A martial arts investment is one of the wisest investments an individual can make. Tae Kwon Do uses forms as part of its training.
The investment can amount to a fair amount of money. Don’t just “get a black belt” and stop, thinking that’s it. That’s wasting your money.
Understand how it builds the pathway of experience for you to find peace within yourself. It’s a lifelong relationship. (Get your money out of it.)
WHAT’S YOUR PURPOSE?
Shape values & behaviors? Physical conditioning? Stress relief? Self discipline? Self-defense? Spiritual growth?
UNDERSTANDING THE COMMON THREAD
It’s easy to say yes to all of these motivators to some degree. It’s good to understand what inner push plays a role in tendering all of these great purposes.
THE SILVER LINING…
We all try our best to find balance for our human condition on the constantly changing cutting edge of the present moment that defines our human experience. For an individual to improve any of the above purposes they must be able to focus their mental presence into the physical reality of their physical body. Mind/body harmony is what all the above purposes require to show any improvement.
Grand Master Chung Park taught me through all 6 dans of my martial arts experience. Even with the developed muscle memory from the thousands of times performing this form, when my mind drifts away to any foreign topic from what my body’s doing when doing the form Chunji, my mind/body harmony is interupted and I’m lost.
WHAT’S THE VALUE?
A martial artist will always have ways to improve at performing forms. There’s always ways to improve technique or rhythm.
Tae Kwon Do Master Hee Il Cho commented on this subject in the introduction to the first volume of his 3 volume book series on forms.
“By constantly practicing patterns a student will become aware as his body movements and his mind begin to flow as one. This will become am intuitive action. He will no longer have to work at summoning his total attention. As mastery builds, he will acquire an intense and impenetrable spirit which will automatically unite his physical and mental self. This will enable him to channel his whole being into a singleness of purpose at will. Such an ability of control can assist him in his daily life in a world which constantly challenges him to overcome its frantic pressures.
The students begin by first becoming aware of their bodies. Martial arts teach us to develop and discipline our bodies and make them able to respond to our commands. From those first moments we begin learning forms, we are putting into practice with our physical being the principles of the martial arts. As time passes the forms we have learned take on new meaning, as do the principles themselves.
You begin to comprehend the nature of change, redirection of force, the feeling of dynamic balance, and the difference between hard and soft.
As you master the forms they will become smooth and automatic, and you can see how you are expressing the basic martial arts principles and philosophy spontaneously through you body movements. You will notice that your mind and body will function as one. You will begin to feel more “together”. The initial body awareness you acquire through the forms will soon begin to generalize throughout your entire being.
The forms teach you to summon and direct your energy toward mental as well as physical tasks. You will be better able to clear your mind of extraneous thoughts, to concentrate, and you will also be better able to react more quickly to situations.
The goal of most Western physical activities is simple: to perfect the execution of that activity. But the purpose of martial arts is very different. Initially you must acquire the necessary skill, and must perfect the activity-in effect, master the forms. But that is only the beginning. Look for the true meaning of the forms and you will see what I mean. They have a twofold goal. First, to teach you (through body movements) a practical philosophy of life and second, to unify your body and your mind thereby incorporating the principles of that philosophy into your total being. and influence the way you live your life.”
SPIRITUALITY … THAT ZONE OF UNCERTAINTY SEPARATING THE DEEPER CONSCIOUSNESS FROM THE WAKING AWARENESS
Today’s martial arts disciplines are seeded in old age religious traditions. Taoism, Buddhism, and Confucianism all have associated martial arts styles. Shaun Kung Fu is based on Buddhism. Kung Fu masters promote Taoist meditation. Karate is based on Zen Buddhism. Tai Chi has Taoist principles.
Even though the great spiritual teacher Siddhartha Gautama proclaimed to be no more than an ordinary human being, after his death, he was made into a god by his followers and turned Buddhism into more of a religion. In Siddhartha’s teachings about The Noble Eight Fold Pathway to Enlightenment he addressed mind/body harmony as a necessary part of an individual’s journey to enlightenment. He describes what worked for him.
In the first 3 of 8 folds … he used right speech-right actions-right livelihood … to self-train a calmed mind to then use the calmed mind to employ the next 3 steps … right effort-right mindfulmess-right concentration (meditating)…to self-train the calmed mind to listen to the body and develop mind/body harmony, then with the next 2 steps … the right thinking this inspired, insightfully developed the right understanding. He’d self-trained the insightful wisdom to unravel the mystery in the spirituality zone between the conscious mind and the deeper consciousness to unite the waking conscious with the life knowledge innately founded in the deeper consciousness to have an enlightened understanding of the ignorance that causes human suffering.
Today’s martial arts students can point their purpose in the same direction as our different martial arts forefathers. They were all looking at the same white light.
FORMS ARE SUCH A GREAT TOOL … YOU PAY TO LEARN THEM … USE THEM
With all of today’s talk about the different forms of dementia and the old adage that you must “use it or lose it”, one can appreciate how important it is to find a way to avoid these states of being.
Students in the West Mudo Tae Kwon Do Schools that follow the training of Grand Master Chung Park have been fortunate to have been taught more schools of forms than most other schools. The higher belts in his schools know up to 39 forms … 3 commercial form groups with 3 forms that Grand Master Park originated.
Going through all 39 forms uninterupted takes about 25 minutes. There can be no better way to move your body in every direction possible … repeatedly … while keeping your mind and body working together on the same task … uninterrupted.
THIS IS JUST A MORE PRONOUNCED FORM OF TAI CHI … WITH THE COMMON BENEFITS
The endorphin-spawned “good” feeling lasts a few days from a good forms workout. You feel good about being able to be in charge of where your mind goes for that long without any mental white noise robbing you of your human condition’s right to be wakingly present during its human experience.
The more you do it, the less you have to make yourself do it. With time, the good reasons for doing the complete exercise filter into your waking awareness and just make you want to keep it up. It’s such a great defense against mental depletion … and physical dexterity on a few levels … none better. You know … “Use it or lose it.”
Doing the workout with other students adds another layer of being present to the game.
It becomes inceasingly enjoyable over time until you’re hooked on it … for life.