Truth from Within

By Landon J.C. as told by Grandmaster Kim Soo

January 23, 2008

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 its expectations?

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.