Reflecting on the martial art that I practiced since 1981, Soo Bahk Do Moo Duk Kwan, there seems to be one word that constantly comes up, the “connection.”
Through the practice of this traditional Korean martial art I found that this one word seems to tie in all the various aspects of the art on so many levels.
The Instructor/ Student connection:
Beginning with the very first connection,the introduction to my instructor. Though the years of training under him we became connected not only through the martial art, but also because of our common beliefs and values. This connection is vital in my belief to traditional martial arts. It is through this ongoing connection from an instructor to student, both past and present that the art maintains its history and traditions.
The connection with our instructor is bonded through the rigorous training, the mental connection, and physical practice forming a special bond of respect. We both strive to preserve its traditions, history, philosophy, discipline, and techniques through mutual respect.
Connection of ourself:
In this connection we further begin to explore our own personal connection within ourselves as our instructor guide us. The first thing that becomes evident is exploring the mind and body connection. Our intent and motivation opens up the pathway to bind this connection.
When the mind and body become connected our internal attributes reinforce the harmony within the body. In our lives, especially, in the times when there never seems to be enough “time”, we risk loosing the connection.
The connection of breath and movement create natural energy when allowed to be natural and not driven by the “need” to sound good. It becomes a living example of, in this case, the Ship Sam Seh. The poem of the guidelines to the martial art the Founder of our art, Chang Shi Ja Hwang Kee felt it was so important to include in the arts foundational Philosophy.
As a student we strive to connect the three aspects of ourselves, mind,body and spirit. When we are able to become totally focused on the moment being not distracted by things that try to pull us away from the moment, we feel total harmony.
The connection with fellow Practitioners:
Training alongside fellow students is the next connection that occurs.
The brotherhood that can be found through our mutual objectives and goals fortify this connection. The relationships created in this environment can be lifelong. Even over great distances, we feel this connection that is not bound by location, language, and cultures. The art connects us in the training and mutual beliefs in its values we share. These relationships extend way past the training floor in the Dojang. Connections are both visible and invisible. Visible in the actions we take in physical and mental performance and actions. They are invisible in our feelings,emotions and spirit which we share but become visible to others. Situations like training, testing, and demonstrating with our fellow practitioners embed our history, traditions and philosophy in our very core.
Connection with our past:
This connects us to those that came before and walked the path to greater understanding. The senior members that paved the way for us through their own trials, hardships and passion to share the art for future generations. We may have never met these individuals but we share the common connection because of the art. When we pause to think about a different time and place, that our seniors lived in and had such desire and passion that they withstood the hardships to connect with those they might not ever meet.
Connection with family:
During the pandemic, people, and families faced many new challenges they never expected. However, it allowed the “opportunity” to take the time to strengthen the connection with our family. Parents and children adapted to connect in this “new” situation. This situation is one that many say they wish they had time for, however it, for some became quite a challenge. As practitioners we also had a new challenge, to stay connected with our instructor and fellow practitioners. Our discipline was tested. But many adapted in any way possible. Through non present, Zoom, and other modern methods and even to adapt how we trained in person became the Avenue for the connection. Knowing the value and importance of this connection it pushed us to adapt due to value to our being.
These are just of the FEW of insights I pondered about. Each day gives us the opportunity to connect in some way, and it’s importance of that moment can be positive or negative depending on how we approach it. The more I thought about it, the more things unfolded on all levels because of one word. “Connection”.