Finding Stillness

Everyday, the modern world becomes more and more connected, more and more plugged in. In every adult’s pocket is a flat rectangular box that literally connects them to everything and everyone at all times. The internet has become the penultimate source of communication and information worldwide. All of this connection is at our finger tips. It can take us to places and people far away. But it doesn’t allow much time to turn inwards, and focus on ourselves.

This “plugged in” phenomenon is even more common in young people and kids, who have grown up exposed and connected to the behemoth that is the world wide web. Even in many schools, the internet and technology utilizing the internet are used almost exclusively in daily lessons. So how can the kids of today and the adults of tomorrow find stillness, that place of reflection and quiet within themselves? How can they disconnect from the buzzing world of technology around them? One of the best options is Martial Art.

Martial Art can help high energy kids burn off some of their fuel, and get more sedentary kids up and moving. Martial Art can help build confidence and self respect. Martial Art can increase awareness and equip children with tools to better handle potentially dangerous situations. Martial Art can also allow time for self reflection, and give children the skills they need to look inward and find the stillness that is so lacking in the world around them.

Martial Art is about more than just fighting; it teaches discipline, self respect, contemplation and provides opportunities for personal growth, to name a few. Martial Art is 80% mental and primarily directed toward self-improvement. The practice of Martial Art is a great way for kids to unplug from the internet world and learn about themselves. Bruce Lee famously stated that a true martial artist learns to sit with himself and see where his weaknesses are. At some point in training, you are forced to stop, to be still, and to assess internal obstacles with silent contemplation. This teaches you not only a bit about who you are, but also how you deal with a situation in which you are standing in your own way.

Recently, during the Hap Ki Do week of summer camp, we had a student who had difficulty breaking his first board. He never gave up, but could not connect the technique required with what his body wanted to do. So he took the board home with him, and he planned his next attack. The next class he attended, he brought the board back with him, and attempted to break it again. At first, it wasn’t working, and he began to get frustrated. But he managed to take a moment, look inside himself, and overcome the obstacles that his own frustrations were causing. He broke the board clean in half. A large part of his success was due to his determination. The major part of his success was finding resolve and strength within when he took the time to look.