What can you say about a man that has what seems to be unlimited patience?
There is not much that escapes his notice. Not much that he does not empathize with, nor is he prone to make any large display of emotion… for his life is that of one living in the shadow of a legend.
His accomplishments have been many. He leads. He directs. He refines. And if his needs are far greater than those around him, he still gives more. In silence, he waits for his time… and seemingly, his reward.
In this world there are many generals. In fact, the statement has often been made that; “Many are called but few are chosen,” would seem a cognizable statement with regards to an appointment in a number of career choices.
Understanding that statement we are left to consider our personal feelings regarding others when we come to the writings of Sun Tzu; “Appear weak when you are strong, and strong when you are weak.”
The demeanor of a man (or woman) is not the test of the person behind the mask. And the man, when it is Senior Grand Master Hee Sang Ro, to wear a mask has never been his way. Rather, the slow, methodical manner in which he approaches the building up of the World Song Moo Kwan Association and its member schools. This leaves one to consider the wisdom of his choices.
There are those in a hurry to make their mark. These are usually those who seek multiple art forms to support their base. Never realizing the wealth of knowledge that remains at hand by simply continuing to progress on a path of mastery that continues as the Song Moo Kwan.
When taking the mat, Senior Grand Master is always eager to impart that knowledge which has been carefully shepherded by his father, Supreme Grand Master Byung Jick Ro. Few realize the knowledge garnered by Senior Grand Master, in addition to the original teachings of his honored father.
Consider this: What might I learn if I simply apply myself to the origins of the martial arts as taught under the umbrella of Song Moo Kwan. The original Song Moo Kwan Taekwondo; the application of Hoshinsul Hapkido; embracing traditional Taeguk Kumdo; and, the application of Northern Style Shaolin Kung Fu. Then undertake the application of Qui Gong energy training to put it all together.
This author seeks to continue that legacy. While others decide to switch to the flavor of the month of martial arts styles, or decide to embrace other masters who decide by committee to start their own joint diploma certification mill. We of the Song Moo Kwan refuse to abandon our values and true leadership abilities of those who have earned the right to be called Grand Master.
As a point of reference, one very well-known Jiujutsu organization refuses to get on the mat with our Song Moo Kwan Black Belts. They say we do not fight fair. All we used is our Song Moo Hapkido skills.
Each instructor who claims to understand the balance between “art” forms must be taught to integrate their respective principles. For as we gain in rank and stature, we realize that the martial arts all come together. The origins blur the lines between hard and soft, fast and slow, and even philosophies are blended. The ability to distinguish sport from combat is distinct. And the application of hard and soft are not questions of “style” but rather, of “choice.” That choice is dependent upon a “need” at the moment of its use. This is what learning through a true leader represents.
Senior Grand Master Hee Sang Ro is the Legacy that is Song Moo Kwan. He has waged war with some in defending that which is a “reality” for the martial arts tradition.
Senior Grand Master remains dedicated to progress. Not hunting for something that someone states will be the new, best, and most effective martial art… because …What is already known as “the best and most effective” is found by returning to our origins in the foundation of Song Moo Kwan as a whole.
To illustrate: Two of our Song Moo Kwan Instructors (a 7th and a 5th Dan) were recently invited to attend a testing for a Chung Do Kwan school. The instructor is a 9th Dan Kukkiwon Black Belt. This Instructor is 72 years of age. He asked that our Instructors sit to his left and right during the test.
The test went well. But the Instructor pointed out (several times) that this was not exactly the traditional way. He also formally stated that he had met Supreme Grand Master Byung Jick Ro as a boy. He stated that his Chung Do Kwan teachings came from the man who founded modern Taekwondo. His statement was that his system and foundation came from our legacy as established by Supreme Grand Master Ro. He stated it emphatically, as if we might not know.
Whose name appears on your Black Belt certificate? What legacy you represent is important to the future of your school, your teachings, and your personal legacy.
In truth, that man opened the eyes of the two who came to view this test. Why? Because to hear it from another, so advanced, has greater importance than hearing it from within our own organization – we, who take it for granted. Especially when he honors such personal affiliation with the Song Moo Kwan above his own Kukkiwon ranking.
You can lead others with purpose and distinction. Though never from behind. It is for this reason that we must assure the Song Moo Kwan “brand” become recognized for its origins, its continuing legacy, and its leadership in preserving that honored heritage.
Thank you Senior Grand Master Hee Sang Ro for continuing that legacy. And, for teaching us the importance of mastering ourselves as a part of our Song Moo Kwan technical heritage.