catch-joeWe are fortunate to have the chance to train together as a martial arts family.  To emphasize how much we value that experience, we’re honored to share a blog post from one of our gup students, Mr. J.R. Skjaret who just reached his 7th gup had some thoughts we’re glad to share.

Mudo: A Veterans Perspective

The warrior spirit is the little flame that burns in the back of your mind: the part of your ego that will keep pushing you forward against any and all obstacles. Mudo is any warrior’s greatest weapon.  Like any weapon it requires training and maintenance if you want to go from a candle flame of mudo to a forest fire.

Slow ProgressMilitary training starts from the moment you get up till your eyes shut at night, not just when you bow into the dojang. Mudo goes beyond just practicing forms, stances and cuts. A warrior should always strive for self-control physically, mentally and emotionally. By no means does this mean you need to be perfect and something is wrong with you if you’re not. Quite the opposite! You should recognize the areas you need to improve and push forward in them.

You can and will break. You will lose control. Military basic training is specifically designed to do that to service members. Just remember mudo is as much about how you handle those breaking points as how you handle yourself when everything’s going right. The nice part is when you break down you get to rebuild better and stronger than before.

Dashi: Do it Again

“Been there done that: I’ve done the gup thing before how hard can it be?” That sums up my thoughts when I started Haidong. I was introduced to a Korean phrase I had never heard before: dashi which basically means “do it again”. Though I didn’t realize it yet by the end of class that phrase applied to more than just my movements. I was a beginner again. I had to do it again: the confusion, the pain, the challenge and boy I didn’t feel ready for it.

Train More Sword VersionFor the next three months my kids were sick, I was sick, or I didn’t have the extra money for gas but I made it to class whenever I could: dashi. Thanks to collapsed arches my feet hurt for the first three weeks after every class.  Dashi: practice makes perfect.  The muscles will rebuild and the pain will go away. What’s this standing on one foot thing?  My ankle is shot, my balance sucks, and I can’t hold this. Dashi. Then came test day I was feeling pretty good throughout most of it then came the unexpected board break. Dashi. With a satisfying thunk two large pieces of wood along with quite a few splinters fell to the floor.

The point of all of this is not to toot my own horn but to share a vital part of my understanding of the martial arts.  No matter what if you keep moving forward no matter the size of the step you can dashi. You can do it again.