Martial arts students are exactly that, students. You must learn to think for yourself, to constantly strive to become the best you can be and to continue your journey through education. Studying martial arts is basically the study of life and learning how to become mentally strong enough to deal with it.
Life and all it offers is something that most people don’t actually study! At school you learn maths, science, needlework, everything but how to deal with your emotions and control your thoughts. To understand your complex thought process and your feelings allows you to understand other people’s thoughts and feelings. Empathy and compassion towards others are vital if you want to be content and live in harmony with others. If you are in control of your emotions you can choose to be happy, you can choose to get upset, it’s your choice.
Yin (um in Korean) and Yang are a fundamental part of Asian culture. The basic theory is that two opposite forces, one positive and one negative, work together complementing each other and equaling each other out, creating harmony in the world. The Korean flag as well as the Chung Do Kwan badge symbolise this.
In your club badge you can see a clenched fist, symbolising physical power, a scroll, symbolising education and the um/yang symbol, representing harmony in life. Harmony can only be reached through physical, mental and spiritual training. This concept is a fundamental principle in eastern philosophy, medicine, exercise and the martial arts
Yin and Yang philosophy is that everything has an opposite. Light has dark. Good has bad. Heaven has earth. Fire has water. One would not and could not exist without the other. This theory lies at the origins of oriental medicine and traditional martial art. It also is the foundation for the philosophy and energy movement of Pal Chung Do Poomsae.
Yin is negative and Yang is positive. Yin is right and Yang is left. Therefore, in the Palchungdo Poomsae left always covers right. Yin is the black side with the white dot in it and Yang the white side with the black dot. This represents in everything bad you must look for the good and in everything good you must balance it with a negative. In this theory, no side is completely right and no side is completely wrong. These two energies need to be balanced if we are to have a healthy body and mind. A martial artists job is to be aware of yin and yang and control it thus making our lives more balanced.
5 ways we can do this:
1: REACH OUT TO NATURE: Talk a walk and absorb the Ki of nature with every breathe. Protect our environment
2: NUTRITION: Take time to eat healthy foods instead of junk food.
3: WATER: Plenty of pure clean water will flush out toxins and rehydrate you.
4: MEDITATE: Relax and give yourself the time and attention you need. If you don’t look after yourself you can’t look after others.
5: TRAIN IN MARTIAL ARTS: Training helps release everyday stress and allows energy to flow. It also helps to balance body, mind and spirit so that you will recognise disharmony before it gets out of hand.
It is up to you to take control and change your life to create this equilibrium.
Yin/Yang and the Pal Chung Do Poomsae
Yin and yang also are associated with the internal organs and breathing control. Hence it is the platform for the Palchungdo system. Yin controls the blood (liver) and Yang governs energy (heart). Innate instincts belong to Yin. Acquired skills belong to Yang. In breathing, inhalation is considered Yin (energy inwards) while breathing out is classed as Yang (energy being freed). Becoming attuned with your body’s Yin and Yang enables you to learn how to balance the two.
It is a martial artists job to learn and understand Yin and Yang philosophy. It will help you tremendously not only in your study of martial arts but also from a health and mental wellbeing viewpoint.
Breathing is the essence of life. It is also the focus point of martial art training. If you can control our breathing you can control your concentration and your mind. Martial artists breathe deep into the abdomen (Danjeon in Korean). When we breathe in the danjeon expands. Benefits include:
Increases the supply of oxygen into the blood stream as more air moves into the lower and larger sections of the lungs.
Moves internal Ki around the body.
Stimulates blood circulation in the abdominal cavity, encourages deep uninterrupted sleep.
Sharpens awareness and focuses the mind.
Correct breathing means inhaling through the nose. This is essential as the naval cavity filters dust and other particles and also warm or cool the air to within 1 degree of body temperature. Performance can be greatly enhanced by practising 20-30 minutes of breathing control prior to training.
Danjeon breathing is over 2000 years old and rooted in ancient acupuncture. It was originally created by wealthy and powerful Korean elites and used as a self-healing energy against general wellbeing, pain relief and to boost the immune system. It was also used to treat the common cold which was deadly thousands of years ago.
Originally it was known as the art of the Masters and up until the end of the Korean War in 1953 was practised in secret by the Korean Elite. After the War it became more mainstream and very popular in South Korea. In today’s Korea it is practised daily by millions to obtain clarity, health and stamina.
Danjeon Breathing Method
When breathing into your Danjeon visualise life force energy entering through the top of your head and passing down through your body. Energy travels in a circular motion and enters through the crown of your head.