“Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value.”
— Albert Einstein
Realising the rewards of Martial Arts
There are various ways how artists can express their emotions and sentiments like music, poems, theatres, cinemas, painting and others. Martial art is a system curriculum not just technique but also about inner balance and how one can work about one’s emotions. There’s a deeper meaning in studying martial arts. Eventually, many martial artists deliver their emotions and thoughts through martial arts and the same applies to me. For me, Tang Soo Do is a way of life because I can express freely my thoughts and emotions by performing techniques and forms, whilst helping me in my daily life.
I was only nine years old when I first enrolled into a Tang Soo Do lesson. At that age, I was so young to understand and appreciate what martial arts is about. In fact, I had the concept that Tang Soo Do was a sport where I could show my abilities and strength to beat someone. Obviously as I grew up and moved on to higher belts, I realised I had the wrong mentality. Eventually I kicked off to show more interest and dedication and made my own research about the art, then I started to have a better understanding. This helps me to show more respect to my art and to my instructor, Mr. Ian Wallace, and to my mates. Now, that I am almost eighteen years of age, I have better knowledge of and appreciation in Tang Soo Do. Still there are other concepts that I will have to bring to light and understand.
Focus is the primal thing in a person’s life. Without Focus one cannot achieve anything in life, therefore once a person concentrates hard in what he is doing, he will have a goal and a success will follow. The person has to keep focusing until he achieves what task he wants to complete. One must always find a balance in life. When one is talking about self confidence, it’s not just about self confidence but self-esteem. First and foremost it is important to point out that the level of self-esteem may range from high to low, yet these factors are sometimes taken to extremes. Usually someone who has very low self-esteem is said to have a major inferiority complex, where a person degrades his personality and suffers from self-humiliation. On the contrary, those with a superiority complex; those people who have a high self-esteem, are more likely to take pride in what they do, but this can eventually lead to arrogonace. Generally there is a link between these two extremes, where those who have the ability of believing in themselves to the full influence those with a weaker character.
This could lead the individual into a depressive mood which eventually lead him to commit suicide as he comes to believe that this is the only form of escapism. In both cases, there is the problem of socialising; both might have difficulties regarding integrating with society. Those who feel useless would form a fatalistic approach where they deprive themselves from society and any social activities and recreation. These can also be identified as introverts. On the other hand, the individuals with high superiority complex may find it hard to integrate in society as they might reject any views which differ from their own. One cannot mix a high self-esteem with over confidence or egoism because these are as negative intentions. High self-esteem is a positive thing as one gets inner peace and also has the confidence to keep on searching and to do what one really wants in one’s life and pushes oneself to go for it. From my experience, I can say that Tang Soo Do has given me this self-confidence and inner peace.
Focus, balance and discipline are the strongholds of martial arts. Tang Soo Do encourages the student to overcome fears, to prepare to succeed and to invite a full life of adventure. One recognises that the best way to overcome fear is to confront it. One must be present in body, mind and spirit in order to learn.
Personally, I believe that Respect is one of the most important guidelines in order to have success in life because it is one of the most essential values in life. As I have already mentioned, I encounter different people from different societies in my daily life and I need to give them the required respect. Everyone is unique in one’s own way; whether it’s one’s appearance, character, politics, beliefs, abilities or skin colour. There’s a saying that “No man is an island” and I totally agree with it. This is because no one can live one’s whole life on his own to be a complete person. Everyone is dependent on someone else (whether it can be a relative, a friend, a neighbour, etc.), and for this reason everyone has to be respected for one’s ability. Therefore, respect is like a two-way deal, if a person respects others, then the person will in the long run receive the same respect from others.
Moreover, I think that if there is respect, then Obedience will follow. This is because the person must be obedient with himself and to others in such a way, that together with his education, he can have a better idea of the values in life. Eventually by means of Tang Soo Do, I have a better knowledge and significance of respect and obedience. The same applies in Tang Soo Do. It’s essential that everyone is respected as he is, no matter what his abilities are. Obedience plays an important part in Tang Soo Do. First of all there is obedience to our superiors. We soon come to know when and where it is appropriate to say certain things, to use certain word, to discuss certain topics and when not to. Obedience gives us a rule of thumb for how we should behave, thus only acts according to what is best in the given situation. As author, Nadia Boulanger says. “A great work is made out of a combination of obedience and liberty.”
Furthermore, one cannot forget Discipline which plays a vital tool in our lessons of Tang Soo Do beside in life. I think, that nowadays everyone is being influenced badly from the media, friends and bad peer pressure. Apart from that everyone is taking discipline for granted and does not value the good motivation behind discipline. Therefore, the result of this is that the percentage rate of ‘new’ teenagers smoking, binge drinking and taking drugs is increasing considerable every year. So, it’s like a waking call in order for everyone to start taking discipline more seriously. Eventually, when someone is disciplined with himself, he will have the ability first and foremost to control himself and his actions. This will be useful when someone will be weak in his decisions or situations and as he will be self-disciplined, he will eventually make the right decision.
