An Aberdeen-founded martial arts school have kick-started their 15th birthday celebrations.
Sooyang Do hosted a celebratory belt examination on May 19, the date of their creation back in 2003.
Members from their city and Aberdeenshire clubs gathered at Westdyke leisure centre along with founder and master instructor, Bruce Wood, who returned home for the special anniversary.
Wood, along with the original group of instructors who accompanied him at the beginning of his new venture, have been delighted to see Sooyang Do receiving so much recognition and publicity.
This has been in the form of various awards from public bodies, including Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire Enhanced Club Cap; Aberdeen Sports Awards 2016 Highly Commended Club of the year (runner up); Aberdeen Sports Awards 2017 Inspiration Award, Gordon McIver; Aberdeen Sports Council 2017 Coach of the year, Dave Bremner; Club person of the year, Colleen McIver.
Back in 2003, Wood had already been an extremely successful professional martial arts instructor for a number of years, rising to the rank of Sam-Dan and opening a number of schools with a membership of around 400 students.
All of the class instructors who had worked alongside him prior to the creation of Sooyang Do put their faith in him when he announced his decision to create the new school.
The majority of instructors and even many of the students remain to this day.
Since 2003 many more schools have been opened, the latest in France.
And Master Wood is as enthusiastic about teaching as he was when he started out.
He said: “Throughout the years, my loyal team of instructors and myself have sought to reinforce the values we started out with, promoting and seeking to personally abide by the Sooyang Do tenets of Courtesy, Integrity, Humility and Respect, and to ensure we remain aware of the important role we play in the lives of those we teach, particularly the younger people.”
Sooyang Do instructors do not discourage students from training in other martial arts or cross-training, an approach which has seen students achieve success in open competitions.
The Sooyang Do syllabus and philosophy have been radically developed over the years, with senior students now enthusiastically embracing what they refer to as the “sport” side of Sooyang Do, which enables participation in internal sparring competitions.
With around 25 established schools, student numbers increasing and schools now opening in Europe, the Sooyang Do instructors remain optimistic and enthusiastic as they celebrate their 15 years.