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October - November 2017

The Bazaar: How You Can Help


Yoga for Kids Krav Maga: Is it For You? SIWA Gears Up for 2018 Olympics

S E O U L i n t e r n at i o n a l w o m e n ’ s a sso c i at i o n Enhancing lives through Friendship, Enrichment and Charity

Editor: Monica Williams Editorial Team: Robin Carney, Anne Choe, Michelle Morrison, Veronica O’Connor, Greta Tonnon Contributors: Mhyla Borkowski, Vanessa Harper, Deb Hong, Arcadia Kim, Bockhee Lee, Irene Nuutila, Lisa Panopoulos, Robbie Schuldt, Georgia Scott, Maitri Shah Art Director: Georgia Scott Sponsorship Chair: Arcadia Kim All photos used by Discovery magazine, unless otherwise stated, have been provided by SIWA vendors or members and are the property of SIWA. Photographers who donate photos for SIWA’s use retain the rights to their photos. Contributions Welcomed! Discovery is published bimonthly (six issues per year) by SIWA, with articles and content written by our members and associations. It is distributed exclusively for SIWA members and sponsors. All opinions expressed in these articles are those of the respective authors and may not reflect the official position of SIWA. All rights reserved SIWA 2017. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form without prior written consent of SIWA. For submissions and questions, email discoveryeditor@siwakorea.com. To advertise in Discovery, email sponsorsiwa@siwakorea.com

Seoul International Women’s Association Seoul Finance Center Level 21, 136 Sejong-daero, Jung-gu, Seoul, Korea 04520 www.siwakorea.com Stay connected:



Getting Fit for Pink October





How I Ran a Spartan Race

SIWA Gearing Up for the 55th Bazaar New Membership Benefits


The Philanthropy Project: Where We Stand


Volunteers Tour Olympic Site


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An Instructor on the World of Zumba


Maga: 15IsKrav It for You? 22

Teaching Downward Dog to Kids


Working Out Outdoors

Help Wanted: How You Can Make SIWA Stronger


Interest Group Highlights


SIWA Tour: Virtual Reality Skiing

Sponsors Premium Platinum



FITNESS President’s Message

A Perpetual Quest Women’s health. In October, many of us around the globe commemorate breast cancer awareness with the Pink Ribbon Campaign initiated by the late Evelyn Lauder. I like to think of myself as someone who is proactive in managing my personal health, hence lifestyle. I drink acai berry shakes, eat probiotic yogurts, drink 2 liters of water and pomegranate vinegar, try to get 7-8 hours of sleep (still a struggle), work out 45 minutes a day, and apply sunblock 365 days a year. I am on a perpetual quest to live a healthier and happier life. I am also a strong advocate for annual physicals, which can help me evaluate the areas of my life where I can affect change. Last March, however, I had a bit of health scare when something was detected during an annual mammography. Against my husband’s advice, I decided to wait to see a breast specialist until after the 2016 SIWA Spring Gala was over. Husband was not happy. As I lay half naked on the examination table, Dr. Kwon performed an ultrasound and confirmed the presence of a mass on my left breast; at 3 o’clock he said. My heart started to pound; my blood pressure was at 165/100. I changed out of the gown. Dr. Kwon and I went over the images together in his office. I didn’t even have the courage to ask whether the mass could be malignant! I remember asking what is the next step. Biopsy. But unlike in the United States, he can perform the biopsy right there and then. My husband rushed over and gave me the desperately needed reassurance before the procedure. But the look on his face almost crushed me. Dr. Kwon used a Mammotome probe made by Johnson & Johnson to extract the entire mass. Because of his travel to Japan for a lecture the following day, I waited until the following Monday to hear the lab results. Biopsy was on Tuesday. I received the good news that it was a benign mass with no trace of other abnormalities in the tissue. Although both my husband and I consoled

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each other that we knew it would be nothing, I had days when I thought “what if.” Such a horrible thing this “what if” that circled around my brain. I eventually called my children and told them. My mom cried. My sisters were thankful that I had my annual mammogram and found a great doctor. They all were so relieved. My intention in writing about my experience is not to scare anyone, but with the hope all of us take a proactive approach to our overall health. I am a very private person, therefore, it’s not easy sharing this part of my life out in the open. I lost my sisterin-law to breast cancer. My cousin is a five-year survivor. Women of Asian heritage tend to have very dense breasts; therefore, abnormalities are more difficult to detect with just a mammogram. I am at density level 2; my cousin is at 4. I had my first mammogram at age 35 to create a baseline. Then, one every year since age 40. In the U.S., the guideline for mammography has changed at least a couple of times since my first imaging. It is now recommended for every year for women ages 44-54 and every two years for women 55 and older. My sister-in-law was 43 when diagnosed with stage III and my cousin 40 with stage I. My cousin’s tumor was discovered as a result of her doctor’s recommendation for a six-months interval ultrasound due to her very dense breasts. We need to take charge of our own health; it does not fall on our spouse, children, sister or friend. Please join me in the perpetual quest for a healthier and happier life. Anne Choe

FITNESS Editor’s Message

How Bowling Cured the Expat Blues As a child growing up in the Midwestern United States, I spent much of my time in bowling alleys. My mom competed in leagues at the 20 Grand and as her only daughter, I tagged along, waiting for the moment when I could pull the tickets in the league’s nightly Lucky Draw raffle. For picking their tickets, the winners almost always gave me a dollar that I’d immediately spend in the vending machines. On weekends after cartoons, pro bowlers Mark Roth and Earl Anthony dominated our TV set and Mom yelled enthusiastically when they landed strikes. My moms’ sisters were just as passionate about bowling, and all three of the women’s homes proudly displayed the numerous trophies from their wins. It’s probably not surprising that I’m an avid bowler, too. I’m not as accomplished as my mom or aunts and I don’t bowl often but I’ve returned to my athletic roots as an expat in Korea. Bowling is a source of entertainment for lots of people in Cheongyang, the quiet Korean town of 30,000 where I taught a few years back. I started frequenting one of its two bowling alleys when I first arrived as a way to relieve stress, eliminate boredom and exercise. There also wasn’t much else I wanted to do in the smallest city in the province. Primarily a farming community known for growing gochu, the country’s red chili peppers, Cheongyang has no movie theater, no swimming pools or shopping malls and no Western eatery. English signs are scarce. It didn’t help that I spoke only about 10 words of Korean when I arrived from Manhattan. Bowling became a way to connect to my home and my past, and later, a way to connect to students. Cheongyang’s ten-pen facilities reminded me of the laid-back bowling alleys of my childhood. Coincidentally, the middle school where I taught was exploring bowling that year. Once word got out

