Wednesday, October 29, 2014

This week at Chosun Yoga October 29, 2014

"Transitions"

By observing the weather and the change of seasons, we can gain insight into ourselves.  The shift from autumn to winter is upon us and like any transition period, patience, balance and trust are required to bridge the gap and make for a smooth landing on the other side. On the yoga mat this week, we will practicevinyasas  (consecutive poses using breath) as a way to navigate the sometimes uncertain steps from point A
to point B.



Join us for smooth landings...

Chosun Taekwondo Academy & Hatha Yoga Center
62 Main Street Warwick, NY

Class Schedule:
Tuesdays     9:30am
Wednesdays     6:30pm
Saturdays     9:30am

First Class is Free


$15 per class / $130 for 10 classes

 



For more information or to register:
(845)986-2288 or info@chosuntkd.com

Beginners Welcome!   Bring a Friend!




Want to find out about Chosun sponsored events?
Sign up for our FREE monthly e-newsletter
like Chosun's facebook page
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Chosun Yoga News                                                                                             October 29, 2014

This week at Chosun Yoga October 22,2014

"The Anchor"

Something that you hear often when you begin to practice yoga is, "You are as young as your spine." In truth, the health and flexibility of the spine is central to our well-being. It is commonly thought that the backbone contains three curves; cervical (neck), thoracic (middle) and lumbar (lower). However, if you look closer, there is a fourth curve at the very bottom where the tailbone tilts slightly inward. This week in class we will explore the power of the last couple of inches of our spine to provide an"anchor" from which we can ascend.

Join us and  spine travel ...

Chosun Taekwondo Academy & Hatha Yoga Center
62 Main Street Warwick, NY

Class Schedule:
Tuesdays     9:30am
Wednesdays     6:30pm
Saturdays     9:30am

First Class is Free


$15 per class / $130 for 10 classes


 
For more information:
(845)986-2288 or info@chosuntkd.com

Beginners Welcome!   Bring a Friend!




Want to find out about Chosun sponsored events?
Sign up for our FREE monthly e-newsletter
like Chosun's facebook page
get a FREE yoga class coupon
Forward this message to a friend                                                       facebook button              


Chosun Yoga News                                                                                             October 22, 2014

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Connecting the Dots - The Influence of Buddhism, Confucianism, and Taoism on Traditional Taekwondo by Master Doug Cook

Taekwondo represents many things to many people; but one thing that it is not is a religion. Although several masters may demand cult-like devotion more akin to faith-based institutions and require unreasonable, impractical and often dangerous techniques from their students, there is no real theological component to the national Korean martial art. Yet it would be disrespectful of history to ignore the reality that the three major philosophical paradigms of Buddhism, Confucianism and Taoism have had a significant influence on the ideology of traditional taekwondo. Consequently, while these three systems were never
meant to be deified by their founders, it is the ethical and metaphysical content that the martial artist distills from each and not the religious component. From the Ten Mental Educations recited at the end of a training session, to meditation, ki development and the respect paid to seniors, all the taekwondoist needs to do is connect the dots between the aforementioned practices and the Asian philosophical triad to gain a better understanding of their art.
Buddhism, first introduced to Korea from China in A.D. 372, encompasses the teachings of Siddhartha Gautama who came to be known as Buddha or the Enlightened One. The Buddhist canon consists of the Four Noble Truths, the Eightfold Path and in some cases, the tradition of Seon (Zen, Chan) or meditation. A cornerstone of this system is a belief that suffering arises as a direct result of desire. While Buddhism was practiced in ancient Korea during the Three Kingdoms and United Silla (A.D. 668-935) periods, it eventually evolved into the state religion of the Koryo Dynasty (A.D. 918-1392). Later, during the Chosun Dynasty (A.D. 1392-1910) when Confucianism ruled, the Righteous Monk movement played a vital role in repelling the Japanese invasion unleashed on Chosun in A.D. 1592.
Confucianism on the other hand, revolves around a blueprint rooted in ethical and philosophical principles developed by Kung-fu Tzu (551-479 B.C.) or in Western terms, Confucius. Encouraging exemplary moral behavior and communal endeavor, Confucianism dominated during the Chosun era, eclipsing Buddhism and championed scholastic achievement rather quotidian skills of warfare. Included in this philosophy was a hierarchal respect for elders and forbearers.
Last, but by no means least important, is the influence Taoism has exerted on the social fabric of Korean culture specifically, and thus traditional taekwondo in general. Noted for its focus on the relationship between humanity and the natural order of the Universe known as the Tao or the Way, Taoism is thought to have been established by Lao Tzu (570-490 B.C.) who, as legend has it, may be a name for a combination of individuals rather than a single man.
When we consider the connection between these three primordial Asian philosophies turned religions, a good place to start is with the Ten Mental Educations or the Student Creed of Taekwondo, which includes the following principles:

