Using it – What is “it”?

When we talk about martial arts, people often say things like “only use it in self-defense” or “learn self-defense so you don’t have to use it“.
What is this “it” they are talking about?  When people say things like this, they are really talking about the actual physical act of fighting.

The truth is that a Taekwon-do practitioner uses “it” all day, every day.  “It” can be hammering a nail or dealing with customer service.  When someone challenges you or begins some type of a confrontation, you should use “it” as soon as possible so that you can avoid a physical altercation.  Carrying groceries, shoveling snow, or moving furniture can cause us to “use it” by reflecting on our training.  How am I breathing?  What is my current posture right now?  How should I move my body to minimize effort and maximize my power, strength, speed or accuracy?

People who have never practiced Taekwon-do think of “it” as some form of weapon that we carry around like a loaded gun or a hidden knife.  Personally, I think of Taekwon-do as a disciplined practice which helps us develop mind and body control.

In a stressful situation, we can call upon our ability to control our mind and body by taking controlled breaths, focusing our eyes and attention on the situation, and relaxing our bodies.  In this way, we “use it” for harmonious purposes.  In this way, we “use it” to demonstrate excellence and produce the best possible outcome.

The next time someone tells you how you are supposed to “use it”, you can smile because you know that “using it” means more than kicking and punching.

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