I have a wood fence around my property except for the back where there are woods. Over the last year, a groundhog has been coming from the woods to eat a part of my lawn that must taste great! He/she was no trouble and would come and go pretty often. He/she is pretty good size as you can tell from the picture. A couple of weeks ago, I completed fencing the property with chain link so we could still see the woods but keep my dogs in the yard and out of the woods. I thought at the time, the groundhog was not going to be happy!
So yesterday, I was sitting, drinking a cup of coffee and looking at the woods when I noticed the groundhog walking the chain link fence line. He was investigating the new obstacle to his buffet! I kind of felt bad for him because that was not the intent of the fence. I was wondering if there was a way to allow him in and still keep my dog from getting out. He left and I started my day.
When I came back in the afternoon, I noticed that the groundhog was in the yard and having a great time back at the buffet! Wow, that made me feel good! Then……it hit me. How did he get in? Did he make a hole in my new fence? I watched him until he decided to return to the woods. He went over a hill to a rear corner, out of view, and then he was gone. I walked down to the corner and inspected the fence. Nothing! The fence had not been touched. So I investigated a little more. And I learned how he got in. He found a small opening in the bottom of the wood fence where the ground dropped slightly below the bottom of the wood. Maybe 1-1/2″ at the most! I found it hard to believe he could get his skull through much less the rest of his body but I have seen mice go through holes that looked completely impossible!
So, the energy in my backyard is back in balance even though the additional fence seemed like an obstacle. This seemed like a great metaphor to share with you today! Obstacles are only obstacles if you view them that way! When there is a will, there is a way! I think I will add that there must be the proper motivation to fuel the will! That seems to be the biggest problem for most of us. What is our motivation? The groundhog’s seemed to be food. Or maybe it was just a problem he was determined to solve!
More to think about……..
In the past, I attended one of the Tri-State Martial Arts Pioneer Awards Banquets. It was a seven hour black tie event and there were many great Grandmasters in attendance. The purpose of this banquet is to show appreciation for the martial art pioneers who give of themselves to pass on their knowledge and experience to future generations. They are very humble and prefer not to be “on stage” yet there were some words of wisdom offered by various recipients. I can tell you now that punching and kicking were hardly mentioned. Discipline and character were the topics. The youth are our future and discipline and character are what is needed by the youth.
Grandmaster Dennis Brown, of the Shaolin Wushu Academy in Washington, DC, had something to say and I would like to share it with you. He said that he tells his students: “If you want to be [blank], then surround yourself by [blank] and strive to be worthy.” You fill in the blank. The most important part of his statement is “strive to be worthy.”
More to think about………………………
I had the opportunity and priviledge to go fishing with Captain Phil Langley yesterday. He owns “Fish the Bay Charters” – http://www.mdcharterfishing.com/ facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Fish-the-Bay-Charters/129437873766966
Some of you know that Capt. Langley is also a Dan member of our Tang Soo Do family. He was the first student to sign up for classes in 2002 when I opened our dojang. Nowadays he is not able to attend very often due to his fishing business, day job, and family responsibilities. Despite the fact of his limited time for physical training, he is a midnight blue belt of the highest character! Remember, the mental aspect of Tang Soo Do is the most important and the hardest to develop. In my opinion, Capt. Langley is a leader in this aspect of the art! If you ever have the opportunity to meet and fish with Captain Langley, you will also realize the privilege to share energy with him!
I highly recommend you contact Captain Phil Langley if you are interested in any type of fishing on the Bay! The picture is our catch yesterday – (3) 37″ – 40″ Rockfish!
We had a small micro burst at my house last Friday evening during the thunderstorms. We watched the wind steadily pick up speed then gust for about 5 seconds! During that 5 seconds, the wind picked up my gazebo (held down by 4 treated 2x12s, concrete blocks, and various large plants in pots) on the back deck and started to take it over the roof of the house. The base got hung up on a fixed part of the deck, which prevented it from moving, causing the wind to tear and bend it beyond repair! At the same time, it blew down a section of my wood fence. It was really pretty inspiring to experience such a burst of extreme energy! Then, the energy needed to clean up and repair what could be salvaged was not so inspiring…….
Anyway, the purpose of this message is how it relates to the martial art and survival. In survival, we need aggressive energy in a huge wave, like the micro burst I witnessed. Then, the criminal can deal with the aftermath.
More to think about…………
First of all, this blog was delayed. There have been hacking attacks on the blog platform I am using and they shut it down for a while.
Anyway………last week I was able to share Tang So Do with one of the private High Schools in Charles County. I have done this now for over 5 years. When I say share Tang Soo Do, I really mean energy! I explain that we are going to work on the basics: nutrition, oxygen, strength and flexibility. They expect to learn how to kick and fight. Instead, they learn about the basics of the body. These are the foundation to any type of movement and balance. The students are a little disappointed until we start the strength exercises and I alter the simple exercise into something more challenging and fun.
