J.C. as told by Grandmaster Kim Soo
To find true
beauty in anything in life, one must be able to see beyond the outward
appearance of the object under observation and instead, seek to
discover how and why that object operates from within itself. Once
this mystery is solved, then, and only then, will the truth be revealed
and a new level of understanding and appreciation will emerge surpassing
all previous conceived notions about the object at hand.
To further illustrate this, let us focus our attention to the martial
arts, more precisely, to that of forms. We learn forms and practice
them routinely because they are required of us in order to advance
in rank level, in the most simplistic of terms, but to seek the
truths in the forms is to be on the path to enlightenment. The truths
are the hidden treasures that Grandmaster Kim Soo speaks of which,
are buried deep within the forms and he also states that these elusive
treasures cannot be unearthed unless one digs deep into one spot
as if searching for water in the ground. To gain the full benefits
of the forms we practice, we must go beyond mere learning and strive
to know the forms inside and out and also, to be one with the forms
through mind and body alike.
It is very easy to get caught up in acquiring new forms when we
achieve a rank promotion and this may lead to neglecting the forms
that were taught in the past. Also, if we get in the habit learning
forms superficially then, it is more likely than not, that the newly
acquired information will be lost just as quickly as it was learned
when something new is taught. If the information is retained, superficially,
then, in your teachings, the information may be misapplied or even
worse, taught without stressing the fundamentals of Chayon Ryu.
The desire to yearn for more knowledge is of course, highly beneficial,
in fact, it is necessary, but it is also a necessity to consistently
practice the forms we were taught in the past. To neglect what was
learned in the past and then hope to see improvement is utterly
impossible. This is the equivalent to attempting to construct a
building without a solid foundation. Obviously, with no foundation
in place, the building is sure to collapse as soon as its weight
becomes too great for the weak foundation to withstand and furthermore,
without a thorough understanding of the basic principles in any
given form the mind will also collapse, if you will, when new techniques
are taught, which derive from the basics because there is no correlation
between the new and old information.
We can also look at this anecdotal perspective. Imagine a humongous
ten pound watermelon, the best of the season’s harvest. You
have never tasted one before but have heard all the stories and
rumors of how sweet and tasty the fruit is so you decide to invest
all your time and efforts into preparing the melon for consumption.
You wash and cleanse the melon of all dirt and debris and after
that, you polish and buff it until you can see your own reflection
in the shiny green exterior of its skin. You are very pleased with
your efforts and by this time, very hungry as well! So, you taste
it and conclude that it is quite repulsive! You lick it one more
time to ensure yourself that your taste buds were not deceiving
you and once again you are left dissatisfied. Where is the great
taste? Where is the sweetness that everyone exclaimed was so irresistible?
Why did I waste all my time on something that did not live up to
Of course, this is humorous story but it has huge implications.
Since only the surface of the fruit was explored, its great taste
went completely unrecognized. In order to discover the fruits of
one labor, perseverance, patience and dedication are essential.
Through this, one can find enlightenment. What exactly is enlightenment,
one might ask? How will I know when I have achieved it? What benefits
will I acquire from it? Questions such as these will not be answered
until an individual has become enlightened because for each individual
the experience will be totally unique. Every person that has or
will study the martial arts will have a specific purpose for taking
on the endeavor. Some are seeking to find a greater inner peace
or to become a more self realized individual. People who are shy,
lack in confidence, self esteem or self worth may also seek the
marital arts because it sharpens the mind. Mind over matter is the
expression that most of us are familiar with and it is exactly that,
once the decision is made to conquer whatever opposition that that
we might face, then it is only a matter of time before we are victorious.
The discipline and confidence that was given to sincere martial
arts training will then carry over in all aspects of a person’s
life and then will enable a person to fulfill their greatest dreams,
whatever they may be. The path that was once seemed too difficult
to endure will now be well worth the journey because now there is
a head light in place, enlightenment, to steer us on path that is
true from within the heart.