Student Essays

Each examination Sa Bom Nim assigns a topic for the students to write a breif paper on. List here are some of the essays

Chung Jik

Honesty is a concept that readily applies to all facets of one’s life. On the surface is the idea that we teach our children, not to lie to others. Although that is an important concept to learn, I think honesty as a key concept in Soo Bahk Do, and in life in general, is more personal. Honesty starts within oneself. One needs to listen to one’s inner voice or spirit- discover what one’s individual values and goals are and then try to lead a life staying true to those values and goals.

I honestly joined the studio two years ago with the goal of getting in shape. I needed a scheduled time to exercise so I couldn’t procrastinate; and I needed someone, Reyna, to motivate me to go. I had very little knowledge of Soo Bahk Do at the time. The only reason I still go to class two years later, however, is because of all the spiritual and emotional benefits I get along with the physical training.

Where does honesty come into the picture? Well, before- I had my daughter I was able- mentally, emotionally, and physically- to dedicate a significant part of my week to training. I was so excited to find something that could challenge my brain as well as my body, and I was even more motivated as I saw success in my battle against the bulge. Even through most of my pregnancy I reaped the benefits of going to class, and I know for a fact that Soo Bahk Do was a huge contributor to the fact that I had such an easy pregnancy. In my mind I imagined that I would go back to class, and to my life as it was before pregnancy, as soon as my doctor would allow it; however, after Zoe was born my priorities completely changed.

I knew that from an outside perspective things would change as a child entered the picture, but I wasn’t aware of how much my inner spirit would transform as well. This applied to all facets of my life- work, karate, family and friends- everything. I first gave up the idea to going back to work three days/week. That was an easy decision and I had no hesitation to call up the clinic I work for and tell them. After that call I felt really good. It was all of the other stuff where I had and still have daily battles with myself. I thought I could still do all of the things I had done before I had become a mom-go see friends whenever I wanted, drive down to see my family spur of the moment like, do home projects like painting and gardening, attend functions for karate/work, entertain people at home, dwell on how to improve the clinic- My mind rationalized that doing all of those things was possible. My mind then tried to convince my spirit that I could continue on this way; but my spirit had already reshuffled my priorities. so, the front yard isn’t done, or the laundry piles up, or my parents come up here instead of me going down to LA.. I had to learn, and I am still learning, to give up trying to control and dwell on the details of my life, don’t sweat the little things.

As someone put it- now my life is a juggling act. I guess it always was but the parts I had to juggle were more balanced. I feel like a bowling ball has been thrown into the mix where I previously only had golf balls to juggle. It’s a lot harder to balance. I am learning to concentrate more on the things in my life that allow me to accomplish my goals and that which represents my values. I know I have to take care of myself physically, mentally, and emotionally in order to be the best mom, wife, friend, student, employee, etc. If am completely honest with myself, I know that I need time away from the baby in order to accomplish these goals. Coming to class helps me connect with myself- time to be with me- and I feel rejuvenated afterwards and ready for whatever; but I have say exhaustion- mental or physical, seeing Zoe and Ali after a full day’s work, or the never-ending list of things to do competes for that same time-slot. Honestly the winner changes day to day. I know for karate this means my training is slower. My attendance can be sporadic at times and I do not train at home, but when I come to class I commit 100% to bettering myself as a student and acting as a good role model for those around me- and that’s the honest truth.

Erica Lambert 6/06

Chung Jik

Honesty is different for all people- it seems like everyone I meet has a different opinion about what honesty means to them. When we talk about honesty, some people say that you should never lie no mater what. To know something and leave it out of a conversation on purpose may also be considered lying to some people. Then there are those who say you have to lie sometimes. They list, for instants, like when dealing with people’s looks, personality, or weight. Or how about when you are a guest in someone’s home for dinner and you hate the food; do you tell them that? Then there is the lying for personal gain like if you are trying to get out of receiving a traffic ticket. We all seem to lie at one point or another in our lives, so where do I stand? I don’t compare honesty and lying side by side. To me they are not always the same. I look at honesty as a personal choice in the way one carry’s oneself. I take pride in my honest approach to life, what you see is what you get. At the same time, however, I have lied – all for good reasons. This is not to say that I have not been caught in a white lie. (Especially when I was younger) I do strongly believe, however, that when you give your word it means everything; you should never break a promise unless it becomes physically impossible.

Christine Aponte 6/06

Chung Jik

Chung Jik means to me a willingness to stay in a place of discomfort or pain instead of covering
up using “feel-good” measures.

Chung Jik means being honest with myself by admitting the truth even if it means suffering
personal loss or loss of face.

Demonstrating Chung Jik is stepping aside during a hyung when I faultier so my peers may

If one cannot be honest, one cannot learn. If one does not learn, one cannot grow. If one does
not grow, one stagnates. If one stagnates, one experiences the same difficulties. If the same
problems continue, one cannot be happy. In a sense, to be happy is to be free in one’s spiritual
journey. Therefore, one needs Chung Jik.

Chung Jik provides a building block for peace in one’s life because one need not hide nor lie.

Chung Jik means one will make a lot of mistakes.

It takes a lot of Yang Gi to demonstrate Chung Jik.

Ayson King 6/06


Concentration is focusing on doing something. It is thinking about what you are doing and focusing forward. When you concentrate it makes the techniques better. Concentration is important for Soo Bahk Do.

