Day 6: Introduction to Tang Soo Do
Background: Tang Soo Do (pronounced tan-soo.doh) is a karate-based Korean martial art incorporating fighting principles from subak, as well as northern Chinese martial arts. The techniques of what is commonly known as Tang Soo Do combine elements of shotokan karate, subak, taekkyon, and kung fu (it’s dope). Encinitas Karate is the only 100% women owned Karate gym in the region, and they offer classes from ages beginning as young as 3 years old.
If you only read one thing here please read our interview with Santhi below. She tells her incredible story of her time in Malaysia and how she began her road to becoming a Black belt.
Hell yeah. Karate is so sick. When Sam and I formulated 100 Days of Fitness, doing things like midday-Karate is exactly what I envisioned. I should confess: I did take a few classes back in the day (*18 years ago). But, this [Encinitas Karate] class was different compared to my last karate class, which ended with me taking my unbreakable wood plank home and crying. While that day I swore off karate for this life and the next, working at Encinitas Karate with Owner Santhi Castle (SAN-TEE) reformed my seemingly unshakable animosity towards the practice. But I don’t hold grudges.
We arrived for the 12 pm class (Santhi teaches all noon classes) and Santhi immediately spotted us as novices. She made us feel welcome and prepared us for a class filled with: front kicks, roundhouse kicks, side kicks, punches, push ups, abs, burpees, and more. There’s something oddly relaxing when kicking the bag as hard as you can — especially when you are encouraged to scream while doing it. Thank god there weren’t any children in the class today.
Your mind is your worst enemy. It can stop you from doing whatever you want or try to do.
While physically exhausting, it wasn’t all about the work out. We focused not just on technique, but the mental state necessary to improve. Santhi stressed the importance of taming your mind, “Training your mind is as easy as taming a monkey.” You’re telling me, Santhi.
Santhi is an amazing instructor and person. She took us under her arm and let Sam and I kick and scream our way through the entire class (literally). I laid on my back in a pool of my own sweat and wondered where I’d be if I hadn’t cried my way home after failing to break the board in class — probably in the same spot but a boy can dream.
The class was fantastic. I even got to fight Sam, so huge win for Team DB. Day 6 was another success for the movement, but our legs definitely lost the battle. You can find more info about Encinitas Karate here.
Editor’s note: I ended up breaking the plank the next day, but I’m 98% sure my mom scaled a line down the middle to make it easier. Thing was rock solid though.
Meet the Owner
Santhi Castle: @encinitaskarate
How did you get started with Tang Soo Do?
I am from Malaysia, so when I was young I saw women being beaten all the time. As a woman in the culture, even if you’re husband beat you up you don’t fight back, but I was different. I didn’t like what I saw. One evening as a child I was sitting on my father’s lap watching a Bruce Lee movie, and once I saw him fight it all clicked, “That’s it.” As a poor family you all have to work, so when I was 10 years old I worked as a maid to pay for my martial arts training. I joined a studio with my best friend as the only two girls, and we began our training.
What brought you to San Diego to open up Encinitas Karate?
Life. I was married to an American and I moved here with my son. I had always dreamed of owning my own studio, and in Malaysia that is unheard of — impossible. For a woman to run a martial arts studio [in Malaysia], you won’t be successful because of how they see women. When we came here I saw what women can do, and I knew there was an opportunity.
What are the benefits of Karate?
It can be intimidating, but let’s use myself as an example. I’m a 124 lb woman, and a man comes in, what’s there to be intimidated about? I make each and every student comfortable. I am humble and friendly so none of my students are intimidated. I’ll start with you and I’ll start slow. We’ll work on each small technique one at a time, and they soon realize they can do it.
Share your experience with the hashtag #100VizerDays or meet us at the studio to join in on the fun! Up next is Orange Theory in Point Loma!