It’s seemed like only yesterday that Sr. Grand Master Edward B. Sell and his lovely wife Brenda were sitting in the Nelson Covenant Church basement on Stanley Street eager to test members of the Kootenay Martial Arts School.
More than 20 years later, Kootenay Martial Arts, under the guidance of the Sells and the U.S. Chung Do Kwan Association, has grown into a dominant fixture of Taekwondo in BC.
And what better way to recognize the achievements than to have Kootenay Martial Arts Senior Instructor Dean Seminoff host Sr. Grandmaster Brenda J. Sell during upcoming testing beginning Thursday at Trafalgar Middle School.
“Grand Master (Brenda) Sell is a 9th Dan black belt and the second highest ranked woman on the planet in Taekwondo,” said Kootenay Martial Arts Master Dean Siminoff.
“She is in Nelson to test 11 new black belts, members of KMA which is beginning its 16th consecutive year of teaching the best in martial arts.”
The fact that Sell is going to be at the weekend celebration is nothing short of a miracle.
After losing husband Edward to cancer after 41 years of marriage, as well as experiencing a host of other personal setbacks, Sell was diagnosed with breast cancer.
“My first reaction was not to have treatment,” she said.
However, following careful thought Sell decided to fight this disease head on.
“When I made the decision to fight, I knew I must focus on my faith,” Sell explained. “Faith sees beyond your circumstances and has focus on the outcome — going through the process.”
“I never saw myself as a victim or gave into feeling sorry for myself,” Sell added. “I made a decision to see myself well, to do things I knew were important to coming out of this and protecting my faith.”
Sell turned to exercise, which helped during the grief and treatment of breast cancer.
At times, it was difficult to keep going, but Sell knew giving up was “not” an option.
At one stage during chemotherapy she became seriously ill.
Doctors explained how close Sell came to losing her battle.
“Doctors told me, “if it has not been for my physical condition of your body from Taekwondo training, you would have died”,’ she said.
Kootenay Martial Arts, with its main Dojang in Nelson along with sister facilities in South Slocan and Castlegar, is part of the U.S. Chung Do Kwan Association — a leader in modern Taekwondo for the past 50 years.
This Christian influence of the school helps people develop spiritually as well as physically and mentally.
Thursday, the Kootenay Martial Arts hosts its’ “Best of the Best” Student Black Belt Graduation at Trafalgar Middle School Gymnasium.
GM Sell will be present to oversee much of the testing.
Friday, it’s Women of Strength and Resilience at the Covenant Church on Stanley Street.
This is an evening, beginning at 6:30 p.m., of sharing with local women as well as GM Sell sharing their personal life journeys.
It’s been a long time since Siminoff, a 6th degree Black Belt, founded the school in the Nelson area.
During this time, the school has promoted more than 100 Black Belts to first Dan.
Thursday adds a few more to the KMA achieves.