that I was a bowler, I was invited to join the thirdyear (ninth-grade) boys during their physical education class at Oh San Yang’s Bowling Academy. Among my students, these hormonal boys were my biggest challenge. Many educational experts say that building relationships with students is a critical part of their success in the classrooms. Take an interest in students and they might take an interest in your class. To get them interested in English, I surmised, I needed to meet students where they were. After I beat a few of the older boys, they took defeating me as a challenge. Meantime, my goal was to use the opportunity to work in some English (awesome, strike, spare, turkey, great shot, gutter were starters), learn students’ names and personalities, and let them be the center of attention. If I could immerse myself more in their community, perhaps I could better connect with them. After all, I had made my first Korean adult friends while bowling. As a secondary benefit, perhaps it could help combat the loneliness that I sometimes felt living so far away from loved ones. On my walk to work each day, I began to hear: “Hello, Teacher! Bowling!” from students at other schools. Of course, finding common ground with my own students took more time and a lot more work, but working out was a way to acclimate in a new country. When students beat me at bowling, it was great to hear them speak English, even if they told everyone within earshot, “I’m the winner. I beat Miss Williams!” Monica Williams October - November 2017

Fitness Issue



Let’s Get Fit for Pink October! By Robin Carney As many of you know, October is International Breast Cancer Awareness Month. In 2016, SIWA commemorated Pink October with a donation of 10 million Korean won to the Korean Cancer Society (KCS). Dr. Noh, President of the KCS, addressed our members at the October Coffee Morning with a presentation about breast cancer prevention and treatment. This year, we’d like to mark the occasion by focusing on women’s health and fitness, which is so important to breast cancer prevention. At our Coffee Morning at the Conrad Seoul on Oct. 18, we will ask members to dress in exercise wear and take part in 10-minute fitness demonstrations. Vendors from the health, fitness and beauty industries will also be present to discuss their products and services, and to contribute prizes to our charity raffle. As they did last year, The Estée Lauder Companies will provide pink ribbons to all SIWA members and friends in attendance in honor of Pink October. We are excited to confirm three amazing health and fitness demo classes that members and friends can enjoy at the October Coffee Morning. Here is a preview of what you can expect to find at Health and Fitness Day:

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Create Wellness Swedish physiotherapist Ida Lovgren will demonstrate Holistic Stress Reduction Techniques. She will guide a 10-minute exercise in stress relief that will include both mental and physical: a combination of breathing exercises, physical relaxation techniques, and mind-balancing thought exercises. These are simple and effective practices to balance your body and mind.

ZBOYZ ZBoyZ will be bringing the music to pump up the party. This isn’t a workout, it’s a DANCE PARTY!!! We play music from around the world (with a focus on Latin music) so you can burn calories in a fun way, learn dance moves and rhythms from other countries, and sing along to some of your favorite tunes. Come with an open mind and be prepared to leave with a big smile, lots of endorphins and acquaintances turned into friends. We can’t wait to dance into better shape with you and let you know about an exclusive studio in the heart of Banpo.

New York Wholistic Care Sharon, the master instructor at NYWC, will present Pilates/Barre for Women. Did you know that fat distribution is different for women than men? Women’s fat cells love to attach at the pelvis, buttock, thigh and tummy region. And fat in these regions can increase the risk for metabolic disease such as high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol. This is why it’s more important to focus on fat distribution in your body than the total fat amount. Pilates/Barre is great for this purpose. This easy-to-follow exercise will also help you to increase bone density, muscle mass, muscle strength (and endurance), good cholesterol, resting metabolic rate and psychological well-being, while decreasing bad cholesterol. Come and try it for yourself. You will really like it! October - November 2017

Fitness Issue



SIWA Taps New Special Events Chair Jen Chae has joined SIWA as Special Events Chair for 2017 - 2018. As Special Events Chair, she will manage the organization’s two annual major events: the SIWA and Diplomatic Community Bazaar and the Spring Charity Gala. Jen is originally from Seoul and spent the last 22 years in countries like China, Canada, New Zealand, Indonesia and Singapore. She worked in hospitality, supply

Through the Years

The SIWA & Diplomatic Community Bazaar is back, this time marking its 55th year in Seoul. Much has changed in the world over the years but our international commitment to aiding local charities hasn’t.


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chain and marketing industries with responsibilities in project management and client relationship management. She speaks fluent Korean, English and Mandarin and a few other languages such as Indonesian Bahasa and Japanese casually. Jen loves traveling, cooking and volunteering at animal shelters. She can be reached at specialevents@ siwakorea.com.





SIWA NEWS Member Benefits

SIWA Membership has Privileges! A growing number of businesses in Seoul -- including Create Wellness and New York Wholistic Care -- offer discounts to SIWA members. Upon joining the organization, you will be given a Member ID Number, which you will be able to view in your online Member Account. Current SIWA members should mention their membership and membership number for discounts at local businesses. www.siwakorea.com/discount-program/

Brera Jung-gu, Seoul 10% Discount on food and beverages.

Dr. Sung’s Clinic Hannam-dong, Seou 10% Discount on skin care, OB/GYN and other selected services. Excludes skin care products and dietary supplements.

Eden Pottery Itaewon 10% Discount on everything. Chakraa Hannam-dong, Seoul 10% Discount on food. Excludes buffet and lunch special menu.


The Halal Guys, Itaewon 10% off all food items

Create Wellness Itaewon, Seoul 10% Discount on massage treatments.

