2015 Mar 12
In the April issue of MASuccess there is a one-page article called Pictures of Sunflowers written by Karen Eden. I was curious of the content of this article, and within the first 4 words, I knew I had to read it to the end. "Poor Vincent Van Gogh was way ahead of his time." is the opening line, and I was hooked right there. Why? Because ever since I first learned of him in an art class, I liked him. I liked his painting styles, but more importantly, I liked that he didn't give up on what he wanted to do despite hardships. I was in wonder of how a man could create over 2100 works of art in about 10 years, make no money from it, and still keep at it. Mental illness and anxiety got the best of him at 37, and he was penniless. It wasn't until 100 years later that his works would start selling for up to $82.5 million ($152 million adjusted to modern value).
Ms. Eden compared Van Gogh's drive to keep true to what he did to herself and her school. Rather than "shift to the latest rage," she stays true and continues to teach those tang soo do stances, punches, and kicks from her heart. Much like Van Gogh, it isn't until later that the appreciation of her work was brought to light. The difference here is she gets to learn of this appreciation herself. She has had a former student come back from military deployment and say, "Thank you for teaching me tang soo do, ma'am. It really helped me while I was deployed." I am willing to bet that this statement doesn't have anything to do with those stances, punches, or kicks. This kind of appreciation comes from a deeper understanding of the art and lifestyle instilled through martial arts training.
How do I know? Because I trained in tang soo do as a young child and as a teenager, then stopped training because life stepped in the way. I too had written to previous instructors and then-peers about the impact it had on me. The reason I am here today - teaching others approximately the same way I was taught - is because I decided if training had an impact like that on me, that I wanted to give others the opportunity to have those same advantages in life that I didn't realize until later. I hope that as the students of our school grow up, go out into the workforce, and go experience life that they bring with them the bits beyond the kicking and punching to help light their own version of Starry Night Over the Rhone.