These type of opportunities to share the martial art with the community are very important. They only know what they see in the media which is only a very small part of training in the martial art. Hopefully, after the hour of shared energy, they have a different perspective of training in the martial art!
I like NASCAR and attend races every once in while. Today, they race at Martinsville. It is a great track to attend if you like close up action. The last time I attended the Dover track, our seats had a direct view to the garage area for many of the teams. Among them was the “Red Bull” pit crew. The pit crew services the car about 4 to 6 times during a race. Each service takes about 10 -15 seconds. There are 7 team members over the wall at a time. They are at 110% effort for 10-15 seconds. As you know, without a warm-up, your body is not going to perform properly. Anyway, I was watching the garage area and noticed the “Red Bull” team on the ground doing static stretches. Then, they were doing dynamic stretches (The same ones in our stretching manual). Then they were doing exercises! And….they were the only team I saw going through this warm-up routine. Very interesting and I wonder if they might have a martial arts instructor coaching them on their physical performance……..
Yesterday, we had our 7th Promotional Dan Examination for our Tang Soo Do family. We added two new 1st dans and one 2nd dan to our family. It was a great day of shared energy that will never be forgotten. I watched as all three candidates executed perfect breaking techniques. Mr. Kyle Lennert persevered to be promoted to his second midnight blue belt in Tang Soo Do! Ms. Jamie Gumina has become the first female in our family to break concrete with her hand and then continue to break boards with her left foot even though she is right footed! Mr. Jeff Fortin, among many things, executed a double front kick break!
One reason the day was emotional for me was because I had the opportunity to hand down my original 2nd dan belt, given to me by Grandmaster Seo, to Mr. Jeff Fortin. My Dan number from Grandmaster Seo was #9. Mr. Fortin’s Dan number from me is #9. He is also the first person who started with me (chronologically) to earn 2nd dan. It is funny how events turn out given time. I never imagined that this would be a day for me back when I earned that belt. It was a great honor to be able to pass down the Tang Soo Do lineage! I never planned to have my own Tang Soo Do family but this is where my Tang Soo Do journey led me. I hope that one or more of our Tang Soo Do family finds a similar path as they continue their journey! Then, the lineage of Tang Soo Do will continue through time!
Congratulations to the the Dan members and continued success in Tang Soo Do and your journey through life!
Sr. Master Glenn Miller
I came across this quote:
A passing boat leaves no trace upon the waters;
a bird’s flight leaves no trace in the sky
When fleeting success, failure, gain, or loss
leaves no trace upon the heart,
the great wisdom of liberation has been achieved.
- Master Shengyen
This is an interesting quote / metaphor. Much to think about………….
Many times students and parents tend to forget the purpose of traditional martial art training. We live in a society that puts a lot of attention on sports and competition. Even when we attend tournaments and compete to check where we are in our training (more mental than physical), we can forget the true purpose of our traditional training. It is not to win anything. In self-defense, we do not strive to win. We strive to survive! When you think about winning, you think about competing. The last thing you ever want to do is
compete with someone who is trying to assault you! You want to end the assault and survive rather than win the assault! This is a very important state of mind that you need to understand.
Back to the topic……Over the years, I have played various sports on many teams. The purpose of the team is to WIN! If you are the weakest link, you sit on the bench. If you are a good player, you get to play more of the game then you sometimes would like to. If you make a mistake on the field of play, the coach has plenty to say about it. The coach’s
job is to post a victory on the scoreboard rather than a defeat. The “team” atmosphere is all about competing and winning.
The martial art is not a sport and we do not consider ourselves a “team.” We are a “family.” A family helps each other, encourages the weakest link, and promotes unity. Our purpose is not to win, our purpose is self discovery and to help others in the community. There are no sidelines, benches, coaches, or scoreboards. There are family members who strive to help each other as they move forward in their Tang Soo Do
More to think about………..
Drag racing is a very simple concept. Who can go from point A to point B in the shortest amount of time. As is all things, it sounds easy but is not so easy. So……..what does this have to do with the martial art? Well, if everything is balanced, meaning the car is running at its best and the driver is calm and running at their best, you have an excellent “run.” When that happens, everyone in attendance can see, hear, and feel it! It is a perfectly balanced moment in time! At the last event I attended, there were only a handful of “runs” that had that result. But when it happened, it charged every one’s internal batteries.
Maybe this sounds a little like concrete block breaking during testing. If the person breaking is in a balanced state of mind, their performance will be one that charges every one’s internal batteries. Sounds easy. For everyone who has attempted to do this break, they know, it is not so easy.
So I will pose this question: Do you watch the event for the result or do you watch to experience the energy involved in the moment in time? I believe you all know my answer. But what is your answer? Something to thing about……………