High Street Market Itaewon, Seoul 10% Discount off any purchase. Excludes damaged label wines and special offers.

JP Hair Haebangchon, Seoul 20% Discount off any service except for hair cuts. DDP i-Play Kids Cafe Jung-gu, Seoul 20% Discount on admission for children ages 1-7 years old and adults. Free coffee or tea for each adult.

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L’Empreinte Bistro Hongdae, Seoul 10% Discount on food and retail items. Excludes special menu items.

Marley Coffee Itaewon, Seoul 20% Discount for all beverages and dessert menu. Excludes drip coffee and alcoholic drinks.

New York Wholistic Care Itaewon, Seoul 10% Discount for any treatment, including 1-month Group Pilates classes. Free consultation for SIWA Members who register with NYWC at SIWA Coffee Mornings.


Sprout Seoul 10% off vegan dishes for weekly or one-time delivery or scheduled pickup. Mention SIWA in the referral section of the online order form.

Suji’s Deli Coex Gangnam, Seoul 10% Discount on food and beverage during weekdays. Excludes new menu items, lunch specials and weekend brunch.


Trick Eye Museum NEW Mapo-gu, Seoul 35% off Trick Eye + Love Museum entry or 25 % off admission to the Love Museum. Discount applies to a maximum of 4 people, adults only. Bring a printout of screen capture of the SIWA discount page along with your membership card or sticker.

Seoul International Women’s Association is the largest and longest-running international women’s organization in Korea. Since 1962, SIWA has been a place where women from around the world can meet, forge friendships, learn about Korea and other cultures, contribute their talents and ideas, and help improve the lives of those in need. SIWA is strengthened by the dedication and work of its volunteers, the driving force behind the signature events, tours and operations. The SIWA team always needs help! Would YOU like to write or take photos for Discovery? Plan or work on our special events? Learn how to distribute the newsletter or work with sponsors? Get involved with one of our teams today!

Available positions include: • Hospitality Chair • Enrichment Coordinator • Website Manager (webmaster) • Bazaar volunteers

Also needed:

• Bazaar prize donations • Welfare Committee members To join us, email Anne Choe at president@siwakorea.com


SIWA’s Philanthropy Project By Anne Choe

Dear SIWA Members, I am excited to share with you that the Philanthropy Project is well under way. One final winning recipient school will be announced at the 55th SIWA & Diplomatic Community Bazaar on Monday, Nov. 13. The SIWA Philanthropy Project was launched to address a specific social issue with the following criteria: • Create philanthropic approach to giving • Proactive attempt to change systems and solve problems by addressing their root causes • Less reactive giving to being proactive; and less emotionally based to strategically based giving • Provide financial support that will deliver measurable impact

Spring 2016


Special subcommittee formed within Welfare Committee to select a social issue Grant Proposal drafted Multicultural Students’ Education in Korea selected as the social condition to be funded by SIWA

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Dec. 2016

Welfare Committee members attended Multicultural Students’ Education Expo at KINTEX sponsored by the Ministry of Education Six exceptional multicultural schools recognized by the Ministry of Education were selected to go through the process for the Philanthropy Project. 1. Asia Community School (아시아공동체학교): grades 1-12 2. All Love School (다애 다문화학교): grades 7-9 3. Hanuri Multicultural School (초중고 통합 다문화학교, 공립 인천한누리학교): grades 1-12 4. Chadong Elementary School (차동 초등학교): grades 1-6 5. Miwon Elementary School (충북 미원초등학교): grades 1-6 6. Dasom School (서울 다솜학교): grades 10-12


Special Coffee Morning: panel discussion about multicultural students in Korea; read JoongAng Daily article here Crafted a set of qualifying questions with metrics Translated the set of questions from English to Korean

Jan. April 2017

Coffee Morning presentation • Funds disbursement

May Nov. 2017

Feb. 2018

WC members conducted interviews in Korean with the six schools

MaySept 2018 Progress and Impact Report from the school

Transcribed interviews Korean to English translations Select top three schools then conduct additional interviews and site visits WC selects one exceptional school Take the selection to the SIWA Board of Directors for final approval Announcement of the winning recipient school will be made at the 55th SIWA & Diplomatic Community Bazaar on Nov. 13

For more information, please contact Neeti Virmani at welfare@siwakorea.com or Anne Choe president@siwakorea.com

October - November 2017

Fitness Issue


SIWA NEWS PyeongChang


SIWA Team Heads to PyeongChang By Monica Williams SIWA members who are volunteering for the 2018 Winter Olympics and Paralympics were treated to a site tour of Games facilities in PyeongChang and nearby Gangneung in September, courtesy of the local Olympics committee. The 20 women left Seoul bright and early for a bus ride west to Gangwon-do. Our first stop was the top of the Ski Jumping Center at Alpensia, a facility perched high in the Taebaek Mountains, and the site of the ski jumping, Nordic and snowboard competitions. Sochi was the inaugural Olympic site for women’s ski jumping. After a lunch of regional fare, we visited the ice, speed skating and hockey arenas in Gangneung. Our guide, Jinsoo Lim, told us about the varied temperature and facility requirements for figure skating, short track, speed skating and ice hockey. The Gangneung Ice Arena, the 12,000-seat venue for short track and figure skating, keeps the spectators’ area at a temperature of 15 degrees Celsius (59 degrees Fahr-

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enheit). The two-story Gangneung Oval, which will host 14 speed skating events, has more than 8,000 seats, with one level for training. The ice temperature and thickness vary by venue and sport. A dozen of the SIWA members will return to PyeongChang in March to work as volunteers at the Paralympic Games. Half of them were on the team of 20 members

who conducted video interviews of prospective foreign volunteers for both Games last winter. In February and March, SIWA members interviewed more than 600 potential workers from around the world; now they’ll join the 600 on site soon as Korea hosts its first Winter Games.

