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The Haircut

Reading Time: 6 minutes

It was 1992 and the Lubbock, Texas Community Center was beginning to empty as we showered and I finished quickly and waited in the lobby. The last two days had certainly been an experience. How else would you describe packing 14 people in a motorhome designed for eight and then heading 600 miles across West Texas with half a ton of bricks and boards to give a series of demonstrations in multiple cities hundreds of miles apart in only two days? Officially, we were here to promote and unify Master Chu's remote schools, but it seemed that togetherness and cooperation were the real theme of this trip.

As I sat comfortably on a couch in the lobby, I remember seeing Master Chu coming out of the dressing room with a towel in one hand and his uniform in the other. Kris Poole and I noted that he looked somewhat tired and distracted, but we figured it was because of the tremendous amount of energy he had expended in his part of the demonstrations over the last few days. After all, jumping over four people and breaking six concrete blocks, sparring 2 people, doing several forms and numerous other board breaking feats three times today plus traveling three hundred miles and doing it all again could make anyone look tired. I thought no more about it.

It was about midnight when we arrived at the local Instructor's apartment where we were to spend the night. Everyone was exhausted and looked like walking zombies as we stumbled from the motorhome out onto the apartment complex parking lot bathed in dreary street lamp orange. Master Chu called us into a circle and said he knew it would be crowded, but we should stay together and accept the Instructor's hospitality so we would not hurt his feelings. Last night in Abilene, Texas we had trouble finding places for 14 people to lie down at that instructor's home and tonight there was even less room in this apartment, but we were all willing to try. Everyone that is, except one Dan who insisted he would go to a hotel so there would be more room for those who wanted to stay.

Once more, Master Chu repeated his instructions and requested him to accept the inconvenience and stay with the group, but the Dan insisted he would go to the hotel and take a couple of people with him so it would be less crowded. We were all beginning to get uncomfortable because he was being requested, by his Instructor, to do something specific and he was absolutely refusing. He was our junior, but we said nothing to him thinking Master Chu could handle any discipline problem better than we. For the third time, Master Chu repeated his instructions and still the Dan insisted on departing. Master Chu just stood quietly as the Dan said his goodbyes and departed with three others who evidently decided comfort was more important than togetherness or did not understand what our Instructor was saying.

We were glad the tense situation was over and everyone started toward the apartment when Master Chu called out for Mr. Poole and I to return to the motorhome with him.

We stepped up in the vehicle which had been our home for the past two days and sat across from our Instructor at the tiny table near the side window. He just sat silently, looking down at the tabletop for what seemed like an eternity until finally, he raised his head, and looked right through us with dark, tired eyes and in that instant, I had the strangest sensation I've ever experienced in my whole life. It felt as if he had already spoken a thousand words when he looked at us yet, the silence was broken by only one lonely question, which hung interminably in the night air.

  • “How long must I cut my own hair?”

We stared blankly, confused by his question. The silence screamed at us but we could not make out what it was saying and then the screams became respectfully silent as he spoke “. . . Earlier, when we finished the demonstration and everyone went to the showers, I had to get my own towel. In Korea, someone would have been waiting with my towel and clothes. Now, a junior Dan refuses to do as I ask and my senior students stand by and do not say a word . . .”

  • “How long must I cut my own hair?”

There was that question again, and with it the screaming started anew, but now it was beginning to become understandable. “Why had we not taken a more active role in assistance to our Instructor?” it shouted! Why could we not see our responsibility to help him in matters that need not command his personal attention? He was always there when we needed him, where were we when he needed us? How much had we actually helped him to spread our art's benefits to others? What real assistance had we been to him for all he had done for us? Without another word he disappeared out the door and into the darkness as we sat in awkward silence.

John_Chu
Master John Chu

Maybe somewhere in his being he already knew his death was approaching and maybe this whole trip was an attempt to bind us together to withstand his absence or maybe the years of teaching students who quit and the endless hours of sometimes seemingly thankless travel and dedication had just taken it's toll for him to choose this moment to make these remarks to us. Whatever the reason, we knew we had missed something very important that our teacher had tried to show us. For nearly ten years he had traveled hundreds of miles and conducted thousands of hours of classes. He had 16 schools and more than 600 students but apparently not even two senior students who could answer his question. How had this happened? Clearly, our responsibilities were more than we had realized. We had plenty to think about that sleepless night.

