By: Mr. Smith
The true Martial Arts way is "self-self defense" which means stop beating yourself up from past mistakes, pain, suffering, failures, ptsd, childhood trauma, divorce, grief, broken relationships and live the life of your dreams by knowing that our thinking of our self is the greatest gift of all. It’s difficult to stay positive in a high competitive environment, but the only way to adapt is to create your martial arts training to be harder than life. Loving and accepting yourself then and only then can we project that self love onto others. The problem is we are a capitalist society where citizens think money, things, prestige, fame, wants and victory over others like in a cage-fight is most important; this is the wrong way to live and act. We need to teach our students, kids, Kata/Form because while we do want them to survive a life or death fight, LIFE will hit harder than any punch or kick, but to conquer a man or woman is wrong, to conquer your mind is the only way. Form is the mental side of martial arts. We change our thinking that the enemy is not in front of me, but the enemy IS ME. My thinking is the enemy. Practicing kata/form you never conquer it, but we fight through the kicks and stances, punches and blocks, breathing and kiyapping, balance and will, hyper awareness can iron out the wrinkles of your life. As we age we begin to realize all the friends that came and went, bad business relationships, even physical confrontation could have been avoided if we handled it better emotionally. It’s never anyone else’s fault for making you feel a certain way. We all love complements, but what if someone offends you? That’s not a reflection on you unless you allow it. Understand your enemy is the way you react to pain, suffering and criticism, embrace it especially your past. Don’t blame others! Accept what was, what is, and what will be, and above it all, have faith….through fighting we lose faith, hope, forgiveness, love…go beyond the win , go within…
By, Mr. Smith
Sir’s / Ma’am’s: when I signed up under my instructor, GM Dae Woong Chung, I just wanted to learn self-defense from a mystical character like my favorite tv show growing up: Kung Fu. I wasn’t even looking for Taekwondo let alone Chang Moo Kwan. In fact, I didn’t even know it was called Changmookwan until I tested for my black belt 5.5 years after I started. SGM Num Suk Lee was one of my judges at the all Korean judging panel. Up until that point I just called it traditional Taekwondo to my students and anyone who asked. And that we had to write a 100-page black belt thesis and wait 1-year after we tested to see if we passed. I thought the “wait” and having to write a “thesis” separated “us” from “them”. You know, like make it more difficult. But after 33-years under the same instructor, I have witnessed tremendous politics. I think too much emphasis has been placed on our style Changmookwan and not enough on the original messages from the source which is: Courtesy, Justice, Perseverance/indomitable Spirit, Self-Control and Fighting Spirit. I have applied these things to my life and have accomplished many of my goals and I’ve never once gotten into a fist fight outside of sparring at the studio. But I fight through my day and use these principles and they work very well in the business world btw: our mind is the greatest weapon. If the well that feeds the river is dirty, then all that flows from it will be unclean but if the well starts clean the river will be clean. The “well” is our mind and the “water” is our life. The hatred we have for others is the same hatred we have for ourself, we reflect what we feel. I only opened a studio after my instructor kept telling me I’d make a great studio owner. I tell new students when they ask “what’s the difference between your school and other TKD schools? I say “The Martial Arts developed in Asia over 5,000 years ago, which then developed and evolved into something beautiful, harmonious and powerful. Over the last few years, however, a cloud has come over this original beauty: cage fighting, blood soaked video arcade games and point obsessed trophy-tournaments, too many people are losing sight of the original vision. My hope is that I can help the student understand the true meaning of Martial Arts. The enemy we seek defense against is not in front of us but in our own mind...”notice I don’t say Chang Moo Kwan just like my instructor didn’t tell me CMK when I asked him 33-years ago. Like it or not the Japanese influenced our Korean styles during the occupation but when we get wrapped up in “style, self, promotion, competition” we succumb to “them” mentality and lose focus on the original message: enhance the students experience and always lift others higher then when they arrived. I’m proud to be a part of this TKD-CMK family but let’s not lose sight on why we started and proceed with childlike qualities learning not just “style” but about how we can “become” better through teaching, reaching and preaching these original principles. Watch the news lately? The world doesn’t need more violence, it needs us to teach that the ultimate self-defense we seek is not in who is higher, highest, best, better, the true connection we seek is love of self and stop fighting against and flow with......you know like the forms we teach! People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.
I wrote this this morning in response to an ad on cage-fighting that headlined “dominate your opponent again like when you were young” which triggered this response:
By Mr. Smith
Feeling invincible = domination over another ? Wrong teaching strategy dominate your anger issues through traditional Kata/forms. Martial arts was designed to help the everyday man, woman and child to harness the natural power we all have within. Yes, sparring IS important but not necessary to conquer yourself. Remember we are teachers of “self-defense” not “self-offense”. Confidence comes from conquering our own emotions not physically conquering an enemy in front of us the enemy is inside of us. Please preach Courtesy First before we clench our fist. Justice before we have prejudice, Perseverance to punch through situations not people, Self-Control means everything in moderation and Fighting Spirit means to conquer thyself our emotional mind, form is about this. Cut out form and you have a “fight club” we don’t need more Violence in the world.