Reflections on Gratitude on the Path of Self Discovery in Martial Arts

by Kyosanim Betty Sze

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As 2015 begins, everyone turns to thoughts of the New Year and their hopes and dreams of what it may hold. While that's so important and vital for renewal; for me, 2014 was a turning point in my life and a year that will always hold much significance and remembrance because of the loss of my father. This especially hit home to me during the recent Black Belt test in which I participated. While the physical and mental part was, as always, challenging (and honestly, always quite fun), the spiritual part, especially during the time where we do our gratitude bows was especially meaningful to me, because of my recent loss. This had me thinking about my long (almost 18 years!) journey with Sabumnim and I think of how lost I was when I started. Though I was, on paper, fine (had general health, great education etc) there was a lack of meaningful connection with people and the world. I thanked Sabumnim after my dad's funeral because if not for Sabumnim and his gentle guidance through the years, I would not have had the healthy and loving relationship with my dad that I ended up having in the last years of his life. Sabumnim and the martial arts path, in essence, helped me with the tools to build the life that I wanted, have meaningful relationships, and become a good contributing member of society. I feel sad that there's a turning away from the traditional martial arts by the general public. The path towards peace lies in oneself through the focus on the internal as well as the external; through practices like meditation, the constant emptying of one's cup, sharing your knowledge in a humble way and an attitude of gratitude for what we have. The WMAC family is very lucky to have a safe and loving place to practice all of this. WMAC has been a gift to me and I am taking this opportunity to thank the universe for bringing it and Sabumnim, as well as Chungsanim, my husband Kyosanim Brad, and all my fellow martial artists into my life. May this be a year that we share joy, abundance and health with each other. With much love, Kyosanim Betty