thought how the school seemed to be filled with good people like Jerry. A gold, silver, and bronze. Far more than we ever thought Kyle would do at his first tournament. We would have been happy just to see him compete and have a good time. Instead, he showed why we are so happy to have Kyle (and Kory) attend KSW of Alameda. He has great teachers there, like Sir and you [Maria]. And he’s surrounded by good people , like Jerry and Carlos, who encouraged him in the weeks before. The whole idea fo the school is not to win medals, but to teach Kuk Sool. In that one throw, Kyle showed he was learning. Thank you. Gary and Ly Ly C.


I can’t stop myself, I just must say it like I see it: I love the website and love you guys. You are running such a dynamic program, both in the classroom and behind the scenes. It is a pleasure to watch it just get better all the time. You are an incredible administrator Maria, you really rock. I really love the philosophy that you and Sir embrace and teach. I am so grateful that Ellis gets to experience Alameda Marital Arts as part of his life journey. Too cool! Have a wonderful day! Jessi B