July HST was held on a beautiful Sunday morning at Turkey Mountain, near Yorktown Heights, NY.
Approximately 25 participants, including a few parents and Masters, met up at 8am. We climbed up the blue trail at a comfortable pace for approximately 1.5 miles, reaching the top in less than 40 minutes. The peak offered sweeping views of the Manhattan skyline as well as the Croton Reservoir.
After admiring the view and enjoying a refreshing drink, Master Yoo proceeded to guide us through some meditation. We eased into relaxation and deep focus on specific parts of our body, including fingertips for pulse sensation, moving palms together and apart to experience magnetic resistance, heat, warmth, etc. while levelling emotions. We finished with palms surrounding our head and visualizing cleansing all four corners of the brain.
After about 20 minutes of meditation we proceeded back to the bottom following the white trail and reaching the parking lot (0.7 miles). Everyone looked energized and refreshed, and the day was still young as the hike was completed by 10am. We thank all participants and hope you share this experience with your families and friends.
Please leave your comments on Yoo’s Martial Arts Facebook by going to www.yoosma.com and clicking on the Facebook link.
“Today’s HST Class was the best class I’ve attended In a long time. My knee injuries are a lot better but not 100% however I am very happy that I made it without much discomfort.
Today’s class was physically very challenging due to the offense and defense drills, the sparring and then the agility drills which really tested me anaerobically. The sit-ups and squats were challenging but it was perfect for me because they were strengthening exercises and flexibility exercises that I specifically need to help my knees heal.
Another reason that I say it was the best class is because of our classroom session about devotion, self-training and pleasure. Our lives constantly balance these three energies and after a little extra thought we can see how devotion, self-training and pleasure guide us in our day to day lives. Too much of one of these may have negative results. What I will remember is to not use devotion and self-training in the name of pleasure. I should remember not to say I’m training or I’m devoted when I know that I’m doing it to receive pleasure in the future… this will not be a proper balance. Each is its own action but I think too much pleasure seeking may lead to the most bad results.
Lastly, we were challenged to test our devotion and clean the streets! If we really believe in a clean environment, would we really go outside and clean? Master Yoo challenged us to do it and it felt very different and a little funny but I learned that is a part of true devotion.
I’m happy I completed all the challenges of today’s class.
-Written By SABUMNIM Ed Beusse”
“From today’s class, there were a few lessons to embrace. The first lesson is the structure of the classes themselves. I’ve noticed over time that the pattern is set in such a way to allow the SUSA a maximum chance to be open to learning. The physical drills and the concentration required for them release good hormones which are circulating in their system by the time we sit for the curriculum or philosophy portion.
The second lesson is from the second portion, which is reinforcing that how we choose to spend our time, and the intent behind those choices is how we reflect our energy outward. These choices also determine whether or not we reinforce our goals, by drawing in enough energy to support them, or whether we simply trod along doing what may be the right thing but not making a lasting impact in helping our community.
Leaning too much or too little on any of the three pools (pleasure, self-training and devotion) leads to imbalance internally, which undercuts our ability to fulfill our goals externally. Too much pleasure can lead to excess and laziness, too much self-training, or for the wrong reason, leads back to pleasure and is a distraction. Even too much devotion, if done for the wrong reasons (attention, admiration, accolades, etc.) can lead back to pleasure and lessen the impact of our actions.
For these reasons (as well as others), it is important to remember that balance (which does not mean everything is done equally, just appropriately) is important in our lives, but so is our intentions.
Contentment comes from a balanced life. A deep study of Martial Arts can help an individual in determining what priorities to set forth in achieving balance. Which aspects of life are valuable enough to continuously progress in? Our lives can be divided into three of main categories: pleasure, self-training (Su Haeng) and devotion (Hong Ik In Gan).
In life, no matter what, we wish to experience some pleasures. Examples of these pleasures are food and sleep. Although these do constitute basic necessities required for survival, their quantity and quality can sometimes be excessive. Everyone must eat, but it is not necessary to eat too often or more than is necessary. Everyone must sleep but not everyone needs to sleep as much as they want. You may need to go online to research something, but you don’t need to procrastinate or search unnecessarily. You may need a watch to tell the time, but you certainly don’t need an expensive watch. Pursuing pleasure to excess can be detrimental and take away from the two other categories of life.
2. SELF-TRAINING (SU HAENG)
Self-training is the development of oneself. Some examples of self-training in martial arts are pushups, sit-ups, running, meditation, etc.. Self-training by achieving goals makes us feel good and confident. During self-training positive hormones get released into our bodies. These hormones allow us to feel good, and benefit us in all areas of life. Once a person discovers the benefits of physical training and meditation, it becomes difficult to miss because of the negative feelings that harvest within us resulting from negative thoughts and hormones when we miss self-training. The Korean word Su Haeng means Clean out and Go! This term is used to describe the effect of self-training. It cleans out your body (physical body, energy body and spiritual body) and allows us to go towards devotion. Through Su Haeng, a corner stone of our life, we can better understand that there should be a shift from seeking material/physical pleasure towards self-training and devotion to others.
3. DEVOTION (HONG IK IN GAN)
Devotion to what you may ask? Devotion is called Hong Ik In Gan in Korean, which roughly translates to achieving overflowing energy that helps the people around you. Devotion is doing our best with sincere efforts in the walk of life just given to us. By doing our best with sincerity, we already benefit humanity in our role as earth humans. But depending on our energy level built through self-training (Su Haeng), our energy could be overflowing or dried away, thus resulting in different degrees of benefitting humanity. Some may pick up the garbage on the public street forever, while others may become fine leaders of society and awaken people’s conscience rather than throw their conscience on the public street. We can easily distinguish which one is a higher degree of devotion. By achieving a higher level of devotion, our Hong Ik In Gan energy will move forward and amplify the sharing of good deeds.
Striking a balance between pleasure, self-training and devotion is the challenge. When excessive pleasure is sought it takes time away from self-training and devotion. Usually, it takes away more from devotion because most of us are reluctant to cut back on self-training since we have experienced benefits of self-training. Without self-training we are more likely to fall into a negative condition because our system is not releasing positive hormones. When this happens, the wiser choice to help ourselves is to cut back on self-training and keep the time committed to devotion unchanged. Receiving negative feeling from loss of self-training and lack of confidence in front of people while devoting ourselves to people will lead us to regret what we did and persuade us not to repeat it again. Through our Su Haeng and Hong Ik In Gan (self-training and devotion), we learn to relinquish pleasure that keeps us in bondage and instead lead a balanced life and pursue that which brings us spiritual illumination.
Spoken by Ji do ja nim Yoo Written by Hyun Sa Myung Duk (Drew Vanover), Shin Min (Patrick Malonso) and JiSun (Joe Lipman) Edited by Hyun Sa Chun Shim (Carlos Stern)