WE TIE OUR BELTS WITH EQUAL ENDS!
Taekwon students, parents and friends,
One of the first things that happens to a new student is I get to tie their White Belt around their waist for the first time. I then give all the rules and responsibilities of the Taekwon-Do Belt. We never wash the belt. We keep all the sweat and hard work in the belt. We don’t let the belt lay on the floor and when we eat, we should take it off as not to get any stains. We tie the belt so when the knot is tight, the ends that hand down are equal in length. One side stands for the physical parts of Taekwon-Do and the other end stands for the mental parts of Taekwon-Do. The physical parts include our patterns, self-defense, breaking boards and sparring, the parts of Taekwon-Do we do with our body. The mental part is the part we do with our minds. A short explanation would be that we let the five tenets be our guide. Courtesy, Integrity, Perseverance, Self-Control and Indomitable Spirit are the five tenets and those words were some of the first words General Choi learned to write in calligraphy by his teacher, Mr. Han Il Dong. Mr. Han had a lot of influence in the young General Choi not only teaching him about the five tenets, but also started him practicing Taek Kyon (Korean foot fighting), which was a root of our Taekwon-Do.
The belt is tied with the ends equal lengths to symbolize a student must work hard to improve his or her physical movements, but at the same time work on the five tenets, to become a well-rounded nice person who can protect and defend if necessary.
So that would be the explanation a student should use when asked about why we tie our belt ends equal. But like most every explanation, when you think deeper there is much more symbolized here.
The martial arts movie of the past set a great example. There are those Black Belt Theater movies where the one school fights the other school because of some disrespect. Then there’s the movies that show that our awesome moves should only be used as a last resort. It’s hard to understand that simple idea that we learn how to fight so we don’t have to fight. There are evil martial art teachers in the movies and there are other examples of teachers who have the right idea. But the bottom line when we watch these movies is that the best of them practice hard and often. History has many training drills that are considered “old school” and most likely do more harm than good, but those were steps students and teachers made to become the best they can be. Back in the earlier days of martial arts only the toughest got their Black Belts. Those were the students that took that beating and kept training.
One of my goals has always been to convince students that they have the staying power to make it to Black Belt no matter what their limitations are. I would say we are a modern school in our philosophy but even still, many of the students, although they may learn quick, fall by the wayside and drop out. Some students don’t learn fast enough and some don’t practice enough. Those who learn fast sometimes give up because they are bored and they are missing the point of Taekwon-Do training. Some students come to class but don’t practice and then they aren’t really prepared for the next class forgetting what they’ve already learned. These students might be missing the point as well.
Good things happen and bad things happen. We mess up and we make good. We should try to enjoy the mistakes we make because that mistake, although sometimes repeated over and over again, gets us closer to mastering that move or technique. Making mistakes sometimes discourages folks and they give up. It’s almost like you improve two steps foward and make mistakes to set you one step back. So part of that Self-Control and part of the one end of our TKD belt is knowing that it takes great effort, perseverance and repetition to master a skill or to master an emotion….but we must never give up. I hope that perseverance sticks with our students even after they stop training. That’s the spirit one needs to be a positive influence to the family, community and career.
Another example of the mental toughness for which we strive comes knowing that situations and other folks have a chance to upset us. Things will happen daily that could push our buttons. Our Taekwon-Do training instills the ability to yield when a yield is needed. Our confidence will help us to stand up for ourselves and others in a respectful way. Knowing we can defend ourselves makes us guarded knowing that physical retaliation might come from an upset person, and gives us the calm to make better choices in the words we use and our body language. Every day is a learning experience in dealing positively with others and this is part of our TKD belt as well.
We have to be careful to use moderation. If we are training for competition and we have only 1 month to prepare, we could push ourselves too far and get injured. Mastering techniques take a long time with little mistakes and little improvements and not giving up. Using moderation, we should train consistently and give our 110% each and every time, but also slow down when our body tells us it’s hurting (especially those of us over age 50).
Our dojang’s average is 15 out of 100 folks who start Taekwon-Do make it to 1st Degree Black Belt. We’ve had over 400 citizens make that rank at our dojang in the 30 years and all those students truly deserved their belt. So many others had the ability but like so many challenges, we talk ourselves out of it by having lots of excuses. I’m sure most of those folks went on to lead wonderful and fulfilling lives, even without continued TKD training, but I know that some of their training stayed with them and the tenets, just like General Choi, the tenets were carried throughout their lives as a wonderful way to live.
STARTING OUR FIRST AUTUMN AT OUR HERITAGE BANQUET ROOM LOCATION!!
It has been a long (too short) and wonderful summer for most all of us with many of adventures, vacations and outdoor summer fun. On top of all of that, the students and families of the dojang helped us close our 4800 square foot facility on Forman Road. It was a noticeable process since May of this year as we slowly cleared the walls and floors of the old dojang. Our students have had the opportunity to train since that closing day of June 30 at our new location for classes: Franconia Heritage Restaurant Lower Level Banquet Room! It was a hot early summer in our hot, old dojang and maybe that’s why it was so noticeable training in the air conditioning of the Banquet Room. Not only have we been blessed with the luxury of air conditioning (and dependable heat in the winter), but we have access to a women’s restroom and a men’s restroom. Weighing out the positive and negatives of the move, we have come out way ahead in the positive at the Heritage.