Not many months later, our Instructor was gone and we were left to ponder the question he posed that lonely night in West Texas.

The togetherness of that trip has been enjoyably replayed in our lives many times since then; multiple times in England at the Internationals, multiple times in Korea and multiple times at Ko Dan Ja Tests plus Nationals and camps all over the country; however; I hope we do not ever cause the other part of that experience to be repeated.

The Founder has said that man is at his best when helping others and if we apply that concept to our training and the relationship we share with our Instructors we may better ourselves and come to understand togetherness, brotherhood, prevention of conflict and harmony in a way that few people ever have the opportunity to experience.

No one is an island and no one can carry the future of our art alone, it is up to the juniors to help and protect their seniors just as it is up to the seniors to help and protect their juniors. It is up to the juniors to learn the skills of our instructors and to emulate our instructor's tireless and unflagging pursuit of learning and of sharing our art. During his life, Founder Hwang Kee requested that we make the U.S. a worldwide leader in human relationships and that goal can only be achieved when everyone does their part by improving their own personal relationships.

Take care of your Instructor, don't leave them to do all the work. Learn all you can from them. Ask for opportunities to assume new and challenging leadership roles and in doing so demonstrate your appreciation of them by your example. Dans and Red belts especially, learn all your responsibilities; ask if you are unsure. Trying and making a mistake is better than doing nothing. All students, see if there are tasks or projects you can do for them to free their valuable time. We never know how long our Instructor will be with us and it would be a shame to have wasted any of their priceless time on menial tasks. Pitch in and be the best you can be, take on a project beneficial to your studio, help run a new student recruitment activity for your studio, take on a project for your class, attend a special event and contribute your own unique energy to it, work hard and always be loyal to your Instructor just as they are loyal to theirs'. Be a part of our “Living Art,”  be active and contribute to its growth.

We may already owe the Founder and our Kwan Jang Nim several haircuts, but in the future, let's not give them cause to ask . . .

  • “How long must I cut my own hair?”

–Phil Duncan

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Articles

Where There Is Preparation There Is No Fear

Reading Time: 2 minutes
Where_There_Is_Preparation_Calligraphy_220x395
Handstitched Replica of Caligraphy By Jo Ann Easley
01/01/1942 – 10/27/2007

On the front wall of my Instructor's dojang hung an oriental cloth inscribed with calligraphy that translated,

“Where there is preparation there is no fear.”

Throughout the years I have pondered the meaning of these ancient words; every year bringing deeper understanding of how they apply to one's life.

This year, I have realized that preparation applies not only in being ready to defend one's life, but also in being ready to end one's life.

If we can accept the fact that someday our life will end and that it doesn't matter how or when, but only that we are ready when death approaches, then we can lead a fuller existence and never worry about dying, whether in a battle or a hospital bed.

In our youth we seldom think of dying and throughout life human nature causes us to avoid thoughts of death as long as we are healthy. A severe illness often brings about our first realization that we will not live forever and this is a very bad time to try and understand death as our mind may become fogged with the fear of dying and the battle could be lost sooner than is necessary.

In the prime of life and at the peak of health meditating seriously upon all aspects of death and dying may evoke humility and help us prepare for the day when death must be faced as an opponent.  Death will inevitably defeat us, but as a martial artist, we can fight without fear and die with honor because during our training we prepared ourselves mentally, physically and spiritually for battle, no matter who the opponent is and

“Where there is preparation, there is  no fear.”

Phil Duncan
1983

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Identify Moo Do Values Moo Duk Kwan Soo Bahk Do Values

Seven Characteristics of a Moo Duk Kwan® Quality Soo Bahk Do® Practitioner

Reading Time: 4 minutes

70th_Anniversary_Challenge_Chip_2_150x150What characteristics exemplify a Moo Duk Kwan® “quality practitioner”?

