-Written by new Taekwondo Black Belt Bryan Wong
When we first moved to Tarrytown, I decided to visit Yoo’sMartial Arts because I was interested in getting Tyler involved in an activity that would improve his confidence, physical conditioning and discipline. I then realized this was an opportunity for me to pursue a martial art which was something I’d always wanted to learn as a kid. Of course, the first thing you think about is how cool it would be to break a board or throw a spinning roundhouse kick. But you quickly realize that the benefits of Tae Kwon Do are much larger than improving your physical capabilities.
The principles we study as part of each belt’s curriculum provide the balance to the physical aspects of the martial arts. Understanding the importance of the brown belt principle of Do & Tae Kwon Do is essential. It is the balance of physical skills and a focus on living life in a way that benefits humanity is what makes us complete. Without the focus of leading a “good way of life”, the benefits of the physical combat skills of Tae and Kwon will lead to aggression and a negative impact on society.
The starting point of the journey is the white belt principle of Respect. The important aspect here is that without first respecting yourself, you will be unable to show respect to others. In order to improve your self-respect, you must align the three aspects of who you are – mind, body and spirit. The physical training (Jung Choong) of Tae Kwon Do sets the foundation of building your overall Ki. Secondly, we must clear our mind of negative emotions via Ki Jaang training via meditation and a positive outlook. The third aspect is Shin Myung training to build up our spirit. This requires that we remove the preconceptions in our minds that keep us from realizing our true potential. Once you have a better position on respecting yourself, you can look to extend that respect to those around you.
Now that the journey is in progress, we must understand that the journey never ends. While we must strive to achieve the red/black belt principle of Conquering mountain of Tae Kwon Do, it is the journey itself that is the true purpose. It is critical that we don’t end up in a place of arrogance by thinking that we have conquered the mountain and achieved all that there is to achieve. The yellow belt principle of Humility is where we must focus as we journey up the mountain. It is the realization that there is always more to learn that helps to set the context of our journey and to avoid the pitfalls of an arrogant lifestyle.
The journey to be a better person and to benefit humanity is a difficult one. There are constant distractions that will attempt to side-track us from our goals. In order to combat these challenges, we have several tools at hand. When we were orange belts, we learned the importance of Perseverance. In the face of challenges, we must continue to move forward step by step. This requires the green belt principle of Self Control. We will have to battle frustration, anger and the desire to quit by maintaining control over those states of mind. One way to do this is to use meditation to enhance our concentration (purple belt) on our goals.
As we build up our inner strength, we are enabled to share that strength and positive energy with those around us. The blue belt principle of Honesty is critical to being able to share our wisdom and energy in efforts to serve the greater good. If we are sincere, people will see that in how we live our lives and will be more receptive to what we have to offer.
All of this leads to us becoming more complete at human beings. The many principles are interlinked and work together to equip us as servants of humanity. Our training in both physical and mental discipline will help us to build a strong belief (red belt) that we can make a difference in this world and that our Tae Kwon Do journey is a core foundation that empowers us.