Monday, December 30, 2013

New Year's Resolutions

About this time every year people make promises about changes they are going to make in their life for the better.Unfortunately the large majority of these promises are broken in a short period of time. When making our New Year’s Resolutions we honestly believe that the changes are necessary, and that making these changes will result in an overall improvement in the quality of our life and our relationships.

With such a powerfully positive motivating principal behind us, why do we usually fail to live up to the promises we make to ourselves? Simply put we are not accustomed to setting goals, developing plans to achieve those goals, and acknowledging our successes and failures.

This is where Tang Soo Do can make a difference in your life. Tang Soo Do is about goal setting. Through training in Tang Soo Do the student not only learns to set achievable goals, they learn to develop a plan for achieving those goals and constantly monitoring their progress on the way to achieving these goals.

As we start this New Year look at the goals that you want to achieve. Honestly assess if those goals are achievable. Develop your plan. Implement your plan. Assess your progress. Revise your plan as required. When your goal is achieved. Set a new goal.

For 2000 years this has been our secret to success. I invite all students and potential students to follow this plan for success. For those students who have personally seen the benefits of Tang Soo Do in your life, your goal for the New Year should be to invite at least one other person to join Tang Soo Do, so that they may also enjoy successful goal accomplishment.

Tang Soo!

Master Scott C. Homschek

Originally published on January 2003

Photo courtesy of: Rajwinder Singh from Sydney, Australia (Happy New Year !!  Uploaded by berichard) [CC-BY-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Monday, December 9, 2013

A martial artists knows...….. Inability is not disgraceful; lack of effort is!

Don't wear a cone of shame!

“I can’t” gets my attention.  It alerts me to an opportunity to watch and learn the character of the individual who made the protestation.  “I can’t” is a pivotal decision point – what happens next will tell you everything you need to know about the person.

“I can’t” may be a very factual statement and taken without further information is not worthy of judgment; instead further inquiry and observation is in order. “Why can’t you?”, “Are you willing to try?”, “If you truly can’t, what are you going to do about it?”, “If you have tried and still can’t, is there something else you can do to compensate for this deficiency?”

Lack of ability to accomplish a specific task is not disgraceful IF and ONLY IF you have exhausted the alternatives.  It IS disgraceful to be faced with an obstacle and throw your hands up without even trying.  Too many people are too willing to give up before they even try because this is the easy path – in their mind it negates their personal responsibility.  It also indicates that they feel it is someone else’s responsibility to fix the problem for them. Furthermore, if you step in to resolve their problem before they even try for themselves, you are enabling this negative behavior. Shame on them for not trying! Shame on us for encouraging them not to try in the future!

This is not just an issue of parents and children, though that is where the behavior often starts.  This is a societal problem and it is rampant.

BOB:      “I can’t pay my bills!”

SAM:     “Why not?”

BOB:      “We have run up our credit cards?”

SAM:     “What did you spend the money on – medical bills, car repairs?”

BOB:      “No – nothing like that we took a cruise last year, we bought some new furniture – stuff like 
SAM:     “So what are you going to do about it?”

BOB:      “It’s so bad we might need to declare bankruptcy”

SAM:     “Have you tried looking for a second job?”

BOB:      “I can’t do that?”

SAM:     “Why not?”

BOB:      “I won’t be able to spend as much time with the kids if I am working two jobs?”

SAM:     “So instead you will shift the burden of paying your bills to someone else through 

BOB:      “Well, would you be willing to lend me the money till we get back on our feet?”

SAM:     “So you want me to bail you out with a promise you will pay me back?   
               Why is it again you can’t work a part time job to help start paying back the money you 

BOB:      “I told you I don’t want to take time away from my kids?”

SAM:     “So you want to teach your kids that you can be irresponsible with money and it is OK 
                to let someone else fix the problem?”

This conversation can go on and on with the Bob not willing to solve the problem he created; while Sam eventually having to walk away because the deadbeat will never understand. 

At what point do you start to demand a person take responsibility for themselves.  The answer is IMMEDIATELY.  Empower the person in trouble to start taking actions for themselves – even small actions to resolve the problem will help to give them momentum to tackle the larger issue.  They may still need help and we should be willing to help them IF and ONLY IF they are taking direct actions themselves to try to resolve the problem first.

If in the scenario above the debt was caused by a medical emergency, the person in trouble had already taken on an additional part time job to help cover the debt and they still could not get out from under it then we should be ready to step up and help in any way we can.  It is our moral and ethical responsibility to help those in need who cannot do for themselves.

The above scenario was one of a financial nature. Let’s look at something more practical.  If you see an innocent elderly person being accosted by a thug who is trying to hurt them – should we intervene.  I would answer a resolute YES.  Have someone call 911 and intervene to try and protect the elderly person if you have the means to do so.   Alternatively, if you were at a restaurant or bar enjoying an evening with your spouse or some good friends and the guy next to you starts an altercation with someone who is bigger than him and gets pummeled and shouts for help are you obligated to interfere because you have martial skills and are capable of taking out the bigger guy.  Not me.  I did not create the problem, nor do I feel it is my moral or ethical responsibility to use my skills in defense of the idiot who started the situation in the first place.

There are many things I cannot do. However, if the problem is outside my ability I do not throw my hands up and wait for someone else to fix it.  You start by getting educated. You start by analyzing what is really going on. You start by seeing if there is someone who can give you guidance to resolving the problem. You take action.  When your action indicates that there is no way you can do this by yourself then by all means seek assistance.  If you have taken action already you will be able to tell the person whose help you are seeking what you have already done – this will show that you are trying to resolve the problem and that there is a bunch of stuff which you have already tried and it has not worked.  Your helper will now be better educated on the situation and also much more likely to be willing to offer their assistance.  Or you can throw your hands up right away and say “I can’t” and wait for someone else to solve it for you – we call these type of people sheep.   

The choice is yours every day – every problem – every opportunity.

Tang Soo!

Master Scott C. Homschek

Photo Credit: By MythicSeabass from Olympia, WA (Cone of Shame) 
[CC-BY-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons