Grandmaster Kim Soo demonstrates a form at the Katy DoJang.

 

A true grandmaster is often called upon to judge those who would call themselves master.

Kicking, jumping, breaking...

Difficult technique does not make one a master.

In the simple things one sees perfection.

Grandmaster Kim does not ask for fancy tricks; Basic Form One will do.

In it's simplicity the foundation and any flaws are revealed.

If one has not mastered the basics...

If a one is still making the mistakes of a beginner...

Can he be a master?

If the foundation is flawed, then what of the technique built upon it?

It is the small things, indeed, that take the dragon's life.

Life Of The Dragon

by Frank Jaubert (From a parable told by Grandmaster Kim Soo)

Beautiful new temple.

Master painter.

Ultimate dragon.

The crowd was amazed. By the hundreds they filed through the temple.

All had come to see the dragon. The wonderful flying dragon. Nothing like it had ever been seen before. The power. The movement. The detail.

"Surely this is the greatest artist in all the country," the people were saying.

Mingling in the crowd was the artist himself. Listening. Watching. Absorbing the praise. He'd worked long and hard on this. To see the people happy, this was his reward.

All was well, that is, until he noticed a man in the crowd...

The man had stopped, looked the dragon up and down, then he'd shook head as if dissatisfied and turned to walk away.

The artist was dumbfounded. What could be wrong? Why was he not pleased? Cutting through the crowd, he intercepted the man just as he was about to leave.

"Friend," the artist said, "I noticed that the dragon displeases you."

"A small thing only, an imperfection spoils it for me."

This could not be. He'd worked so long and hard. He did dragons in his sleep. He'd learned them from his master. Dragons were his life...

"Surely you are mistaken," the artist said, "It seems to me to be perfect in every way."

The old man just shook his head.

"Whatever could be wrong?"

"This dragon could never fly!"

"What are you saying, old man. Look. The clouds. The sky. You can feel the spirit of the wind parting as it passes."

"Can't fly," repeated the old man.

"I don't understand what you mean," the artist says, "whatever could be the problem?"

"This dragon can not fly because it is not alive," says the old man.

"Surely you are wrong! Look at how he beats the air with his wings. Look at the way his muscles ripple with power. See the flame he blows before him to part the wind."

The old man was unimpressed, "No, this dragon has no life and therefore can not fly."

"Now if you will excuse me, I will be on my way," the old man turns as if to leave.

"No, please," the artist begs, "I must know what it is that displeases you."

The old man turns back, " as I said, a small thing, but enough to destroy the meaning of all that you have done."

"You know the dragon is mine?"

"Who does not?" says the old man, "You are so proud."

"But even a master such as yourself can shelter a fatal flaw in technique. It tells me that perhaps you are not as good as you think you are."

"You taunt me, old man! The dragon is perfect - all who see him think so."

"They do not look with the right eyes," says the old man, "They have no training and are easily fooled."

"Then, old man," challenges the artist, "show me the flaw!"

"I will not show you. You must let me make the correction myself."

"Follow me, old man. My paints and brushes are over here..."

The old man selects the smallest brush and carefully dips up a tiny bit of black paint.

The artist is thinking, "What can be so small, yet make such a large difference? What detail takes the life of my dragon?"

The old man passes through the crowd, pauses a moment to consider the dragon, then walks to the head.

"You are most exquisite." he tells the dragon, "Your master is very skilled. But remember, there is always something to be learned."

Bowing to the dragon, he steps forward...

And paints a pupil in the eye.

"I give you life!" he says.

Copyright (C)1997 by Frank Jaubert, Houston Texas. All rights reserved.