Phil Merulli Koo Self Defense

A New Beginning to a Healthier Life

Welcome to my web page. You will read how Koo Self Defense, a unique martial art training system developed by Master Roger Koo has changed my entire life. In November 1987, I was diagnosed with Hodgkins Disease (Cancer of the Lymphatic System). After several surgeries and radiation therapy, I went into remission only for a few months. I then had a recurrence of the disease. This required many more surgeries and fourteen months of intensive Chemotherapy. In April of 1990, at the age of 31, my doctor told me that I was in remission again. My road to recovery has not been easy.

The amount of Chemotherapy I needed left my cardiovascular system stiff, tight and brittle. I gained a good bit of weight, and fatigue easily. Currently at age 39, I know it is time to make some permanent changes for a healthier lifestyle and to feel better. My flexibility in my body has become so stiff and tight that simple things such as tying my shoes and getting out of bed are a tiring task. Through research I had learned that martial arts training was an excellent way to achieve flexibility.

This is when I contacted Master Koo, Founder of Koo Self Defense International in Downtown Cartersville,Metro Atlanta, Georgia, USA. I explained my medical history and what I wanted to achieve.

Master Koo explained what his training program has to offer:

Flexibility: apart from doing the 15 minutes stretching exercises in the studio, do the same exercises for longer period at home and focus on the breathing exercise that complement the stretching routine. Cardiovascular Workout: Koo Self Defense has been designed for people to work at their own pace and that in a short period of time the workout will take any person to their limits making it the most intense workout available anywhere. Strength, Endurance/Stamina: work at my own level of fitness at my own pace and gradually increase the hitting power on the focus mitts and shields drills. As time goes by, I will see an improvement in my strength, stamina and endurance.

He informed me that as I get fitter/stronger, I will never get use to Koo Self Defense's workout as the training program is design to increase in intensity as I progress up the colored belt rankings, which will eventually push everyone in his studio to become the fittest athlete. He warned me of his Stamina Classes and by doing these classes the other classes would be a breeze.

Weight Reduction: Master Koo advised me that to loose weight with his workout program, I will have to change my overall lifestyle which includes me quitting smoking and change my eating habits especially what I eat. Co-ordination, Concentration & Mental Focus: with the unique drills that he has developed, the overall co-ordination for both sides of my body will greatly improve and holding the focus mitts and shields for a training partner will improve my concentration and mental focus. Street Self Defense: Master Koo advised me that although my primary reason for coming to his studio was not for self defense, I will be getting the additional benefit of street self defense from the workout and that I will be training with very powerful students regardless of size, shape, physical abilities or disabilities.

Energy level: He informed that I will notice that my level of energy will improve drastically within the first few lessons and will feel less fatigue as I make progress. Weights Aerobic Workout: He advised me how to built up my strength using very light dumbbells and perform very fast aerobic workout nonstop in different sequences for different muscles. I started at Koo Self Defense on May 11, 1998 and quit smoking altogether.

Today is June 9, 1998 and after 15 classes, I am very please to announce that I have lost 12 lbs., from 212lbs. down to 200lbs. My flexibility is returning, I remember demonstrating to Master Koo prior to my joining his studio I could not swing my leg straight up, barely up to my waist level. After two of his classes, I could swing my leg up to a height where my toes surpass my head. My energy level is much greater, I do not fatigue easily and I feel very energetic.

Master Koo has been very helpful with diet tips, what to avoid, what to eat, light home workout tips and lifestyle changes in general. He is truly dedicated to what he has developed and to his students. I train with some of the most powerful students, power that I have never imagine that could be generated from the human body, there are plenty more powerful students I have yet to be partnered with.

I know that I am on the right track to a healthier lifestyle with Koo Self Defense workout. If anyone has had health setbacks such as myself, I strongly recommend his workout program. Many, many thanks to Master Koo and K.S.D.I

Update September 13, 1998

I have been a KSD student for 5 months now. My weight loss so far is 22 pounds, weighing 190 lbs down from 212 lbs, my waist is down from a 38" to nearly 35". My training under Master Koo has given me great results.

Flexibility, Strength, Coordination, Stamina, and Energy levels have improved by phenomenal measurement. At a recent doctor's checkup, I was told that I had a heart rate of an athlete.

Each of my challenging workout classes at KSD have become powerfully addicting to me. Today is my birthday, and I am 40 years young! I feel and look better that I have in years! Again, many thanks Master Koo.


Today is April 26, 1999 and I have completed 125 classes. This month makes one year that I have been training at Koo Self Defense (KSD).

Initially, my primary reason for joining KSD were (a) to improve my flexibility, (b) to get into shape and (c) to just feel better with an exercise program.

I have had excellent result achieving all of these goals and now have set my sights on higher health goals.

My flexibility is much greater, my weight loss has stabilized and now I am building muscle mass and toning. I have more endurance gained through Master Koo's kickboxing aerobics and street self defense drills. My overall health today cannot be compared to a year ago, I am a completely different person and I feel great!

Over this past year, I would like to mention the visual changes that I have seen in my fellow students that I train with both men and women. Their flexibility, stamina, coordination and above all, their "POWER," has greatly improved.

At one point in time, I thought my classes would start getting easier for me. "WRONG," the fact is they keep getting harder. This is why I have got much "STRONGER." Whether I'm in a small lunch time class or a very large evening or Saturday morning class, Master Koo always makes you feel like he's your ‘personal trainer', it's like as if he has a 6th sense of what his students' wants.

I never knew how far I would go at KSD with my health history of ups and downs. My accomplishments so far are good ones to me, my wife and my family. My higher health goals now are to keep training hard at KSD and hopefully achieve my black belt.

Every class and colored belt that I earn is due to hard work, hard hits, determination and above all a lot of sweating. Nothing else compares to a KSD workout.

On the weekends, I play a little basketball, ride a stationary bike, and lift weights at home, but the classes at KSD are in a class by themselves. NOTHING COMPARES!

This is all the results of Master Koo's outstanding Professional Training Format. Thank-you for visiting my web page. Please return for future progress updates. I would like to thank Master Koo and KSDI for my continued success.

E-mail: Phil Merulli

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Updated 04/09/2001

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