K Joel Coles isn’t quite what people expect. The chronology of skills learned and then retaught by the man you see here is one that many would like to claim as their own. Grandmaster Coles has lived his dream. Inspiring others to go on in their own right.
So. At the first, Master Coles, we thank you for your service.
Most people would expect that military service would permit travel to exotic locations where the martial arts may be learned from those whose training was developed in the mountain regions of China, Korea and Japan. Little do they realize that those mountains exists in our own back yard.
In beginning to understand the life of Master Coles, I would have you consider the words of Horace;
No man ever reached to excellence in any one art or profession without having passed through the slow and painful process of study and preparation.
Master Coles studies include roots of service as a Staff Sargent and Martial Arts Instructor for the 257th Military Police Company. When digging deeper, we find a varied range of martial arts that includes Judo, Ju-Jitsu, Taekwondo, Chuan Lu Boxing, Yudo, and the foundation for such learning in our own Song Moo Kwan.
Master Coles seen here with Supreme Grand Master Byung Jick Ro and Senior Grand Master Hee Sang Ro in 1982
Some believe that the diversification of training in multiple martial arts disciplines dilutes the origins of one’s initial training. Or, delays, or precludes, advancement in their base system. However, the mindset of the individual choosing that training remains the key to successful integration.
Gen George Patton was fond of saying; “Always do more than is required of you.” That might just give us a glimpse of why Master Coles continues to do more than that required.
One might settle on his induction into the US Martial Arts Hall of Fame, as “Master of the Year” in 2003. Or, in returning to 2000 when that same organization presented Master Coles with the “Martial Arts Pioneer Award.” Here we are some 14 year later and the man before us continues to assist those in need. Those searching to improve themselves by immersion in the martial arts. Some of those even needing the person protection aspects of this man’s training to avoid serious family and cultural stereotypes.
The quiet man persona he reflects has sometimes caused him to be looked at as “easy prey.” Reality set in a few year back when five (5) attackers learned, first hand, that their target was “a mistake in judgment.” Two ended up in the hospital. The real life Jack Reacher came out amidst his desire to live a life in service to others. Years of board breaking demonstrated that devastating prowess. An an effective training regiment for use when someone’s life is in danger. Especially, your own.
K Joel Coles is an instructor of the martial arts. He is a husband and father. And the students who have ventured into their various professions each attest to what has been one of the greatest character building experiences of their lives. Robert stated; “I know where I would be without his teaching. And, I’m glad that I was able to change.”
So, in deciding to write this piece, I changed my mind about what to say. You see, the last chapter is not yet written. In the next month Master Coles will receive an additional award. Not for a lifetime of achievements. But for his leadership as Executive Vice President of the World Song Moo Kwan Association. His stature and ranking to be recognized by further in advancement… as the legacy continues.
So. From these tidbits of history, another martial artist is able to look back on a good life. Looking forward to his best years as the realization of life-long goals has taken the path less traveled.
“Excellence is never an accident. It is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, and intelligent execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives – choice, not chance, determines your destiny.” – Aristotle
As such, the rest of the story will be his to tell.