Monday, March 30, 2009

The Heights of Humanity - Doc & Jon's Excellent Adventures: Final days in Korea

In front of the Olympic Gate in Seoul

As I blog to you now just a couple of hours before my flight's scheduled to take off, I wanted to share with my readers a tremendous awareness that hit me time and time again over the past couple of weeks.

For those of you who've been following my blog, you know that I've had a hectic few weeks. From the San Jose RKC, to Col. Nattapong's arrival & seminars in L.A., to being here teaching & doing meetings in Seoul, there's been very little rest for a very weary Chinaman.

However, there are moments when the inspiration is so tangible that you can almost touch it. And in some ways, when the inspiration comes in the form of a man-made edifice, you actually CAN touch it.

Leave it to Grandmaster Jon Engum, WTF Taekwondo 7th degree black belt & SrRKC, to drag me out of a hotel room when I want to lounge & unwind on the last day of this trip. Instead of sleeping the day away like a hibernating bear, we took the subway down to the Olympic Park. Coming out of the subway station, the first thing that falls into your field of view are the Olympic Gates (pictured above). The 5 rings that make up the Olympic logo send a rush up my spine and cover my arms with goosebumps. I am walking into a place of greatness.

When we walk into the courtyard of flags, it happens again.

I am overwhelmed by the sense of pride, of cooperation, of dedication to excellence, and of using sports as a vehicle for peace as I look around at the countless flags that surround the courtyard as they flap gently in the breeze.

I have other pictures that will have to wait until I get back home to upload here on this blogpost, but one of the sculptures and the Olympic flame itself were two of the best highlights of that excursion. The pics will tell their stories by themselves.

These sorts of moments, along with the good vibes I've been enjoying with so many people around the world, reminded me that because of my involvement in martial arts, so many blessings have been afforded to me. From friendly phone calls with Kru Bryan Dobler (one of the USA's best Muay Thai fighters and coaches), to my friends & family at the Inosanto Academy, to earning the appreciation of my Tai-Chi students, to having met my kettlebell & physical culture mentor Pavel Tsatsouline, to being offered the championship gi used by a Korean Judo superstar as he took the gold medal in the Asian Games, I'm still floored by the kind of good vibes and warmth that I've experienced through involvement in the arts of war.

Physical culture is a vehicle for creating friendships, improving health, and promoting the drive to succeed. Without it, without a sense of our bodies, we lack the awareness of self and other that lead to chaos, distrust, and violence. When we deprive our children of the means to exercise or participate in sport, they fail to realize their human potential on more levels than just the athletic.

More pics soon!


Nikki Shlosser said...

Great post!

Sandy Sommer, RKC said...

Dr. Mark,

I couldn't agree with you more. My testing ground has been more oriented along the line of team sport. I can assure you that I learned much about myself, and those I was teamed with, along with way. I have relationships today that go back 30 years, as a result of participating in sport. In so many ways it imitates life.