by Chosun instructor Jake Garrett
The dojang is silent in the early morning light, a student practices poomsae, several others stretch in solitude, another chooses to sit in meditation. If any words are spoken they are in whispers. Students have learned to keep their minds in the morning state of clarity, the time before the mind and body fully engage in the days activities, by maintaining this quiet passive state of mind they are already preparing for the next hour.
The Master steps onto the mat, quickly and efficiently the students line up standing behind meditation cushions. Joombi is spoken by the Master, the senior student brings the class to attention, opening commands are given, the sunrise class has begun. This is not a tale of training in Korea, this occurs every Wednesday morning here at Chosun.
There is something different about training early in the morning, your body is fresh and strong, your mind is calm and receptive, a perfect time to begin a 15 minute meditation. Often, Ki development techniques follow the meditation, and on occasion the Qigong form Eight Brocades is performed as a warm up. This classic and ancient practice of moving meditation is a soft technique providing a balance in Ki development to the hard style techniques yet to come in the early morning training. Poomsae practice is sometimes performed in a slow detailed style with deep breathing accenting Ki, this method allows the student to focus on proper technique, balance, and starting each move from tanjun with relaxation and power. Every Chosun student should experience poomsae in this manner and add it to their own discipline on occasion.
Don't think that sunrise class is always a silent, contemplative, totally Ki oriented class, it isn't. Many times we leave class drenched, from poomsae, kicking drills, Il Su Siks and Ho Sin Sools performed in a deliberate manner under the observation and explicit direction of Master Cook that is allowed in a relatively small class.
We are fortunate to have such a full weekly schedule of classes, the diversity of classes allow a student to experience the many facets of traditional taekwondo. Take advantage of this diversity, attending the same classes all the time isn't providing you with the all around training that is available at Chosun. Certainly, 5:30 in the morning can create family and work scheduling conflicts, however, consider that on occasion altering your schedule could provide you with a unique training experience, that will enhance your outlook and understanding of traditional taekwondo. If it is just a matter of the early morning hour, well on occasion just get out of bed! You will be surprised of the energy that will stay with you on that day, the day you choose to attend sunrise.
Hope to see you at sunrise. (Wednesdays at 5:30am)
Instructor Jake Garrett