|Maritime Museum at Fremantle Black Belt Obstacle Course|
I refrain from using the word 'heroically' in the title just because there was no time to think about heroics, nor about ability, nor about the consequences of failure. As I often think about my role as an instructor, I was but the 'lens'.
A beautiful sunny day in Fremantle several years ago found my children and several friends at the Maritime Museum. It's got amazing architecture and beautiful sweeping views of the ocean. Go visit if you have the chance.
When we were finished, the other parents and their children exited the building through the big revolving glass door. It was a huge feature, and it was moving quite fast. I decided to take up the rear so everyone, including my children could go through safely.
As the last person through, I slowed to a walking pace when I entered and looked backward. To my dismay a little girl was walking toward me and seemed intent on entering the revolving door. She was perhaps only 4 years old. So I put up my hand to indicate she should stop. But while she looked at me, she didn't comply, and continued walking towards the door.
The revolving door caught her at just the right time, and her body was sandwiched within the circumference between one of the revolving blades and the metal frame. As I looked at her, her face was getting squashed by one of the large glass panels, and time started to travel slower.
All I knew was that there was this large rotating door that needed to be stopped and reversed, and there was no time to be fluffing around trying to push it the other way. So I drove a forebalance chongul seogi stance into it - willing my entire body forward - intent on stopping that vast structure on a dime. When my knee hit the glass, there was huge scary boom and a resonation which shook the entire structure all around me.
|The same Taekwondo 'door stopper' skill but this time used against an opponent.|
It was a kodak moment. The girl was sandwiched in place - held safe only by my knee wedging it still. Her eyes were wide with shock but the door had only begun squashing her cheeks, so there was no pain involved.
You know, I've never practiced self defence against a revolving door before. But there you have it, when required, the skills and the mindset we use in practice can affect the course of events around you. Of course I could have walked up ahead accompanying my children through. What was it that affected my intuition and which made me bring up the rear like that? And how did I choose what could otherwise be described as a 'non-technique' or even mushin 無心 'no mind' to stop that door, saving the girl from requiring the services of a cosmetic surgeon?
When I ensured the door was stopped in place, I looked down and notice picture perfect form. It's somewhat strange to see this done so out-of-context, but it was a simple move which was required by the circumstance - nothing more, nothing less.
And this is a lesson for what Taekwondo and all good martial arts can be. While many a teenage pimply adolescent (including myself a long time ago) yearns for victory and glory against some ugly aggressor, martial training can be for the greater good without having to defeat an external aggressor. The best of us are keeping it understated. We can be that 'lens' through which the essence of training flows.
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Joong Do Kwan Chung Sah Nim
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