Photos by Bockhee Lee and Lisa Panopoulos


XXIII Olympic Winter Games I 9-25 Feb., 2018

Venue locations: • PyeongChang • Gangneung • Jeongseon, South Korea The Winter Olympics will feature 15 sports with individual and team events. Within the 15 sports, there are 102 events where athletes will have the chance to earn a gold, silver or bronze medal for their countries. Online general ticket sales opened Sept. 5 at tickets. pyeongchang2018.com

Many of the sports take place on the slopes: alpine skiing


cross-country skiing


ski jumping

Nordic combined

The rest take place on ice: curling


freestyle skiing


figure skating


short track


speed skating

XII Paralympic Winter Games I 9-18 March, 2018

Venue locations: PyeongChang, Gangneung, Jeongseon Competitions will be held in six sports (alpine skiing, biathlon, cross-country skiing, ice sledge hockey, snowboarding, wheelchair curling) with 80 medal events in total. https://tickets.pyeongchang2018.com October - November 2017

Fitness Issue



Climbing, Crawling, Wading, Diving What It’s Like to Do a Spartan Race By Irene Nuutila On June 10, I attended a sports event that I had been training for since February. It was an obstacle course race called Spartan. In short, it meant running, climbing over or crawling under obstacles, pushing, pulling, throwing, wading across mud obstacles, diving into water, crawling under barbed wire and jumping over fire... Doesn’t it sound exciting? As a kid I always liked climbing—trees, big stones, even our rooftop—which made my dad angry. But honestly, I am not a big fan of monotonous running and one time in the polluted Han River definitely was enough. So when I found out about this race, I thought: It’s a perfect new fitness challenge. This year, the race was organized in Hoengseong, Gangwon province, on the hills of a ski center. I registered to start at 12:45 but was late on the race day. I pre-checked the driving route on the Internet, but the car navigation gave us a much lon-

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ger estimate. (On the way back we found out why: Our car navigator did not recognize one new motorway so it guided us through smaller and thus slower roads.) So, I was nervous on the way, wondering if I would be allowed to start. And it was my first Spartan Race. Luckily, they let me start in the next heat at 1. To even get to the starting line, I had to clear the first obstacle – a low wall to jump or climb over. The first few kilometers were tough -–climbing uphill to the top of the mountain. I remember thinking to myself: Why on earth did I not train by running hills or even hiking? After what felt like forever, it was time for the first obstacle: throwing a spear! I took time to catch my breath while observing others to see which technique seemed to work best (definitely not using both hands to throw the spear!). When it was my turn, I was able to hit the target but the spear didn’t stick and I was ordered to do my first penalty. Whenever a participant is unable to overcome an obstacle, she has to do 30 burpees. A burpee is a combination of a jump and a push-up. After about

4 kilometers in the mountains in the hot sun and no water, doing 30 was tough! In the next obstacle, each runner was given an empty bucket to fill with gravel, then carry the bucket down and up the hill again. I tried to carry it on my arms, on my shoulders, even on my head… Any technique felt heavy. I started to feel like a Spartan warrior, fighting to go on, but enjoying every moment. We were rewarded by some very needed water after this obstacle. Next, I had to crawl under barbed wire. The terrain was rocky, my body was exhausted and I wondered if that obstacle would ever come to its end. This is an obstacle where everyone can expect scratches and bruises. But I assure you, the excitement and adrenaline will keep you from caring. At some obstacles, it would have been useful to have a team as team members were allowed to help each other, for example, getting over or pulling heavy things, but doing it alone was fun and sometimes a staff member offered a hand for lonely wolves like me. Since it was my first race, I ran slowly. I tried to spare my energy and power for the obstacles. I eventually crossed the finish line in 2 hours and 51 minutes – pretty average time for female participants (The time range for women was 1 hour, 36 minutes to 6 hours, 35 minutes). Female participation in the race was about 30 percent. Among all participants my ranking was well below average. But for me, the important thing was the experience and that I was able to finish. In fact, I enjoyed it so much I signed up for the next race in three months. I honestly believe that anybody can do it with a little bit of determination and normal aerobic and strength workout before the race! Are you now interested? So far there have been two adult Spartan courses in Korea: Spartan Sprint and Spartan Super. Sprint is always a minimum of 5 kilometers with at least 20 obstacles, while Super is 13 kilometers or more and has at least 25 obstacles. There is also a Spartan Kids Race. Since it was my first Spartan I chose Sprint, which was 7.3 kilometers.

CrossFit is possibly the best workout to prepare for Spartan. Even without an expensive membership to a Crossfit studio, it is easy to get ready for the race. The only money I spent in preparing for the race was buying gloves and visiting a CrossFit studio once to practice climbing a rope. Otherwise there are plenty of free outdoor places along rivers to practice hanging and lifting yourself up on bars. I often combined running, burpees and hanging exercises outdoors, or bicycling and then some circuit training. In addition, I went to the gym twice a week. YouTube has a lot of videos with specific tips on moves you can do at the gym. On the race day I recommend eating well, dressing neatly because there are photographers, but not wearing your most expensive workout clothes or shoes as they might get torn and will definitely get muddy. Leggings or even long sleeves will protect your skin from the worst scratches and sores. Avoid materials that absorb a lot of water, as they will get heavy when wet. I also recommend gloves. Don’t wear heavy eye makeup, as you will sweat and might look like a zombie with makeup melting on your cheeks. I recommend everybody challenge themselves to this exciting race! Besides, having registered for a challenging race motivates you to exercise well and not miss your workouts. For more information, go to: www.spartanrace.kr/en Irene Nuutila, from Finland, has been a SIWA member since 2015. October - November 2017

Fitness Issue



Robbie Schuldt and Mhyla Borkowski

Since its launch in 1999, Zumba has risen to become one of the most popular fitness formats in the world, with 14 million students in 186 countries in 2015. SIWA member and Zumba enthusiast Robbie Schuldt talked to Discovery about why the classes are hot and how she got started: Discovery: What is Zumba?

Robbie: Zumba is a group fitness format that uses

mostly Latin dance moves, such as salsa, merengue, cumbia and reggaeton; and global music, mostly in Spanish or Portuguese. When and why did you get interested?

