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The Practice of Peace in the New Year

A deeper look into Soo Bahk Do

Article by Nina Baldacci Sloan

Photography by Tim Seibert-Flatirons Pro Media

Originally published in Broomfield Lifestyle

Peeking in on a typical night of training at Rocky Mountain Martial Arts – Front Range Soo Bahk Do would reveal a high energy experience of discipline, protocol, kicking, punching, and conditioning across multiple age ranges. Something one could call a stereotypical martial arts experience.

A deeper look reveals more.

Soo Bahk Do is a traditional, Korean martial art founded in experiences of oppression, war, and the consequences of human conflict. This art intentionally develops an atmosphere of respect, courtesy, friendship, unity, cooperation, and goodwill as a catalyst to improve human relations and contribute to a greater vision for peace.

Peace in our communities.

Peace in our homes.

Peace within ourselves.  

March of 2020 came in like a lion, uninvited the lamb, and set up camp. The pandemic, politics, policies in education, the protection of personal values, and a host of other intensities have all contributed to an environment of stress that is our new normal. Many would say they long for peace but find it allusive or flat out unattainable in this current climate.

To the Soo Bahk Do martial artist, irrespective of age, peace isn’t an experience, peace is a physical and mental discipline. Finding peace takes practice.

I want this! How does one practice?

Excellent question, young grasshopper! The instructors at RMMA Front Range offer three basic disciplines to promote your practice of peace, today and each day into the new year.

Breathe – A path of redirection can be found in a simple breath. Counter moments of intensity by distancing yourself from the situation, closing your eyes, and taking a full, deep breath. Fill those lungs completely and pause before you exhale. Repeat as necessary.

Move – The Mayo Clinic beautifully affirms a martial artist’s sentiment that exercise/movement is,“meditation in motion.” They continue, “…as you begin to regularly shed your daily tensions through movement and physical activity, you may find that focus on a single task, and the resulting energy and optimism, can help you stay calm, clear and focused in everything you do.”

Forgive – A discipline with the most personal sacrifice, summarized in a parable.

A senior and novice monk were traveling together when they came upon a river. The river was swollen making it very difficult to pass. At the edge of the river was a lovely, young woman unsure of how to get across. She asked for help.

 The monks had taken a vow of celibacy preventing them from making eye contact with women, much less touching them. But after barely a pause, the senior monk picked up the woman and carried her across.

 The novice monk was shocked and speechless. His elder had broken his vows! As the monks continued their journey hours passed and no one spoke until the younger monk could no longer contain himself.

 “How could you carry that woman across the river when we aren’t even supposed to look at women?” The senior monk replied, “I set that woman down hours ago. Why are you still carrying her?”

Assuming a daily practice of forgiving others, and equally forgiving yourself releases inner conflict and brings personal peace.

Are you seeking practiced peace in the new year? Any one of these disciplines will help you in your pursuit. Want to learn more about the holistic martial artist? Rocky Mountain Martial Arts – Front Range Soo Bahk Do would invite you to stop by and take a peek. Call (720-288-0048) or email hello@rmmafrontrange for more information.