·       Be loyal to your country.
·       Be loving and show fidelity to parents.
·       Be loving between husband and wife.
·       Be cooperative between brothers and sisters.
·       Be faithful to your friends.
·       Be respectful to elders.
·       Establish trust between teacher and student.
·       Use good judgment before harming any living thing.
·       Never retreat in battle.
·       Always finish what you start.     

Upon close inspection, we find that the subsequent actions required by this code of moral behavior rest solidly in Confucianism’s camp. Filial piety, a deep respect for the wisdom cultivated by elders and the placement of  the welfare of the community above self, are all signifiers of the influence Confucianism has exercised not only on the dictates of traditional taekwondo, but, again, on Korean society at large. Just as we bow to upper belts in the dojang, it is not unusual in the homeland of taekwondo for juniors to readily assist seniors in any number of situations. Similarly, even though taekwondo is predominantly a physical art, the nurturing of the intellect through the study of technical nomenclature, Korean history as it relates to the native martial arts and a grasp of the rich philosophical underpinnings of taekwondo poomsae, all subscribe to Confucian ethics.
Likewise, the virtue of using sound judgment before harming any living thing has its source in the teachings of Buddhism. It was the Buddhist monk Wonkwang Popsa who transmitted the concept of using just force in battle to two, young Hwarang warriors, Kwisan and Chuhang during the Silla era that thunders down the centuries and continues to govern the use of modern day taekwondo tactics today. Zen or Seon Buddhism has also contributed to focused meditation; a practice considered to be a vital element of the traditional taekwondo curriculum. Seating in a rooted posture emulating a great mountain, with the knees resting on the floor and the torso, shoulders and head tapering into a majestic peak, promotes stability and tranquility of mind while acting as a centering force prior to training.
Yet clearly it is Taoism that contributes most to the metaphysical aspects of traditional, pure-form taekwondo. For instance, the ancient Taoist art of qigong, or work on qi, has supplied a roadmap for the various exercises we have come to rely upon in the Korean martial arts to cultivate and manifest ki, the internal, animating life force used to amplify technique. Moreover, the Eum/Yang, universally known, with some modifications, as the Taoist Yin/Yang, provides a timeless symbol signifying the duality of opposites, balance and an acceptance regarding the notion of constant change. But it is the Way, recognized in Taoism as a central doctrine, which reminds all martial artists that we are on a path to excellence in following the Way of traditional taekwondo.
For many practitioners, me included, traditional taekwondo, if practiced with vigor, diligence and sincerity, provides many of the spiritual requirements found in formalized religion yet devoid of the complex dogma unique to such pursuits. Nevertheless, it is worthwhile remembering that the national Korean martial art is first and foremost an action philosophy and a physical endeavor supported by a rich underlying philosophy steeped in ancient wisdom.           



