Every three months in Kuk Sool, we progress to our next grade. Whether this is a full belt or just a stripe, it signifies progress and achievement, but what does it mean in terms of your training? I like to think of a new under-black-belt promotion as a new chapter to the book that is your Kuk Sool Won journey.
When you begin training, you begin writing the first chapter of your Kuk Sool Won journey. You don’t entirely know what you’re doing, where you’re going or what it’s leading to. You require a lot ofguidance to get you going, and it’s easily the hardest part. Then your first promotion comes around, and you get your yellow stripe. Although you’re still very much a beginner, you begin to get a feel for what’s going on, who everyone is and what’s happening. You begin to find your feet, and you gain a little more fluency in writing your Kuk Sool journey.
At each stage, you gain more, you discover more, and you improve. You gain confidence, new skills, and new abilities both mentally and physically. You grow as a martial artist, and this often reflects in who you are as a person in everyday life too. You become a better person. At every stage and every promotion, more depth and outcome become evident in your Kuk Sool journey, and you are responsible for it all. You are the one writing the book.
Through the coloured belt stages of Kuk Sool Won however, it is often easy to focus on what’s next in the Kuk Sool journey. For many though, it is not until they reach black belt that they see the most important part of the Kuk Sool journey. This is that it’s not THE Kuk Sool Won journey, it’s YOUR Kuk Sool Won journey. There’s no definitive pathway. Everybody has a different starting point, and so the Kuk Sool Won journey is not simply a linear path that everyone takes. It’s filled with ups and downs, and it has many depths to it which vary immensely on an individual basis.
Ultimately, it’s about reflection and looking back as much as it is about looking forward for what is next, just as it would be if you were writing a book. JDKJN Martin repeatedly tells us to train in a mirror, saying that we will learn more from our reflection than we ever will from another instructor. Whilst he may be talking about a literal reflection in a mirror, I like include reflection on our past selves in this too.
By reflecting and reviewing our Kuk Sool journey so far, we can see what we are proud of in ourselves, what we’ve achieved and what our next steps and goals really need to be. A promotion brings a perfect time reflect on your journey so far, so what will your next chapter in Kuk Sool Won be about?
By KYO SA NIM SHAY JORDAN