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Master Hodson's Blog

Respect

Thursday 18th May 2017

In Taekwon Do respect is highly valued so much that it is an integral part of the first tenet courtesy. General Choi made courtesy the first tenet in order of importance to the student, to promote harmony within the training halls. We formally show our respect by performing the "bow". We perform the bow when entering our place of training (dojang) and when leaving we also perform the bow to the instructor and our fellow student as a mark of respect. The bow is not meant to be rushed, instead the student learns to stop, prepare and perform the bow in a meaningful way. The intention behind the bow is important too, in other words, rather than a meaningless robotic movement, the student needs to have genuine thoughts of non judgement towards the person or place when bowing. Genuine respect is non judgemental, this is the uniqueness in Taekwon Do in that we do not judge but we respect whole heartedly. Non judgement also means neither positive or negative feelings, so we may not always like the person we bow to and nor do we have to, as a bow is a sign of respect and not whether we like or dislike someone. The bow is also an expression from the person performing the bow, once again this is non judgemental, and a sign of self respect too. When we learn to respect ourselves we find it easier and less challenging to respect others. It would be easy to fall into the trap of self importance as one progresses through the grades, this is a fault of the ego wishing to gain status to prove falsely "I am a better person" This is a grave mistake and one which the student must avoid. Respect is an acknowledgement that we are all important and that includes i.e. you, me, our place of training and the founder of Taekwon Do. One person may know more about something than another but this does not make them better. The courtesy in Taekwon Do does extend though further in recognising the seniority of the instructor, master or grand master. In otherwords, we do openly recognise our seniors and that they have achieved what we haven't within the realms of our martial art. This is custom handed down from the beginning and is part of the oriental way to think highly of our seniors, but once again, mindful to not make them better than ourselves and end up thinking less of ourselves because of that. This would be the ego once more trying to make us feel bad and looking for ways to feel the need to be better. This is not helpful and leads to stress and low self esteem. Instead non judgement is key just learn to accept that others who have travelled further down a particular path than yourself and that you respect that for what it is, and if you would like the same experience then you must too must follow that particular path and endure the same sacrifice to achieve it. Respect builds harmony in the class and in oneself, you only have to look where respect does not happen to see its results and the disharmony it prevails. Of course we don't have to bow outside of our training hall to show respect instead you carry with you the same non judgement the same feeling you have when you formally bow. Acknowledgement outside of the dojang can be by way of a smile, handshake, pat on the back etc . Either way its saying your important and so am I, and I recognise that in you and in myself. David Hodson VII degree Fortitude Academy Contact Tel: 01342 302 192 www.tkd4u.co.uk…

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Self Control

Thursday 18th May 2017

When we first speak to our new or prospective students about the Taekwon Do journey and what it is, we speak often of the physical benefits with regards to increased health, fitness and flexibility. These are sometimes the reasons students enrol, and parents see as immediate benefits for their children. We as martial artists will follow this up with the benefits of amongst other things of respect and self control, perhaps two lesser known or considered elements of Taekwon Do to the beginner. I'm farely certain that students understand that this will be a requirement of participation in a class i.e. that they respect both their instructor and fellow students and that they must have an element of self control in the way they behave and train, but they may not know yet of the benefit to themselves of having practiced these two principles. After initial training students discover that we go far deeper and that there is a philosophy that builds from the student oath and the five tenets of Taekwon Do of which respect (courtesy) and self control are two. We find it easy to relate the benefits of increased health, fitness and flexibility and from these we enjoy growing confidence and well being, but we may not find it as easy to think what increasing ones respect for others and developing our self control would do for us as a whole, other than making us pleasant to teach. Having written about respect in a previous post I would therefore like to focus on self control. Self control encompasses many aspects of our life, we already have some level of self control if we have managed to bite our lip when provoked in an argument or if we have avoided an extra portion of cake, or saved up for something rather than gone into debt to buy it. Self control in the martial arts environment is to do with control of ones temper, especially in sparring, also refraining from speaking out without raising your hand and can also extend to controlling ones nerves when performing in a grading. The ability to control ones emotions can be life saving, whether its walking away from dangerous provocation or standing your ground and defending yourself when there are no other options available. Self control is about having a choice rather than being at the mercy of your emotions and feelings. Its about building a space (could be as simple as taking a deep breathe) between a stimulus and our response to that stimulus. Its not what happens to us that defines us its our chosen response to what happens. If someone is rude or insulting that may make you angry or sad, gaining self control of ones emotions can help to then deal with things in a better way. In sparring it is possible that something may happen accidentally or even if its on purpose whereby more than the acceptable level of contact is made, our response to either situation can be the same, that is to remain calm, express clearly what we think may have happened and come to a compromise. Which might be to accept the apology and inform the other student that your not appreciating that level of contact and to refrain from doing it. Self control enables one to be pro active to given situations rather than being reactionary. It can be extremely empowering for s student to feel they have dealt with something much better because they feel more in contol of themselves, this can lead to increasing self esteem and growing in confidence. Its in the dojang where students have the opportunity to exercise their bodies, minds and self control. Self control along with the self defence is something students carry with them outside of the dojang into their everyday lives. Self control can be applied to what you choose to eat, the way you speak to your spouse/friend/partner, the way to speak to your children. Taking control of moods, behaviour and ultimately your life. Its the act of doing something to bring about a more positive outcome that defines increased self control. When we do this we are using a different part of the brain than when we react. Reacting without thinking is part of the "old brain" its part of the survival mechanism that has been there from day one of the evolution of the human race. It is there and always will be but we now have higher faculties in the more evolved parts of the brain, which has enabled the human to live in what we know as civilised society. The ability to choose our response is there we just need to exercise it more frequently and as we say in the Taekwon Do oath to build a more peaceful world . That world is also our own personal world and when we feel more in control we feel more at peace and are therefore more help to society as a whole. Master David Hodson VII degree Fortitude Academy Contact Tel: 01342 302 192 www.tkd4u.co.uk www.fortitudeacademy.co.uk…

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