The Circle of Sang Hwal Mu Do

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By J.D. Haglan 1st Dan Black Belt

Before entering the coaching profession of football I thought I knew a lot of the sport that I played for many years. As an assistant football coach I thought I knew a lot about coaching. Then when you get the opportunity to fulfill your dream of being a head football coach you realize you didn’t know as much as you thought you did. The former descriptions are much like parenting. Before you have children you have no problem knowing what to do and how to do it. But once you have your own children and what you thought would work doesn’t work, it puts parenting into perspective.

What does all of this have to do with Chayon-Ryu? Once again, I have traveled the circle…being a full-time student to assistant instructor to having my own dojang. As you begin to dig deep into the art you realize that what you have learned has been laying on the surface until you begin to teach. When you teach you dig deep to gain a greater understanding so that you are able to share your knowledge with your students and give them correct information. You cannot cover up technique. It becomes extremely important that you understand why you are doing what you are doing. I have tried very hard to be a good student of Chayon-Ryu and have become a better student through teaching. The value system that is embedded in Chayon-Ryu has been my personal value system since I was a young boy. These are the values I was taught. Now to become part of something that shares my value system makes this a union of sorts, or so to speak a marriage. Now as a teacher and as a spouse I do not want to let my partner down. I want to give it my best effort and work to improve what is already good. I want to share the good “medicine” with others so they can grow in self-confidence, and become better disciplined and to live a value system that rewards you for doing the right things. The reward system is not one of trophies. Your reward is in knowing that you make a difference in someone else’s life. Each moment that you have an opportunity to teach, you have an opportunity to make a difference.

With Grandmaster Kim Soo as our founder and ultimate teacher and Master David Mitchell as my teacher, I want to give back what has been given to me. I was given an opportunity because my teacher, Master Mitchell, showed confidence in me and encouraged me to travel this path. Ultimately, Grandmaster Kim Soo gave me the greatest honor and fulfillment when he granted me the opportunity to start my own class. I am forever indebted to Master David Mitchell and Grandmaster Kim Soo. Being a part of the Chayon-Ryu family and having the opportunity to teach has truly been a path that has improved my family’s life and my life.

So now when I teach, I want to make sure the knowledge I am sharing with my students are receiving it in a way that they could eventually teach others. It is a “circle of life”. As the watermelon is unattractive and tasteless on the outer core, and as you dig deep you get a different flavor and a better understanding of why you persevere and dig deeper. You will never know what you can achieve without persistence. You would never know the true taste of the watermelon had you stopped digging; much like Chayon-Ryu and teaching the art. Unless you dig deep for a greater understanding you stay on the surface.

So with all this said, as you learn, think about teaching and helping others. If everyone in Chayon-Ryu committed himself or herself to learning from a teacher’s perspective and sharing this knowledge with others we would create a better world and mankind would be better for it. The Dojang Hun would then become a way of life for everyone. Do Sa Nim’s vision of teaching traditional martial arts and sharing his knowledge to promote better human beings has been realized through his hard work. We should give back (Kong) realizing the reward that we will receive is for a better world for each of us and for our families. Our lives are based on cause and effect. We each took that first step to begin Chayon-Ryu and we all have been affected. Why not take it one step further? What we want for ourselves and for our children we should want for others. Let’s all share our knowledge. By doing this we will continue to preserve what Grandmaster Kim Soo has worked so hard to do.

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