Take Knowledge From Everywhere

First of all I would like to thank my associate Grandmaster Nicholas Chase for inviting me to write articles for his website. I am deeply honored.

I would like to take this opportunity to write about my experience of how the Korean art of Hapkido helped to instill the warrior spirit within my mind, body and soul.

I have heard many people say that Korean martial arts does not relate to my spiritual beliefs beliefs because it has Buddhist origins. Many people in Korea are in fact, like myself, are Christians. I can say this, life is about learning, it is about taking knowledge from all sources. Yes, many Korean martial arts may have Buddhist connection but that does not mean that it is only to be practiced by Buddhists.

We can all learn from each other and must be open to that. We can learn from all people and thus we hope that others can learn from us. I have even heard Christian ministers say to their followers to avoid martial arts as they are cults. This is nonsense. I can only think they they will say this as they want complete control of their followers, and this is wrong.

When I was child I grew up with my mother in a village near Pusan, now called Busan. My father worked at a factory on Seoul. As I was a weakling child I was picked on by the other boys. I was always called ‘yaggol’, meaning weakling. I was beaten up in church, and I wondered why this would happen, I thought Jesus should be looking after me there. I gave up on my belief in Jesus.

One day I was walking home and encountered a group of boys. I knew that they would bully me so I ran. They caught me and started to push me. Just then, a man, Mr. Son came to my rescue. Mr. Son was a newspaper man, well liked in the community. As I cried Mr. Son told me to be strong. I didn’t know it then but Mr. Son talked to my mother. Two days later he came to my house, had a martial arts uniform for me and took me to his hapkido class where he was the chief instructor.

This can be a very long story but I will say this. In one and a half years I was assistant to Mr. Son. I eventually became a higher level black belt and taught at the various police colleges before graduating from university. I become well respected and of course, no more bully problem!

I realized that things happen for a reason. I believe Jesus looked after me bu showing me that yes, I was bullied but there is an answer, and that led Mr. Son to me. He also showed me that to I can learn to help others just like me, through teaching the Korean art of Hapkido to others. 

So you see, there is no need to worry about religious aspects of the marital arts, there aren’t any. Please learn and become a good citizen. Take the knowledge from where you can. Always keep open mind. Thank you.

Moon Cheol-soo

Hapkido 8 Dan