Bronx Tae Kwon Do grandmaster teaches life lessons

Bronx Tae Kwon Do grandmaster teaches life lessons
Tae Kwon Do Hall of Famer Master George Somersall teaches Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday classes at the Bronx YMCA.
Photo courtesy of Master George Somersall

One local Tae Kwon Do grandmaster is teaching Bronxites not only to defend themselves, but also to better themselves.

For 15 years, Master George Somersall has been instructing Bronxites on the ways of Tae Kwon Do and Hapkido at the Bronx YMCA.

With more than 30 years of experience and knowledge in martial arts and traditional Hapkido under his black belt, Master Somersall shares his expertise with New Age Tae Kwon Do students Tuesdays and Thursdays 6:15 to 9:10 p.m. and Saturdays 9:30 to 11:45 a.m. at the Y located at 2 Castle Hill Avenue.

The sahyun teaches beginners, intermediate, adults/advanced and black belts as well as YMCA summer camps students.

New Age Tae Kwon Do students are taught a variety of practical martial arts styles including joint locking techniques to disarm an opponent, pressure point locations and targets, self-defense against knives and guns as well as cane and fan techniques.

Cane and fan techniques allow practitioners to utilize a cane, walking stick or a handheld fan as a self-defense weapon in many martial art styles including Hapkido.

Tae Kwon Do is a Korean-based fight style that emphasizes head-height kicks, jumping and spinning kicks and fast kicking techniques while Hapkido, another Korean style, uses an opponent’s body weight and pressure points against them, he explained.

A Pelham Parkway resident, Master Somersall said students also learn how to properly handle and use weapons such as bo staffs, nunchucks, sais, swords and Filipino fighting sticks.

Beginners and children use rubber versions of these aforementioned weapons whereas black belt students handle the real thing, he said.

Prior to every seminar, Master Somersall’s students exercise to prepare themselves for their training and are expected to study Korean terminology.

“It’s not just important to teach my students about the art, but it’s also important for them to learn about the philosophies behind it,” he said.

Master Somersall said his students learn the Korean terms for fighting techniques as well as how to say certain phrases such as ‘thank you’ to instill discipline.

Originally from Basseterre, St. Kitts in the West Indies, Master Somersall said he was inspired by his brother Glen, as well as famous Hong Kong American martial artist and action film actor Bruce Lee, into pursuing martial arts.

At age five, Master Somersall trained alongside Glen and learned karate from Master Joe, a Peace Corps officer from America.

In 2013, Master Somersall was inducted into the Tae Kwon Do Hall of Fame in recognition of his efforts in developing and promoting Tae Kwon Do as a martial art and global sport.

The following year, he received his PhD in martial arts from Eastern U.S.A. International Martial Arts Association in Pittsburgh, PA.

On November 16, 2015, Master Somersall received his 8th dan in Tae Kwon Do deeming him a grandmaster in this fighting style.

For more information, contact Master Somersall at (347) 228-8042, the Bronx YMCA at (718) 792-9736 or visit

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