Several years ago I had the opportunity to attend the Asian Pacific Association Annual luncheon at the United States Air Force Academy. The guest of honor at this auspicious event was Grand Master Jhoon Rhee, the “Father of American Taekwondo”.
Master Rhee came to this country in 1956 as a South Korean Army officer and immediately fell in love with the United States. He is a naturalized citizen and has impacted politicians, celebrities and athletes with his martial arts, patriotism and blend of discipline, hard work and love of human kind
He was, at the time, 81 and a true inspiration with his unique blend of thoughtful and motivating philosophy and amazing physical skills. It was incredible to watch him do full front splits with his chest on the floor. Wow!!!
He shared many of his thoughts and ideas for a fulfilling life and I’d like to share the following with you.
The “Seven Qualities of a Champion” encapsulates Grandmaster Jhoon Rhee’s personal philosophy about the keys to happiness, which, he believes, is created when we transform our highest ideals, thoughts, and emotions into physical action. Martial arts are an educational tool to discipline and unite the mind and body. Martial arts training will develop seven basic qualities that can be transformed into corresponding human emotions that, over time, will create positive human qualities that will become engrained in our character.
Master Rhee originally presented the full text of “Seven Qualities” at a “Tools for Achievement” seminar in Greenbelt, Maryland, on September 21, 1995. The following is a condensed version of that original presentation.
Knowing the purpose of life is to find happiness, and the basis for Happy living is a healthy body. Knowledge in the mind, honesty in the heart, and strength in the body build true confidence. If our lives embrace these three basic human qualities, we will never bear the twin burdens of regret for the things that we did in our lives but know in our hearts that we should not have done and those things we should have done but we did not do. If we develop this way of living, nothing will ever bother us again.
A true human being is an educator not by words alone but by serving as an example to others. The purpose of knowledge is to take action from good habits. The martial arts are an action philosophy, and the soul of martial arts is discipline. An individual without discipline is like a piece of steel without carbon or a tree cut off from its root.
Generally, there are seven basic physical qualities developed through martial arts training. These physical qualities can easily be transformed into their corresponding human emotions, and over time, these emotions will create positive human qualities that become ingrained as part of our character. These seven qualities of a champion are:
1: Quickness, Alertness, and Market Change Awareness
Mind and body must be synchronized so that thought and the resultant action becomes virtually one. In today’s fast-paced business environment, deferring action on a decision made today until tomorrow often means a lost opportunity.
2: Endurance, Perseverance, and Persistence
Just as development in the martial arts requires long hours of practice, success in life often requires perseverance. Research has shown that 80 percent of sales are made on the fourth or fifth approach to a customer, and only 20 percent are made on the first, second, or third sales attempt.
3: Timing, Punctuality, and Delivery on Time
The discipline to respect our own use of time is one way to develop self-respect, the first step toward respect for others. Being punctual is the first basis for success in business; it is one of the major building blocks upon which our business reputation is built.
4: Power, Knowledge, and Financial Strength
Knowledge and wisdom are built by listening to reason and conscience. Knowledge and wisdom are like power a student develops through practice in the martial arts: constant exercise of our abilities leads to success and happiness.
5: Balance, Rationality, and Balancing Supply & Demand
A balance of wisdom, good character, and health are essential to
Build a rational and productive life. If our words and actions are at odds, we introduce irrationality and instability into our lives and society.
6: Flexibility, Gentleness, and Adaptability
Gentleness goes hand-in-hand with flexibility, the ability to adjust and respond naturally to whatever circumstances and events we may encounter in life. Like water, if we learn to yield to others, we can learn to work together to build a better world of truth, beauty, and love that leads to happiness.
7: Postures, Honesty, and Business Integrity
Honesty and posture derive from balanced beauty in mind and body. The posture of integrity in business is an important key to success.
The purpose of knowledge is to take action. A great source of human energy results when we set our minds on a specific goal and set out to accomplish it. Energy follows thought like a heat-seeking missile. The determination to succeed will immediately be followed by the energy to succeed. Success breeds more success.
Thanks for the advice Master Rhee you were a great role model, a true inspiration and are sorely missed as a martial arts leader and a fine human being.