In this world, we seek to be something. Someone. To make a difference. What gets in the way is ego. How we are seen in the eyes of others. In so doing, we have fallen into a state where the things we hoped to accomplish are overshadowed by those who are watching to see if we will make mistakes.
Admit to yourself at the onset that you WILL make mistakes. Accept that you are only human. Once that recognition comes, reevaluate your motives toward others.
Why do people condemn others? In most cases it is in an effort to make themselves look better. Though we are hard-pressed to think that we would ever stoop to such depths as unrighteous defamation of another. Excusing ourselves for the actions we take to denigrate others.
Why then would I write of this in the martial arts world?
Because the martial arts world is full of phonies, fakes and fraud. Yet when we assume someone is a fraud (We all know the downfall of assumption), once again, we justify our belittling of others. We think that we cannot possibly be wrong. Seeking to improve personal and professional standing while lessening our honor and integrity.
These very values that we profess to impart to our students are lost on our striving to achieve that next belt rank, that next title of Master, or Grand Master. Never truly satisfied in the moment. Mostly, because we have failed to provide service to those who provided our rank. In this we betray the trust that was placed in us. And, the dishonesty by which we claim our now undeserved rank.
I have conveyed the best wishes of Grand Master Byung Hoon Park to Supreme Grand Master Byung Jick Ro this past week after being summoned to Minnesota to meet with that great man. The founder of Song Moo Kwan, and the father of modern Taekwondo. The two are in contact with one another now. I can only imagine the tales these two great men have to share of their respective journeys.
I learned of how beloved a teacher could be for his student. Just as I am proud of those who have kept their promises of fidelity to me. The glint in Doju-nim Ro’s eyes as he spoke of Grand Master Park, then of his son, Senior Grand Master Ro, and of the role our founder seeks to see manifest in the world today.
I learned why Senior Grand Master Ro, Hee Sang is the chosen successor of his father. The only son of the original ‘kwan’ founders to carry on this great work. A work made great by the keeping safe their families, their friends, and now, people of countless nations.
History made manifest in the knowledge that there are those who have taken up the banner of Song Moo Kwan Taekwondo and never faltered. Those who will refuse to speak ill of others, acknowledging all martial artists that remain true to their teachings. Their promise to continually teach those that seek knowledge.
No matter your kwan, no matter the style that guides your life, be prepared to confront a choice: Whether you will be true to your teachings, or, whether you will join the ranks of pretenders who claim rank without justification, without guidance and principle. For these will not be found within the ranks and lineage of Song Moo Kwan.
The Song Moo Kwan line is strong and rich in tradition. It supports those who are willing to give themselves back in service. If you are willing to support your parent organization, you must do so by actions. Your rewards will come by that service. Your continued training and advancement, the support and financial success of your schools, traditional and enhanced curriculum… must be upheld. Then comes the recognition of your efforts. Rewards, well earned – without little more than the cost of service.
At the time and place of my 8th Dan test, I was asked to identify my current rank. My answer; “I will stand at the rank you award. If that is 6th, 5th or even 1st Dan, I will accept your decision.” Senior Grand Master Ro, Hee Sang accepted my statement as the test commenced.
We may never truly know ourselves until the time we are called upon to simply be ourselves. When the arrogance of youth has passed, and the need to be the center of the universe is no longer at the forefront of our minds. Then we can learn from our fellow ‘students’ for a greater understanding of ‘self’.
We may never achieve the greatness by which we judge our masters. But, one day, we shall be called to lead. I can only pray that I remember the affirmation and counsel of our founder Supreme Grand Master Byung Jick Ro, by his son and successor, Senior Grand Master He Sang Ro, and those who remain faithful and firm in Song Moo Kwan’s forward journey.
We have something bigger, greater, and stronger than our personal world and kingdom.
We are of the “House of Ro”. We are Song Moo Kwan!