Grand Master Park believed that the martial arts were a very important component for the person who sought to have a well balanced way-of-life. Besides the obvious benefit of learning how to defend oneself, (which is one of the most fundamental disciplines any person could have since survival is a prerequisite to all other values), martial arts can improve one’s physical and psychological health/well-being and even contribute to ones spiritual life.
Many years ago Park’s Martial Arts was committed to doing a demonstration for the Salisbury Festival. Every student that was participating in the demonstration showed up on time for practice review except one particular black belt. So when the time came and we started to leave for the demonstration the black belt finally showed up. Grand Master Park asked where he had been and the black belt replied that he had been busy. Grand Master Park got very angry and said in broken English, “we all busy…you think you special?!” He then told the black belt to “go home”. To some this may seem a bit harsh but this black belt often had a tendency to be late to classes due to his “busy” excuses.
In our modern times you often hear people complain saying “I just don’t have the time”, “I’m too busy”, etc. The fact is that we all have the same time and that it is those who can organize their time and make appropriate life choices that become successful.
We should reflect carefully on the premise of having “no time”. Obviously, there are those times when true emergencies interrupt our routines and goals. However, if a person has too many “emergencies” then they are most likely doing something wrong which needs to be addressed and corrected.
Grand Master Park use to say that it is important to organize and discipline one’s life to include only those things which are of optimum benefit for oneself and those around them (whether through direct or indirect influence). He also said, that once a person makes a decision they should stick to it and strive to do their best.
The aware, educated and wise person seeks to constantly improve upon their life situation regardless of how little time or money they have or how difficult things become.
Whereas you may notice the unaware or uneducated person often complains about spending so much time and energy working that they can barely make ends meet, etc. Yet, have they actually paused to consider how they spend their time and money? Are they spending their time and money on frivolous or superficial entertainment? Do they watch too much TV, misuse alcoholic or drugs, attend too many parties, etc?
Chances are if they are doing these things they are seeking short term and immediate pleasure or relief. There is of course nothing wrong with seeking healthy personal pleasure/relief. But observe closely if the activities are merely to compensate for a stressful life, or a poor quality of life and life choices which one may continually make.
In additon, while it is true that these “quick fixes” provide pleasures they can and often do stifle lasting happiness. Therefore, one should distinguish between activities which stimulate superficial pleasures from those that promote long lasting happiness.
Too much dependency on external sources for pleasure and happiness leads to a lack of self worth and personal Mastery. This problem is ever more prevalent in modern culture with the advent of ever changing technologies. Children are being motivated and stimulated less by direct human interaction and more by TV, video games and other types of “hands off” social distractions. For example, personal depth is circumvented by addiction to the “lastest greatest thing” instead of developing lasting personal respect and appreciation found through hard work and excellance in a substantial endeavor or human-to-human interaction.
Correcting this external focus, or “imbalance”, into more personal responsibility, accountability and discipline is one of many areas where PMA can help not only children but the adults as well.
By the time a student reaches black belt they should have a greater depth of understanding about themselves and their goals. Grand Master Park said, “one’s real training started at black belt…and that geup training was mainly exercise”.
Black belt students in particular reaffirm their commitment to continue their training along the “do/way”. There are many obstacles for the black belt to face. And in this period of character development some do not make it even to their 2nd Dan. There are of course numerous reasons for this. Things such as, they don’t like to teach and the necessary teaching requirements, or it takes too long to reach the next test date, or there’s too much time between learning new techniques, or they don’t feel like a black belt or worthy of taking their next test, or they get tired of perfecting techniques and refining routines, or they may simply be overwhelmed by the new techniques/curriculum, etc. Whatever the reason, black belt training will truly test and challenge the student to their fullest potentials.
Master Brian Alexander