Concentrating in training is focusing on the techniques. During a sparring exercise, for example, concentration is essential because if your mind is wandering off, you might kick or punch someone. If you are staring ahead and focusing, you won’t wobble all over the place and topple over. During a form, to remember all of the moves, your mind has to be in one place and not wandering off If your mind wanders, you might stop concentrating and do shallow stances and weak punches. Absorbing what the instructor is telling you and what other people are doing is something that is always needed.

Developing better concentration skills comes trom practice. If every single day you go to practice, you concentrate and try as hard as you can, after time it will be easy. But if one day you finally decide to focus, it will mean learning everything all over again. And focusing during everyday moments helps your concentration level. Thinking and paying attention to what someone is telling you makes your concentration skills better.

Everybody has to concentrate, and when you do it often, your attention level goes higher, and you naturally listen more. People need to absorb what is being said around them, and what they are requested to do. To concentrate is something that everybody has to use during their whole life. Concentrating is one of the main things needed for Soo Bahk Do.

Alison Wendt 12/05

Return to Menu


The world – outside of me ­-
where I am aside, something other ahead.

Grace shown by grass, might by mountains ­-
the glory of a Creator

Drip – drip – drip
The falling of water

— not from a cloud -­

from a tree

Storm has passed – left us
— clean

Dh that I would be

— clean

The world – inside of me ­-
where I am aside, something other there.

Dedication to discipline, love of life ­-
the glory of a Creator

Chris Philip 3/06

Return to Menu


In our Korean Karate, Soo Bahk Do Moo Duk Kwan, concentration means to focus. If you do not focus in sparring, or in a life or death situation on the street, you may lose the battle, or die. To concentrate is to focus on that one thing you are doing and to not get distracted.
Distraction comes easily to some people. Some people get so sidetracked that they completely forget what they are doing.

Some people find it hard to concentrate while doing some thing that takes energy. Like it is very easy for them to be focusing so hard on watching the TV that they zone out on everything around them.

Your body can only do what your mind is focusing on. So, if you are thinking about pretty butterflies, while trying to do Karate, you will not do the right body movements. You may get in trouble for it during class. If you want to get good grades in school, you’d better sit up and pay attention. That is how you shall get good grades in school.

To develop better concentration, you must clear your mind of all thoughts. You must take a moment to meditate. That is what we do at the beginning of class. We clear our minds of all thoughts so we can only think of Karate. I think that it works very well.

Danika Jones 12/05

Return to Menu


Humility is to be respectful to other people. It is to behave in a manner, which shows honor to others. It is not acting proud and arrogant

Jake Bream 3/06

Kyum Son

Today’s “bigger is better” and “if you’ve got it, flaunt it” mentalities leave little room for humility. It has become a somewhat quaint ideal with those who display it seen as weak. However, humility should been seen more as a state of truth and balance than one of shame and meekness. A humble person can understand that although his personal achievements and skills may be significant to him as an individual there is still much to learn and a bigger picture to see.

The concept of kyum son is important in the learning and practicing of Soo Bahk Do. We are reminded of kyum son every time we enter the do jang and bow to our seniors and salute the flags. These acts not only show our respect for others but also enable us to reflect on how we ~t into our surrounding~. Essentially, we are leaving our egos at the door and opening ourselves up to new learnings. A humble person realizes how much can be learned from both his juniors and seniors. Someone with a “better than thou” attitude will block off anything he thinks is beneath him. While it is important to be proud of accomplishments, being overly proud creates a barrier to development and an unbalanced mental state.

Janine Buseman-Williams 3/06

Return to Menu


Humility is defined as “a lack of false pride”, but to me it implies a comfort with oneself that removes the need for external praise and recognition. Master Jang once said in class “Don’t think too much of yourself; but don’t think too little of yourself either.” Humility does not preclude self-confidence. In fact, I believe that self-confidence allows one to be receptive to new ideas. Humility changes the focus, however, from what one has accomplished to what one can learn. It also incorporates a respect for the knowledge and abilities of others. In the martial arts, and in life, one can find something in almost every other individual to admire and learn from.

When training in class, lack of humility causes trouble in two ways. First, if we believe that we have already mastered certain skills, we will not be receptive to correction. We deny ourselves the opportunity for improvement. Second, concern for our image can make us self-conscious and lead to frustration and embarrassment. This in turn distracts us from absorbing what we are being taught. Humility allows us to separate our sense of worth from how others perceive us. This is essential to our training, for when we focus on ourselves we cannot focus on our art.

Laura Hoehne 3/06

Return to Menu


A bright sun rising above the mountain
I see cloud hang over the mountain

I see green trees spread out

I hear birds singing on the tree

I can smell the fresh air

I can feel ‘the cool air

I can hear the wind passing through
I can hear the silence

Alone I stand on the mountain top
I feel calm and peaceful

I feel I’m in heaven

Nathan Kim 3/06

Return to Menu


Humility to me is not thinking that I am better or more important than others. It is being able to admit when I am wrong and saying sorry. Humility is being humble and not bragging about accomplishments. Lastly, it means applying my values to what I do.

Noah Comrle 3/26

What's New

  • Brown Bag Martial Arts
  • Karate Class for Intellectually Disabled

View All

Free Article

5 Things to Look for in a Karate Studio

    Online Offer Only

    Signup for a Free Intro Lesson.
    No commitment required.

    Free Lesson