I have been a certified group fitness instructor since 2000, and I really enjoy trying new formats. Living in Pittsburgh in 2011, I found Zumba at our gym. I loved it and encouraged my 16-yearold daughter Julie to try too. We looked into when she could get licensed to teach but she had to wait until she was 18. While we kept looking for a course for her, I found one in Seoul. So just two months after moving to Seoul, I got licensed to teach Zumba, and Julie did a few months later. So did you start teaching Zumba?

Well, no. I love teaching group fitness but I spent almost a decade teaching Stretch & Strengthen. So I taught that through SIWA Enrichment and in my neighborhood. But it’s fun to attend a Zumba class and have a better idea of what goes into the

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teaching and moves. I am licensed to teach six Zumba formats. How did Zumba start

and become popular?

The story goes that Alberto “Beto” Perez, a Colombian teaching aerobics in Miami, forgot his music cassettes for class one day in the 1990s. So he grabbed the Latin music in his car. He just made up the moves as he went along during that class, dancing from his heart. And the class participants loved it! They asked him to teach this type of class instead of what he had been teaching because it was so much more fun. Where does the name Zumba come from?

Well, when Beto realized he might have the beginnings of a business, he paired with his longtime friend, Beto Perlman, and they thought about branding. Rumor has it that they wanted something that sounded Spanish but was easy for English speakers to pronounce. They first thought of “Rumba” which is a type of Latin dancing, but knew the initial “R” was difficult for English speakers to roll. So they went through the whole alphabet: Bumba, Dumba, Gumba, Lumba, Tumba, etc. until they hit on the best one with Zumba! Why do you think it’s so popular?

Just like Beto’s first class, Zumba feels more like a party than a workout. The moves are fun and


easy to follow. Instructors use non-verbal cues and simple moves with repetition. Instructors put a lot of time into making it look easy to lead a class. They have to work well with the music, cue at just the right time, do everything “left” when they want their students to do it “right,” and exaggerate their movements so students can follow easily and will feel willing to try new moves. And a group of Koreans, Japanese, Americans, Germans, Canadians and Brazilians with no common verbal language can all take the same Zumba class!

Zumba instructor. Mhyla and I seek out Zumba opportunities to attend together as often as possible.

You mentioned a Zumba convention.

How does a SIWA member in Seoul find a

Yes. This summer was the 10th year. It’s a fiveday event in Orlando, Florida, attended by about 7,000 Zumba instructors. Last year I attended with my daughter, Julie, and this year with SIWA Vice President Mhyla Borkowski, who is also a licensed

What’s the newest offering by Zumba?

STRONG by Zumba, which was introduced last year, is an amazing new class. It is strength training without dance. Music is an important component. It capitalizes on the existing knowledgeable instructor network and the Zumba name, and invites those who are not interested in dance to participate in effective sequences taught in the Zumba class style. I did my STRONG certification in Bali.


If you are a member of a gym or club that offers group fitness, they probably offer Zumba, or if they don’t, you can ask them to offer it. Also: • ZBOYZ offer classes at 10 a.m. weekdays in the French Village. Contact Jin Park at 010-2111-9837 to reserve a spot. • YWCA in Myeong-dong offers Zumba with Suryong Lee. Contact him at 010-5012-6752 or on Facebook. • PAS Dance Movement Center is in Itaewon – www.pasdance.com • Karma Healing Center Studio is near Apgujeong Rodeo – karmacenter.co.kr Robbie Schuldt is an American who joined SIWA in 2012. October - November 2017

Fitness Issue



By Deb Hong Looking for a physical activity where you can learn to protect yourself and have fun at the same time? Consider Krav Maga. Krav Maga is Hebrew for “contact combat” and is a martial art and selfdefense and fighting system. Developed in the late 1930s by Israeli martial artist Imi Lichtenfeld, it was used by the Israeli army before being developed for civilian use in the 1960s. It is a highly effective form of self-defense due to its practicality, counter attacks and focus on real-world situations. While it has roots in several martial arts, it is based on instinct and natural body movement, and thus can be learned relatively quickly. Krav Maga is especially useful for women. It’s a sad fact that women are targets of sexual assault and violence, and many women experience fear when walking alone at night. Due to Krav Maga’s focus on tactical self-defense, you can learn skills

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to fend off an attacker, and cultivate alertness and awareness to prevent dangerous situations. Since it’s a system designed to exploit weak points and take down opponents regardless of size and strength, you don’t need to be particularly big or strong. The emphasis is placed on learning and repeating moves, which will help keep them at the front of your mind when you’re under stress and help you free yourself from an attacker. This all can help give better peace of mind and increase confidence. Besides the practical benefits, Krav Maga is fun. I attended a women’s self-defense workshop recently and learned techniques to prevent and combat wrist and hair grabs, chokes, bear hugs, and knife threats. You practice moves with a partner after watching demonstrations by instructors who also explain the moves by breaking them down bit by bit. Embrace your inner Wonder Woman through mock punching, striking and grappling with a partner. Since the students are all women,

A fun group exercise to train your senses in order to increase alertness and awareness at KMF Korea’s women’s self-defense workshop on July 2 . Photos: KMF Korea

Fending off a chokehold at KMF Korea’s women’s self-defense workshop on July 2.

Learning basic movement for ground fighting at KMF Korea’s women’s self-defense workshop on July 2. the environment is safe, non-competitive and has strong camaraderie. It’s incredibly empowering and also a great form of stress release. Interested in checking it out? The Krav Maga Federation (KMF) Korea offers women’s self-defense classes every Saturday and occasional workshops at a gym in Itaewon. KMF Korea is part of the Krav Maga Federation, which was originally

developed in Israel by Master Alain Cohen, and is the only accredited Krav Maga school in Asia. For more information about classes, visit www. kmfkorea.com/#home. Deb Hong is a Korean-Canadian who has lived in Seoul for close to nine years and has been a SIWA member since 2015. October - November 2017

