Okinawa has a long tradition of empty handed combat, primarily because they have been controlled for much of their history by Japan, and mainland Japan has outlawed weapons on the island. The indigenous form of karate practiced in Okinawa was generally known as te (Japanese for hand)– and was further specialized based on the region of Okinawa it was practiced. In Shuri, it was known as Shuri-te, in Tomari – Tomari-te, etc.
by Chanel Collins, 3rd Gup
"Annyeonghaseyo!" All around me the unfamiliar greeting rings out as I step off into sweltering heat I've never felt before, and instantly I know I'm in for an abrupt culture shock. It's hard to breathe because of the dense, overpowering moisture surrounding me and my skin feels like its burning off, but I can't take my eyes off of my new surroundings. I've been up for more than 24 hours and am now in a strange land being told to board a bus after an exhausting day. I can't read any signs, I've just been handed "won" which apparently is very abundant (1,000 won is roughly equal to $1 US dollar), and suddenly it hits me that I'm not in America anymore. Not in the slightest. Not even if I closed my eyes could I pretend that this land was familiar. South Korea has a wild, magnificent spirit all of its own.
Focus is an important part of martial arts and life. Lessons you learn in martial arts can often be expanded and applied to everyday challanges. We want your martial arts experience to transcend beyond the walls of the dojang. This month we offer some well written advice on focus, exerpts from "The Power of Less" by Leo Babauta.
“Always remember, your focus determines your reality.” - Qui-Gon to Anakin, Star Wars Episode I
The quote above, as cheesy as George Lucas’ writing often is, contains a nugget of Jedi wisdom that I’ve repeatedly found to be true.
Your focus determines your reality.
It’s something we don’t think about much of the time, but give it some consideration now:
Jillian Michaels talks tough with the people who appear on her shows, The Biggest Loser and Losing it with Jillian, but perhaps that’s because the 36 year old fitness guru once went through similar struggles with weight. She's featured in the new issue of Redbook baring her belly on the cover and some of her childhood secrets in a revealing interview.
In the interview she admits that she struggled with weight at a young age. She says that by the age of 12, she weighed upwards of 175 lbs. “Oh, my God, it was pure hell,” she recalls. “I spent all of eighth grade in my classroom because God forbid I ever left. I was terrorized. And karate saved my life. It all stopped the day I broke two boards with a kick.”
'Your focus needs more focus'
Shi Sun (시선): Attention or “sight/line.” Line of Sight (physical); Focus (mental) & Intentness (spirit).
The underlying theme of many of our classes in May was Shi Shun. You should recall your instructors asking you to improve your focus in class. In the upcoming movie, the Karate Kid, Mr. Han tells young Dre that "your focus needs more focus!" Where you focus your visual attention (shi sun) communicates many things. Shi Sun is the terminology we use for eye focus but Shi Sun is more than that. Shi Sun demonstrates your mental focus, intensity and commitment. If the eyes are the windows to the soul then Shi Sun reflects your level of confidence, courage and centeredness. Shi Sun reflects your inner dedication and focus to staying on target. When you visualize conquering a challenge or overcome a hardship you are actively engaging Shi Sun.
SBN Gilliland as a Green Belt circa 1989
Ancient people had a deep interest in the development of forms as well as a profound understanding of them. The following is a translation of what is found in the text, Moo Yei Do Bo Tong Ji, author unknown, of the 17th century:
"Performing with hands and feet and conditioning of the body is the beginning of the study of the art of Tang Soo Do. In actual combat, form does not seem in an obvious way to be a necessary part of the martial arts. However, practicing forms perfects the ability to perform hand and foot techniques freely. This is fundamental to making the best use of one's body at all times."
Instructors bowing after practice
Quite often you'll hear Sa Bom Nim explain to students and visitors that the rules of the school are written clearly on the wall. The second rule, Yei, means respect. It's actually the very first lesson taught when joining the school; it was when the instructor first asked you to bow before stepping on the training floor. Bowing in any martial art is a sign of respect and should be a sincere slow bow. It is sometimes more disrespectful to bow incorrectly than not to bow at all as this is a sign that you do not understand the reason behind the gesture.
Some martial arts may differ but in Tang Soo Do you must always be in attention position when you bow. So make sure you have no gaps between your feet and your hands are placed smartly at the sides of your body.
I'm guessing those of us who grew up with the original 1984 version of "wax-on, wax-off" will really enjoy the updated and overhauled version of The Karate Kid. The new "Kid" centers on a young man trying to adjust from the culture shock of moving from the United States to Beijing, China. The "kid" Dre is continuously picked on at his new school until he is rescued by a seemingly mild-mannered maintenance man, Mr Han, who is actually a martial arts master. Check out the new trailer by clicking "read more" below.
OCKicks is planning a movie day in June when all students/familes/friends of the school can go to see the movie together. Answer our poll below and keep your eyes peeled for the invite!
How are those New Year's Resolutions coming? Is your heart still in it? How about your training and Tang Soo Do practice? As is often the case with many words, phrases and concepts spoken in other languages, there are many ways to translate the word heart in Korean. The Korean phrase ma-um (마음) means "wholeheartedness". I've been told that the phrase best describes the idea of "the heart that lingers".
Sometimes we reach plateaus in our training that confound and frustrate us because we don't seem to improve the way we've experienced at other times. What we must avoid is the strong desire to give up or lose heart; to quit. Instead we should challenge ourselves to train with the same vigor and intensity, the same heart that rewarded us with past success. Tang Soo Do training starts out as a very physical process. You learn new techniques, the basics of blocking, kicking, and punching, and must delve into the tough physical workouts. As you progress through the belt levels, and especially after finally achieving a Cho Dan, you are left to start reflecting on the training and accomplishments that have accompanied your training. You should recall the joy you felt that first day or from a big success and use it to commit yourself to our training. The lesson you learn from this commitment will serve you well in all facets of your daily life, be it at school, at work, at play and even in relationships with others.
What are you resolving this year? Setting resolutions at the start of a new year can be effective if you create goals that are realistic and you make them fun in some way. You might brainstorm different ways to accomplish the goal or recruit a friend to help you do it. For example, to lose 10 pounds, consider how to exercise daily, take up a new fitness or martial arts class, and ask a good friend to be your workout buddy to keep you motivated.
The idea is to maintain a healthy sense of humor: The more rigid or extreme the goal is, the less likely it will be that it will be attractive or attainable. Allow yourself to make mistakes and enjoy the process as much as reaching---or even surpassing--your new goals.
We are a family-friendly community of martial artists, of all ages, who are committed to providing a safe and supportive approach to improving physical health, confidence and self-esteem. We like to say that “Families that kick together, stick together!”
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