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Never quit

H46 pushing upward

When I was invited to write an article for this magazine in my capacity as a psychologist, I Ching connoisseur and taekwondo practitioner, I was initially a bit at a loss as to what to write about. But before I grind my head in such a case for a long time, I question the old Chinese book of changes. The I Ching gave me the advice to make hexagram 46 the subject: THE EMPORDRINGEN, with the change lines 1, 3, and 6.

In fact, it is extremely easy to make a connection between martial arts and advancement, because after all, advancement is exactly what we do when we work through consistent training from the unsuspecting white belt to the first master degree and maybe even further. This advancement and growing up makes work, it costs a lot of sweat (and sometimes tears), but since this work is not externally determined but wanted by us, it feels sensible and good. Nothing can be skipped in this “career”, and if you are serious, you won't try to find any abbreviations. Because if there are any, then they are always a matter of appearance, the content cannot be corrupted! (Just imagine a bloody beginner draped over his black belt - he may score on a photo with it, but he can't fool himself. And if he really dares to put it into practice, only failures await him, Embarrassment and bruises - in the end it always hurts to make yourself taller than you are ...)

The honest work of advancing does not allow a triumphant march. Its essence is humility and tenacity. The I Ching chose the image of a tree sapling that, after invisible germination in the darkness of the earth, makes its way upward, unflinching, always oriented to the light, no matter what gets in its way: "Never quit". For the little plant that was so tender at the beginning, this means a lot of effort and perseverance. On the other hand, it also gets a lot of support - water, nutrients, sun ... - nature wants it to grow, only it has to prove that it wants and can do it, that it is resilient and viable!

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This is also the challenge for every freshman in martial arts. He starts at the bottom and has to learn from scratch to move according to the rules of his art. And of course it is important to create the physical prerequisites to be able to use the technology successfully - suppleness, musculature, condition, balance ... In addition to the body, the head is also required: memory, coordination, concentration ... Not enough: because every martial arts student also has to get along with the club mates, with the authority and personality of the master, with the rules and rituals of the profession. And last but not least: he has to deal with himself, with his idiosyncrasies, possibilities and limits - that is even the biggest and most important task that arises!

If the student takes the determined tree sapling as an example, then he will grow to its full size, regardless of how gifted he feels at first. Alone with the lion heart of such a tree puppy (sorry for the weird picture!) You have the most important ingredient for successful advancement, an ingredient that is kept secret from the uninitiated! This was also learned by the kung fu panda, who was called a dragon warrior and whose genius, you know, is not immediately apparent! The story of the endearing buttocks is, by the way, a wonderful example of advancement: just remember how he dragged his many kilos up the endless stairs to the dragon temple ... But he wants it! And then an embarrassment, defeat and removal after another. But he wants it! And he bites through! Where there is this indomitable will, growth happens automatically.

Now the much-quoted "indomitable will" is massively misunderstood by some martial artists: There we see people who train from their ambition to falling over, people who ignore their body's warning signals, people who extend their elbows to make room for them To create a big ego, people who are hard, dogged and cramped ... But that is certainly not in the sense of our art, which is more like Laotse. The wise man from the mountain knows about the power of giving in at the right time. Again and again the Chinese wisdom literature shows us the image of the bamboo, which has the elasticity, bend where something is stronger than it, but then straightens up to its full size.

If we want to penetrate effectively, we always need both, yin and yang, strength and compliance, each at its own time and place! To distinguish this again requires a high degree of maturity. That is why our martial art is not a sport, but a do (from Dao, Tao), a way. In this way we will change, but not just somehow or as our ego imagines it, but as the acorn ripens to the oak: All information for the end goal is available in your genetic makeup from the very beginning!

In the same way, our tree of life grows towards what it carries from the start. And like everything alive, its growth starts from the bottom, at the roots. They make sure that nothing knocks him over so easily. Even if it is mostly the extensive tree crown that arouses our admiration, the strength of the tree resides in the hidden roots. The essential course is set apart from our eyes - through our attitude towards ourselves and the world: What do we think of ourselves? What is worth the effort and for what reason? What are our priorities? ...

As a student of a martial art, we speak the big word “do” every day without even noticing it: Taekwon-Do, Hapki-Do, Aiki-Do, Ju-Do… For many practitioners, unfortunately, it is more Taekwon, Hapki , Aiko and Ju, and indeed there is something silly and not very respectful…

Because what does it mean to go a do? Like the delicate oak sprout, we too have to blow up a hard shell - the crust of our ego. The do is the way to ourselves from which our ego persistently wants to distract us. And if we go our way in the Budo arts, then we will meet our ego right there, in wrong ambition, wrong pride, wrong humility ... It is in the nature of the ego that it is never satisfied. And because it wants to see us bigger than we are, it is ready to humble itself into unbelievable little things ...

Each stage of our advancement - as a white belt, yellow belt, green belt, blue belt, red belt, black belt - has its own value. Does it make sense to measure a first grader against a high school graduate? Anyone who compares this way only creates competition that is extremely detrimental to the healthy growth process. After all, every little oak sapling is unique, has a specific genetic makeup and finds specific conditions. The same in martial arts: one is big and strong, the other small and tender, one flexible, the other ungainly, one jumps like a rubber, another has an immense amount of traction ... Everyone and everyone has to find their OWN way, who only applies to this one person! Watching does nothing!

In addition to our own motivation, we also need external support for this long journey: That's why we have to learn to ask for help, we have to be told something and be open to trying something that is hard to imagine at first. Here again Yin and Yang: promotion from the outside, goal setting from the inside. If you have only external reasons for training, the advancement will slow down early. A real motivation that comes from the heart, on the other hand, works like sunlight, it almost pulls us up. If I love my martial arts, I will get better and better by myself. Then I will grow to my full size at my own pace, which is also very individual: one is the first Dan to grow up, the other is screwing up to completely different Dan heights, and yet another is satisfied with it Leave red belt. One finds his vocation in his martial art, the other sees his luck in learning other martial arts, the third is happy when he finds the time twice a week to pursue his beloved hobby. Everyone according to their type, there are many ways!

A real way, a real do always leads to myself, to my truth. We can only be tall if we grow into our own form - not into someone else's shoes! To do this, I have to get involved and make an effort, but not rape. It's about healthy determination, not about nerdness! It's about the way, the do, not the goal. The goal only shows us the direction - like the Polarstern, which has helped people to orient themselves for thousands of years, and without having to rise to the stars!