Fitness Issue



Kids By Maitri Shah Early in 2015, I agreed to lead my first yoga class for children at my son’s school –-The British International Kindergarten, Hannam (now a tieup with Eton House). I’d been an active parent in the community and the principal knew my yoga credentials and asked If I would be interested in undertaking a monthlong after-school yoga class. I, immediately responded with a YES! I mean this could only go one way – the fun way! Personally, teaching children yoga has been both a rewarding and humbling experience. If anything, it has reminded me not to take myself too seriously. Children, with their innate inquisitiveness, creativity and unbounded energy, inspire me to bring just the right amount of “Zen” into a classroom. In the beginning, my classes were structured in a familiar way: an introduction, followed by a short game and then a children’s tale that incorporated Yoga Asanas into the flow. Children seemed to enjoy it and it gave them a fun way to review and retain yoga asanas into long term memory. Then in February 2016 two incidents happened that deeply

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impacted and changed my class structure forever. The first: I had an opportunity to train with Sonia Sumar, a global leading authority on Yoga for the Special Child. Her teaching greatly influenced me and deeply convinced me that children as young as 4, can be expected to and do sit in silence, resulting in a positive mind-body connection. The second: Come winter or any change in climate, my 4-year-old boy’s nose would go for a toss. It would take turns at being runny and stuffy. It almost became a norm for him to sleep with a blocked nose and an open (stinky) mouth. Needless to say, none of us were able to sleep well. He would wake up frequently and needed a saline spray or infant medicated nose drops through the night. One such night, things came to a head. He was waking up every hour because of his blocked nose and was just plain uncomfortable. That’s when I decided to try “Jal Neti,” a yogic technique to clean your nose and sinus tracts, on him. We haven’t looked back. As a family we now have an effective way to reduce and mitigate the horrors of a blocked and


runny nose that used to plague us all winter. However, the essence of this story is not the technique per se, but that a seemingly “adult yogic” practice could be used with modifications successfully on children, too. This got me thinking about other techniques that could be modified and incorporated into a children’s class. Since these two incidents I’ve changed the format of my class and now see more benefits for the child. I continue to have an opening introduction, which is then followed by a compulsory headstand or handstand practice, which children adore. The blood rush to their brains helps them calm down significantly. Then, there’s the usual yoga inspired games and a story that incorporates the various yoga asanas. We now do two things: Trataka (Candle Gazing): An easy way to develop still meditation and concentration in children. Yoga Nidra (Yogic Sleep): This is an adapted practice for children, which utilizes awareness of the body and creative visualization to help children make the mind-body connect. From my experience, teaching both able and special-needs children, I strongly believe that a dedicated and intentional yoga practice that includes breathing techniques, physical postures

and mindfulness can be incredibly valuable for them. The list of benefits is long, however the most important five would be: • Enhances Physical Flexibility • Refines Balance and Coordination  • Develops Focus and Concentration  • Boosts Self-Esteem and Confidence  • Strengthens the Mind-Body Connection  If you’ve chosen to read this article, you already have an inkling about what yoga can achieve. Perhaps you have a practice of your own and now wish to bring the joys of yoga to your child. Whether you are a yogi or not, entertaining the question “what is yoga?” is an important step in the direction of introducing this wonderful practice to your child. Oftentimes, parents notice how yoga benefits their kids, but the best judges are the children themselves. Children who have practiced yoga tell teachers and parents that they are able to concentrate better during the day, focus more on their activities, and pay attention to their tasks -- all the finest endorsements of an age-old practice. Maitri Shah joined SIWA in 2014. She runs a photography business – Maitri Shah Photography & is a passionate kids’ yoga teacher.

October - November 2017

Fitness Issue



The Great Outdoor Gyms: By Georgia Scott Today, the once barren lands of 1960s Korea are now lush forests, manicured parks and dominating high rise office buildings and apartment complexes, making the landscape far too beautiful to only exercise indoors. Especially now with the warm colors and cool breezes of fall, there’s no better time in Korea to take your exercise routine outside. Outdoor fitness experts insist that exercising in the fresh air—among the elements, is the best way to strengthen your physical, mental and emotional condition, and also deepen the connection you have with the environment. So lace up those sneakers and let’s take a stroll around the streets, parks and river fronts of Seoul—where every few dozen meters are all-weather, self-powered or self-weighted exercise equipment.

Climbing, Crawling, How did outdoor fitness start in Korea?

One theory—from employees at the Green Seoul Bureau / Park and Landscape Policy Division—is that it’s a result of Korea’s attention to fitness after the 1988 Seoul Olympics. A second theory—from Jo HyeonJeong, the owner of Firefly Korea, a doorto-door meal delivery service for foreigners that specializes in traditional Korean meals and teas— is that it was out of necessity. “Most Koreans live in apartments, where there are often strict policies against exercising indoors,” she explained. “People needed a way to exercise.” Many complexes have an indoor gym for residents, but “even if we have access to an indoor gym,” she continued, “Koreans still enjoy going to gym parks.” Where to go For insight on where to go for the

best views, I went to Korea Tourism and found out that there are five best gym parks with great views along the Han: (from west to east) Nanji Hangang Park near World Cup Stadium, Yanghwa HP near Seonyudo Station, Yeouido HP in Yeouido, Banpo

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HP near Express Bus Terminal, and Ttukseom HP, near Ttukseom Station. What’s available The director of each park has

discretion over how to dip into his or her share of Seoul’s 25 billion won parks budget, which includes equipment to install, and which manufacturer to contract with. This makes every park different, and definitely worth exploring.

Is it effective? Most of the machines are de-

signed to work individual muscles, and have illustrations of which muscles will be affected. Unfortunately, self-weight machines won’t stimulate your muscles as well as free weights, so you have to really push yourself to work up a good sweat.

What to expect Most machines can’t be adjust-

ed, and some can be pretty awkward if you’re tall. Additionally, they naturally get dirty from the elements, and. depending on lack of use, you might have to brush off a spider web or two.

FITNESS Sit-up Board One

of the most famous calisthenic exercises, situps and crunches target the abdominal muscles and strengthen the core. I love the arched benches because they also stretch the back. Bring a towel, as these can get dusty.

Muscle Roller Verti-

cal rollers for the back, and horizontal rollers for the legs, help relax your muscles and improve blood circulation. Hold on to the hand grips, press the target area firmly on the roller, and slowly move back and forth.