Certainly, producing practitioners with technical excellence is a proud distinction of the Moo Duk Kwan® and some may think of “quality” only in terms of technical performance, but there are so many other dimensions to becoming and being a Soo Bahk Do® practitioner, that viewing quality through only the narrow lens of technique is like trying to see all of our art through the peephole of a door.

The Kwan Jang Nim refers to “quality of practitioners” in his Vision Objectives as being one of the two most important outcomes of the Federation's activity. He goes on the define a quality practitioner as one who embodies and exemplifies our Moo Do values in their daily lives outside the dojang.

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Charles Smith, Sa Bom Dan Bon 33141, R10 Elected Board Director, Lifetime Member

2009 Board Chairman, Charles Smith, Sa Bom Nim once requested a group of people to provide him with a one-word description of  how they perceived him.

His question prompted me to think about the NPVT work that supports and quantifies some attributes of Quality Practitioners as they correlate to the contextual meaning expressed in the President's Vision Objectives and the Five Moo Do Values.

What are characteristics (or qualities) that you associate with a quality student practitioner, instructor, leader and/or Federation official?

The following thoughts are what I have come up with so far. I invite you to contemplate how you would express what “makes” a Moo Duk Kwan® quality Soo Bahk Do® practitioner and distinguishes them from other practitioners.

Seven Characteristics of a Moo Duk Kwan® Quality Soo Bahk Do® Practitioner

  1. Strives to achieve the technical expectations of proficiency expressed by the Kwan Jang Nim and TAC for practitioners
    1. takes pride in achieving Gup Rank Testing expectations
    2. takes pride in achieving Dan Rank Testing expectations
    3. takes pride in achieving Ko Dan Ja Rank Testing expectations
    4. takes pride in meeting and fulfilling Instructor Certification expectations
    5. takes pride in meeting and fulfilling Studio Certification expectations
      .
  2. Demonstrates and supports a high moral and ethical standard of personal conduct that is appropriate and proper for a martial artist
    1. conscientiously adheres to the Federation's membership code of conduct
    2. abides by the Federations Joint Board and TAC Administrative Policies
    3. respects and abides by the Federation's Policy of non-discrimination and harassment at all times
    4. understands and abides by the terms of the Certified Instructor Letter of Understanding
    5. avoids unethical conduct at all times
    6. avoids conflicts of interest
    7. avoids creating or allowing any circumstances that could jeopardize one's credibility or integrity as a martial artist representing  the Moo Duk Kwan® or the Soo Bahk Do® martial art system.
      .
  3. Embraces and supports the spirit of the Founder's Mission 2000 Objectives
    1. seeks understanding and takes personal actions intent upon improve human relationships
    2. has a keen understanding of the concept and precepts of Moo
    3. demonstrates embodiment of Moo in one's daily life, ergo Moo Do
      .
  4. Diligently displays key attributes of a martial artist as expressed by the Founder
    1. 8 Key Concepts
    2. courageous – possesses and exhibits the Yong Gi ~ brave energy necessary to speak up and/or standup for themselves, for others and for justice even in the face of adversity.
    3. 10 Articles of Faith on Mental Training
    4. self motivated – needs no external urging to take individual action
    5. composed – demonstrates Pyong Ahn ~ peaceful confidence and calm resoluteness, especially when confronted by adversity
    6. intent – demonstrates contemplation and thoughtfulness prior to speaking or taking action
    7. focused – demonstrates keen concentration ~ Chung Shin Tong Il before and while taking action
    8. * please post a COMMENT to add your characteristics or qualities to this incomplete list *
      .
  5. Contemplates and embraces the essence of the Five Moo Do Values
    1. strives to exemplify the proper behavior of a true martial artist at all times
    2. conscientiously adheres to the Federation's membership code of conduct
    3. respects and abides by the Federation's Policy of non-discrimination and harassment at all times
      .
  6. Comprehends and appreciates the intent of the President's Vision Objectives
    1. initiates personal actions that demonstrate Vision Participation
    2. initiates Random Acts of Moo Do
    3. actively embodies and applies mission objectives and vision objectives in one's daily life interactions with others
    4. engages in active advocacy of the Moo Duk Kwan® and the Soo Bahk Do® martial art system.
    5. seizes every opportunity to promote the public visibility of the Moo Duk Kwan® and the Soo Bahk Do® martial art system.
  7. Supports the Federation's initiatives to assure the long-term preservation of the Moo Duk Kwan® and the Soo Bahk Do® martial art system
      1. appreciates and embraces the Concept of Unity, community and purpose
      2. believes in acting for the common good of the community
      3. has read and understands the Federation's 501c4 Charter & Bylaws
      4. supports the Federation's 501c4 Chartered Purposes
      5. understands, appreciates and respects the Intellectual property shared by the Hwang family
      6. engages in active advocacy of the Moo Duk Kwan® and the Soo Bahk Do® martial art system