We now have the capability to pay tuition and other fees via our wonderful website. It is secure and easy to take care of all that on-line. At the Heritage, we accept checks and cash and we do have the “square” to use cards as well.
Our website: www.cashattTKD.com has everything you might need to know or do in your training of Taekwon-Do at our dojang. We have all the requirement sheets and answers on the “Knowledge” page. The pattern meanings are there as are the Training Secrets and Philosophy of TKD. We have listed the upcoming GUP test lists and Black Belt test lists. We have our present dojang roster in rank order. We have video of required pre-arranged sparring and self-defense.
At the beginning of most every class, the students are asked what the “Password” is? Of course this can be found on the website along with the class schedule and upcoming events including which weekly class will be designated for sparring.
Everything that was on the walls of the Forman Road dojang can be found on the website. We list the Dojang Championship winners through the years along with the DAN-GUN champions and our dojang’s Wood Board Breaking Records. We have every “Dojang Group Picture” from 1988 to the present.
This is the time of year (September-October) when many students return to training and many students sign up for the first time. Those coming back, we welcome you on your continued journey to Black Belt and beyond. No matter how long one trains, they take something with them forever; but when a student continues year after year, the Taekwon-Do growth is a part of life that continues to pile on the benefits. For those signing up for the first time, we welcome you and we are inspired by your fresh motivation, your questions and noticeable improvements as the weeks go on.
Our student’s recommendations are the best way of advertising our dojang. I’d like to remind you that if you know of someone you’d like to bring to our dojang, we will give you a free month pass to give them. If they stay and train for 6 months, you get a FREE month for yourself! It’s not like we should go out and tell the world we train in Taekwon-Do, but we can routinely look for folks who might really benefit from training at our dojang. Sharing Taekwon-Do is part of the giving back that is important in the world today.
Please don’t hesitate to call or text Master Cashatt at 215-479-3440. He can be reached from 9 am to 9 pm daily. You can also email Master Cashatt at cashattTKD@gmail.com with any questions you might have.
OUTDOOR CLASS IN SEPTEMBER!
We love our new location at the Heritage; however there will be times once in a while when the restaurant needs our banquet room. On Thursday, September 19 all our classes will be held in the other banquet room at the Heritage. This one is on the first level all the way to the left side of the building. We will have a dojang spokesperson wait outside our usual entrance to remind students to go to the other banquet room. This includes the Black Belt mentoring class scheduled for that evening.
Saturday, September 21 we will have our morning class, 9:30-10:30 am OUTDOORS and the Musselman family has invited us to practice in their yard! They live at 2300 Bergey Road in Harleysville. We can park in the grass on both sides of their driveway…Master Cashatt will be there to guide the parking. This opportunity will be awesome. Training on the actual ground of earth is wonderful for balance and boosts the spirit to be out in nature. Be sure to wear your dobuk and sneakers and bring a water bottle too! If it rains or has been wet, an email will be sent out about a cancelation of the class….and Master Cashatt can always be reached at 215-479-3440.
DAN-GUN DAY COMPETITION OCTOBER 3
October 3 is the birthday of DAN-GUN, the legendary founder of Korea and every year since our dojang’s beginning we’ve had competition for this occasion. Thursday, Oct. 3rd we will have a competition from 6-7 pm for all students Yellow Belt through Black Stripe. All our White Belt students through senior Black Belt are invited and will get a class credit for attending. We will see who attends that evening before making our divisions. Usually we would have Youth Girls, Youth Boys, Teenagers and Adults. Students will go head to head (or lined up beside each other) both doing DAN-GUN and the Black Belts in attendance will pick a winner. We will hand out medals for 1st, 2nd and 3rd Place in each division. The champions will have their names put on our website www.cashattTKD.com on the History page with all the other DAN-GUN champions of the past.
2019 DOJANG GROUP PICTURE NOVEMBER 13
Please add to all your calendars our evening for the 2019 DOJANG GROUP PICTURE! We’ll take it at 7 pm sharp. We will have a regular class from 6 to 6:50 pm and then we will get students lined up for the picture. If you are a student and you are planning on being in the picture and staying for the Black Belt/Black Stripe class, please arrive by 6:50 pm also. This picture will be sent to you via email and the picture will be displayed on the homepage plus it will be listed with all the past years under “Gallery” and “Dojang Group Pictures” on our website www.cashattTKD.com.
ADD TO YOUR CALENDARS
- SEPT. 19….Thursday, all classes held in other Banquet Room, 1st floor of the Heritage.
- SEPT. 21….Saturday morning class 9:30-10:30 am being held at Musselman home, 2300 Bergey Road in Harleysville.
- OCT. 3…Thursday, DAN GUN COMPETITION from 6-7 pm
- NOV. 2…Saturday, Grandmaster Wheatley Seminar in N.J.- please contact Master Cashatt about attending.
- NOV. 13…Wednesday, 2019 DOJANG GROUP PICTURE at 7 pm.
- NOV. 16…Saturday, Highway Clean-up from 7:30-9 AM meeting in the Heritage parking lot.
- NOV. 16…BLACK BELT TEST of some of our students. 1 pm at Lansdale YMCA.
- DEC….Adult Holiday Party TBA