The most important aspect of martial arts is love.
Taekwondo or Hapkido is a way of life. It’s in the name! Do in Korean means “way”, as in “way of life”. When most people think of martial arts, they think of the technique rather than the way. Anybody can do martial arts technique, but this does not equal following the way of the martial artist.
The moment you separate the technique from the way, you miss the whole point of martial arts.
The way of the martial artist includes character. It includes the Five Tenets. It is an active decision. It is not a matter of if you can kick or punch someone, rather it is the decision not to hurt others. The way of the martial artist lies in using your training to help others and not just advance yourself.
Truly loving martial arts includes loving other people.
One of the most misused terms in current popular culture is MMA or “mixed martial arts”… because it is not an art! Mixed martial arts might include great fighting. It might include great technique. But it is not an art because it focuses only on the fighting. True martial arts focus on your way of living.
Our culture glorifies fighting, so it cannot be said enough: Fighting is the last resort for the martial artist! Being a martial artist is not being a fighter. It’s not being arrogant. It’s not being a bully. It’s not being a tough guy.
Choosing not to fight is not a sign of weakness. For a martial artist, being loving doesn’t mean being permissive. Loving others doesn’t mean letting bad people do bad things. It means that you use your confidence, skills, self-discipline, and abilities to help other people. It means you love others and truly care about their well-being.
What is a black belt? Is it the kicks and punches you’ve learned or is it the character you’ve developed? Is it the technique you have or the way you live?
The way to becoming a black belt is being peaceful. It’s being humble. It’s being respectful. It’s loving other people.
That is what it means to be a black belt.
That is the way.