Written by Ian Prior Thursday, 10 April 2014 00:00
Most tourists travel to see the sights and eat the food. But New Hyde Park resident Dr. Peter Douris recently flew to South Korea for a different reason entirely. He spent a week in the southern mountains testing for 5th degree black belt in the Korean martial art of Soo Bahk Do.
Douris was part of a group from Kwon’s Karate studio in Manhasset, where they’ve all trained for many years with their instructor, Master H.Y. Kwon, a ninth level black belt.
In Korea, their days began at 6 a.m. and continued until very late.
“We trained with highly skilled Korean masters for many hours,” said Douris, a professor of physical therapy at the New York Institute of Technology’s Long Island campus. “It was very tough physically and mentally.”
Fortunately, there was a health spa nearby, where the practitioners dunked themselves repeatedly in very hot and very cold pools, he said.
“I use hot and cold therapy regularly at my PT practice in Astoria, Queens. During the test, it helped all of us tremendously,” said Douris
The week-long test, called Ko Dan Ja in Korean, attracted martial artists from around the globe. That meant Douris found himself sharing the training floor with practitioners from countries as far apart as France and Australia.
“It was really great to be able to train with people from half a world away who have the same passion for Soo Bahk Do as we do,” he said.
Douris wasn’t quite so enthusiastic about the food. “We had fish soup at almost every meal. It’s traditional Korean fare but it was a bit tough on my stomach.”
Douris has already begun training with Master Kwon for his next rank test, which he’s considering taking in Greece. “I have family there,” he said. “And I like Greek food.”