Simply Paradise: SoonHo Song Art Exhibit Opens Saturday

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It may sound clichéd, but trust me when I say this: SoonHo Song changes lives.

Inside his traditional Tae Kwon Do and judo studio in Santa Cruz, Master Song works to transform sweet freckle-faced girls into disciplined lethal weapons, helps less-than-graceful guys become fleet-footed fighters, and ensures everybody side-kicks and knife-hand-strikes their way into the best workouts of their lives. “The pain is your friend,” he’ll sometimes tell his students to encourage them during a serious training session.

But addition to mastering the martial arts, Soonho Song is also an accomplished visual artist.

A new solo exhibition featuring his artwork, which begins this Saturday in Sausalito, offers a view into what he does when he’s not training the future black belts of the world. Many of his paintings feature brilliant colors and mesmerizing graphics, others include ocean scenes — there’s even a piece capturing his artist’s studio.

The SoonHo Song solo exhibition continues through December 2008 at Paradise Bay, 1200 Bridgeway, Sausalito. Check out his website for directions and details.

And, by the way, I know for a fact that Master Song has changed at least one life — mine. Thanks to him, I’ve discovered the joy of snapping a pine board with my bare foot and the inner calm that ensues — despite the occasional severe pain — after a good sparring match.

-- Mary Spicuzza

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