Master Doug Cook, a 6th dan black belt, is head instructor of the Chosun Taekwondo Academy located in Warwick, New York, a senior student of Grandmaster Richard Chun, and author of four best-selling books entitled: Taekwondo…Ancient Wisdom for the Modern Warrior, Traditional Taekwondo - Core Techniques, History and Philosophy, Taekwondo–A Path to Excellence and Taekwondo Black Belt Poomsae: Original Koryo and Koryo, all published by YMAA of Boston. He can be reached for lectures, workshops or questions at www.chosuntkd.com or info@chosuntkd.com

The Heart of Taekwondo by Master Doug Cook

When the heart of taekwondo beats, it gives life to the advancement
of supreme discipline, the achievement of noble character, and the cultivation of an enlightened worldview. It breaks the bonds that bind us to the Earth and again, as adults, allows us to feel the wind beneath our feet rather than merely around them. It fuels a passion unrealized by quotidian man and supports the Buddhist doctrine of Beginner’s Mind, filling us with a continuous sense of wonder and renewal. It is a strong heart, not predicated on simple physicality, but supplemented by an unhindered stream of benevolent intent bent on enriching the common good. And, with each thump, the elements of confidence grow, urging us to appreciate life’s path rather than being blinded by its daily perils.
The heart of taekwondo cannot be found on an anatomical chart or described in medical texts. It refuses to be broken and has the resiliency to mend quickly. It beats to a personal rhythm, uninfluenced by the proximity of others and, while easily pierced by Cupid’s arrow, it remains impervious to the barbs of malefactors critical of Korean martial tradition.
Within its chambers flows the chemistry of respect for all living things regardless of taxonomic hierarchy, chronological placement, social status or scale. The unique relationship between junior and senior as dictated by Confucian ethic is implied in all interactions between teacher and student, venerated master and worthy disciple. And, where dissention arises, a clear, meditative mind tempered by measured yet decisive behavior, dominates.
But, the heart of taekwondo, in order to maintain the extraordinary health vital to any major bodily component, demands precise, frequent and vigorous exercise. Defined by its very nature, the national combat art of Korea is first and foremost an action philosophy where words can never replace movement. And, since the road to hell is paved with good intentions, so the heart will fail if will is not bolstered by technical superiority manifested through repetitive, martial motion.
Yet, sadly, the heart of taekwondo is not impervious to injury, doubt and discouragement. It, like any organ, can fall prey to unlooked-for disease that, if left unchecked, will ultimately result in severe consequences. The demon of self-doubt, similar to existing cardiovascular maladies, can have a devastating effect on the spirit, as can a perceived lack of challenge or constant, unflagging negative criticism on the part of an inexperienced or insecure instructor.
And, too, the heart of taekwondo must be a brave heart, resolute in the face of adversity, courageous against all odds. It must exhibit the fortitude of enduring strength, both physically and emotionally and, subsequently, beat in sync with others who temporarily require an umbrella of comfort in times of extreme need or unmitigated suffering. And rightly so, since to many, the martial artist represents a superman of sorts, prepared to rescue those less fortunate in the ways defensive strategy, mentally and physically.
Nevertheless, while fierce, the heart of taekwondo must remain soft and pliant as well, mirroring the Eum/Yang; that most classic of Taoist symbols so aptly illustrating the duality of opposites compounded by a flexible acceptance of constant change. And so, naturally, compassion, amplified by the ancient wisdom of the Hwarang-do, not to inflict needless pain through the use of unwarranted force in battle, remains a hallmark of the sincere martial artist.
Not surprisingly, the heart of taekwondo has been known to skip a beat at the thrill of competition, knowing full well that years, if not decades, of focused training composed of hard work, sweat and blood, ultimately distills down to one, single moment in time where one is destined to win or lose; where the exceptional athlete is given the opportunity to stand atop the podium adorned in Olympic gold.
Conversely, any organism with a beating heart can undergo attack. Frightening yet recoverable at best, fatal at worst, the trauma caused by a medical event of this nature, at minimum, is certain to leave lasting scars not soon forgotten. It is when political machinations, self-aggrandizement and unbridled egos come into play that the heart of taekwondo is forced to tolerate unbearable stress threatening to stop its constant, stable cadence in its tracks. Too often, organizations and individuals, primarily driven by blind ambition, have permitted dollars to trump tradition; victory in the ring at any cost to eclipse longstanding martial virtues intended to govern malicious deeds and a clear lack of sportsmanship. Since its inception, the historical fabric of the Korean martial arts, here and in Korea have been stained with uncertainty but, at the same time, cleansed by righteous objectives at the behest of men and women who brook no detours on the path to excellence striving for an elevated brand of taekwondo; largely due to these tireless, gallant acts of perseverance, at its very core the heart of taekwondo remains sturdy, munificent, fortified by ritual and capable of such majestic achievement. It beats in time with the maturation process of the martial artist physically, spiritually and intellectually. Its autonomic action frees us to concentrate on basic skill, advanced technique and the unblemished performance of poomsae, hyung or tuls that represent the comprehensive catalog of traditional taekwondo.
Yet, the health of this singularly crucial muscle can never be taken for granted. It must be cautiously protected, professionally nursed back to health when in danger of illness and dynamically stimulated in order to carry on an unwavering pulse of proficiency. Because once the heart of taekwondo stops beating, never to be revived, there is certain to be no taekwondo. No taekwondo. Consider it.
Support the heart of taekwondo with diligence. Nurture it. Cultivate its might and, above all, practice – hard.




