Heritage Program: Finding a home in the martial arts

안녕하십니까 [Hello] My name is Su-Pyo Einsiedler née Lee. 

I was born in Seoul, Korea in 1976 and grew up as a common Korean woman. My parents taught me and my younger sister to be kind, polite, obedient, and intelligent to be a good mother and wife in the future. I studied and worked hard not to disappoint my parents and later at schools I was beloved by every teacher. Nothing seemed to be impossible for me to achieve the wish of my parents, and I was very proud of myself being the daughter of my parents. I learned how to draw, play the piano and calligraphy, things which every young girl in Korea spent time on as hobbies, to be skillful, tamed and calm. 

Physical training wasn’t a thing required to be a good mother and wife. I was, frankly, non-athletic, no need to say anything about martial arts, until I was already living in Germany for more than 18 years and my second child was one year old, me 40. I couldn’t hold my son as long as I wanted or bear his weight when he lay on my belly. My body had no strength and my mental state was below the bottom line. I decided to do some core workouts instructed by some yogis and soon I started to practice Yoga daily by myself. 

By chance, I could also watch a traditional Taekwon-Do class together with my two sons. I was totally enchanted at first glance and started to take the class for myself. From that moment, Yoga and Taekwon-Do changed not only my body but my entire viewpoint of life. I felt the ‘home’ where my soul can dwell and could find the way back to myself, while I was practicing. Yoga teaches me to unite my body, mind and soul to the One/Universe and dissolve my being into the present. Taekwon-Do builds the courage and the self-confidence for me to go through the life experiences from which I am expected to learn. Yet I was still looking for an answer to the question which hadn’t even come to me at that time.

I’ve never seen Taekwon-Do of the style which our Taekwon-Do school practices, even though I am a native Korean. The Grandmaster Jürgen Englerth, 7th Dan, told me that it isn’t the same as the Taekwon-Do well known around the world, and his master, Master 송재영 (Song Chae Yong) was one of students from Hwang Kee Chang Shi Ja Nim, before he came to Germany. Our school was rooted strongly in Tang Soo Do, which Master Song practiced while in Korea, and the teaching of Hwang Kee Chang Shi Ja Nim was still being passed down. 

Unfortunately Master Song passed away several years ago and most of the history got buried with him. But I couldn’t resist asking more about history and what kind of school Moo Duk Kwan® is, why our school is so different from other schools in Germany and so on. My Grandmaster suggested for me to visit Moo Duk Kwan® in Seoul and find the answers for myself. This was the very start of my encounter with Choi Eui Sun Sa Bom Nim in Seoul. 

I still remember how excited I was, before I went to the Do Jang and after I had the first class by Choi Sa Bom Nim, my heart bursted out of joy and happiness! I suddenly became a ‘Korean’. I learned not only the unknown history of Moo Duk Kwan®, but found the meaning of Korean culture and philosophy which even for me as a Korean I had never been taught. 

I definitely knew the culture of Korea but was just following the applications through education, society and history. It became dead habits with no awareness, no consciousness, no respect. After all, I was fleeing from these habits of Korean culture and struggling hard to find my identity on the other side of the earth, in Germany.

But it isn’t only about my own homeland or own culture, I recognised. As I was gratefully invited to the World Moo Duk Kwan® Moo Do Festival in Greece in April, 2023, I saw the most beautiful human beings from all over the world whom I thought only in dreams I’ll get to see. I finally found the answer to my invisible question. Soo Bahk Do. Thoroughly based on the Moo Do philosophy, Soo Bahk Do was showing me the ‘Way’ to become a wholesome human being by physical, mental and spiritual training at once. There’s nothing like contradiction in itself or ego. So I could see in each Moo Do In their utmost beauty, who concentrates on their way of movement, breathing, and thoughts and their spirit was visualized in the moment. 

Nothing from this world can beat this moment. And I’m so honored and thankful to be one of the students and start to learn Soo Bahk Do now. 

감사합니다. 수박!


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