If you want to be a great leader,
you must learn to follow the Tao.
Stop trying to control.
Let go of fixed plans and concepts,
and the world will govern itself.
The more prohibitions you have,
the less virtuous people will be.
The more weapons you have,
the less secure people will be.
The more subsidies you have,
the less self-reliant people will be.
Therefore the Master says:
I let go of the law,
and people become honest.
I let go of economics,
and people become prosperous.
I let go of religion,
and people become serene.
I let go of all desire for the common good,
and the good becomes common as grass.
Translation by Stephen Mitchel.
It’s that middle section that really hits home today.
Probably my favorite technique set in Kuk Sool is the first set: Ki Bohn Soo.
(You can turn down/off the sound if you wish… you’ll only lose the 70’s disco soundtrack).
While it’s a set learned at white belt, you have to remember the translation: Fundamental/Foundational Techniques. These 15 techniques are designed to teach basic principles: of body mechanics (how your opponent’s body does and doesn’t work), body positioning (where to place your body relative to your opponent), balance (keeping yours, disrupting your opponent’s). It also teaches you basics of how to move, and even basic gross motions that with repetition can just come to you when you need it. No they’re not necessarily techinques for street fighting, but knowing them well can help you out (when I do pressure/aliveness drills from a standing position, I find myself utilizing #9 quite often). And in theory, being the first set you learn they’ll be the motions that you do more than any other. This is what foundations are all about, and Ki Bohn Soo gives you that solid foundation.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, all the advanced cool flashy stuff in anything you do is nice, but if you don’t have fundamentals, the flash is worthless. I’d rather spend my time working to master fundamentals than doing really advanced and difficult but marginally useful stuff.
One thing that’s nice about this particular video is the man performing the techniques is SUH In Hyuk, founder of Kuk Sool Won. Point being, high level accomplished individual. I enjoy watching high level accomplished folks performing fundamentals because it helps you get better at the fundamentals. Watch this video now. Go practice, go to class and learn more. In a year, come back and watch the video again and I’m sure you’ll catch subtle things that you were unaware of before. Watch the video again in 5 years, and again you’ll catch subtle things that you missed before. And if this improves your fundamentals, if it strengthens your foundation, everything built on top of that will get stronger.
When taxes are too high, people go hungry.
When government is too intrusive, people lose their spirit
Act for the people’s benefit. Trust them; leave them alone.
Translation by Stephen Mitchell
Ancient wisdom, that still holds true today.
While there are pretty HTML versions out there, I think there’s something about plain ASCII text that’s more appropriate.
Such is my world, in a nutshell
Update: There are also the Unix Koans of Master Foo.
In pursuit of knowledge,
every day something is added.
In the practice of the Tao,
every day something is dropped.
Less and less do you need to force things,
until finally you arrive at non-action.
When nothing is done,
nothing is left undone.
True mastery can be gained
by letting things go their own way.
It can’t be gained by interfering.
Translation by Stephen Mitchel.
As a software engineer, I understand that “simple” and “easy” are not the same thing; in fact, usually to arrive at simple is very difficult. Antoine de Saint-Exupery said:
Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.
We live our lives striving for more, collecting more, gathering more. Bigger, better, faster, more. Then how often do we step back and look at what we’ve amassed and feel overwhelmed and wonder how did we get here? Be it the amount of stuff in our houses, or the number of things we do in our lives, our constant running around and “having no time” and “being so busy”.
Strip away, discard. You’ll discover what’s extraneous, you’ll retain what is necessary. The simpler life becomes (or perhaps think of it as the less complicated you make your life), the more we can enjoy it.