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Hong Ik Martial Arts of Mahwah: The Way to Grow our Soul

Lecture by Grand Master Yoo

 September 29th,  2019 Promotion Test

“Hi everybody!” roars Grand Master Yoo, capturing the attention of even the insects in the room. Nervousness and anticipation are common before a Promotion Test for students and parents with some uncertainty of what is to come. “How are you today?” says Grand Master Yoo in a more joyful, calming tone, helping to bring the scattered minds to one focal unit through the intimacy of conversation.

“How do you feel today?”

“Good Sir,” the collective and apprehensive voices of the students respond.

“Who is very excited?”  A handful of students raise their hands.

“Who has a little nervousness?” a handful of different students raise their hands.

“We have to be very honest about our emotions. You cannot hide your emotions; if you hide your emotions you may begin to hide your true self. Another word for true self is soul.” Grand Master Yoo explains. “What do we call these feelings of excitement, or nervousness, anger, sadness, and happiness? He asks. The students patiently wait for a response, though no one was certain of what to call them. “Emotions, right?” Students seemed to have a small “aha” moment as they realized the obviousness of the question. Sometimes what is obvious is hard to see. “Emotions change constantly, they change like the weather. Some days are sunny, some days are cloudy, some days are rainy, some days are dark. Our emotions are similar. Some emotions you may think are positive, and some you may think are negative,” Grand Master Yoo continues. “Regardless of whether your emotions are negative or positive, are your emotions yours or someone else’s?” Students seem to know the answer, but are quiet to respond “They are yours right?” Heads nod.

“Do you understand?”

“Yes Sir!”

“They are yours, they do not belong to others. We have to accept our emotions as our own. So what is operating our emotions?” Grand Master Yoo asks. Not expecting an answer, he continues without pause “It is very important to know; there are very different types of emotions, but in the middle it’s you. It’s called Soul. Your soul is in charge of your emotions” he reiterates. “If you take good care of your emotions then your soul will grow. On the other hand, if you fail to take care of your emotions then your soul may not grow. Do you understand?”

“Yes sir!”

“Now, let’s compare our emotions and soul to the solar system, the sun being our soul, and the planets being our emotions. The sun is in the center and all planets revolve around the sun harmoniously. Our soul is in the center of our emotions, the soul came first; the emotions only attach to the soul, or in this case” Grand Master Yoo clarifies “revolve around the soul. Mainly, the important thing to understand is how to take care of our emotions, in order to grow our souls. Can you understand so far?

“Yes sir!”

“Are you allowed to be mad?” Silence ensues “Yes…yes…” Grand Master Yoo reassures. “But, you must learn to express your anger in the right way.”

“Are you allowed to be excited?” A murky yes sir is heard. “But, you have to know not to burn out your energy when you get excited. For example, you go to a birthday party and get very excited. After the party you feel very tired and cranky. That means you did not operate your excitement. When you get overly excited, your energy goes away and later on you feel tired and fatigued. Do you understand?”

“Yes sir!”

“When you feel sad, let’s say somebody passed away who you really loved, and you don’t understand the meaning of death, so you keep getting more and more depressed, then later on, if you don’t encourage yourself, you may get sick and unhealthy too. That is energy, in the middle, you have your soul. Soul is in charge of all emotions. If you take good care of your emotions, then you will have a healthy soul system. If you do not take good care of your emotions, your soul may crash. Are you still understanding?”

“Yes sir!” The students confirm.

“The important question is how to grow your soul. Manage your emotions, express your emotions but in the right manner. In order to do that, you need to do some training. Discipline yourself. Do you do Su Shik(Meditation) at home?” Silent pause “Before you go to bed, try to do it for 3-5 minutes. It will give you good energy for the next day. While you do Su Shik, before bed, you may have insightful thoughts come into your head which give you intuition, and which help grow your consciousness. Do you understand?”

“Yes sir!”

“…and in the morning, when you wake up, after you shower, and take care of yourself, sit quietly and do Su Shik about 10 times, because you may be busy and need to start your day. After Su Shik think to yourself that you are thankful for facing another day, and promise yourself that any obstacles that come, you will accept and try to grow from. Then when difficulties do come, you become brave, you don’t avoid it, and you don’t complain because you have already promised yourself. Do you understand?”

“Yes sir!”

“Then during the week, you come to train here, 2 or 3 days out of the week, to train yourself and discipline yourself. Then your physical, emotional and spiritual growth helps your soul to reach completion.” Grand Master Yoo continues, “and every night before bed, do Su Shik and review your day, and every morning be thankful and pray to yourself. This will help your life become sincere, so that you can have a beautiful life journey. Can you understand?”

“Yes sir!” The students begin to speak louder, signaling a real understanding.

“So today I would like to check who is able to pull up their energy when it is time, and when it is time to be steady, who can become centered, and flow when it is time to flow. This ability to control your energy comes from your daily life training. Do you understand?”

“Yes sir!”

“Good luck on your test!”

Grand Master Yoo sits, the lecture ends and the test begins.