Master Siljin Dobup by Michael Macri

Master Siljin Dobup

Michael V. Macri, M.D.

I can’t believe my journey in Siljin Dobup has brought me to this level. Finally my mind and body and spirit work together as one. This was a long journey that has trained my mind to be neutral and have Moshin “No mind” while doing forms. I have alot to be thankful for meeting Master Jin Seong who was very patient with me from the beginning. I was always a good athlete despite being in poor condition and middle aged when I started. As mentioned in my previous essays I trained extensively 2 private sword lessons, 2 group lessons, 1 teaching session and 2-3  group Kumdo lessons a week. I immersed myself in body and mind in learning “the way of the sword”.. I feel this was necessary since I had to overcome my poor previous conditioning and middle aged status. Master Seong was very supportive since I had my doubts about being able to overcome the age hurtle but he always encouraged me that my mind would overcome my age. I have always had a strong spirit but now feel that the body, mind and spirit are one. His encouragement was just that…. He led me to the well and it was up to me to drink the water.
I have a deep passion for Siljin Dobup. I believe it shows. Now that I am at an advanced level I view other styles and note they  are too fixed and don’t have enough variety. I love the fact that there are different stabs, slashes and strikes and sheathing techniques in Siljin Dobup and that I can practice virtually anywhere. I love practicing at home, office (in between patients) and of course in the Dojang.

I look at Set Ji (earth) as the beginning form (8 directional cuts) upon which all other forms are based. In Set Ji we start by “putting down the self”. We empty what we already have to accept new things. Set Soo (water) is a flowing form everything is open and fine my mindset is of water flowing down a river. The mind becomes flexible like water and there is an opening of the mind to accept new possibilities. Set Pung (wind) is abrupt, quick movements with conservation of movement in cutting and sheathing. By doing so we cut out what isn’t necessary and make room to insert positive Chi energy of Set Hwa. Set Hwa (fire) we build up positive Chi energy.  I had a lot of trouble with this form since I was able to build up chi energy but sometimes too much fire and not enough ice. My mind has enabled me to overcome this now, but it took a lot of work and breathing! Set Cheon (Sky) covers everything, good, bad, hot, cold, beautiful, ugly everything harmonizes under the Sky. Everything has a place. In Set Cheon you start controlling your mind and realize you are the master of your mind. This  took the longest since the manner in doing the form Set Ji#1, Set Soo #1, Set Pung #1, Set Hwa #1, Set Cheon #1 was a continuation of all the forms in cutting sequence i.e. Left to right overhead diagonal cuts in #1, right to left overhead diagonal cuts in #2, on up. I view Set Cheon differently since all the forms come together and I see their connection to each other.
Having come full circle the most important part of the sword I feel is the mind. There is a saying “Look at the Soul, to see the Sword”, i.e., Bad Soul. Bad Sword… Good Soul, Good Sword.  The Sword can reflect many good things and can be an instrument for meditation. I feel that by reaching Master Level in Siljin Dobup my mind is free to be open to anything and I am the master of my mind. Having arrived at Master Level is a definite milestone but I realize there is a long journey in front of me as a Master. It is my wish to continue the trip up the mountain in learning “the way of the sword”.

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