Cho Shim (Korean) – Beginner’s Mind/First Mind

I first learned about the concept of “Beginner’s Mind” when I started my Aikido training in 1990. While I understood that it was a concept across the martial arts, I had not heard it referred to in Korean martial arts until a recent Haidong Gumdo training. The concept twisted a bit as it was discussed.

My first exposure to the concept was directed toward how to approach training. It was presented as a reminder to always approach class as if it were something new that had much to teach regardless of how long you have been training. It is very easy to fall into habits and begin to go through motions without looking deeper at the technique or pattern. It can be easy to not examine the application as it is being presented in class or even to look beyond that use to those for personal protection or resolving conflict in daily life.

It is important to train with the intent to always learn something new from each class or workout. To find the details in the “how & why” of a technique is the most important part of training. It helps keep you on your journey and reinforces the point that the path is a long one.

The twist in the concept came in how it got presented. The comment was that you must always follow your “first mind”. This is the passion you have and the goals that you set. During the training session, it was stated that your first mind is to train. Develop the material that you’re working on and deepen your understanding of them. Once this is done, then make notes.

It was also presented as following your passion. If you wish to teach, work to become one. If you wish to have a school, develop the plan and move on it. While your heart may be what shows you the important things and passions, it is your mind that makes it work.

Make sure that you use your first mind!

Author: Master Robert Frankovich

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