As I’m writing this I’m listening to news reports about the tensions between Russia and Ukraine and can’t help but to think about the friends that I have developed over the years (thanks to General Choi) in both of those countries and what they may be dealing with as you read this.
I also recently came across this passage:
“In recent years, there has been an upsurge in violence and a loss of morality in all levels of society, especially among the young. There are, of course a number of reasons for this. Many psychologists today feel that this problem stems from frustration. Analysts, on the other hand, point out that these misguided people are indeed a disillusioned segment of society searching for values and relevance in what they consider deceitful, materialistic, and absurd world of wars and decadence.
Unfortunately, however, instead of constructively channeling their extraordinary energy and potential, far too many strike out in blind anger, destroying rather than building, or merely running away from it all by isolating themselves with drugs and their own worlds of fantasy.
Presently, the tendency of ‘the stronger preying upon the weaker’ appears to be at its peak. Frankly, the present world closely resembles a corrupt age.”
Guess who wrote that?
General Choi… OVER 30 YEARS AGO!
When you really take the time to think about it, his statements weren’t just about the time in which he wrote that. That statement could apply to today, to ancient Rome, even the first Egyptian civilizations.
No matter what country you live in, there is some truth in what he wrote.
What General Choi was talking about is a human condition. It’s always been here, it’s here now and it will always be in the future. It is this human condition that drove him to create the art of Taekwon-Do. Something that would make a difference for his country and for the world.
Why do I bring all this up?
Because the torch has now been passed on to you, those who teach ITF Taekwon-Do, to fulfill his goal of building a more peaceful world. And you do that by bringing Taekwon-Do to as many people as possible.
You are an enormous influence in the lives of those you teach and you don’t know who they will wind up being in life. They are the next generation of lawyers, doctors, professionals, and leaders. Imagine if world leaders operated consistent with, and based their decisions just on the first line of the Student Oath.
That would make a tremendous difference in what they say and what they do.
I’m not saying that we are going to create some utopia here. That would be naive.
Just as there is night and day, hot and cold, there is also peace and conflict. But conflict dealt with in the context of courtesy, integrity, perseverance, self-control and indomitable spirit is far from how we currently deal with conflict – reacting out of fear, trying to be or prove that we’re right, avoiding domination and survival.
Whether you are aware of it or not, this is the impact you are having on your students because of what you teach. You are changing lives one by one. And by developing people who think and act consistent with Taekwon-Do philosophy, you are changing the world.
About the Author:
Mr. Karstadt is the founder of 1 TKD Consulting and owns the longest running ITF Taekwon-Do school in Arizona, Karstadt Taekwon-Do in Phoenix, AZ with his father Master David Karstadt. He has been training since 1984, earned his Black Belt at the age of 8 and is currently an internationally renown intstructor teaching the culture, discipline, leadership and business skills of Taekwon-Do in classes and seminars to Instructors around the world. He has been a member of eight U.S. Taekwon-Do Teams and has traveled to 14 different countries competing in Taekwon-Do. He has won numerous medals at the World Championships and in international competition, most notably winning the 2004 World Championships in South Korea with two gold medals and the Men’s Team All Around Trophy. Mr. Karstadt currently resides in uptown Phoenix, Arizona with his wife and three children. Mr. Karstadt can be contacted by e-mail at email@example.com