Master Doug Cook, 6th dan black belt, is head instructor of the Chosun Taekwondo Academy located in Warwick, New York, a senior student of Grandmaster Richard Chun, and author of four best-selling books entitled: Taekwondo…Ancient Wisdom for the Modern Warrior, Traditional Taekwondo - Core Techniques, History and Philosophy, Taekwondo – A Path to Excellence, and Taekwondo Black Belt Poomsae: Original Koryo and Koryo, along with its companion DVD. Master Cook is planning his seventh training tour of Korea scheduled for July 2014. For those interested in participating, he can be reached at www.chosuntkd.com or info@chosuntkd.com.

Chosun newsletter Archive Volume 5 #10 October, 2014

Dear Martial Arts Enthusiast,

Welcome to the October, 2014 edition of the Chosun Taekwondo Academy e-newsletter.

As we approach the final months of the year, don't forget to mark your calendar for the 17th Annual Awards Banquet and Dinner Dance on December 6 which is always the culminating social highlight of the year. When you receive your invitation by mail, please respond as soon as possible to reserve a place for you and your family. Also, don't miss the upcoming USTA Seminar with Grandmaster Richard Chun and USTA Instructors. Details below
View the 2013 Chosun Taekwondo Academy Retrospective 
Kamsahamnida,                                                                                                            images 2facebook button
Patty Cook, Editor www.facebook.com/chosuntkd 
Happy Halloween!                            
                                                                                                                                                   images.jpeg
         
Chosun Taekwondo Academy celebrating 17 years!

This week at Chosun Yoga October 1, 2014

"The Anatomy of a Stretch"

When we stretch there is almost always a feeling of expansion  that comes with it. In fact a definition of stretch is: to cause extension from one place to another. With this in mind, one principle of the natural world that we constantly use in yoga class is the concept of "dynamic opposition." Just as a plant has roots that reach down into the earth, it also grows and stretches up into the atmosphere above. Many of our stretches this week will focus on the way we extend by engaging the use of our opposing vital forces.


Join us and stretch yourself...

Chosun Taekwondo Academy & Hatha Yoga Center
62 Main Street Warwick, NY

Class Schedule:
Tuesdays     9:30am
Wednesdays     6:30pm
Saturdays     9:30am

First Class is Free


$15 per class / $130 for 10 classes


 
For more information:
(845)986-2288 or info@chosuntkd.com

Beginners Welcome!   Bring a Friend!




Want to find out about Chosun sponsored events?
Sign up for our FREE monthly e-newsletter
like Chosun's facebook page
get a FREE yoga class coupon
Forward this message to a friend                                                       facebook button              


Chosun Yoga News                                                                                             October 1, 2014