What Does Moo Do Jaseh Mean to Me ? An article by Lisa Kozak SBN
I was asked to answer this question for this new website on Facebook, dedicated to women in The World Moo Duk Kwan. I would like to thank you for the opportunity to share. The following is a personal response given after many hours of contemplation.
I have been training in the martial arts for 44 years. Starting at a young age has so many benefits--one of which is learning a certain presence, a way of being, that traditional martial artists instill in their students. I remember as a child I often heard, “Your arm is hurt? You have another arm and two legs, keep going--move.” After a light kick to the face in a tournament, told to, “Hold my discipline,” which meant, do not touch my face and try to get a drop of blood out of my nose. After all, it was my responsibility to protect my face. In another instance, I was coming late to class (of course, no fault of my own), entering the dojang, changing into my dobak, and waiting to enter the class. Waiting and waiting and waiting, until I heard, “25 pushups and join,” It was through these experiences and many more that cultivated the woman that I am today.
My stance on life has always been firm in certain ways. I cannot stand people in authority taking advantage of those that cannot fight for themselves. I prefer to work with children because they tend to be a lot more fun, less afraid to fall and show resilience in the face of some pretty awful situations. My job, I believe, is my calling--for the past decade I have worked as a therapeutic martial arts instructor for a charter school.
I adopted my son when he was 5 years old from our county adoption agency; he is 27 years old now. I consider adoption one of the most meaningful decisions I have made in my life. Being a mother to my son and two daughters is such a blessing. My children have travelled with me on this journey in Soo Bahk Do Moo Duk Kwan since they were toddlers; this has shaped their lives immensely. Among other wonderful benefits of their martial art training, have been their lifelong friendships into adulthood with members that were also children at the beginning of their training.
Our Founder, in his first textbook, refers to the purpose of Jaseh, to, “...achieve balance, despite a moving center of gravity,” My personal balance has shifted so many times in life--but I am not unique because we each face these human challenges: illness, divorce, death, bankruptcy, weight gain and other obstacles that pull us off center. At times, good things can do that too: birth, growth, health, relationships, raises, etc,. Our day to day existence seems to fall between these two poles.
“Oh mirror in the sky! What is love
Can the child within my heart rise above?
Can I sail through the changin’ ocean tides?
Can I handle the seasons of my life?
Well, I’ve been afraid of changin
Cause I built my life around you
But time makes you bolder,
Even children get older
And I’m getting older too,”
This song is up for interpretation, but for me in relation to Moo Do Jaseh, it embraces the strength that I have needed to stand strong in the face of adversity, and remain firm but loving with the children that I teach. Soo Bahk Do Moo Duk Kwan has taught me the resilience to stand up for what I believe in, even if it is not popular--and stand on a foundation of integrity.
As women and martial art practitioners, we must remember that we are both nourishing and powerful. In this stance you will find your balance. Here are a few of the things I try to remember:
The toughest battles are the ones fought within oneself. Be gentle with yourself.
Live in wholeness, know your voice and do not be shaken.
Strength comes from the inside but you stand alone--hold someone’s hand.
Continue to grow in all ways, that is why we wear midnight blue.
Stand with resilience in the face of adversity, it is okay to cry.
Always, always remember--you are a female warrior. Never retreat in that battle.
Lisa Kozak Sa Bom Nim received the Black Belt Magazine Hall of Fame Female Competitor of the year in 1987. She has been teaching in her school The Moo Duk Kwan center in Mogadore, Ohio, since 1995. She has served as as a member of Board of Directors, Region5 (1996-2002), Regional examiner (2008-2011) and USA TAC (2011-2017).