MooGong - Guardian of the Peace

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The great martial arts masters have understood for thousands of years martial arts are not about fighting, they are about stopping fighting. Many new students come to the martial arts because they think they want to be aggressive. Steven Seagal in Hard to Kill goes to a martial arts teacher to learn how to fight; to learn how to be great. They fail to understand the true goal of martial arts is to be guardians of the peace, to learn to avoid aggression, but to be able to respond to aggression when required. Seagal's master tells him first learn how to heal people to be great; to hurt people is easy.

Sun Tzu in The Art of War says that the ultimate strategy is to win without fighting. A true guardian of the peace will always attempt to redirect their opponent into a more positive situation. This can be in an actual martial arts situation, when physically attacked by another person after your wallet, in a non-physical situation such as with a person at work who acts aggressively, or in a larger setting such as when one country takes an action meant to provoke a reaction from another country. Instead of simply coming out swinging, yelling, and with the full might of the military, a guardian of the peace will attempt to resolve the situation peacefully. It may mean walking away from an attacker or giving them your wallet, suggesting to your co-work that you discuss all project options, or utilizing boycotts and embargoes.

In the movie Enter the Dragon, Bruce Lee is belligerently asked what his fighting style is and responds the art of fighting without fighting. When asked for a demonstration, he initially says later, a perfect response to fighting without fighting. If he can postpone the fight until later, the person may forget or loose interest. When the other martial artists won't wait, he suggests they need more space and convinces his opponent to get in a small boat to go to a larger island. Once his opponent is in the boat, he simply casts it off, leaving the opponent alone.

Throughout my training, I have not been a good fighter. I do not spar well and I am slow. However, even from the beginning, my goal of learning Tae Kwon Do was never to be a champion competitor. My goal was to learn to improve myself and to be a better person. I looked to the philosophy of the martial arts, to learn to be more understanding, to learn to control aggression, and to learn focus and patience. Along the way, though, I have still become a better fighter. Sometimes you can't walk away from an aggressor, handing him your wallet isn't enough. The true guardian of the peace is prepared to fight when necessary to stop an aggressive situation and to minimize the danger and damage to both sides and any surrounding bystanders.