Shoulder Rotator

Helps increase flexibility in the shoulders, arms, and wrists by rotating your arms in wide circular motions. Great for warming up before a routine and for light rehabilitation.

Tai Chi Spinner

Great for reducing stress, stand straight or with bent knees and turn both wheels at the same time. They are low impact, calming; and promote flexibility in the shoulders, arms and wrists.

Elliptical / Crosstrainer simulates the motion of cross-

country skiing and offers a no-impact, cardiovascular workout, simultaneously exercising your upper and lower body, chest, biceps, and shoulders.

Back Extension Too few

gym parks offer this simple calisthenics exercise that targets the lower back, abs, glutes and hamstrings. It can enhance flexibility and improve posture and alignment. Proper form is important, so be sure to read the instructions.

Twister Stand and rotate your lower body, twisting your hips and abdomen to stretch your back and improve flexibility. It’s ideal cardio for loosening the waist and hips while helping to relax the back muscles, and strengthen agility. Air Walker / Ski Walker

By swinging your legs back and forth, this no-impact cardio workout can be effective. It’s fun, really good for the lower body, and excellent for seniors.

Barbells Valuable tool for safely building up strength and muscles. Its theft-proof design makes it impossible to add additional free weights, but that’s a minor sacrifice. October - November 2017

Fitness Issue



Photos: Lois Allore, Mhyla Borkowski and Robin Carney

By Monica Williams Team SIWA Korea turned out bright and early for another year to support the international Peace Marathon in Gangnam. Some members pushed strollers with sleepy toddlers while others were accompanied by their teenagers. A few brought spouses while others came alone, but all 50 came to walk -- or run-- with 10,000 others. The Korea-U.S. Friendship Peace Marathon Race, now in its 15th year, is usually held every Oct. 3, or Korea’s public holiday called National Foundation Day, to celebrate world peace and reconciliation. This year it was held Sept. 30, before the Chuseok holiday. SIWA members have participated in the marathon since 2013. The first, sponsored by the Eighth U.S. Army station in Korea, was attended by diplomats and foreign dignitaries from 98 countries and the money collected paid for desk and chairs for children in Afghanistan. Every year, the military band signals the start of the race, which encompasses four different competitions including full course, half course, 10-kilometer running, and 5-kilometer running, with all entry fees going to UNICEF. Gangnam-gu waives fees for SIWA members.

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Two Weeks’ Notice By Vanessa Harper Up until a few days ago I thought of two weeks’ notice to be nothing more than a professional courtesy you extend to your employer when you are quitting that job. Two weeks’ notice gives your employer an opportunity to find and train a suitable candidate for your replacement before your departure. One phone call back to Canada was enough to change the definition for the rest of my life. The day that I called my mother was the day my otherwise perfectly happy and healthy aunt had gone in for a checkup. After a number of tests she was told that she has cancer everywhere in her body and had two weeks to live. Two weeks’ notice. This single piece of information led me to reintroduce four important concepts: 1. Live in the moment. Life unfolds in the present.

But so often, we let the present slip away, allowing time to rush past unobserved and un-seized and squandering the precious seconds of our lives as we worry about the future or wallow in the events of the past. Living in the moment is called mindfulness and it is a state of active, open, intentional attention to the now. Practicing mindfulness is simple but it certainly isn’t easy. It requires nothing more than a quiet place to sit down, relax and focus on your breath. Be present with each inhale and each exhale. Practicing mindfulness/meditation reduces stress, boosts your immune system and lowers your blood pressure and risk of heart disease. Experts say you can experience the benefits in as little as 5 minutes a day. 2. Say I love you. The power of these three words

whether they be written or spoken can be the most

powerful words in the world. Wouldn’t it be incredible if the entire human race could lower their defenses and abandoned their fears of being hurt or rejected to tell each other just how much we love each other? At the end of the day, all we truly are is love. Tell the important people in your life how much you love them and tell them often. Nobody dies with the regret of telling someone too often how much they cared but people die every day with their hearts still wounded from a love they never truly expressed. 3. Express gratitude. Being grateful makes us

more optimistic, reduces negativity and simply makes us happier. Say “thank you” for everything that happens in your life. There is good in every situation. Sometimes it takes a little longer and a little more effort to find but it’s always there. Keeping an abundance journal can be helpful to cultivate gratitude. Designate a notebook and keep it close to your bed. Every night before you go to sleep record a minimum of three things that happened that day that you are grateful for. When you keep a journal, you can look back and remember how much you have to be thankful for when life doesn’t seem to be going your way.

4. Never go to bed angry. When you go to bed

angry or with a grudge, the only person that you are hurting is yourself. Make peace with everything that happens within that day, forgive anyone that may have hurt your feelings or acted in a way you didn’t approve of, and most importantly forgive yourself. We all do our very best based on the skills, knowledge and information that we have. There is one thing in this world that we have complete control over and that is our thoughts. We choose whether to make our thoughts positive or negative. Which do you choose? Vanessa Harper is a former SIWA member living in Canada. October - November 2017

Fitness Issue



Recent Interest Group Highlights On any given day, SIWA members are learning something new, discovering a hidden talent, sharing their experiences or giving back to the community through one of SIWA’s Interest Groups or Tours.

Whether it is a one-day outing or a monthly gathering, join in the fun through a SIWA member – organized and – led activities. Online advance registration is required at www.siwakorea.com.

Korean-English Conversation Group

The Korean-English Conversation group offers the opportunity for Korean speakers to practice their English and for non-Korean speakers to practice their Korean, at different meeting places, such as museums and parks, during lunchtime. Members learn, teach, and encourage each other through casual conversations.

Summer Temple Foods

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SIWA NEWS International Culinary Exchange

International Culinary Exchange is a delicious way for SIWA members to use their culinary skills, learn about the food customs of other countries and exchange recipes. The host member teaches the cooking class, either at her home or at another venue. All participants receive cooking instructions and share the prepared meal at the end of the class.

