Developments in neuroscience have shown us that connections within our brain are continually forming and reforming. What that would suggest is that we are in a “constant state of becoming” throughout our lifespan. How we develop is linked to how we approach life and how we challenge ourselves.
Emotionally and psychologically we learn much of who we are through our interactions with others. As we mature and become adults, our new experiences continue to reform that juvenile brain. To each situation we have the opportunity to develop new ways of being, but we also carry previous patterns of behaviour developed over a lifetime. A senior manager, for example, may intellectually understand the need to value and motivate themselves, but the child within might still crave for approval and external endorsement/direction.
Beyond the physical techniques, Hapkido training motivates a student to question their view of the world. We learn that we are a collection of possibilities. The environment of the Hapkido class with its discipline and etiquette, aims to provide a way of nurturing people’s potential and enabling growth. As they progress through the ranks, students get the opportunity to explore who they are, to question their fears, anxieties, and ego, and to let go of old ways that may be holding them back.
Creating an environment that supports this sort of progression is a massive responsibility for the instructor; it demands a relentless examination of one’s own intentions and motivations. Growth within Hapkido, no matter one’s level is not about chasing new experiences, but rather embodying a beginner’s mindset, with all its curiosity and openness. What I mean is that our physical practice needs to be underpinned by an ongoing desire to learn and challenge ourselves mentally as well as physically. By being open to learning, at ease with what we don’t know and seeking personal growth in everything we do, we nurture our own possibilities. We also encourage those around us to do the same.