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Malcolm Donaldson has an unusual talisman in his office. It’s a 6-foot trophy he won competing in the kuk sool won world championship last year. The associate at Oakland, Calif.’s Filice, Brown, Eassa & McLeod said he keeps the trophy on hand “to stay motivated.” At the end of the month he’s competing in this year’s championship in Gyeongju, Korea. While he’s won the tournament twice before — as a first degree in 1997 and a second degree last year — this year’s contest may be more challenging since it involves full contact sparring. “I’m a little uneasy about that,” said Donaldson, whose experience has been limited to point sparring, in which opponents separate when one of them lands a kick or punch. To prepare for the tournament, he’s working out with Filice Brown executive director Bob Beyer at a kung fu karate school, which does full contact sparring. Donaldson began practicing the Korean martial art kuk sool won while attending Lowell High School in San Francisco. But it wasn’t until law school that he began training seriously. The style involves kicks, joint lock techniques, throws, pressure points, sparring and weapons. The martial arts system was created in 1958 by In Hyuk Suh, whose grandfather taught martial arts to the Korean army. Suh’s grandfather gave him a letter of introduction that enabled him to study with various martial arts masters in Korea. He subsequently combined the various styles into his own school. Donaldson, who practices employment and personal injury law, said studying the martial arts is rejuvenating. “You get limber, feel strong and get a lot of exercise in a short time frame,” he said. “When you learn to train like that it carries into work. You can hone in on something with that focus.”

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