Out of the Kwoon

I received some advice from a supervisor that was familiar to me. He spoke of taking the attitude you have on duty, the image you want to show, the attitude you want to have in emergency services, and take it out into the rest of your life. He stated that you can't just stop when your shift ends, you need to live it, make it part of who you are everywhere you go. It won't work if you only do this some of the time, it has to be consistent, it has to be ALL the time. This mindset sounds akin to one we embrace in kung fu. I was delighted to see that this idea is present in other groups and occupations. 

The first time I heard about the concept of "out of the kwoon and into the world" was at the 2015 Alabama Martial Arts Build-Vention. Master Tom Callos made clear the importance of taking what you learn on the mats, in terms of mindset and awareness, and taking it out into your community. You learn patience, humility and empathy when you train. Why not take these principles and make it part of who you are as a person? If you don't, you need to analyze why you are training in the first place. Whether it is to improve yourself for the benefit of those around you as well, or simply for narcissistic reasons. Try your best, stay humble, recognize when you can give a hand.

This whole idea made a significant impact on my approach to training and to life in general, early on in my martial arts journey. It is something I have gratitude for and reflect on every day.

  • Dan Sollinger