By Phil Duncan
What is it about a fire that draws us to it almost instinctively? We may not even be cold, yet we can't resist "backing up" to a nice warm fire. Is it just coincidence that we are so predictable when we are near one or could it be that we have an inborn sense that draws us to it? It seems that almost everyone is attracted to and responds the same way to a well tended and controlled fire. Perhaps this offers a unique insight into one aspect of our art.
We have all experienced the comfortable warmth of a fireplace or campfire crackling at our backs as we warm ourselves in its glow, but did you ever think about where that heat you were enjoying actually came from? As you soak in the warmth, it is easy to assume that it comes from the burning wood, but in reality every bit of the energy released in the fire is simply sunlight that has been stored in the wood. Those dazzling flames and glowing coals were once sunbeams. They shined down on tender saplings which stretched toward the rays until they grew into sturdy trees capable of withstanding the trials of nature. The process of burning only releases the sunlight that has been stored in the wood over many years and we enjoy the release of this stored energy as fire.
The sun is obviously the origin of all the energy in a fire, although this fact is easily forgotten when watching the colorful and dazzling flames. If not for the sunshine that nourished the trees to maturity, there would be no fire for us to enjoy. When you think about it, the relationship between Moo Duk Kwan® Founder Hwang Kee and our art isn't really much different. His inspiration, insight, wisdom, creativity and dedication resulted in his Moo Duk Kwan® martial art organization and his Tang Soo Do and then Soo Bahk Do® martial art systems which he shared with all our instructors who in turn now share with us today. They are the trees who have stored the energy and released it to us in exciting displays of skill and understanding that warm us to the core.
We regularly come to our instructors for the energy they share with us and because of the nice glow that always stays with us after training under their guidance. In fact, it seems as if there are always others there doing the same thing: "backing up" to the fire. The next time you go to train, ask yourself who was there for you when you came looking for what you needed. Who had kept the fire stoked up and coals of dedication glowing brightly so you might stroll near the fire and warm your hands and feet from the cold? Who has tended the Moo Duk Kwan® fire for all these years just so it would still be burning on the day you happen to need to warm yourself?
Whose fire do you warm yourself by?
Right now, at this instance in time, "Who is your Instructor?'': your personal Sa Bom Nim? This is the question a loyal student loves to answer and the one dreaded by a student whose action's may have been less than honorable. It is the one question that indicates the essence of our "Moo Do" art and suggests that we should be diligently aware of the relationship which exists between us and our Instructor.
Imagine snapping your fingers and removing every trace of Moo Duk Kwan® Founder Hwang Kee's presence from the world today. What if God had not put him on earth in our generation? Imagine every Moo Duk Kwan® patch, emblem, flag etc. vanishing instantly. Imagine every practitioner of our art immediately forgetting the experiences, values and virtues gained from their involvement as Moo Duk Kwan® practitioners studying Tang Soo Do and Soo Bahk Do®. Imagine suddenly not knowing any of the people you now know in Tang Soo Do and Soo Bahk Do®. Imagine the effect on the martial art styles worldwide if all who once warmed themselves by Moo Duk Kwan® Founder Hwang Kee's fire immediately lost all recollection of their experiences with him. It's mind boggling, isn't it?
In 1992 the Founder asked practitioners to move to "ACTION and they responded by lighting their own fires to attract others and renewed their dedication to the "Mission" of the Moo Duk Kwan®: World peace through improved human relationships.
Moo Duk Kwan® schools are "...a brotherhood and school of stopping inner and outer conflict and developing virtue according to the way of the worthy hand...-. Isn't that a way of achieving peace? As we tend our personal fires in the hopes of providing warmth and insight for others, let's remember to give credit to Moo Duk Kwan® Founder Hwang Kee. After all, he is the source of all the Tang Soo Do and Soo Bahk Do® fires that our instructors, and now we, "back up to for the warmth we need.
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