Think about the characteristics you observe in others, that you admire, aspire to, are inspired by, that motivate, etc. and help the NPVT in their work by contributing your perspective to this list of Seven Characteristics of a Moo Duk Kwan® Quality Soo Bahk Do® Practitioner.

You can post a comment on the page by using the COMMENT button at the bottom of the page and you can also help a friend add their thoughts by emailing them a link to this page or sharing the page on Facebook, etc.

Categories
Articles

Why Is Your Instructor So Happy?

Reading Time: 3 minutes
Curt McCauley, Sa Bom Nim Dan Bon
Curt McCauley, Sa Bom Nim Dan Bon

Ask any instructor of the Soo Bahk Do® martial art system if they enjoy what they do and virtually all will tell you that they can think of no more personally rewarding experience than teaching students the skills and philosophy of the Soo Bahk Do® martial art and helping them discover their untapped potential and personal power.

“Man is at his best when helping others, at his worst bettering others.”
-Moo Duk Kwan Founder Hwang Kee

The best instructors empower their students to change their lives and improve the quality of their life and the lives of those around them in ways that no other teacher or mentor can and they show students how they, too can experience the rewards of sharing Soo Bahk Do® with others.

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H.C. Hwang,  Moo Duk Kwan Kwan Jang Nim

Kwan Jang Nim H.C. Hwang is once again scheduling Presidents Vision Tour II appearances around the world and conveying his message that the future of our art lies in the hands of enthusiastic, motivated instructors and students who are empowered to take personal actions in support of our art and its Moo Do values.

“Individual participation is the Key Energy necessary to strengthen our foundation.”
– HC Hwang, Kwan Jang Nim

If you'd like to take a personal action that can give something back to your instructor for all you have received from their guidance, and if you'd like to serve your art, serve your studio and serve your local community by attracting new students to your school, then you can do so by participating in or hosting one or more Moo Duk Kwan® Kick-a-thons during 2014.

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Kris Poole Sa Bom Nim Dan Bon 20632

Dan members and qualified Gups also have an additional opportunity to shine at the 2014 National Festival by acquiring sponsors and participating in the super exciting 10 rounds of rapid fire training that is the National Moo Duk Kwan® Kick-a-thon. 

The Federation's Board Directors have provided a 2014 Moo Duk Kwan® Kick-a-thons National Grand Studio Prize  that is there for the taking by the most motivated instructors and students who help their studio generate the greatest amount of support during 2014.

Winning the National Studio Grand Prize will require enthusiasm, creativity, leadership skills, motivation and most importantly, individual participation and personal action.

The top studio will win an expense paid trip to attend the 2015 National Festival or apply the prize toward attending the Moo Duk Kwan 70th Anniversary Celebration in Korea in 2015.

So, why is your instructor so happy?

“Happiness… consists in giving, and in serving others.”
– Henry Drummond

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PatrMcCarthy, Sa Bom, Dan Bon 38003, Rick Wilcox Sa Bom, Dan Bon 19500, Dr. John Juliano Dan Bon 19785

When your instructor observes your personal actions and your personal successes, they are enjoying the fruit of their life's work.

Phil Duncan
2014

Categories
Values

Values Are Integral to Moo Duk Kwan® Curriculum

Reading Time: < 1 minute

Values are integral to the Moo Duk Kwan® curriculum and Soo Bahk Do® instructors endeavor to inspire students to apply core values in and out of the studio.