Moo Do Philosophy - More of the Right Mindfulness

Wed, 09/02/2009 - 7:27pm — Grandmaster


In the last article on Moo Do Philosophy – “The Right Mindfulness”, I gave several examples of practicing the Right Mindfulness as part of your Tang Soo Do training. Since our training is both in and out of the dojang, I will continue with this subject with several more examples on a more philosophical slant.


The Right Mindfulness also encompasses the following key concepts:


  1. Be the observer – Being the observer always starts with your own thoughts. As a martial artist, you started by learning physical skills. You realized that you could learn the skills better by focusing  your eyes, ears, and mind on what was being done and then trying to model it. As you progressed, you learned that by disciplining your mind and using visualization and refining your memory, you could improve even faster. The “Warrior” understands that to take it to the next level, they must not only control their breath, but also watch their thoughts.

    It has been said that the average person speaks to themselves between 300 to 1,000 words per minute. Whether this is true or not, it is safe to say that the average person has thousands of thoughts passing through their mind every day. These thoughts attract similar thoughts and people. The Law of Sympathetic Resonance is one of the universal laws we can always count on.

    To observe your thoughts is to identify them. If they are negative, you are wise to replace them as soon as possible with something positive. This can be done easily by training your mind to accept new and improved thoughts. The Law of Substitution is another tool in your arsenal. We have an old saying in our dojang that goes, “habits you train, are habits you gain.” The “Warrior” understands this and so develops empowering habits of thought. This can be done by a combination of proper breathing, auto suggestion, repeating peak performance prompts, and surrounding ourselves with positive, “can do” people.    

    “The watcher cannot be watched.” Author Unknown

  2. Um/Yang and the value of Pyung Ahn – We live in a hectic society. Our day is flooded with communication, information, intense entertainment, and much stress. Many of us hit the ground running and never stop. We try to pack as much as possible into our day. Many of us don’t get enough sleep and are addicted to caffeine, junk food, or worse. We are hooked on cell phones, e-mail, cable, fax machines, Palm Pilots, and now most recently Face Book and Twitter. In this case, more is not necessarily better. In fact, the “Warrior” realizes that less is better when one considers it in the context of “Pyung Ahn” or Peace and Calm. We really don’t need more cars, roads, retail shopping centers, restaurants, televisions, cell phones, and we certainly don’t need more texting and driving at the same time! What we do need is more peace and quiet and Pyung Ahn.

    Balance can be found by living life according to the Um/Yang theory or philosophy. To be in balance is to act naturally. To be one with nature. To gain more peace and quiet spend more time in nature.

    “When we are unable to find tranquility within ourselves, it is useless to seek it elsewhere.” Francois de la Rochefoucauld

  3. Empty Your Cup – The “Warrior” understands that the more they know the more they know they don’t know. Simply put, there is always more to learn. The best way to learn is to start with the right mindset. This encompasses the six fundamental learning principles of Tang Soo Do but starts with humility or what we call Kyum Son.

    You must first empty your cup before you are able to fully learn. This requires humility and or at least the ability to suspend the ego long enough to look and listen with the intent to learn. My first instructor told us that to learn, “we must be like a sponge”. That is, we must be able to absorb a lot and then be ready to soak up more after we have rested. There will always be more to learn if you are open to it. To be open, you must first empty your cup.

    There is a great story about this very topic in Joe Hyam’s classic, Zen in the Martial Arts, in which he relates a story of a potential student seeking knowledge and instruction from a famous martial arts teacher and Zen Master. The potential student introduced himself and his many accomplishments while the Zen Master listened intently and poured a cup of tea for the visitor. As the potential student continued to talk, the Zen Master continued to pour tea until it was flowing over the top of the cup and all over the table and the potential student’s lap. The potential student exclaimed, “what are you doing, you are spilling the tea all over the place.” Upon hearing this, the Zen Master stopped pouring and said, “just as this cup is full and can’t hold anymore tea, you are full of yourself and can’t learn what I have to share”.

    “Be like a sponge and absorb as much as you can.” Grandmaster Young Hyuk Kwon