Delusion (guest blog post: Bill Hedrick)

Guest Blogger, Bill Hedick

Why delusion can be a good thing!

If you’re a fan of Westerns, you may remember Clint Eastwood saying, “A man’s got to know his limitations.” This is true! But how do you find your limitations? Most people live lives of quiet mediocrity, avoiding pain because it hurts! Yes, it does, that’s the main attribute of pain. But why do you have pain? Obviously there are many contributing factors, age, disease, injury, come to mind. But for many, if not all people, pain occurs when you do something unexpectedly difficult. “I hurt where I didn’t know I had muscles!” What does this have to do with delusion? I’m coming to that.

We have a picture in our head of who we are. I like to say you can either look in the mirror and see faults with your body which may or may not be there, or ignore your love handles and say, “Hey! Still got it!” The truth is our self image is rarely accurate, especially as we get older. A former athlete who has become sedentary is a danger to himself, he’ll attempt things he used to do easily and pull or tear something. A young person who could easily do a flip or a cartwheel might whine and say, that’s too hard. Neither of them truly understand who they are and what they are capable of.

I recently said to a student, don’t try to be Russell (a 20 year old, extremely athletic 4th Dan)! it’s hard for Russell to be Russell. We can only find our limits when we push to our failing point. And then as we keep pushing, that point moves. Russell works hard to push that point to an amazing place. So does Austin, a Septuagenarian martial artist who obviously can’t move like a 20 year old anymore. He is a great help to me personally as he shares his tricks and moves he’s developed to accomplish things his body won’t let him do.

OK delusion? Yes, delusion, I know in my head I am 65, not 25, but I have this delusion that if I work hard enough I will be capable of what a 25 year old does. Objectively I know this is false, but by feeding this delusion, I push myself past what I might imagine I can do and surprise myself. I will never perform like a 25 year old again, but dang it, I gotta keep trying.

Having TOO much fun at seminar!

This is what happens when you tell a bunch of students to “put in the bad guys for [blank] gumbub!” I guess they didn’t have enough direction. **Note: each group had 30 minutes to prepare the gumbub prior to performing it.


Ssangsu Gumbub Sa bon (group 1)

Ssangsu Gumbub Sa bon (group 2)

Ssangsu Gumbub O bon (group 1)

Ssangsu Gumbub O bon (group 2)

Ssangsu Gumbub Yuk bon (group 1)

Ssangsu Gumbub Yuk bon (group 2)

Ssangsu Gumbub Chil bon (group 1)

Ssangsu Gumbub Chil bon (group 2)

Ssangsu Gumbub Pal bon (group 1)

Ssangsu Gumbub Pal bon (group 2)

Ssangsu Gumbub Koo bon (group 1)

Ssangsu Gumbub Koo bon (group 2)


“Well, techniques can be packed up and taken anywhere. Not so with dedication.”
– Sensei Skip Taylor

The picture to the left is from a local thrift shop. While I understand that not everyone will train for their lifetime in the martial arts but this shouldn’t happen. Yes, this is just my opinion so you don’t need to bash me about it.

Why do I feel this shouldn’t happen? The reason is that I don’t feel the accomplishments that the belts represent were honored. If a student can “throw out” their belt, then the truth of the martial arts wasn’t learned. This could be the student was never truly interested (i.e. parents made them go to class) or the school didn’t teach the principles of the martial arts well enough.

It is safe to say that all martial arts schools of every style preach the principles and benefits of the martial arts…at least in their marketing. The principles are tweaked to fit each style/school presentation to potential students in an attempt to set them apart from other styles/schools. The question then becomes “Are the principles taught in class?”

If the principles are taught, then I believe each belt would be too valuable to dispose of. Implanting the principles into the minds of young people will greatly benefit them as they grow into adults. It is the principles that will help guide their actions as adults in relationships and careers. This will be how they understand to lessons taught by their parents. The actions and requirements by their parents are principles in use but, without words and practice as taught in class, they may be confusing and difficult to understand.