I believe that I’m disciplined with myself, especially since when I started having Tang Soo Do in my life. It helps you to be in control of myself and my actions, even though it is pushed to the limits when for example I get punched in my nose during sparring. I have learnt to control my fury and frustration and I will be able to defend myself better next time! Furthermore, everyone has an opinion that whoever wants to succeed in life must be disciplined with himself, in order to achieve what he wants in life.
Scheduling a schedule to practice, then practicing consistently and diligently requires self-discipline. Staying on track both requires and helps to develop self-discipline. The mere fact that I try to dedicate myself to practice consistently, without regard to my moods, whims, the weather or the chaos in the outside world helps me to create my character.
In today’s society, we need to have Confidence walking out alone and going places, you never know! I mean, you may need to defend yourself one day; being a single woman, or walking to your car alone in the dark. You need to feel confident and take the right decision before doing anything silly. Tang Soo do helps you to build the confidence and teaches you how to defend yourself. However, one always has to be responsible for one’s own acts.
Think twice – this applies also to Responsibility, another merit passed on to us during Tang Soo lessons. One must always be responsible for one’s actions and thoughts because sometimes an apology cannot rewind things back in life and there might be serious consequences. Situations in life show us how someone would transmit his values to others – for example in a family, the maximum attention must be paid to control and be responsible for one’s acts because children tend to imitate others quickly, especially their parents who see them as their role models. The same applies when an instructor of Tang Soo Do is instructing. Therefore, he must me responsible to put his best behaviour on in order to pass on excellent qualities and values to his students.
Nevertheless, one sometimes does not notice the roles of Perseverance and Will Power mean in one’s life. Perseverance is the steady persistence in a course of action, a purpose, a state; especially in spite of difficulties, obstacles or discouragement like social problems and discouragement of continuing studying. Will power is the inner power that overcomes the desire to indulge in unnecessary and unless habits, and the inner strength that overcomes inner emotional resistance for taking action. Will power is the ability to arrive to a decision and follow it with perseverance until successful accomplishment.
The same applies during Tang Soo Do because sometimes it seems that it is impossible to get a technique or something. However, I believe that “If you aim for something, you can get it” because along with perseverance and will power finally I will get what I want for good or for worse! Dedication is like the cherry on the cake. This is because it combines with all the other values: Respect, Obedience, Discipline, Responsibility, and Perseverance and Will Power. I believe that dedication is one of the ingredients to have success in life. However it goes along with commitment because it depends on how much a person is committed and this shows in his abilities. Also, if he is self-disciplined, there is more chance that he would be more dedicated and determined in what he believes in.
All these values in my life could not have been possible if I had not the love and care from my parents and my superiors; being in school, sport or in Tang Soo Do. I have had Mr. Ian Wallace as my instructor from the beginning of my training. To him I owe my perseverance and will power. He taught me that first I have to belief in myself in order to excel in my life. Mr. Wallace is a very dedicated person, always there to encourage us students, pinpointing our good moves and stressing on values. His commitment and dedication to Tang Soo Do, his behaviour in class and outside have taught us excellent knowledge of the significances in life. Besides being our Instructor, he is also our friend, and that makes a big difference.
Self-improvement does not just happen. It is not a gift. Tang Soo Do sees, embraces and endorses the highest standards of behaviour. Much of what society offers neither stirs the spirit nor maintains good mental or physical health. Tang Soo Do encourages the push to excel and the drive to a positive position in life. I try to get to know myself. I began to see my interior nature. I work through impatience and frustration. Hard training and persevering showed me the way. My self esteem strengthens me and helps me to achieve one difficult task after another and to clear obstacles that comes in my way. I start to feel good and motivated in my efforts when I apply my new skills.
As I said, Tang Soo Do is a way of life because I can deliver freely my aggressiveness, anger, passion and confidence through forms and techniques. Also, Tang Soo Do helps me to build a strong and determined character because I have a better understanding of the values of Respect and Obedience, Discipline, Responsibility, Perseverance and Will Power. These tenants all serve me as a guidance in my everyday life.
All the above is helping me in my studies. I am at the moment a second year student in Junior College, preparing myself for my A’ Levels. Also, a long term injury did not hindered me to keep pushing myself to the limits. Perseverance, Dedication and Discipline are pushing me to work hard during this gruelling year.
The study of martial arts instills in the individual the belief that the stirring for excellence and the patience to strive is the greatest value of all. Such study encourages me to be the best I can be in every aspect of my life. In a world where many people seem to embrace a complacent attitude of just getting by, I insist on lengthening my limits, making a meaningful life of myself and those around me, and balancing the basic aspects of my nature. I believe that if I know what is expected of me, I will hold a meritorious goal, and set out to achieve that goal in an environment of discipline, direction and devotion to duty. Achievement, excellence and honour will then follow as a natural reward.
Tang Soo Do helps me to gain a better balance and a panaromic view of the world. Working to achieve a worthwhile goal is its own reward. I dream of having my own class one day. I would like to help students to follow a good rule in life and giving them goals to be successful, confident, responsible, understanding and strong minded people. The main focus of education is to build a better future, there is no other goal in education whether be sport or martial arts. A good education means a good, happy future.