March 7, 2016
I am not, nor have I ever been, the most physically competent martial artist. It takes me inordinately more classes to attain technical proficiency in many areas than it does others. I am tall and fairly agile, but I do not have much muscle mass. And then, over the past few years, two significant medical challenges have crossed my desk. Couple all this with the fact that I am now in my 60s, and a potentially bleak image begins to materialize.
Political Turmoil in Taekwondo
August 18, 2014
On December 31, 2013, Grandmaster Kyu Hyung Lee, taekwondoist extraordinaire, formally resigned his post as president of the esteemed Kukkiwon after holding the position for a mere matter of months. Quickly replaced by Man Soon Jang, Lee claimed his startling decision was founded on irreconcilable differences between two leading factions; one consisting of officials whose behavior is largely motivated by politics, and a second group of martial artists, spearheaded by Lee, with the purity of taekwondo at heart.
The Heart of Taekwondo
July 7, 2014
When the heart of taekwondo beats, it gives life to the advancement of supreme discipline, the achievement of noble character, and the cultivation of an enlightened worldview. It breaks the bonds that bind us to the Earth and again, as adults, allows us to feel the wind beneath our feet rather than merely around them.
History and Philosophy of Taekwondo - Part 2
August 5, 2013
Similarly rooted in Chinese culture, the Baduanjin routine, or Eight Pieces of Brocade, a medical qigong therapy whose performance is professed to impart a silken quality to the body, dates back to AD 1300 where it appears in the Xiuzhen shi-shu (Ten Compilations on Cultivating Perfection).
History and Philosophy of Taekwondo - Part 1
July 29, 2013
Long before the advent of sport sparring and the invention of modern safety gear, in a time when to fight meant to defend one’s life from almost certain death, an ingenious method of transmitting martial arts skills from venerated master to loyal disciple was developed.
The Evolution of Tae Kwon Do Poomsae, Hyung and Tul-Part 2 - June 17, 2013
Throughout the 1950s and early 60s, when Tae Kwon Do, still referred to as taesoodo, tangsoodo and kongsoodo in many circles, was in its infancy, poomsae practice consisted largely of exercises derived from these Okinawan, Japanese and Chinese disciplines.
The Evolution of Tae Kwon Do Poomsae, Hyung and Tul-Part 1 - June 10, 2013
Long before the advent of sport sparring and the invention of modern safety gear, in a time when to fight meant to defend one’s life from almost certain death an ingenious method of transmitting martial arts skills from venerated master to loyal disciple was developed.
The Traditional Way to Celebrate Spring Festival or Chinese New Year - February 4, 2013
Daoist monk Zhou, Xuan-Yun grew up in a small village, Liu Gang Zu, in Henan Province with about 100 residents. The following are his memories and comments about the Spring Festival.
Surrender! Clear Your Mind To Learn A New Skill - January 14, 2013
After teaching taekwondo for many years, I have come to some concrete observations. As an instructor and school owner I have noticed that many new students have a difficult time acclimating to Eastern customs.
A Photo Shoot for the Ages - July 23, 2012
As digital publishing and electronic readers begin to eclipse the charm of the printed word, books of paper, binding, glue, and ink become all the more dear, particularly to those of us who still take great pleasure in holding the editorial contributions of an author in our hands while mindfully turning pages infused with academic thought, one at a time.
Daoism and the Sword (道教和劍, Dao Jiao He Jian) - October 4, 2010
Many people wonder why martial arts are practiced by religions like Buddhism and Daoism that teach about compassion and humility. The idea of a warrior monk seems contradictory because in people’s minds the martial arts are linked with violence.
Pilgrimage to Wudang Mountain - September 27, 2010
During the summer of 2010, my family and I brought several students along during our annual trip to Wudang Mountain. Bringing students to the mountain is one way to pay our respect to the origin of the Wudang arts.
The Dojang—A Safe Haven During 9-11 - September 6, 2010
On September 11, 2001, I was employed in New York City at a job that I would soon vacate in favor of teaching martial arts professionally. On that tragic but stunningly brilliant morning, I stood on the corner of Fifth Avenue and Nineteenth Street watching the destruction of the World Trade Center unfold before my very eyes.
Visiting Korea: Land of the Morning Calm - May 24, 2010
Having traveled to Korea on several occasions, I feel strongly that experiencing the culture of this vibrant nation firsthand is the way to fully understand the roots of taekwondo. In doing so, practitioners can make a geographical and historical connection with their physical training while sampling the unique heritage of the Korean people.
The Doctrine of Purpose - December 14, 2009
It is widely accepted that martial arts were originally developed as tools of war intended for use by soldiers on the field of battle.
The Dao of Kung Fu - 武道 - October 15, 2009
Religion is full of paradox, and Eastern religions are no exception. One of the most compelling paradoxes is that Eastern religions (Buddhism and Daoism) are closely linked with the martial arts.
Remaining True to the Art - October 5, 2009
I am always careful to remind my students that the practice of traditional taekwondo is not easy. I tell them that if it were, everyone would train. And it is not difficult to see why.
Daoist Breathing Techniques - May 20, 2009
Daoist breathing exercises are designed to activate the diaphragm muscle, expand the lungs, and invoke the body's innate relaxation response. There are four major types of breathing (调息tiao xi) used in Daoist practice.
The Korean Connection: Taekwondo Training in the "Land of the Morning Calm" - Part 3 - March 16, 2009
Grandmaster Nam is an exceptional instructor, nimbly moving from one component of the taekwondo curriculum to the next. From basic movements he continues on with one-step sparring drills, fourteen in all, ranging from axe kick/round kick combinations to spread block/double upper cut in twist stance techniques
The Korean Connection: Taekwondo Training in the "Land of the Morning Calm" - Part 2 - March 9, 2009
In what to me represents the epitome of Korean hospitality, our group is invited to the headquarters of the Korean National Tourism Organization in downtown Seoul, for an official welcoming ceremony
The Korean Connection: Taekwondo Training in the "Land of the Morning Calm" - Part 1 - March 2, 2009
Traditional taekwondo philosophy teaches us to cultivate, among other things, courage, perseverance and indomitable will. Clearly, these virtues go hand in hand with transforming dreams into reality.
The Race to Nowhere - January 15, 2009
The New Year has arrived. “What are you committed to?” asks Seabourne. “You might find yourself searching for an answer. Although you may not be preparing for a big race or have any clearly defined fitness goals--or any goals--you are still committed.”
Growing Up Wudang, part 2 - December 17, 2008
It wasn’t until my third year at Wudang that I started to find the training interesting, and started to train harder because I was genuinely interested in it.
Growing Up Wudang - December 9, 2008
When I was in fourth grade my grandfather fell ill, and because we needed money for hospital bills, I had to leave school. I worked on our farmland, helping my family plant corn and cotton.