I struggle with the high focus on sport as it can diminish the achievement of goals (ranks) that will affect the student for life. Sport can replace true goals with chasing excitement and flash. Unfortunately, the joy and excitement of a tournament trophy is short lived! The next day…even that night…all is back to “normal”. No cheering crowd. No teammates congratulating you. Just another piece of plastic or cheap metal to put on a shelf.

This is important to me as it will help determine the kind of person a young student will become. Okay, that’s a bit strong but it is the best words that I have. When the focus is on flash…and that a flashy black belt uniform is just a goal…the real understanding of the martial arts principles is lost. One of the principles taught by Supreme Grand Master Byung Jick Ro was “Boodahn Noryeok” (Never Ending Effort). Without this being taught, the achievement of goals does nothing to build the student’s character.

(guest post) Always a white belt – Bill Hedrick

The other evening we had some newbies, 4 white belts and a yellow. Master F. took extra time to talk through the mechanics of cutting, and Dave worked with the white belts on the first form. Nothing odd there, but the thing I was surprised and delighted by was my attention to this.

I’ve been doing this over 2 years, I know this stuff. But fundamentals never get old. It always helps to listen, to hear it again, to find something you have, in your neglect, skipped over. You get called back and doing it one more once is always a good thing. It’s when your attitude becomes, “Ho hum, I know this already” that you have left the path. Nothing is old hat. It’s all new and important, even if you’ve literally done thousands upon thousands of straight cut drills, you always need to do it again, to hone your form, to keep from falling back.

Life is this way too, when you go on autopilot, when you neglect the basics, skip over steps, whether in your job, at home or on the road, you are asking for trouble. Karma has a way of surprising the sleepy.

Obviously there are many things that do become natural, that you can do instinctively, but that which requires discipline, attention and practiced skill should not be blown through. The key is understanding the difference. But if you’re not always a beginner, you’re not learning. If you’re not learning, you are losing what you have. Stay a white belt.

Dancing or Fighting?

I’ve had the recognition in the past couple weeks that I have learned forms to complete tests without having the knowledge about what happens during these forms. This is particularly in regard to my Haidong Gumdo training, but there is some Taekwondo as well as I prepare for my next test.

I have preached to my students in the past few classes that if they are only doing the pattern without understanding the applications, they don’t truly KNOW their form. I had the recognition today, during a black belt class, that I have faked my way through a few tests. It was quite eye-opening!

I have determined that the only way I truly learn any form is by figuring out the pattern, then figuring out the words to tell someone else how to do the form and, finally, learning the story that goes with the form so I can understand the application of techniques within the form. Well the words and the application may flip/flop according to my training time and the teaching requirements.

This is a wonderful breakthrough in my own training as I have tended to be at the front of curriculum and development. I don’t really care if students or others catch up to me. I want to understand the training that I do and present the best possible material to my students. I have always believed that it is my job to help students get to my level of knowledge faster and easier than it took me. They should understand MUCH more than I ever have and be able to provide the next generation with even more information and knowledge.

Pine Tree Taekwondo Promotion Test


Pine Tree Taekwondo will be hosting a Gup and Dan rank test on June 24th, 2017. This will be the first test held at our new school!

This test will be for all ranks – colored belts and Black belts.

It will be held at the Twin Cities dojang (7362 Commerce Circle West Fridley, MN 55432)

The test will start at 12:00pm (the floor will be open at 11:00)

Contact your teacher for details and test applications. All applications must be submitted by June 9th, 2017.

Wonderful Bodywork

Last Monday we had the pleasure of having Jc Drobac at our Twin Cities dojang. She offered short massage and bodywork sessions to all of the students interested. Her generous offer will extend to the next two Mondays. Myself and my students benefited from her offer.

If you are looking for a massage or bodywork professional with an extensive background (plus is continuing her education by working with a variety of sports and athletes), you should look her up. Her website is

Tell White Tiger Martial Arts sent you! 🙂