Behind (and in Front of) Your Training

MidwestHDGD-MastersTest-19NOV2015I recently had the fortune to test for and be promoted to 4th Dan (Sadan) in Haidong Gumdo, a Korean sword martial art. It was a tough road. As I am the senior student of all Haidong Gumdo in Minnesota, training has been difficult as frustrating. When you get to train with your teacher (as he lives in Seoul, South Korea) and the senior master in the USA Haidong Gumdo Association (from Utah) only a few days per year, the training that you think you are doing well can end up quite different from where you are supposed to be heading. After getting what I’ve called the “disgusted parent look” from Kwanjangnim Jeong Woo Kim during the preceding two training sessions (each was six months apart) for not being ready. I had to re-think my training to be prepared.

Now, I’m not sure which happened first but I figured out how to get the extra help. It goes a little like this…while watching (my guilty pleasure) The Voice, I had the realization of how many songs the band can play. The other week it ranged from from country (Carrie Underwood) to oldies (Gladys Knight) to pop (Beyoncé). This week it included creating new arrangements for songs to better fit the performer.

We often see highlight films of outstanding athletic performances, but there are many other illustrations of great quality and highly talented people. It is very likely that the Paul Merkovich band (The Voice’s band) could be headliners in their own tour but they put all of that talent into helping other develop their skills. There is much humility within that band to allow them to work hard for a 15 year old.

Here’s where the recognition of the help I get comes in. I truly do have excellent teachers as mentioned above plus those in my Song Moo Kwan Taekwondo lineage. They are the ones directly behind me providing curriculum, knowledge, understanding and support. They hold a very important position in my success and development. There is another group, though, that has almost as much affect on me. This group teaches and supports but isn’t behind me. They are in front of me. My teachers help push me through my development, while my students help pull me through it.

KJN_Kim-Student_Nov2015Don’t lose sight of the importance of this group. Your are good because of who is behind and in front of you. This means that they are more than just students. They are family.

Author: Master Robert Frankovich

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2 replies on “Behind (and in Front of) Your Training”

  1. Dave Duchene says:

    This is so true. One of the primary reasons I have been so happy with my decision to join your ‘family’ (and I do look at it this way) is the support from all sides. While I have learned a great deal from seminars with Masters Kim, Parnell and yourself, I have also learned from everyone in our school. This of course includes those of higher rank and experience as well as those who have joined after me. Each person brings a unique background and set of experience to the group. The camaraderie, interest and caring all move toward raising the skill level and quality of the entire school. This is true as well of the inclusion of the other locations. Anyone visiting during one of our open seminars where 6-8 schools all come together will immediately see this in action.

    I feel very lucky to have ‘stumbled into’ this family. One of my biggest concerns about entering the world of martial arts was the concern about ‘just showing up’ to an impersonal school. I smile each time I learn something from one of my peers under 12 years old. I guess it it true that wisdom can be found in the smallest and most unexpected of places.

  2. Bruce Burns says:

    Great post, sir!

    As a recipient of that look the day before working on SSGB 12, I was quite anxious going into my own dan test before Kwangjangnim Kim.

    The respect and support of the other masters while I tested was a great help, but it was more than just the impact of the moment. It was just the culmination of having so many more experienced artists teaching, correcting, and pulling me forward by example.

    After the class, when the masters cared enough to give me feedback to help me improve further, I realized that the compliments that I received were on the forms and techniques I’d been teaching carefully to my own students. Going over them time and again, picking apart details to help them, and learning from their own journeys as artists, I had gotten better at those portions myself.

    (It sounds quite cliche to write that, but I’m relatively wet behind the ears as a formal instructor.)

    I also know how many times I will train harder or differently for one of those reasons. Either I want to honor the fellowship of masters or show my own masters that I am working hard to honor their teaching, or I need to keep pushing myself to have the knowledge and skill to share with my students.

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