Scandinavian Homestyle Kitchen

Cuisine from Uzbekistan

October - November 2017

Fitness Issue



No Snow? No Problem. Behold Virtual Skiing By Monica Williams Seoul has long had a love affair with “screen golf,” a virtual and indoor alternative to 18 rounds of tee time outdoors. Now, there are venues where people can virtually bowl, play tennis, horseback ride, and even ski and they’re opening in all manner of places. These VR sports facilities are offering pro and novice athletes a way to shape up without concerns about weather or space. A snowboarding injury a few years ago left me reticent to return to the slopes, so I was excited about the SIWA tour in March to go skiing and snowboarding at UrbanSlope, the only virtual reality facility for the snow sports. It opened late

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last year in Gangnam. Children are welcome so we SIWA members brought our teenage children. The virtual version of downhill skiing is lifelike but less risky, thanks the same simulator the U.S. Ski Team uses to train. At UrbanSlope, our group was fitted with ski boots and linked with an instructor before tackling one of five simulators for snow sports. The machines re-create realistic slope conditions with nearly every aspect of the slope available for customization. With the press of a button, we could choose settings such as the slope’s length and the softness or iciness of the snow. Once we got acclimated, we could increase the difficulty of the run and even try weaving around slalom gates. Intense vibrations enhance the lifelike experience. I started out slowly, exerting the muscles in

my legs to operate the machine and change my speed to navigate a course that appears on a huge, high-definition panoramic screen. “You can be more aggressive,” UrbanSlope owner Tom Shin told me repeatedly, as I was reticent to weave too quickly. Within a few minutes at an 85-mileper-hour pace, I was out of breath and felt the burn in my thighs. Most Urban Slope customers, Shin says, top out within 15 minutes. The cost for a session is 60,000 to 110,000 won ($54 to $98) for 40 minutes. In Korea, some amateur athletes use ski simulators at UrbanSlope to perfect their form. One could pull up a course, for example, from the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. I asked if it’s possible to replicate the course for the PyeongChang 2018 Games. Yes, Shin responded, but “I’m not supposed to play that one.” While the U.S. Ski Team has long embraced the technology to improve its performance, VR practice hasn’t quite caught on with Korean Olympic athletes. “They seemed to have concluded that it won’t help despite the fact that the Korea Ski Association and the like made numerous inquiries directly to the manufacturer,” Shin said. “It could

be due to the high cost of the machines.” An avid skier, Shin spent two decades in sales and marketing at Asia Brown Boveri and Samsung Electronics before becoming CEO of Korea Maritime Consultants, the owner of UrbanSlope. “This is not something I started to make big bucks, but more to create a cultural boom,” he said. “I wanted to introduce this new culture to Korea. I enjoy watching people’s faces when they are on the machine — expressions of pure joy.” About UrbanSlope UrbanSlope opened in November 2016 and is the only virtual ski and snowboard center in Korea. Children are welcome. Call in advance to reserve a simulator and check for boot sizes if needed. You can also take your own boots. UrbanSlope Gangnam-gu, Nonhyeonro 132 Gil 6, Seoul 02-516-2018 Urbanslope.co.kr October - November 2017

Fitness Issue



Highlights from Recent SIWA Tours

s Korean Antique Market Dapsimni Leeum Samsung Museum of Art t

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Upcoming Events Get more information on tours and events and register online at www.siwakorea.com Oct. 13 I K-Orientation: Survival Korean for Taxis Non-Korean speakers may experience many challenges here. Our orientation series will help you learn vital skills to make your life easier in Korea. In this orientation, we will focus on tips and Korean phrases useful for taking a taxi.

s Homeplus Shopping Experience

Oct. 17 Tour: Monet Reinterpreted. Drawing Light Two famous Korean collage artists have collaborated to create a fantastic reinterpretation of Claude Monet’s paintings. The artists exhibition consists of two-dimensional and three-dimensional media art, creative sculptures and designs. Viewers will be able to enjoy Monet’s beautiful mastery of scenery and light in a new and interesting way. Oct. 17 Community Service: Infant Orphanage Visit Would you like to hold and care for babies who are awaiting adoption? Children’s doctors, nurses and caregivers care for them but they still need volunteers who are able to hold them, talk to them and feed them. Oct. 18 I Working Women’s Network The speaker is Kyoung-won Koshi, a businessminded woman with many hidden talents. For many years, she has orchestrated behind the scenes for the famous hanbok designer Soon-wha Lee. She also has been managing the original Korean musical ”Goonsu Seongeo.”​ Nov. 2 I Tour: Horse Riding Field Trip Join us for a tour and optional horseback riding lesson at Balios Equestrian Club in scenic western Korea. We will receive a tour from an Englishspeaking guide and enjoy the beauty of their stateof-the-art riding facilities. This exclusive equestrian center includes competition level indoor and outdoor arenas, trails, stables, coaches and, of course, gorgeous horses. Nov. 9 I Book Club This month, we will be reading and discussing “The First Wife A Tale of Polygamy” by Paulina Chiziane

Yangjae Flower Market

Nov. 13 SIWA and Diplomatic Community Bazaar 2017 The SIWA and Diplomatic Community Bazaar is the largest international fundraising event in Seoul. Embassies from more than 30 nations, women’s clubs, welfare organizations, vendors, local and international sponsors and countless volunteers come together to sell unique products, foods and craft from around the world.

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Fitness Issue


Want to look fashionable and give to charity while you stay in shape? Check out the pink #SIWAkorea T-shirt designed by our own in-house graphic designer Irene Nuutila. You can purchase one for KRW 10,000 at the Bazaar or by emailing Robin Carney at vpbrand@siwakorea.com. All proceeds benefit the SIWA Welfare Fund.

Profile for SIWA Korea

2017 10 11 SIWA Discovery  

Learn about the exercise equipment in Korean parks, how to run a Spartan race and find out about Krav Maga in this issue of Discovery.

2017 10 11 SIWA Discovery  

Learn about the exercise equipment in Korean parks, how to run a Spartan race and find out about Krav Maga in this issue of Discovery.

Profile for siwakorea